As a result of the post-colonial fundamentalist trend that is sweeping the non-white world, the last decade has seen an increase in Tibetans criticising those in their community who look like they are acting in a colonial, imperial manner.  No, not the Chinese, those ‘yellow head’ westerners554610_10201582451425307_865861004_n, stupid. Compulsory Tibetan-Tibetan marriage, procreation and eating Tsampa and wearing Chuba every day are policies now being considered by the Tibetan government in exile to prevent this moral and cultural pollution.  Exceptions will still be made for any Tibetan who wants  a western education, sponsorship, funding, visa or passport.  Use of the internet, scientific breakthroughs and mobile phone technology will also be allowed as long as Tibetans do not speak about their western inventors.

However, this week a group of Tibetans (who see themselves as ‘liberal’) took their adoration of all things western to a new extreme. The Tibet Film Festival launched a promotional poster featuring a Tibetan woman mimicing the pose of American sex symbol and icon of ‘yellow head’ beauty, Marilyn Monroe.  Reaction to the poster was divided.

Dr. Lobsang Sangay, the Tibetan political leader (a fan of Miss Tibet) was heard saying privately that he saw nothing wrong with the photo at all. That he had always secretly fantasised about Monroe and blonde, white women from his days at Harvard.  It is alleged that he even has a secret poster of Monroe that he keeps for private moments, although this could not be confirmed.  He was clearly influenced by fellow Harvard graduate, President John F Kennedy’s relationship with Monroe.

Tibetan Buddhist religious leaders (all monks), on the other hand, were outraged calling the poster yet another example of the degenerate West’s influence on pure Tibetan women and culture. Apparently ignoring or oblivious to the degenerate influence of Tibetan Buddhist culture on Tibetan nuns and lay women for centuries. These people when asked if they have heard of Freud’s Madonna-Whore complex, stated simply:

‘No, and I don’t want to know either. Women should be pure, simple and virginal before they marry or be mothers and wives. Anyone else is a filthy whore. ‘

Feminists called the poster out on its blatant objectification of women, with someone suggesting that if the organisers wanted to create something original and radical they should have pictured two homosexual Tibetan men in chuba stripped to the waist, kissing each other. Many so-called ‘progressives’ felt that would not be possible though because they would not be able to find models as:

‘Homosexuality does not exist in the Tibetan community.’

President Obama was asked for a statement on the desecration of one of the US’s sacred celebrity icons.  Obama said:

‘I’ll shake hands with President Hu Jintao, and meet the Dalai Lama the next day without any sense of hypocrisy or irony. But this is going too far, that Tibetan woman is no Marilyn Monroe and it is deeply offensive to me, my family and the American people.’

What will they think of next? The Tibetan exile leader as Bruce Lee? Tenzin Tsundue as Johnny Depp? Seriously though, it would have been more dignified, original and ‘cool’ to see two gay men kissing……now that would really have been something to get those self-righteous chins-a-wagging in Dharamsala! Woof!

lobsang sangay“The opinion that art should have nothing to do with politics is itself a political attitude.”  George Orwell

So Apso was at the exile literature event today in Dharamsala, promoting Tibetan poet, Tsering Wangmo’s Dhompa’s new book ‘Home in Tibet’. The cover art of the book alone suggested we were potentially taking a dive into child-like fantasy. Dhompa, the first Tibetan-American poet to receive some international recognition and distribution, told the audience she wrote the book for her Tibetan nomad mother.

The Tibetan exile leader, Lobsang Sangay found time in his busy schedule to support and promote Dhompa’s work at the event, and who said politics and art don’t mix?  We soon found out why he was there, not only had he known Dhompa for 25 years but also she was top of the class in all subjects at the Tibetan exile educational establishments. Then, to the bemused laughter of the audience, Sangay also referred to the writer’s ‘beauty, humility and lack of forthright opinions’ and the excitement it caused the men (including himself) when she arrived at Delhi University, as further evidence of her ‘talent’ and ‘worthiness’. Groan, someone lend him a copy of De Beauvoir’s ‘Second Sex’ will you?

