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Readers' Comments on "A Stranger in My Native Land"
In the first part of a two-part series 'Around Kumbun', Tenzig Sonam, a Tibetan poet and film-maker currently living in New York, goes inside a country he calls his home but does not recognize....
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10 comment(s) found You are on page 1 of 1

Location: usa
Subject: raising tibetan children
Mar 12 2004 09:07 AM

It is really a struggle and constant battle with TV and the outside world to raise tibetan speaking children. We are proud to say our son spoke fluently in Tibetan at age 2 and a half. He started pre-school with no english and learnt to speak it within a couple of months. Children adapt so well to languages. His Tibetan is still very good and we only speak tibetan at home. But more importantly is raising them up to be proud of where they come from and understanding our culture, love of country and our wonderful leader and being proud to be Tibetan. Also, being a tibetan family living amongst non-tibetans, we try our best to bring our child in contact with other tibetan children and make friends and have playdates so that as he grows older, he'll have many tibetans to relate to as friends. We have started a Tibetan saturday school for the tibetan children in our area and this takes up all of our saturdays but all of us 7 parents including the children love having this time to spend together. Though I constantly wish we had more teaching resources and Tibetan story books and such things for our children. I thank my lucky stars that I live in a place with a couple of like-minded tibetan parents all willing to put in the extra effort to raise Tibetan Children.

Location: usa
Subject: Thumps up!
Mar 11 2004 02:39 AM

Thumps up Loed la....we need more people with your patriotic and nationalistic mentality. Thanks for it and wish u and your family a good life as the freedom struglle proceed!

Location: India
Subject: Our language - our identity
Mar 09 2004 11:53 AM

Loss of "LANGUAGE" is the beginning of the end of an “IDENTITY”

I am a Tibetan and my wife is a Tibetan too. I am very proud of that. We have a son who will be 3 years old in two weeks time. Ever since he was born we have spoken Tibetan to him. Now the few words he speaks are ONLY Tibetan. Some say this is a problem.
We live in the middle of non-Tibetan speakers. Every time we take our son outside, he meet up with other kids and starts playing with them, all the while speaking in Tibetan to them. These kids get lost. Well they never understood him.

Recently we took him to his new school for enrolment. While we were doing something, he went up to his would be teacher and started blubbering few words – in Tibetan! She looked at us surprised. I told her he was speaking in Tibetan.

I believe small kids are fast learners. So when they are small and impressionable, we must take advantage and instill our identity in them – be it language, music, dress codes etc. The “others” will come naturally to them when they grow up.

Location: london
Subject: drinking,
Mar 08 2004 07:59 PM

I agree with CT, US, about our culture. Every year I go home to India, there always seems to be something new and things have changed. Lately instead of family talking around a circle, all are glued to the TV, watching some VCD or Indain drama or sports.

Also most dangereous thing from the article was the drinking of His cousins, I noticed that a lot in Tibetan communities, many dieing from drink related illness. I hope in his next part Tenzig sonam, addresses these issues, rather than some rosetinted version of Tibetan tradition and culture. We have to save people first than they can save the culture.

Location: US
Subject: Sad, but confused.
Mar 07 2004 07:48 AM

I enjoyed the read. The story's well written, the adventure real...

But what hypocrisy and arrogance. Who is Tenzig to speak of cultural loss, when he writes in English, when his wife is Indian? What does he wear when he goes about the streets of New York, is it the traditional clothing that his grandparents would've worn?

There's much sadness in the history of Tibet. And he has every right to disagree with his cousins for not sharing his nationalistic ideals...

But who is he to *PITY* them? To MOCK them? Who is he to say what Tibetans in the year 2004 should be wearing or doing? Culture is never a static thing. Few people on this planet live and dress the same way their grandparents do.

Indeed, I challenge everyone here to think on that question. Do you share the same beliefs, the same clothes, and the same habits as your grandparents?

The answer is to build a new Tibetan culture that embraces the realities of the 21st century, not try to force the storybook image of what a Tibetan should be onto others... when Mr. Sonam himself wouldn't live such a life.

Location: usa
Subject: hopeless
Mar 07 2004 03:17 AM

Sonam's frank feeling and travelling experience is so authentic, yet is a living proof of how TIbetans inside and outside have so much differences although they call themselves as TIBETAN. This personal story is a proof of how hopeless is a hopeful freedom struggle Tibetans wagging in exile. Due to lack real experience and insight into TIbean culture, SOnam felt has common with is relatives because of blood, other than that nothing in common...this is a proof of how Tibetans preserve their culture. I guess sonam failed to study the spiritual aspect of those relatives and their waay of thinking and living..I guess much and much same or even more TIbetan than Exilees.
But I can say that sonam is a product who is adventured into modernization and western influence and did not really care with authentic TIbetan culture....that's why he feel stranger even to the culture of his relatives.

Location: Minnesota
Subject: Touching!!
Mar 07 2004 01:16 AM

It is really nice and touching experience...Thanks for sharing it with us. I can definitely feel the situation even I've never gone to Tibet..


Location: I guess planet Earth
Subject: sad, moving, and very well written
Mar 06 2004 10:18 PM

Thanks, Tenzin Sonam, for sharing your adventure with us; it is very moving, sad, and also I liked the way you convey and articulate your thoughts.

Location: usa
Subject: a stranger in my native land
Mar 06 2004 10:02 PM

The last sentence should be a warning to all Tibetans in exile who mindlessly speak in Indian, nepali, english, german, french or some other language to their children. If you can't maintain your language as a parent, it's not likely you will be able to do much else for Tibetan culture or political aspirations.

Location: Switzerland
Subject: A real sad story
Mar 06 2004 02:07 PM

Hallo Readers,
more sad and thoughtful story is not possible to tell. It is a true and live history. All Tibetans must work together to free from Chinese yoke.
My greetings to Tenzing and his wife.
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