Thursday, March 31, 2016

No Cry Overspilled milk

We went to a Korean BBQ restaurant and enjoyed the meal as a family outing. Our family does not go out to eat a lot, mostly my wife cooks at home.  But it was a special day when my wife appears to be tired, and we choose to eat outside. But what start out as something special, went horribly wrong. The scene of my daughter falling from the bar and my inability to save her before she hit the ground replay again and again in front of my eyes and conscious. It is haunting and very tormenting. But my pains is nothing compare to what she had to go through.

After leaving the Korean BBQ restaurant, we head back home. On the way, Choekyi wants us to go to a park, which she discovered lately.  So it was getting dark, and we went as she wished.  It was a new playground, with nice green field and kids playing area.

Both of my daughters played so well and enjoyed in the kids area. But my wife suggest us to go to another side of the field. She was adamant to go to the other side to take a long stroll.  My younger daughter wants to stay where they are playing so joyfully, and she made a scene for going to the other side as if she knows what is in store. Kids are intuitive, could that be premonition?. 

As we went to another side of the playground, it leads to a path that winding down and take us to a dead end. I was wearing my sun-glass in the evening with my regular eye glass having not taken with me. and my sights are not that good, what it is getting dark.

On the path that we went, a little further down the road, there was a wooden house. My two little kids as curious as they are attempted to explore it. I warned them that this might not be a good idea. As the wooden structure might not be safe for kids to enter. The kids are always restless and hyperactive; they need something to be doing all time. It might be to play with something or to climb or to explore or to touch something.

 On the roadside, there are some exercise tools including a gymnastic bar and a sort of bench.  The two kids lay down on the bench. Then my younger child wants to hold the gymnastic bar up in the air and to ask me to help her up. I did lift her up as she clutches the bar, and I swing her side to side. She signals when she is unable to hold it any longer , and I have safely helped her land on the ground. Then it was my elder child, who too want to hold the gymnastic bar. I helped her up to hold the bar. When I thought she has clutched the bar, then I swing her to one side.   But that very moment, when she did few swing, she has either let go her hold or she could not hold, but she was landed herself on the ground, with a thud, and scream. It was either a fall, or she attempted to land herself without assistance.

 The very moment, that I realized she landed on the ground in unusual way. I was too late even though I immediately rushed to hold her up.  She yelled and said her arm was injured. When I looked at it, it was crooked, and kind of bend sideway.   I hold her up in my arm, and tempted to correct or smoothen her hand, but then a second thought, I left it as it was for fear that I might do something wrong.

My wife saw all this unfolding in a split second was petrified and start to act weird and very scared. But her maternal instinct was strong, that she took of her shirt immediately, and we folded her fractured arm, and with that rushed to ER at Innova Hospital. 

Thankfully, the ER took good care of my child. The hospital admitted her and after an x-ray and sedating; the orthopedic doctor corrected her fore arm. We went to the hospital around 9:00 pm, and we got home around 2:00 am early morning. With the art of state facilities and best medical profession, INOVA Children's care center, is a marvelous undertaking.

After several days, we made another appointment with a  orthopedic surgeon for follow up. The orthopedic surgeon took another x-ray and then we realized, her fragile, broken born has shifted and not allied in the right way. As the surgeon recommends, we agreed for surgery to properly straighten the bone.

Then it took another next day appointment, and with a early wake up, and driving to the hospital, the operation was completed in two hours. 

The surgeon came out and explained that it was s success, and assures, my child's hand will be normal after few months of recovery, with all functionality unaffected.

She has been resting at home with mother's care and with all the nourishment, until after a week she is ready to return to school. .   Thankfully the surgery wound appears to be healing fast, after a day, all her pain is no longer bothering. She becomes playful and returns to normalcy in her activities.

As parents, my daughter's plight was disheartening. I felt, partially responsible for what my daughter goes through. The scene of my daughter's fall and my sense of helplessness replays in my consciousness with remorse and regret.Both of my wife and I took utmost care of their safety, and this lapse that lead her fractured arm is the most unforgetable and regretful event in my entire life.

But there is no cry over spilled  milk. As my wife was very calm, and caring with great understanding in dealing with such a crisis. She showed no sign of fatigue and rallied around to nurse my daugther with her loving hands.