Dhompa then read a few undoubtedly nostalgic, lyrical and moving passages from the book. Referring to how her mother’s marriage led to her ‘parting her hair on the other side’. One audience member bravely asked her if her book addresses any of the less romantic aspects of Tibetan society, culture and history such as religious theocracy and gender inequality. She responded that the Tibetan landscape is so beautiful (perhaps she’s never visited Scotland or the Swiss Alps) but agreed that the nomad women had ‘hard lives’. Was that a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ then?  Anyway, without reading the whole book it’s hard to say, but I guess the more romantic the more the Western lapdogs will lap it all up and make it a Tibetan bestseller! Success!

In an interview for TibetWriters.org Dhompa states that ““Nostalgia is political in our experience as ‘Tibetans’ and nostalgia is a recurring voice in contemporary Tibetan poetics in exile.” For Dhompa, exile appears to be the very condition for cultural knowledge. Well, not if you’re a TIbetan living in or from TIbet, right?

A very different kind of Tibetan female writer is also in Dharamsala right now, Kunsang Dolma. Her book ‘A Hundred Thousand White Stones’ published this year, tells of sexual abuse, violence and gender inequality in both Tibet and India. I wonder if Lobsang Sangay would attend an event to promote her book? Uneducated, working-class, opinionated, married to a western man, mother of two mixed-race children…..she’s not ticking those exile patriarchal elite boxes of: ‘simple’, ‘humble’ and ‘un-opinionated’, though is she?!

Sadly, we Tibetan BuddImagehists don’t have a great reputation anymore when it comes to the treatment of our bitches (or should I say kyemen (lower birth)).  It’s all the fault of those pesky western and mongrel bitches who keep daring to tell us superior pedigree Tibetan males (bhumed = not female and higher birth) that women should have equal human rights and respect and not be treated like silly virgins, houseservants or prostitutes (you know, weird, colonial, imperialist, western, Freudian shit like that). It’s even got to the stage where HH the Dalai Lama is coming out with crazy, feminist stuff like ‘The next Dalai Lama might be a woman’ and ‘the world will be saved by the western woman’!

For so long, our male lamas and tulkus have told us to pray not to be reborn as women in our future lives. However, after seeing the way Tibetan females and children are being treated by the exile community in the 21st Century in Free India I think we need to change our pechas to praying not to be reborn as Tibetan females! Or if we’re going to go down the way of those crazy western imperalists, how about praying not to be reborn as sexist, misogynist, patriarchal, religious nutcases instead?! That would certainly reduce a lot of unnecessary suffering…..

First, there was the horrendous Tenzingang case where a Tibetan woman who was tortured and beaten by a bunch of hyper-moralistic, religious Tibetan goons, was then told to apologise and prostrate for her crime of being a woman, while the man (who she was having a consensual relation with and who was the father of her child) got off scot-free! To top that, this week, there was the alleged rape of a five year old Tibetan girl by two Tibetan adult males in Mundgod settlement in South India. The response of the community elders and settlement officers to such an appalling crime? Don’t bring a bad name to HH the Dalai Lama by reporting it. Words fail me. Such incomparable love and compassion!  These are just the cases we hear about as well…..

Om Mani Padme Hum, Om Mani Padme Hum……and thank f**k I’m not a Tibetan female!

