A little bit about me that reflects the stories of so many other Tibetans

I came from a nomadic family in the eastern part of Tibet, which is called Kham, one of the three traditional provinces of Tibet. Until I was about ten years old, for me, my world revolved around my parents, my three older sisters and our animals. But in 1995 my parents decided to give up on the nomadic life, and move to the capital city, Lhasa.

Though I was only a little girl, I could tell that the life was much different in the city. I would no longer run after the animals. I would instead, go out to the supermarkets and collect cardboards. We would use the cardboards to cook our meals. My parents would go out and sell handicrafts, such as necklace and bracelets – which they still do today.

It was during my spare time in the city, when I first met many other kids of my age, who went to school. Every morning they would head out to the school with their little backpacks, and every late afternoon, they would sit around in the courtyard to do their homework. I was deeply fascinated with their daily activities, and would often watch them do their homework. While observing them, I envied them. I wished to go to school just like them. I did not want to collect cardboards anymore. After bearing the thought for a while, I decided to tell my mother. One day, after she came home, I gathered enough courage to tell her, “Mom, I want to go to school like the other kids!” Though she did not give me a clear answer on the spot, she must have thought about it for a while. One day, she said to me, “You said that you wanted to go to school. But as you know we cannot afford to send you to a school. But, if you really want to go to school, there is a way. You will have to go to India and study there.” I was too naïve and innocent to understand fully the gravity of her proposal. I was so happy that I was going to a school. I did not care much about whether it was a school near by our home or a school in India. I had no idea that India is a different country, and that it is thousands of miles away from Tibet.

In August of 1996, I was sent to India with other Tibetans who were escaping. I was so brave and so sure of my decision to leave home, until a van came to fetch me in the middle of the night. And then, I started to cry and begged my parents not to send me away. But it was too late. The time had come for me to leave all my beloved ones behind, and embark on a journey that would forever change the course of my life. I still remember that night, sixteen years ago, when I saw my sisters’ and father’s face for the last time.

As I grew up at Tibetan Children Village School in India, I learned to appreciate the sacrifice my parents made. They wanted to educate at least one of their four daughters. I was sent away to India, so that I could attain an education. Thus the price paid for my education is the last sixteen years of our family separation. As the situation inside Tibet intensifies, it is impossible to predict the time when we will be reunited. Enduring the pain of sending her youngest daughter away, today mother proudly says, “education once acquired can neither be stolen nor be robbed off you.”

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Pretty Little Liars versus How To Make It In America

I agree with professor Stein that there are a few conspicuous similarities among Veronica Mars, Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars. Firstly, all the three shows are teen dramas, with strong female characters, or in more accurate terms, the story revolves much around its female character or characters. In all the three shows, there is a mysterious figure, around which the plot of the show is woven. In Veronica Mars, the plot is propelled further by Veronica Mars’ attempt to solve the mystery of Lily’s murder and to find the man who possibly raped her. In Gossip Girl, it is the “gossip girl” who is sorted after by the characters or who sorts after the characters to expose their lives to the public. A/Allison is the central character that rules the lives of the other characters, namely her four friends, from her graveyard.

But Pretty Little Liars replicates closely the story world of Veronica Mars. As professor Stein states, “and the fascinatingly repeated trope of the dead, sexually-promiscuous girl at the center of the mystery, who haunts the narrative in potent flashback”, both A/Allison in Pretty Little Liars and Lily in Veronica Mars are supposedly dead, but they both take control over the respective narrative – by frequently causing the plot to flash back to the time when they were alive. A/Allison torments her friends, by flushing them with sensitive and threatening text messages, notes and video clips. Lily often occupies the thoughts and minds of those who know her before she is murdered. Veronica frequently thinks about her dead best friend, and so does Dunkin, who hallucinates of seeing his dead sister.

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But for this week’s screening, if I have to choose one out the two, I would pick How To Make It In America over Pretty Little Liars. I liked the latter so much better.

How To Make It In America is much more true to believable in terms of story and the construction of its characters. The story revolves around how young people, right out of college, struggles to cope with the new chapter in their lives. Unlike in Pretty Little Liars, wherein A/Allison haunts the remaining characters, it is the real challenges  – be it financial, love relationships, family relationships or other worldly problems – that haunts the characters in How To Make It In America. Therefore, I liked How To Make It In America much more than Pretty Little Liars.

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Invisible Tibet: One of the most read blogs

With the advanced technologies, specifically, social media, more and more Tibetans are bringing their voices onto different online platforms: YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, blogs and etc. There are many groups who have strong online presence. To name a few: Students for a Free Tibet has its own channel on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/user/SFTTV), International Campaign for Tibet also has its own website  (http://www.savetibet.org/) and Khabdha  (http://www.khabdha.org/) owns a website and a Facebook account.

Also, there are individual writers who disseminate their voices through blogging. There is one  most popular and outspoken blogger, who I believe has the most readerships.

Tsering Woeser, writes her blog under the title, Invisible Tibet (http://woeser.middle-way.net/). She is one of the most well known writers, and is a prominent critic of the Chinese rule. Her works focus on the deteriorating situation in Tibet. She has been actively blogging about the countrywide protest in Tibet in 2008, and also on the chain of recent self-immolations in Tibet. She has been subjected to house arrest many times before, and occasionally has been playing hide and seek with the Chinese government. Her blog came under the threat of being shut down frequently. Despite all the hurdles and threats, she keeps writing. The world has recognized her bravery, intelligence, integrity, resilience and sacrifice. She has been awarded many prestigious prizes.

Two days ago, on May 3rd, her blog, Invisible Tibet was voted as the public’s choice at the Best of Blogs’ Competition (http://www.phayul.com/news/article.aspx?id=31326&article=Woeser’s+blog+voted+public’s+choice+at+Best+of+Blog’s+comeptition), organized by the German radio station, Deutsche Welle.

May there be a day when she can write freely. I pray for her safety and admire her courage.