I just wanted to share this video that was made by CNN and shown at the awards ceremony last week where Dhondup Wangchen was honoured by Committee to Protect Journalists with their 2012 International Press Freedom Award. A huge thank you goes to CPJ, not only for this award but for their support for Dhondup Wangchen and “Leaving Fear Behind” ever since 2008.
Here’s a link to a blogpost I wrote for CPJ in 2009 about my meeting with Dhondup Wangchen: http://cpj.org/blog/2009/12/the-story-of-dhondup-wangchen-a-filmmaker-jailed-i.php
It’s always fun when you hear a contemporary Tibetan pop song and recognise the tune from elsewhere. Like when I was watching Made in Tibet by Shapaley and my friend recognised the plinky plonky piano part being from the film “Amelie”. The word on the street now is that there is a Shapaley remix going round that takes a sample from “Let Me Blow Ya Mind” by Eve featuring Gwen Stefani, want to hear that!
I just wanted to share a few songs from Tibet that I’ve come across that sample some cool tunes!
1. Acha Tsendep’s song “Tibetan Girl” samples “Clint Eastwood” by Gorillaz
2. Someone sent me this song by Lhasa’s Tibetan Mastiff Crew a while back and it samples “You Got Me” by The Roots featuring Erykah Badu! I can’t find a video or anything for this song so I’ve uploaded the mp3, the lyrics in Tibetan (and English) are pretty nasty, there’s also a little bit in Chinese.
3. This last one is a straight-up cover of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” but with Tibetan lyrics and a rather, er, unique singing style. I’ve put this up on my blog before but I’m not really sure that people liked it, at least most of my friends don’t seem to! Anyway here it is again!
Does anyone know any more covers or Tibetan songs that sample contemporary pop music? Let me know!
Last weekend at the Bjornson International Festival of Literature in Molde, Norway, was educational, interesting and also a lot of fun. I met the wonderful writers in exile, Philo Ikonya (Kenya) and Asieh Amini (Iran) and got to know about the important of work of organisations such as The International Cities of Refuge Network.
I think my presentation went well and the audience were very kind and attentive. Chungdak la and I already did a write-up on her blog so I won’t post it again here, just click on this long link: http://chungdak.wordpress.com/2012/09/02/tibet-and-tibetan-writers-highlighted-at-the-bjornson-international-festival-of-literature-norway/
My hope is that everyone went away with a renewed sense of energy to raise awareness about the plight of Tibetan cultural figures. Furthermore, I also hope that we got people interested in Tibetan cultural output in general, in writings, music and poetry.
Highlights were Philo’s reading of Tsundue’s poem “My Tibetanness” and the concert on the closing night which I really enjoyed. A huge thank you to the organisers of the festival, everything was perfect!
Even though I just got back from India, I’m excited to be heading off again, this time to Molde, Norway, to speak at the Bjørnson Festival of International Literature. I’ve been invited by the organisers to talk about the current situation for Tibetan writers in Tibet and PRC. It’s a great opportunity to speak at a literature festival and I’m very grateful to the organisers not only for inviting me but also for putting Tibetan writers in the spotlight.
Chungdak Koren of the Norwegian Tibet Committee will also join me at the event and has published a press release on her blog. Follow the link below for more information:
One of the great things about my summer stay here in Dharamsala has been meeting and spending time with the array of bright, talented Tibetans in this small small town. Last Sunday I was happy to be part of a TibetWrites event launching writer Bhuchung D. Sonam’s new book “Yak Horns.” I was invited to moderate the event which included a discussion about writing and live poetry readings by Tenzin Tsundue, Tsering Wangmo Dhompa and Tenzin Dickyi.
And then yesterday I had the honour and privilege of meeting Tibet’s youngest blogger, 8 year old Tenzin Thinlay! Thinlay started writing a wonderful blog called Tibetan Sky earlier this year and he’s already been featured on Voice of America’s Cyber Tibet programme talking about it. He’s well on his way to going viral!
Thinlay’s blog is a place where he writes about his family, school, friends and interests. He also blogs stories and his poems – everything in Tibetan! The story of how he named his blog is very interesting and creative, his name Thinlay འཕྲིན་ལས་ sounds like Thinlam སྤྲིན་ལམ་ which translated literally would be a path for clouds – the sky! So his blog is Tibetan Sky.
I caught up with my fellow blogger during lunch break at his school, Sambhota Model School in Gangkyi, and did a short interview with him in Tibetan:
What’s your name?
My name is Tenzin Thinlay.
How old are you?
I’m 8 years old.
When did you start writing your blog?
In April this year.
How did you get the idea to start a blog?
It was when my Pala was away working in France and I would write to him every day. Pala asked me if I wanted to keep a blog instead so I asked him to set one up for me.
Your blog is all in Tibetan
Do you like writing in Tibetan, is it difficult to blog in Tibetan?
I asked my Amala to show me how to type in Tibetan and I learned it in one day!
One day? Wow!
