On Dicki Chhoyang and Tenzin Dhargyal Khangsar / Responses

posted Oct 5, 2010, 8:49 AM by The Tibetan Political Review   [ updated Oct 5, 2010, 5:32 PM ]
Dear Editors,

I would like to provide information regarding two N.A. Chitue candidates, Tenzin Dargyal Khangsar and Dicki Chhoyang. I have met them on a few occassions and they are both excellent individuals that have achieved a lot as indicated in their nomination letters, however they do lack in one important aspect of the position that I think is critical and little attention has been paid to it. Contrary to what is said, they are not fluent in Tibetan.

They speak street talk (phalgayl) decently but even that at a basic level. They would not be able to comprehend the level spoken at regular Chitue meetings and any other government functions. As for written language, they don't know much more beyond the Tibetan alphabet so they wouldn't be able to read at all. Yes they can learn it in some kind of fast paced training but that wouldn't make them fluent at all. As such, since they lack the necessary skills in communication, they cannot and should not be considered as candidates. In the interest of legitimizing and sustaining democracy, it is important to ensure that proper due process, transperency and accountability has been served, otherwise it becomes democracy in name only.

I would like to add to the key job requirements of the Kalon Tripa and N.A. Chitue, unquestionable fluency in Tibetan, both spoken and written.  After all, language is the medium of our culture.  How can we struggle for greater freedom for Tibet on the basis of protecting our culture when our leaders aren't themselves knowledgeable about their own langugae.
Concerned citizen,

Tenzin Bhutia
Toronto, Canada

Response from Dicki Chhoyang

Dear Editors:

The issue of a potential chithue candidate’s Tibetan language skills is a valid concern as Tibetan is the working language for the Tibetan parliament-in-exile.    Such concern about my Tibetan language ability having been raised recently by Tenzin Bhutia la,  I wish to comment some of his assertions as I do not know him and I am also unknown to most Tibetans in North America. 

Tibetan is my mother tongue, and it is the only language I have ever spoken with my parents, as well as with friends and relatives during all the years I lived in Tibet.   The linguistic challenge, as I see it, with my standing for chithue, is the expansion of my Tibetan vocabulary.   Having learned three foreign languages up to now, and acquiring the capacity to speak two of them at a native-speaker level (English and French),  I am confident that I can tackle vocabulary expansion in my mother tongue successfully.   

As for my knowledge of written Tibetan, I am proud to say that I can read Tibetan.  Like many Tibetans who were raised in North America, I learned the basics through Tibetan Sunday school and private tutoring.  As an adult, I expressly spent a semester as a student in Eastern Tibet to learn how to read, while also studying Tibetan history and Amdo dialect.  For me, the knowledge of spoken and written Tibetan is a re-affirmation of my identity as a Tibetan.   My comprehension of written Tibetan may still be somewhat limited, but there again I think it is a matter of increased exposure, practice and study. 

All that being said, should I be considered an official candidate for the position of chithue, the Tibetan electorate will have ample opportunity to assess for itself the acceptability of my Tibetan language skills.  For some it will be deemed adequate and for others perhaps not.    I am well aware that my Tibetan language skills will be modest in comparison to those of other candidates, but I believe there are also other important factors to weigh in when electing a chithue such as life and work experience, education, motivation, commitment, and personal temperament.

Dicki Chhoyang
Montreal, Canada

Response from Tenzin Dhargyal Khangsar
Editors' note: Tenzin-la is not a candidate for chitue

Dear Editors,

Dicki-la has my full support and endorsement.  The mere fact that she lived in Tibet for years doing development work should prove that she can communicate effectively with Tibetans, and even Chinese.


Tenzin Dhargyal Khangsar
Ottawa, Canada