 The lesson that we have learned from this incident is that we should realize how  lucky we are, that we could make the best out of the bad situation. It help us to appreciate more how grateful we are for the health and safety of our precious children, as accident and things do happen in life without any warning. .

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A Wolf & Sheep

A wolf caught up with a lamb after a chase. Delightfully, the wolf takes the sheep to home for a good meal. The helpless sheep find no ways to unleash from the clutch of the wolf. She thought to herself "I can not do anything now, other than going with the wolf. Obeying the aggressor is the best solution I can think of right now".

After passing half way through, the lamb saw a grove of trees nearby the road. After giving some thoughts, the meek sheep stopped in the middle of the way. Then the frightened sheep conjured a plan to save her life. With an idea in mind, the sheep humbly asked the wolf, that she is so hungry; and need to eat something. The wolf pondered over the entreat, and after some reflection thought "Anyway, you can not escape, so you can go ahead and eat something."  The lamb was very pleased with the wolf's giving green light and immediately run toward the trees and pretend to eat some fruits from the trees.  After some time, the lamb returned to the wolf and said, " the fruits are very delicious."

The wolf continued to proceed toward the destination and scheme to devour the lamb for a delicious square of a meal. The smart sheep, suddenly on the way whined for illness " Oh, my stomachs is unbearable painful. That fruit that I ate must be poisoned ."  Turning to the wolf the smart Lamb said " I can no longer bear my pain.  The only way to end my pain is to have you eaten me immediately". With that, the lamb offered herself to the wolf. The wolf hesitated on the offer, thinking that the situation is different now than it was before. The wolf came to the realization that if she eats the lamb, then she would also be affected by the poison injected in the sheep's stomach.

The wolf then lets go the lamb, stating what holds you back. The smart sheep quickly runs off briskly away from the wolf.  With intelligence and sweet tongue, the lamb saved herself from the death of jaw.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Good People

"Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion," is one book that I have read and find difficult in understanding the themes thoroughly. When I sit down to reflect and write my interpretation of the book's crust of the matter, all I have is a muddled up and vogue thoughts on the central points of the book. Nothing coherent and concrete to help me to articulate clearly any useful points. So be warned that what  you read here will compound that confusion;

It seems the author is pointing out how our mind is made up. What determinates the righteous mind from the perspective of moral psychology, and thus dwelling further by taking us on a tour of human nature and the history of human kind.  The author unequivocally stresses that moral psychology is the key to understanding politics and religion. Shedding light on why these ideas divide people.

I feel this book would be an excellent supplementary teaching aid for a psychology class.  As for me, it takes a while to dissect completely and digest the points raised in the book. It requires careful reading and reflection to absorb the theories and principles of understanding human psychology for an average reader like me fully. Except that I can not unlock the intricacy of the new knowledge and research presented, the book is indeed a treasured repository of knowledge and understanding of moral psychology, but too mysterious and metaphysical and far-fetched to my mind.

 The one thing that brings some clarity of thoughts is in the following analogy:

The righteous mind is like a tongue with six taste receptors:
"morality is like cuisine, it is a cultural construction, influenced by accidents of environment and history, but it is not so flexible that anything goes. You can't have a cuisine based on tree bark, nor can you have one based primarily on bitter tastes.  Cuisines vary, but they all must please tongues equipped with the same five taste receptors. Moral matrices vary, but they all must please righteous minds equipped with the same six social receptors" (p. 114).

The six moral foundations based on which we cling to our ideology are: Care/Harm, Fairness/Cheating, Loyalty/betrayal, Authority/subversion, Sanctity/degradation.

But again these theories may not be the absolute truth and have different application.

"In  Psychology, theories are cheap. Anyone can invent one. Progress happens when theories are tested, supported and corrected by empirical evidence, especially when a theory proves to be useful- for example  if it helps people to understand  why half of the people in their country seem to live in a different moral universe...(p.127)

So based on this, the first thing is to find a definite answer and comprehensively understand what is the righteous mind. To me, it appears that the righteous mind is again influx and dynamic. The righteous mind is based on certain wisdom and logic. For example in the following, John Stuart Mill, 1989.   In describing harm, principle espoused the theory that  " The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will is to prevent harm to others."
This puts in perspective as under what circumstance and situation would violence being allowed and acceptable.

John Stuart's harm principle is in sync with utilitarianism, which is defined as "the doctrine that the morally correct course of action consists in the greatest good for the greatest number..., ". This is again allied with the idea of majority rule.