Yes, one day.
What kind of things do you write about in your blog mostly?
My blog is like a diary and I introduce things I like in it and blog things I have written for school. I also take photos myself and upload them onto the blog.
Who reads your blog?
My friends and family members read it. My Pala also sent the link to some of his friends and they visit it too.
Do you think you’ll write your blog in English in the future?
Hmm, I don’t know about that yet.
Do you know what you want to do in the future?
I want to become a scientist.
Do you write your blog every day?
Not every day, I write when I have time but lately I’ve had exams.
I notice you post your poems on your blog.
Yes I write poems when I don’t have a lot of time because they are short.
How do you advertise your blog?
My Pala puts my posts on Facebook and Twitter.
Do you have Facebook?
I don’t, I used to have one but I had a problem with the password and I can’t access it anymore, they told me my password had changed even though it hadn’t – I don’t know what happened!
Do any of your friends have blogs?
I don’t think so.
You’re so young, 8 years old, I think you might be Tibet’s youngest blogger, that’s what I’m going to write!
If you read Tibetan or are learning, do visit: http://tibetansky.blogspot.com/
A big thank you to Mati for introducing me to the new generation of Tibetan bloggers! Also thank you to the staff and kids at Gangkyi’s Sambhota Model School who were very accommodating and welcoming!
I’m a bit late in posting this here but last month, two amazing scholars Carole McGranahan (University of Colorado) and Ralph Litzinger (Duke University) guest edited a special online issue of Cultural Anthropology titled “Self-Immolation as Protest in Tibet”.
In a short amount of time, Carole and Ralph were able to gather together a wealth of information, views and perspectives on the self-immolations in Tibet. The work that went into this issue is really impressive and there are thought-provoking essays by renowned Tibet scholars such as Tsering Shakya, Charlene Makley, Janet Gyatso, Emily Yeh, Woeser, Eliot Sperling and many many more.
I was also able to contribute in my own small way by writing about the responses to the self-immolations by Tibetan netizens. The article is also available as a PDF, just download from this link -> HotSpot-Pemba I thought it was generous and enlightened of Carole and Ralph to invite contributions from blog editors such as from Khabdha and Tibetan Political Review.
It’s really to be applauded that Carole and Ralph took this somewhat rare initiative. It’s a shame that this huge effort by scholars and intellectuals to gain some perspective on a difficult topic, both emotionally and politically, went largely unnoticed by the media. I hope that by posting about this here and also on Global Voices that many will find food for thought. For more perspectives on the self-immolations I also recommend visiting these blogposts by Mountain Phoenix Over Tibet and Lhakar Diaries.
As a follow up to my last post saying I was going to speak in Brussels, here’s a video summary of the event!
Last November and December I carried out an interview with Woeser La that focused specifically on her poetry and development as a writer. I had been asked by the arts journal Cerise Press to conduct this interview and I was grateful for the chance to ask Woeser La about her poetry, of which I am a big fan! To refresh my memory I happily re-read my copy of “Tibet’s True Heart” and also re-visited a review I’d written of it back in 2008.
Woeser La and I corresponded over email in Chinese and I translated her responses into English. Her responses were just amazing, so interesting and eloquent and turned my rather standard questions into something I just wanted to read over and over. I really hope that this interview gets people who know Woeser La only as a “dissident blogger” more interested in her poetry and fiction. The best thing that anyone could do would be to purchase a copy of “Tibet’s True Heart” and pass it on to their friends
So here is the link to the full interview on Cerise Press: http://www.cerisepress.com/03/09/an-eye-from-history-and-reality-woeser-and-the-story-of-tibet
Woeser La has also posted the interview on her blog, along with the Chinese original: http://woeser.middle-way.net/2012/03/blog-post_3466.html
Finally I wanted to embed this video that was put together by the Prince Claus Fund and features footage filmed by Tenzing Sonam and Ritu Sarin in Beijing in 2008 for their documentary “The Sun Behind the Clouds”, seeing this also brought back a lot of memories about those busy few days we spent together!
A mystery blogger that I regularly keep up with, JustRecently, has today published an interview with me that was carried out over the course of several email exchanges. Here is the link to the interview: http://justrecently.wordpress.com/2012/01/16/the-bozhu-interviews-the-tibetan-blogosphere-is-expanding-but-the-risks-remain-the-same/
The interview is part of a series compiled by JustRecently called the BoZhu interviews. As JR explains:
A blogmaster (博主, bózhǔ) is just a blogmaster (博客的主人, bókè de zhǔrén), explains the Baidu Encyclopedia (百度百科).
It’s a great idea for a series and I’m wondering how I can steal this idea and use it for High Peaks (!)
Here is a link to all the BoZhu interviews so far: http://justrecently.wordpress.com/category/interviews/
The Times published a full page obituary of my late Uncle Dr Pemba today. Saturday will mark the 49th day of his passing, there will be a prayer ceremony all day in Darjeeling where many of our close relatives are gathered.