Churning the 2016 Tibetan Election Results

This past weekend our office staff with over 20 outside election observers counted over 8,600 Sikyong (Political leader) ballots and Chithue (Parliament Member) ballots from 33 Tibetan communities across North America. It was an exhausting and exhilarating experience. My only small demonstrable contribution was converting these hard numbers from the final election results into interactive data (Charts and Google Map: link here).

The overall final results will be officially released by end of April. I thought it was interesting to churn this election’s unofficial results with the last 2011 election results to get insights and explore trends.

49,000 people voted in the last election in 2011 but in this 2016 election cycle, approximately 66,000 people voted. So there was an increase of 35% in voter turnout (17,000 more voters).

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Perils of Social Media in our current Tibetan Election

I always felt that there was a potential danger and harm from devoting too much time interacting with like-minded people as if you are in a cocoon, closely echoing each other and shielded from valid counter-arguments. This “echo-chamber” effect only reinforces and shapes our own pre-concieved notions and knowledge of a particular subject. This is why it’s obviously important to make constant and necessary effort to be proactive and engage people with different attitudes and beliefs. That takes big patience to listen, confidence in defending your views and lastly, genuine humility to say “you are right”.

It is always a tough and rough interaction when conversing with people with different mindsets and who disagree with you but it’s a benefit for you because the discourse tests how much you know and how well you know your stuff. In the end, you end up winning because you learn more about what you don’t know and how well what you do know from these engagements.  Continue reading


Life can twist turns

“The reason I wanted to tell you the story at the turn of a new year is because all of us have chapters in our lives that close. And when they do, especially if it’s a chapter we have known and loved for a long time, it can feel like the whole book is over, that there’s nothing left to do – maybe even nothing left to live for.

But I think each of us has stories in our lives that reflect the fact that the people we are today are not the same people we were a few years ago. We often underestimate our capacity to reinvent ourselves.”

Original Story Here. (Podcast NPR)


Take me to the mountains!

June 2015, Old Rag Mountain (Virginia)

June 2015, Old Rag Mountain (Virginia)

You have to seek your roots to discover who you are as a person and what you are as an individual. So that you better understand the direction you are heading and where you are going. And for me as a Tibetan, my roots are always high up in the mountains. It’s something innate that’s inexplicable.

Fearless Heart

FACEBOOK, July 28, 2015: I promise this will be my last excerpt from Thupten Jinpa la’s new book. As I finished reading it last night, I thought this particular passage pasted below was important to share because it placed compassion in a context between its function to an individual and its value to a community as a whole, and the passage elaborates further in defining the true meaning of compassion by differentiating it with empathy. Lastly, it concludes with the key need to balance the two compassion, balancing the self-compassion and having compassion for others (those who are close within our circle and then slowly extending it outside of our circle, where truly genuine compassion arises).

I know to some, compassion is perceived as a ‘kumbaya’ idea or many don’t even consider exploring the idea of compassion because they feel confident that they know enough about it to feel that they don’t have to read a book on it. But I argue, we know and agree that it’s conventional wisdom to know you have to help others, be compassionate to others and be kind to strangers but knowing that in our daily lives we still constantly face and have to deal with anger, self-doubt, frustration, stress and jealousy. Why is that?

That’s the reason why I explore Buddhism to seek solutions and prescription to that question or dilemma. Continue reading

Tibetan Art in Venice, Italy

Tibet had one of its own section in the “Map of the New Art” or Imago Mundi in Venice, where over 40 countries were represented consisting of over 6,936 contemporary artists. The common motifs stemming from Tibetan Buddhism are clearly evident in most of the creative works. These symbols may appear abstract to outsiders but not so much to those who shared the common trauma of losing one’s own country, coincident resulting experience of statelessness in exile and lastly, the clash between modernity and tradition.

Selected here are two striking works that I found intriguing, one with the word “Tibet” misspelled in Tibetan, many thoughts can be insinuated from this on the current status of Tibetan language in Tibet and in exile. The dollar $ symbol in what appears to be a traditional protection amulet, provokes yet more thoughts between materialism and rich spiritual tradition.


San Giorgio Maggiore (Venice, Italy)


Tibet from Space

My ancestors came from the eastern side of the Himalayas. It’s wasn’t that long we were dislocated to the western side of the Himalayas.

To think that under different circumstances, I could be venturing on the edges of these towering mountains, where my neighbors are cotton clouds. Where no other mountains in the world can reach above it.

I sometimes wonder the life that I could have led, given no tragic disruptions and unwarranted interruptions. But history is not linear, fate can be twisted and destiny miscarried.

Then again, there are somethings that history, fate, destiny nor distant alien nations and its people can corrupt and erase. Within the deep contours of our bones we carry the fragile and yet delicate, pristine dreams of our ancestors. They remind us of those bedrock qualities we derive from these mountains: hard dedication, fearless tenacity and great conviction.

Snow Day

A difference a day makes. Meditating on impermanence and exploring/converting thoughts on fleeting existence into forging genuine motivation for meaningful actions. Never longed for end of the weekday this much. But like samsara, another week awaits. So the story continues along with the meditations.