Chinese sage Mencius "Moral principles please our minds as beef and mutton and pork please our mouths."
The author urged that readers should avoid moral monism, which is a belief that attempt to ground all of the morality on a single principle-leads to societies that are unsatisfying to most people and at high risk of becoming inhumane because they ignore so many other moral principles.(p.113).

The reason moral monism doesn't work are because human beings are complex, and there are more than one answers to solve any of human problems.
But morality in no ways ends here, as Emile Durkheim noted "There is more to morality than harm and fairness" and morality even binds and blinds.

 The admonitions of sages from so many eras and cultures warning us about self-righteousness:

From Buddha:
It is easy to see the faults of others, but difficult to see one's faults. One shows the faults of others like chaff winnowed in the wind, but one conceals one's faults as a cunning gambler conceals his dice."

Equally, the Bible says "Why do you see the speck in your neighbor's eye, but do not notice the log in your eye?... you hypocrite, first take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor's eye. (Matthew 7:3-5)

As I announced at the opening, of this summary,  this book is confusing, and I have failed to distill it. The ideas are too grand to grasp, to complicated to follow.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Red corner

What is the idea of celebrating the start of a new Year? Or the end of a current year?. Maybe it is a way to start anything fresh and new. In reality, the ushering of a new Year is an also a reminder that we have moved one year closer to our eventual passing away from this planet. No matter what is the reality, the convention has been to celebrate the start of each new year. Tibetan Sunday school of community members in Washington D.C is no exception in hosting a well-attended New Year Eve party.
 The New Year fundraising party in Washington D.C features cultural performance and fashion show, solo singing and speeches by Representative Kyedor la.  While the entertainment part of the celebration might not have been the greatest strength of it, the group song by Sunday school kids and fashion show added much color and richness to the party. My kids have taken part in the group song, with much excitement and enthusiasm. Thanks for Mom's care and attention, the kids always feel to be included and become a part of the whole celebration in a big way. The proper dress and other necessary care to the need for our kids would be impossible without the deft hand of my beloved wife.
 Aside from the usual fun and music entertainment, Kydor la's  speech on the responsibility of parents' in teaching spoken Tibetan to their kids at home was well meant and timely reminder. The party host is the Sunday Tibetan School, and the representative stressed on the crucial role parents plays in teaching  Tibetan to their kids at home no less than at the Sunday school. With the example of his son, who is 17 years now, he regrets the failure of teaching spoken Tibetan to him. While the young kids of those parents gathered still have plenty of time for a change and up bring.
 The irony of the Sunday school is that it helps little in teaching Tibetan language and spoken to the kids. All of the kids at school interacts in English, Tibetan is hardly used in their daily interaction. Besides, I have observed myself that parents themselves do not communicate to their kids in Tibetan even at home. Without a conducive environment for learning Tibetan at home on a regular basis, what will be the use of sending them to Sunday school ones a week?. Representative Kydor hits the nail on the head by clearly pointing to a workable strategy in bringing up kids in a Tibetan immersed culture. That is at home. Unfortunately, the Tibetan parents are lacking that wisdom of speaking to their children in Tibetan and making them speak Tibetan in reciprocity fails miserably and of course with it consequence.  What parents do to their kids at home will be manifested in their kid's behavior and personality outside.
 The party is a just a party, but the speech by the representative is worthy of contemplation and attention to solve some of our pressing problem such as bringing kids with the know-how of Tibetan language.   I chided my wife for not paying heed to Kydor la's speech and then proposed to oblige speaking in  Tibetan a part of our daily interaction at home as one of our new year resolutions.  Let see how that will play out.
 Over hundred of DC Tibetan showed up for the party, and everyone was in festive mood ready to rock. The parents of the Sunday school kids have prepared the food, and it was plentiful and delicious. After that the solo song by several ladies that received thunderous audience applause, then to my surprises, and also consternation, I was called by the Master of Ceremony to sing a song, which I had to accept reluctantly.  With my chest tightening and palms sweating I stood on the stage and belted out one of Kunga's song. It was not bad, except little glitch in my recalling of the lyrics, I have at least managed to sing the whole set of the song without showing any sign of uncertainty.  Clip of mine singing instantly went up on Wechat and shared by friends; all applauded me for having a good voice and sing well.  I have dared to venture into a new territory, that I have not explored in my life so far. That is singing the song to an audience.
 The best part of the party is the group dance to the tune of the famous Tibetan dance music, which invites many partygoers to join in the circle dance as is the case in anywhere Tibetan converge. Rather than being a mere spectator, you have to be either drinking and to chat with your mates or standing up and dance with the group. As my kids are having their own fun time, so I chose the later.   My wife looks gorgeous, and she teased me to dance with her smooth sexy movement. Everyone is having the best time of their life.
 As the countdown to new year started on the screen from a New Year live show in our party venue, champagne has been poured in what appears to be a fresh wine glass, but it turns out to be plastic wine glasses (use and throw) for all. As the clock strikes midnight, boisterous cheers erupted, and everyone with champagne in hands went around clincking for the new year and cheerfully greeted and wished one another. That was the crucial moment of the whole night.  Happy New Year!!! Greetings echoes the hallway, and people are hugging and cheering for what reasons I don't know. . 
 "Sunday School's New Year Eve party was a fun-filled party in both letter and spirit; my kids are tired and falling sleeping. When the young ones go to sleep on my lap, I take her out to leave, but ones outside the noisy hall, she walked up and requested "can I stay little bit  Daddy". Not willing to spoil her the festival mood, I  waited and waited for my little one on my lap, after until after 1:30 am and returned with the entire family to a home .Exhausted from the party, we went to sleep, and I had only three hours to lay down before getting up to go to work the next day".
 Goodbye, 2015, May the New Year 2016 bring more exciting news.