Our dear friends at Free Tibet London, have declared a pioneering new approach to the Tibetan struggle. On 29th July, Dave O’Carroll, Free Tibet’s website editor (who proudly declares himself ‘fecking clueless’ about Tibet if you ask him), back fresh in London after an all-expenses paid trip to India, launched a brand-new Twitter campaign against the arch enemy of Tibetan people, yes you guessed it, the people who run the website Tibet Truth. What is their crime? Allegedly publishing a story without crediting Free Tibet as the source (an accusation that the folks at Tibet Truth vehemently deny). Here are some of his Tweets:

Mr O’Carroll (and Free Tibet) are not only adding an unprecedented meaning to the words ‘common goal’ in the Tibetan struggle but, according to one Tibetan NGO worker in exile,  to the meaning of ‘the kettle calling the pot black’, they said:

 I feel like crying and laughing at the same time about allegations levelled by the English group called Free Tibet against tibettruth. I myself have seen Free Tibet stealing information from other Tibetan sources particularly International Campaign for Tibet and Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy. The most blatant one being the English translation of nun Sangay Dolma’s last note which was published in a British tabloid under Free Tibet’s name. Student’s for a Free Tibet had the grace to credit TCHRD for this translation. I think everyone should get this fact straight: Free Tibet is a “breaking news” service for the mainstream media. “Breaking news” by its very nature is vulnerable to factual errors. Free Tibet is not a research organization or a source that you can rely on with confidence. But we should credit Free Tibet for the things they do best, and that is, raising funds and selling slippers with images of Tibetan flags.’

Apso would add to that list, finding excuses for not going on street protests unless paid and going on expensive freebie trips to India, for ‘work reasons’.

A Chinesechinasecurity communist spokesperson based in Tibet had this to say about Mr O’Carroll’s latest Twitter campaign:

‘We would like to thank Mr O’Carroll and Free Tibet from the bottom of our hearts for distracting everyone from the real issue and wasting Free Tibet supporters’ precious time and money. Keep up the good work.’

Steph brigdenApso has been on a bit of a break but is back with a barking vengeance after reading this blistering and eloquent critique of the London-based Free Tibet NGO by Tibetan blogger, Gelek.

Ever since reading the whistle-blowing expose by one of their former employees, Adele I have been hoping that Tibetans would take up the lead in ensuring this organisation gets the full exposure it deserves.

However, I almost coughed up my dog’s dinner when I later read an ‘official statement’ from the CTA on these public criticisms of ‘Free Tibet’. Here’s the full statement:

” The Central Tibetan Administration is disturbed to learn of public criticism of the Tibet (Support) Group ‘Free Tibet’, concerning both the group’s non-Tibetan public profile and its position as an organization with paid staff.

The CTA wishes to make it clear that it does not regard either of the above issues to be reasonable grounds for public attacks on a TSG. Whilst we strongly encourage TSGs and Tibetan communities to work closely and collaboratively together, we remain extremely grateful to all TSGs, as expressed by Sikyong Lobsang Sangay during the last TSG meeting, for their tireless efforts to raise public awareness and generate political support for the Tibet issue such as through this past lobby year. By speaking publicly about these issues, our “Inji” friends can be highly effective in attracting other such supporters, media coverage and in increasing parliamentary support through constituency pressure – support which the Tibet movement urgently needs. Amplifying Tibetan voices need not require silencing those of our most effective non-Tibetan advocates.

Furthermore, we take issue with inferences that TSGs with paid staff are operating out of self-interest. The Tibet movement needs to build its capacity, and acquire more people and resources in order to increase its impact. With more personnel, we can increase our investment in strategic planning. While some of the critical comments were signed with a Tibetan name, we also wish to highlight the possibility that the author may not be Tibetan.
To all our international friends, we need you more than ever. With the present conditions in Tibet, we must all focus our energies on improving the situation there and redouble our efforts to do so. In keeping with one of the guiding principles of the Kashag, unity, it is time all Tibetans and our friends, work together for the people of Tibet.

Kalon Dicki Chhoyang
DIIR Kalon”

First, before making this statement, did the CTA or Kalon bother to investigate the allegations and criticisms against Free Tibet? Did they speak to any of their former employees? Apparently not. Second, why would the fact that the author ‘may not be a Tibetan’ even be relevant to the matter at hand? The CTA statement does not even address the serious issues that have been raised, instead it arrogantly glosses over and distorts them as being about Free Tibet having ‘paid staff’ and ‘a non-Tibetan public profile’.

