High Peaks Pure Earth has been following a blogpost titled “The Ten Greatest Tibetan Swindlers” that was originally posted on Penpa Tashi’s TibetCul blog on October 1, 2010. For unclear reasons, the original post on http://penpatashi.tibetcul.com/107391.html is no longer accessible (the rest of the blog is unaffected), it was either removed by the author or removed by the TibetCul administrators.
The post created a big storm amongst Tibetan netizens when it was first published and was shared widely amongst Tibetans on social networking sites such as RenRen.com. Notably, some Tibetans criticised those who posted the article, calling them “extremists”, advising them to remove their posts.
It is rare in the Tibetan blogosphere within PRC to come across such a critical and divisive blogpost, focusing on what the author sees as negative aspects of Tibetan society. According to his blog, Penpa Tashi is based in Kunming, Yunnan province, and his post does seem to focus on Tibetan areas of Yunnan, such as Dechen Prefecture. High Peaks Pure Earth readers may remember a poem from January 2009 titled “Silent Dechen” in which Dechen’s population were mocked as not being Tibetan for not protesting in 2008.
“The Ten Greatest Tibetan Swindlers” was translated into Tibetan quite quickly and posted just days later on several Tibetan language sites such as http://www.gdqpzhx.com/bo/html/special/20101004779.html and http://youshun12.com/?p=3838. More recently on March 29, the text of the blogpost was re-posted on Woeser and Wang Lixiong’s joint project, a Tibetan news and blogs aggregator website http://tibet.woeser.com/?p=26103 However as Woeser reported yesterday on her Twitter, their website suffered a malicious attack and all content has since been lost.
- Tibetan Poets: Tibetan scholars are poets and the ideas which those poets represent have shaped the desires of todays Tibetan intellectuals. They long for cultural rubbish that Chinese and foreign scholars already discarded long time ago, for example, third generation or some other Western schools of poetry. They lag behind modern progressive culture and unintentionally destroy the so-called glorious poetry, which their own ethnic group once possessed. Their poems are nothing but a random accumulation of great abstract nouns, messy language, which they themselves are unable to understand.
- Tibetan Professors: Most Tibetan university professors are cultural robots, they arrive on time and they take their monthly salary on time, apart from the courses they teach, what else do they understand? What else can they teach? They only continue to pass on their narrow-minded ideas and beliefs. The professors are Tibetan language professors but they send their own children to non-Tibetan speaking schools.
- Tibetan Postgraduate Students: Those postgraduate students with a postgraduate certificate really dont have any proper level of education; their graduation theses consist of stolen ideas and if not stolen, at least plagiarised. They relied on guanxi (connections) to get into graduate school and their research revolves around the graduation certificate and has little to do with any cultural substance.
- Tibetan Editors: Tibetan (language) editors can be divided into two types: the first type works for government run publications and the second type for private ones. The first type is of course not very smart and also corrupt. The second type talks about ethnic spirits in theory but in practice he changes his mind, thus disturbing the stability of the Tibetan region and threatening ethnic unity.
- Tibetan Monks: Monks have a home outside their home, which is the monastery. Todays monks regard the monastery as their hotel. Only when they dont have anywhere to go, they go to the monastery. For the monks in the Dechen region, becoming a monk is a question of survival because as a monk one would not have to care about complicated family matters and one even gets a small salary from the monastery. For outsiders, these people are students of Buddhism. Nowadays, these students have become increasingly rare.
- Tibetan Historians: I once came across a sentence in a Chinese article which said that history serves the government; this sentence holds a great deal of truth. Also, history books by contemporary historians rely on plagiarism, as the authors are only concerned with seeking fame. We only need to look at the history books written by followers of different religious schools and we know what is happening. In fact, the quarrel between Bon Religion and Buddhism is starting all over again. So arent todays Tibetan historians great swindlers?
- Tibetan Fortune Tellers
- Tibetan Thinkers: Many people in the Tibetan region want to become thinkers, so everyone who has some knowledge of Tibetan considers him/herself a thinker or a poet. Those people like to grow long hair and their ethics are unusual. Those two criteria are considered the basis for becoming a thinker. If any wise and knowledgeable person closely examined them, he would come to realize that these people dont know anything about traditional Tibetan culture and even less about Western progressive culture. They are the just a group of madmen deceiving the masses.
- Tibetan Tibetologists: The Diqing and Dechen counties are home to a few Tibetologists but what have they been researching? Tibetan Tibetologists do not understand Tibetan, how can they research Tibetan culture? Last time in Zhongdian Bookshop I saw some magazines and books published by local Tibet experts, they had all been written in Chinese, those Tibetologists probably dont understand any Tibetan! People from other minorities would quite certainly not trust those works; these people are really not able to conduct research on Tibetan culture. They are just a group of Tibet specialists to fool Han Chinese.
- Tibetan tour guides: Among todays Tibetan tour guides there arent any who have any tour guide culture, they are just a group of swindlers betraying the outstanding local culture. They are turning cultural value into cash value. But apart from being able to speak their own language, tour guides actually need to possess profound knowledge of local history and traditional culture.
To Be Continued
Comment by Guest:
Ok, so maybe you and I, we are all swindlers! But nothing should be covered up, ignored and even more, one shouldnt disrespect those who are struggling for the preservation and development of Tibetan culture. Also, you should focus more on peoples strong points, those strong points we can learn something from.
Author’s reply: To reveal weak points is our responsibility and arent you guys constantly repeating and stressing the strong points?
Comment by Potala:
I totally understand the blogger. He is not covering anything up. He is even less disrespecting those who struggle for the preservation and development of Tibetan culture. Of course he knows about other peoples strong points. Everyone should be aware of this important situation, everybody should make an effort.
Comment by Tubozhizi:
Your insults towards Tibetan scholars are unworthy. Of course there exist some of the problems you mentioned but they only refer to a small group. Why dont you also write about some good things and make a comparison?
Authors response: Thanks for sharing your opinion.
Comment by Potala:
Over the past few years, there have been 4 so-called representative scholars who gave talks at a conference in Beijing. They claimed that the 20th century Tibetology is our Tibetology and we have great faith in the future. None of those 4 people could write or even speak a single word of Tibetan, what kind of future is that?