Monday, March 21, 2016

RTYC Chitue Debate

How can a small army of people be able to pull off a successful debate for the six candidates running for 16th Tibetan Parliamentary in exile representing Tibetans from North America? But they did and did it beautifully. The host RTYC in DC wins accolades from all participants and audience.
On Saturday, Jan 9th, all six candidates running for the two posts allocated to Tibetans in North America participated in the debate organized by RTYC at the Ernst Cultural Center on the Annandale Campus of Northern Virginia Community College.

The candidate participants are Tsewang Rigzin and Kalsang GGT, Pema Chagzoetsang, Kalsang Phuntsok Godrukpa, Tashi Namgyal and Tenzin Rangdol,
  The debate was an excellent opportunity to familiarize the candidates on their policy, stance and electability. It was a forum for open discussion to enrich Tibetan people's democratic rights. Based on the candidates’ policy communication, voters might have made the decision as whom they want to vote. The ability to bring all the candidates under one roof and present them to the electorate in Washington D.C is a quite remarkable feat.
  Regional Tibetan Youth Congress in Washington D.C consists of a small group of dedicated individuals, who have tirelessly worked to make the event a success.  In the following, I will be answering five questions in the debate:
 How is it organized?
 The host of the Chitue debate ensures that everything flows smoothly. Every effort is made to avoid any glitch . The hall is beautifully decorated and adorned with Tibetan national snow lion flags. As one reviewer on Facebook commented the scene as "magnificent and dignified." Local Tibetan audience fully packed the hall. Even though the host has no idea of how many Tibetans would make, but it appears the audience size and the building were in tandem. The background of the stage is overlooked with a portrait of His Holiness the Dalai Lama; beneath proclaim the purpose of the event:   North American debate for Chitue.  The candidates are called upon to be seated on the stage.  The moderator, timer and sound system, video recording of the entire preceding everything is in place, and it was all ready. The audiences are instructed even at the start not to clap. From the beginning till the end, it was a well-planned event fit for such a solemn occasion.
 What was Everyone's Expectation?
 There is a sense of urgency among Tibetan voters and audience. Most of them who came for the debate are eligible to vote in the general election. They might have made their decision on the final vote, based on their preliminary round or they are yet to make up their mind to the last. So getting to know one’s candidate more closely is the aspiration and hope of many audiences. Some fans are curious, and excited for such a great exercise of their rights and responsibilities and being part of an exile Tibetan democratic journey. The audience hope is high, and they are also there to assess each candidate's qualifications and credentials to serve the Tibetan people. Such a large number of local Tibetan people's presence for the debate tells volumes of their interest and attention.  But they are more Tibetans from the area who have not shown up for a varied of reasons.
 Was it a game changer?
 The debate was little long winded, and at times gives an impression of someone giving a stump speech. Without strong interaction and exchange among the candidates, it becomes a bit boring at some point. But one candidates' sense of humor enlivened the hall. The underdog Kelsang GGT's confidence and easiness of dealing with issues, and his direct appeal to the audience to vote him, resonates with us to certain extend. It was little funny, begging vote, but in a sense of his joke, breaks the ice somewhat.
 There wasn't any game changer in this debate. Everyone did their part, some responding to the question in the general sense and others with some specificity. Grudruk Kalsang Phuntsok has most of the time dominating the debate with his rhetoric and his response to the challenge to Shugden followers was illuminating and insightful, by clearly pointing out the importance of understanding the composition of the supporters, rather than generalizing them. He mentioned they are three types of Shugden followers, and it is important to differentiate them in dealing with them.