Apso also wept a few canine tears to see Pema Yoko and other members of the UK Tibet movement defend Ms Brigden and her ‘Kony-2012’ brigade, again without addressing the criticisms. It appears the UK movement’s silence on this NGO up until now is also being called into question, hence the emotional defence?

Anyway, lest anyone should doubt the motives or attitudes of those kind, generous, white, westerners working at Free Tibet….word on the Dharamsala grapevine today is that Free Tibet’s online editor, Dave O’Carroll is here on a ‘work’ trip. Mr O’Carroll is another fine example of a Free Tibet staff who has zero interest, experience or expertise on Tibet or Tibetans prior to obtaining employment with them. He is certainly being paid a generous salary for effectively designing and maintaining a website and ensuring that online updates are done on time. Good to see Mr O’Carroll is taking his responsibilities in India seriously though. In a Twitter update on 29 December he states:

‘The perfect remedy for sneezing and spluttering at home is to sort your January getaway to India’

Hmmm what a ‘getaway’ indeed….most likely funded by unsuspecting Free Tibet members. We can only hope that Mr O’Carroll (if using his trip to travel around India afterwards) offered to pay for most of his Indian airfare there, otherwise it really is FREE Tibet…..Tibet for free with hotel and airfares to India thrown in as part of the package! Perhaps he will be visiting a luxury spa in South India, following in the footsteps of his boss, Stephanie Brigden? Who needs enemies with friends like these?!

Apso read with interest about the Chinese media’s extensive coverage of Hurricane Sandy in the USA. Many Chinese net users were furious and satirised the CCTV’s neglect of a major civil protest at home (in Ningbo) and the attempt to divert attention by giving priorities to situations abroad.

One netizen wrote: ‘The entire world is aware of things in Ningbo, except that CCTV is not. But CCTV knows clearly about any single disaster in the United States. It seems CCTV aims to serve the United States. We can infer from it that it is a stooge for the Imperialistic America!’

Another netizen keenly observed that: ‘CCTV has sent so many reporters to the (disaster) scenes to cover the hurricane in the U.S. Some netizens wonder: why we did not see them work so hard on the thing in Ningbo! But others explain: (the news) is actually aired for leaders, because their kids are all there!’

CCTV also ‘forgot’ to report on the 7 Tibetans who have set themselves on fire in the last week to protest the brutal Chinese occupation and colonisation of Tibet. So, yes, China is the US’s stooge but seems like these Chinese netizens are also the stooges of Imperial China!

Look! Your house and those brave Tibetans imprisoned in it are on fire too!

A poet's work is to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start 
arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep. - Rushdie

Apso was invited to attend a Tibetan poetry reading session last weekend. But
I couldn't make it, or to be honest, I wasn't keen to be part of it. Apso has 
a bad taste in his mouth when it comes to poetry composed by Tibetan exiles; 
I feel our poets are not reflective enough. So I sent my comrade and kindred 
spirit, a stray mongrel visiting from the city, to represent me at the reading.
Here's what the bitch had to say: 

'I know that Apso hates hegemony and careerism but we both wholeheartedly agree that 
creativity and expression are important and should be encouraged. There is no doubt
that writing and performing one's work requires creativity, courage and effort. 
However, Tibetan exiles need more of the Orwellian 'demon' and 'struggle'; poetry, 
like politics, cannot be about repetition or self-promotion. The Indian media are 
complicit in the delusion too, reporting it in way that made me think I had gone to 
a different event! As Osbert Sitwell said:

'Poetry is like fish: if its fresh, it's good; if its stale, it's bad; and if you're not
certain, try it on the cat.' 

I'm no pesky cat but I can generally smell a rotten fish!'