Sunday, January 2, 2011

New York Debate

I was geared up to watch the New York Kalon Trip debate in live through the web cast. And it is very disappointing when the technical difficulties failed my expectation. As the connection failed repeatedly after few rounds of questions  and I missed 90% of the proceedings (fortunately, the entire debate was posted on Tibetan community association website afterward)
 However, the start went smoothly, and this is what I have observed.

In tune with Tibetan custom of respecting the elders, the eldest candidates Tashing Wangdue was called in first. Dr. Lobsang Sangay call in the last.

The hall is completely packed and Tibetan people around the world  was eagerly watching the live streaming, and I was one of them. .
The organizer of the debate has outlined the importance of such host, paved the way for an exciting debate with an well prepared introductions:.

The questions for the candidate are broadly categorized as:

SinoTibet negotiation
exile democracy
International Tibet affair,
Private office
It was clarified that the question are settled upon by committee members.

by lot a draw the   first speaker turned out to be Tethong Tenzin Namgyal.

Tethong's in his opening statement, as usually admire the  Tibetan people's attention and enthusiasms for the election process. The democratic process is a key for the continuity of Tibetan cause and it is very valuable. He is ready and willing to directly answer any  questions. ( I think he didn't share much of   substance but calm and composed. Tethong spoke fluently, and didn't take the entire time to do it).

Tashi Wangdue.

He looks little bit nervous, and  looks haggard, He said, " it is my first time  to stand and speak to crowd in a debate and wish to express his purpose for running. However owing to time constraint,he would prefer to answer questions , which is more productive. (Ok start, he is little uneasy about his candidacy and self conscious of it.)

Dr. Lobsang Sangay:

He took the opportunity to directly hit on the issues, without beating around the bush, and told the crowd his settlement tour as a important steps to feel the pulse of Tibetan community. His comments to respect the two candidates received high applause.
His tour in India and meeting people and discussion  were highlighted as a part of important  democratic exercise in exile.The true democracy as gifted by His Holiness  should mean that leaders go out on a fact finding mission. (His start is strong, and he highlighted his seriousness for the Kalon Tripa office, and besides demonstrated his aggressiveness and frank nature of his personality)

Karma Gyaltso's disclaim, that he is hosting the event on his private capacity and not  officially.:

1. What should be the ultimate goal of Tibetan struggle?:
Lobsang Sangay's answer " Tibet is an independent, and a colonial country, but depending on the international situation, circumstance and Tibetan people's wishes, the ultimate goal can change in due course of time" But at present under the leadership of the Dalai Lama and exile parliament, middle way is the policy that he will follow too. 

Karma Gyaltso's interruption before Lobsang la finish his statement was rude. But Lobsang Sangay dealt it artfully, by asserting his right to finish his statement in the allotted time. That was a interesting incident, but the manner in which Dr. Lobsang Sangay dealt it highlighted his strong personality.

What is the best way of choosing His Holiness successor.
Lobsang Sangay opined that it is  better to discuss about the Maden Kulkur?  and finally His Holiness will decide.

Tashi Wangdue's : His  will continue to  live for a long life , no need to worry about the successor . His Holiness is heads of both executive and state. That Tashi Wangdue la different differs from  Lobsang Sangay's

Tethok Tenzin Wangyal:   The earlier system is the best to continue. One thing differ from Lobsang Sangay.
Pope's way of, but it become self contradictory statement.  .

Some however, the audience appears to be applauding Lobsang Sangyay's response despite what he says is meaningful or not.

Democratic process:
is there a need of  upper and lower house?
Tethong,  if there people debate and then the need will arise.
Tashi Wangdue  no need of it. it will be too expensive to have such house.The current is good.  the current system represents the Tibetan inside Tibet as well.

Lobsang Sangay's :  Exile Tibet government, exile Tibetan government  are  two different things.  Slowly, need may arise that would eventually lead to such a situation. Answer not clear.

The importance of registering Tibetan political party?

All three candidates answered positive.
Tashi Wangdue la said, should one man one vote maintained?  The current system of voting has ground for dispute, but I don't see any need for change right now. It is not that important.
Lobsang:  There are many other countries, where religious votes are allowed, so it should be allowed in exile, unless it is creating a big problem. Even U.S senate is an example.

Tethong:  for the best of democracy, one vote one is necessary, if it is not happening now, it should happen later.

What you should do to strengthen the exile government establishments or settlement?

Lobsang:  Kashag, and exile parliament known in exile society, but in order to sustain, it is important to have recognition at international stage. Maintaining professionals in all Tibetan department.

 In settlement: sowing seeds for fruit bearing trees, maybe be an alternative.  Trying to have have the Tibetan investment and cash flow among the society itself such as  setting up shop  and the important investment is on education.  That  help cause, help family.

Tashi Wangdue:   Very important topic, I dont know if I can express in few words. All that Sangay has said is already done. Samdhong Rinpoche was finance minister, because he sees it very important and personally oversee the settlement issues.The biggest problem is because all Tibetan  expected to return, and we planned,visioned for temporary, not long term.
settlers have no long term vision, require more discuss and hear from them.

Tethong:  Good finance and economic sources necessary in settlement. Public bank, it seems there are plenty of economic opportunities. We were shortsighted, and we need to be more farsighted. There is need to change in people and government should take upon the opportunity.