But the little animosity between the K. Phuntsok and Tsewang Rinzin was awkward on the stage. Any attack, no matter who initiates looks bad on both of them. Tibetan audience seems to prefer more civil and respectful exchange than any negative comments. That is probably because of our pacifying culture.   Audience submitted questions concerning critics of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and ways to deal with Shugden followers. The candidates boldly opinioned on  Sino-Tibetan talk,  preservation of Tibetan language and culture for Tibetans in North America. The audience even tested them on issues related to the candidate’s personal life and contribution toward Tibet, and their plans and goals for the future as an elected officials.
 Who stood out and shined?
 It looks like every audience views differently at their performance. When I asked a question of who won the debate, nobody has a definitive answer. But some names came up, such as Tenzin Rindrol, the populist as called, others says Gondruk, and then Tsewang Rinzin, Pema, etc. It is hard to tell who the clear winner is. Candidates got their opportunity to make them known. The substance of their talk and response is assessed based on the clarity of their thinking and fluency with which they address. While they are admirations for Tenzin, they are also those who believes he is little too immature and lacks the comprehensive understanding of the Tibetan social, political and economic issues in its entirety. He is passionate and enthusiastic, but Tibetan parliament is not a training place. One has to have all the credential to execute successfully what the Rep is called or.    Pema, the lone lady, appears to be sincere, though a soft speaker, who has to her credit decade of service for Tibetan community especially in Salt Lake City, and other experience to flaunt. Pema might not be speaking as eloquently as existing Tibetan parliament member, but she is more trustworthy. Her nomination of His Holiness the Dalai Lama for the Templeton Prize is noteworthy. Tsewang Rinzin's response in dealing with the rift between TYC Centrex and TYCNY chapter was decisive and resounding, by which demonstrates his loyalty to the organization, even at the risk of losing votes for his frankness and clear stand.  He has definitively scored big points for daring to be clear on the issues.  Kelsang GGT can show off his business acumen based on his successful hotel enterprise, but instead his repeated joke on why he is a stronger candidate than other could be perceived as not severe enough. But he makes the points of paying out of his own pockets if he is elected. And his stress on the importance of increasing the number of Rangzen voluntary contribution was a real point.
 Audience reactions?
 Usually, Tibetan gathering at any events is dragging and troublesome, with many not showing up unless it is for Lama's empowerment or initiation, but the debate is well attended, and audience enthusiasm level is at all-time high. The organizer estimates in-house audience at 150, as Tibetan from Charlottesville, and Maryland and even few from New York attended.  There was explosive laughter from the audience at Tenzin Randol's two quotes consecutively in his final closing statement. The audience might sense it as a kind of show off or find it as a school student debate or for something else, but what is clear is the audience's engagement and attentiveness as they are hanging on every word the candidates utter. As the debate wraps up, audience flocks to pose for a photo with their respective favorite candidates.

 There was a big buzz amongst the audience post-debate in the open hall,  a kind of satisfaction and joy to witness this wonderful democratic exercise in exile diaspora.  Everyone unanimously applauded RTYC for hosting such as successful event, which some have initially doubted for its practicality.  It is not only the candidates are relieved at the end, as some of them immediately catch a flight back to their place, as they come right from the airport at the beginning.

The day ends in a celebratory mood, as each audience return to their respective homes and some end up in the restaurant for a night of amusement, fun and purpose. The dedication of the Washington RTYC board members pays off with this successful debate on a shoestring budget. It has not only raised their profile and reputation as a cohesive group, but their service and commitment at their personal sacrifice wins the hearts of Tibetan across America and beyond.   As an Indian saint said gives me four dedicated people, and I will move the mountain. RTYC has this time really moved the mountains.