High Peaks Pure Earth has translated a poem titled “Three Tibetans”, posted on a TibetCul blog on September 7, 2013. The author, Reba Gerong Tsering, also wrote the poem “The Fragrant Flower of Freedom” that was translated in March 2012.
“Three Tibetans” is an unusual poem as it is a critique of Tibetan society and brings to mind the themes expressed in the blogpost and cartoon “Slave to Tradition and My Words”. Although the trend over the last few years in songs and poetry has been to emphasise Tibetan unity, “Three Tibetans” is a sobering reminder that achieving true and lasting unity might be easier said than done.
By Reba Gerong Tsering
In a corner on the edges of the sacred city of Lhasa
There are three Tibetans
One from U-Tsang, one from Amdo, one from Kham
Although their blood is the same blood
Their hearts are not the same
Three Tibetans never come into contact with one another
Yet they vilify one another behind their backs:
“I swear by Lhasa’s Jowo, don’t believe his words, people from U-Tsang are all snakes in the grass.”
“I swear by the Three Jewels, don’t ever enter that hypocritical Khampa’s shop. The protector deities we worship are not the same.”
“I swear by Buddha, I will never believe what I hear from that Amdo person. He’s a deceitful guy.”
Three Tibetans, three tsampa-brains
Chanting “Om mani padme hum”
After looking askance at each other for a while
They pat the dust off the seats of their pants
One of them enters a “Lanzhou Noodles” restaurant with a smile on his face
One of them reverently steps into a “Sichuan Restaurant”
One of them lowers his head and disappears into a faceless crowd
– A quality read!
– This covers it all with its keen points!! Very profound!! Thumbs up!!!
Mr. Reba Gerong Tsering’s “Three Tibetans” truly reflects a weakness of we Tibetans–at times we’re good, at times we’re bad, as when we like best to hide in dark corners void of sunlight, gossip, talk nonsense, be abusive, find faults in others and talk negatively about others, or attack others seemingly out of nowhere, kill each other, only considering ourselves perfect or most beautiful. Our biggest weaknesses, our mutual enemies, are “jealousy,” “foolishness” and “narrow-mindedness.” It is especially these three big public illnesses–“jealousy,” “foolishness” and “narrow-mindedness”–that have caused Tibetans to not be accepting of talented individuals among their own people. How many of our brethren have been mortally harmed by this? Desi Sangay Gyatso, Gendun Chonpel and also Mr. Dhondup Gyal, etc.–which of these people has not been killed by the cold arrows of “jealousy,” “foolishness” and “narrow-mindedness?” It would be very worthwhile for all Tibetans to collectively reflect on all of this.
“ljh8520035: Mr. Reba Gerongzeren’s “Three Tibetans” truly reflects a weakness of us Tibetans–at times we’re good, at times we’re bad, liking best to hide in dark corners void of sunlight, gossip, talk nonsense, be abusive…”
Exactly. Sometimes your real enemy is yourself, not others.
Thanks for your attention! I’ve thought about this problem for a long time. This is exactly the answer I’ve come up with! For example, the former Kuomingtang Chairman of Qinghai Province, Mr. Ma Bufang, once said the following: “There’s no need to fear the Tibetans; they don’t pose any threat to the government. As long as we give them enough weapons and ammunition, they will all retreat to their own mountaintops, and do nothing but fight amongst themselves on the grasslands, kill each other. It won’t amount to any problems [for the government].” Although this is not easy to hear if you are Tibetan, it does make a certain amount of sense. What does it truly mean? I’m just bringing the issue up here, so as to initiate some collective reflection amongst us Tibetans!
Three Tibetans, of course that includes me.
This post is also available in: English