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An Analysis of the New Kalons

posted Sep 21, 2011, 7:38 AM by The Tibetan Political Review   [ updated Sep 21, 2011, 7:46 AM ]
By Tashi Wangyal
Montreal, Canada

Now that the new Kalons [Ministers] have been nominated and sworn in, I am sure that many of the exile Tibetans are intensely discussing and questioning why he/she should or shouldn’t get selected. Just like in any playoff game, the coaches, players and spectators always deliberate after the game — this is absolutely normal. If your curiosity seeks more explanations, then here is my take behind Kalon Tripa’s nominations. Just to recap quickly the names of our six new Kalons: 1. Dhonchung Ngodup, 2. Pema Chhinjor, 3. Dolma Gyari, 4. Tsering Dhondup, 5. Dicki Chhoyang, and 6. Dr Tsering Wangchuk.

So, lets first recount briefly our Sikyong [Prime Minister equivalent] Dr Sangay’s campaign trail promises and Katri’s debates to pick up a few hints about his decisions on some of the current nominations. I am sure you all remember once he cited the example of Mr Dhonchung Ngodup representing a senior face in the team if he wins the election. He has deliberately mentioned his name to prevent the critics from dwelling on his lack of administrative and management experience in the Central Tibetan Administration. Secondly, Ngodup la has a long history of Government service and is well respected. So, this is an easy guess for all of us.

Likewise, in any small administration like ours, it is not easy to find the right candidate when it comes down to finance. Not many people have the remarkable combination of accounting expertise and long work experience that Mr Tsering Dhondup lak has in the administration. So this is again not a surprising choice, but a wise one by Dr Sangay.

Dolma Gyari lak definitely come across as very sincere and dedicated emotional leader. I think Dr Sangay saw her in few different ways. Firstly, with her incredible experience in the exile Administration and her law background, she can be very useful and effective in enhancing diplomatic ties with the local Indian authorities, and overseeing a multitude of legal issues at both local and Government levels. She is also a female candidate, and from the province of Kham, which sits well with Dr Sangay’s plan to form a team that represents equality in terms of gender and provinces.

Mr Pema Chhinjor lak is another important selection he made to balance the cabinet team with both old and new faces. Here Dr Sangay is trying to bring someone on board with lots of administrative experience as well as representing the older generation. From what I heard, Mr Pema Chhinjor has a very contemporary mindset and thus would not be difficult to work with, unlike a few older conservative leaders. His expertise in Tibetan language and history can be an indispensable contribution for the team in dealing with some of the issues.

Dicki Chhoyang lak is one of the big surprises because she has only come into the exile political scene recently, and indeed shocked many by winning the North American Chitue (member of parliament) election as an underdog. Her nomination must have rattled many an old and dedicated service man and woman in the exile community. Dicki la is definitely a right candidate despite her lack of experience in the Central Tibetan Administration. Her educational background and western sensibility will definitely change the dynamics of the Cabinet ministers. Her command in multiple languages, including Mandarin, could become an important tool in communicating with Chinese counterparts. She can be a very effective spokesperson to face the western media. Like Dolma Gyari lak, she is a female nominee, and is from the province of Amdo.

Finally, Dr Tsering Wangchuk lak — this bright young Doctor was in no one’s wildest dreams to become a Kalon at such a young age. His nomination is undoubtedly a precursor by Dr Sangay that he is not afraid of taking aggressive approaches and that people should get immune to it soon. Wangchuk’s nomination has really sent shock waves through the Tibetan Diaspora as he was the most unpredicted choice. Then again, this selection has not only balanced the team, but also allowed Dr Sangay to escape from being the youngest member of his new cabinet.

Now look at the nominations again and see if this new cabinet represents both genders and all three provinces of Tibet. If yes, has Dr Sangay compromised quality for equality? ... Not much in my opinion …