Tibetan Immigrant to overseas?

Should the exile Tibetan government should have a clear policy to Tibetans going oversees ?

Tashing Wangdue:   little bit lost in his chain of thoughts.  Tibetans have things to do in settlement, but ones they move to western, they are still a pocket of Tibetans.  I see it is a strength to move provide they get involved in Tibetan cause, and issue.  "quoting an Indian journalist , Tibetans are "virtual nation". So exile Tibetan government kharshar encouraged, and supports legal immigration to overseas.  

Lobsang Sangay:   It is natural for such movement and trend. I wrote an article stating, that this trend will still getting stronger. Tibetan have good to learn and bad examples to learn abroad. So Tibetan should keep identity, and language alive, and exile government should be come out to meet the Tibetans. So we can encourage it.

Tethong:  Despite of different views, Tibetan overseas are benefiting the overall Tibetan society. So exile Tibetan government may find similar ways to send Tibetan to west. Overall Tibetan education and everything will improve. Having said that we will have more challenges and important task to tackle.

What should we do to relieve for  new arrivals from Tibet.?
Tashing Wangdue:   The current exile government policy is to have Tibetans remain in Tibet.  So we even have before plan to send Tibetans teachers to Tibet. But the situation in Tibet is not as we envision or expected.  But parents are sending children over to India for education. However, exile government is doing everything, and all is in place. exile government is the best, so I dont know if there was any particular problem which make it necessary to come up with solutions. Children educated, monks go to monastery, political prisoners has quota reserved to immigrate to  Australia.

Tethong:  Despite of all the help extended, it seemed some youngsters still facing problem, so seemed a plan need to create a project. Tibetan from Tibet are more worrisome, and anxieties. So even though exile government are doing the best, still some needs  to take care of them more effectively .  We need to understand their difficulties and pay more attention to them.

Tibet at international issue?
Should we make effort to bring Tibet issue again ?
Yes.  such as bringing lawsuit, should be working to  bring compensation, we should do everything through various UN mechanisms

Lobsang :  Yes. we need to use and explore what avenue available at UN and other relevant organizations?
Bringing such issue as climate. So what is the possible, all issues, face its challenge and difficulties  But we wait and should seize opportunity when political changes occur.

Tashi:    As an official of exile government, I know exile government do everything necessary to explore at UN.  But exile government  give up seeking  recognition at international stage, because, we even have name Central Tibetan Administration. Karsharg will make no effort to gain recognition for Tibet at international stages. Tibetan inside Tibet, recognize the exile government, and wherever the Dalai lama is that the exile government remains there..  

Questions from the audience.
Address to Sengey ?   TYC stands for Tibetan Independent organization, but if you stand for that then you cant be a Kalon ?

It is a difficult choice to make, TYC or Tibetan government. I have legal training, for 20 years, Whatever, His Holiness and the Parliament says, Kalon Tripa should follow that.

What is the true for Boston Tibetan community supporting your candidacy, how the letter comes, as you commented on Kuling show.. 
Letter is posted on my and I have also learn t in secret that there are more Tibetans from Boston who voted me than any other  candidates.

Three questions went to Lobsang Sangay?
CST Schools are decline ? many students from CST to be enrolled into TCV?

Answer:   I know this is very important,  for myself education helped me to stand on my own feet.
India, and Tibetan,
school and pens and paper
Teachers responsibility
students responsibility
parents and relative.

Ragwang,   CST schools are to be closed, due to lack of students. 
What should  we do, there need more specializations, science and math education?

Tibet finance?

Will Tibet exile reopen the business?

Tethong:  Tibetan government lack resources to do many things.  There is need to think new ways to generate revenues.

Tashi  Wangdue:  

Exile administration expenses?  No money goes from foreign  donations to the government, , because its influence,  will infiltrate.
exile government under the current system will not reopen.  So government will not run business, because it will fail. So it is capitalist market.

Why the elder running, when the Dalai Lama already told and expected to be elected a younger generation?
 Tethong:   We are competing not on the basis of ages.  Due to scientific advance, age of 70s can be as fresh as young mind , so ages are not concerned, who they can rely, trust and do the best.

How to retain teachers from leaving for greener pasture, call centre?
exile government, department of education has responsibility, education .

What is your most three priority?
Lobsang Sangay:
Plan for 5 years of plan,
International recognition for exile government.  (which is not sought by exile government)
Advance education

Tibet cause, to achieve this. new strategy.
exile government establishment to firm it.
Tibetan government officials for their welfare.

Tashi Wangdue:

1. Tibet cause,  through negotiation . contact Chinese people, reach out to the Chinese people, because His Holiness one important is meeting Chinese
2. people's involvement, and its practicality.
3. Human resources development.. related to education those are three important.


Tashi Wangdue, My first time to appear in public debate. It is not power struggle between three of us. and I dont want supporters to bickering among yourself. Supporters should be avoided personal fight.

Tethong:  We represent 6 million Tibetans.
Lobsang Sangay:  Conclusion was bad, and his call for handing the leadership to younger generation which means change is untimely and inappropriate at that  moment. he scored low on his conclusion and the audience booed him on that...

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