Respect: A Playful Word

Allow me to be a Tibetan wordsmith for a while. If I have a good command of Tibetan language, the credit must go to my father. He was my first Tibetan teacher who helped hone my linguistic skills from a tender age. My Tibetan language skills thus surpassed my peers and even students in higher grades when I was in Tibet. Through my extensive studies of Tibetan, I have been able to lay down a robust foundation of the language. Indeed, language is much more than simply grammar, syntax, and a means of verbal communication – it is often influenced by relative powers, unconscious emotions, and instinctual behaviors in various times and places. Thus, to be playful with language provides us a space in finding the subtle meaning and nuanced usage of the language. This ultimately gives us freedom. Continue reading “Respect: A Playful Word”

Politics is Everything

For Tibetans in exile, the way we approach Tibet is complex and varied. Tibet where some of us lived and still carry its memories. Tibet that is intertwined with both delightful and agonizing feelings for us to imagine persistently from a distance. Tibet that we celebrate as a nation through political symbols and social rituals at different times and places. Tibet, thus, is a multi-layered identity for us to retain with recollection, imagination, and symbols under everchanging circumstances. However, this all has its own origin in what happened to Tibet politically almost six decades ago, and we are the product of that history. When we lost our political freedom, our language, culture, and religion also began to lose its own autonomy and independence. As such, politics is the foundation of everything. Our ancestors foresaw that millennia ago. Continue reading “Politics is Everything”

Memory Doesn’t Lie

My aunt Tsemo Khar is the second eldest of eight siblings on my father’s side. We call her Acha Tsemo Khar. Although the smallest of the siblings, she is always full of life. She had to be the breadwinner of her family, looking after her six children, while her yogi husband was away on retreat in the mountains most of the time. Her round face is perfectly symmetrical with her dark eyes and rosy cheeks. Her expressive face and warm inviting smile can put anyone at ease, making people feel welcome and appreciated. However, she also has an outright nature and does not hesitate to say anything that she feels. Continue reading “Memory Doesn’t Lie”

Does sex kill language?

I grew up in a culture where it is taboo to discuss sex or an array of sex-related subjects in front of one’s parents, siblings, and relatives. People blush if someone accidentally utters anything about sex and intimate relationships. However, I have observed that the exile Tibetan community is quite advanced and open-minded about these topics. One apparent example would be blugs” (བླུགས།) which is even overused in their conversations. As you may know, blugs is slang for sex.  Continue reading “Does sex kill language?”

NAMKHA, BIRD-CHASER

Namkha Jhida was my friend, my childhood friend. Every time I went home for my summer holidays, I would go bird-chasing with him. It has now been more than ten years since I last saw him, but these childhood memories are still fresh in my mind. His real name is Namkha Tsering, and family and friends used to call him Namkha. The people in our village called him Namkha Jhida, Bird-chaser, since he loved chasing birds. Continue reading “NAMKHA, BIRD-CHASER”

Fourteen Lines for His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

by Nyen

You are the water that settles the dust
You are the wind which travels everywhere in all seasons
You are the gentle leaves of a rosewood forest
You are the central channel always in peace
You are the oral lamp, tamer of ignorance
You are a singular and refreshing oasis
You are the composer of a thousand small lives
You are the messenger of all fleeting things such as dreams, illusions, bubbles and dewdrops Continue reading “Fourteen Lines for His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama”