The Importance of Tibetan Language

recently, i realised the importance of tibetan langauge. when talking with some guys recently, they told me how they were touched and inspired by his holiness dalai lama’s speech at tcv school in dharamsala last month after his treatment. that promoted me to grab a copy of dvd which i did but i didn’t feel much. i could see that people sitting near him were listening to him to with great attention and tears in their eyes. the reason for my numbness was my illiteracy in tibetan language. the only time i really understood his words when i watched the video of his lecture on his 2004 visit to toronto as it had an english subtitles. that lecture still rings in my ears where he talks about about the importance of the need of specialists among tibetans, keeping the language alive among youths and kids in the west which is declining, the use of reasoning or logic and no blind faith. 

my point is that  when i sit down to discuss with people who knows tibetan well, they voice their opinions with so much conviction and confidence ‘cos they understand his holiness words better. lately, i had really been confused between rangzen vs autonomy, and my confidence was low on tibet matters. i also have difficulty arguing with those guys ‘cos i don’t understand all the things that they say. my tibetan is so weak that when i goto a function or a gathering, i don’t understand the speeches and announcements and i ask people nearby to explain what was just said. i don’t even understand the tibetan program on voa.

therefore, the need to learn tibetan language. i’ve taken tibetan tuition before but i lacked interest. i used to take 1-2 month tuition but never practiced at home and gradually forgot what i learned with time. the key thing here is interest and practice. just like math. you need to practice hard and relentlessly to excel in maths which i never did. i used to give up after some failed attempts and i further lost interest in it. this explains my weakness in maths, my so called mathphobia. hehe. it’s a cyclical thing. it’s all about the mind which i now realise. i wish i had put more efforts in math. i’ve learned my lesson. 

speaking of interest, i was interested in learning languages other than tibetan. i wanted to learn korean, japanese, french and spanish. i want to live in montreal someday, for a year maybe, so that i can learn french there for free, like there are free english classes here. there is no free french classes here. i want to learn korean and japanese ‘cos i’m fascinated with their culture just like the westerners are, with our culture and religion. we always find the other sides of the grass more green. hehe. i also want to travel the world one day and learning these languages will come handy, especially spanish, in latin america.

but interest or no interest, tibetan language is my mother tongue and i’ve to learn it. i must. if i’m losing interest, i must put more effort till i generate interest. that’s what i learnt from my math experience. i know some tibetans from my school years who don’t speak tibetan ‘cos they have forgotten it and don’t know it after years of neglecting it and speaking hindi, even with the family. i’ve to talk in hindi or english to communicate with them. that’s a sad situation. that’s why i don’t like tibetans who speak in other languages with the fellow tibetans. it turns me off. speaking in english is a bit understandable ‘cos its the mode of education and an international language, and i myself speak in english with my cousins, but that’s something we must stop. the reasons are obvious. here, in toronto, every kids speak english, that too with an inji accent. they even speak with their family in english. the parents also encourage them ‘cos they believe learning english will help their children in education and careers but they are doing so at a cost of losing a language. the kids are in canada, so they will naturally learn english. so parents shouldn’t worry about that. i once expressed my displeasure regarding the issue with a kid and his parents. that kid was blabbering continuously in english. his holiness stressed on learning tibetan language for children in west, but parents aren’t showing much interest. they must be busy earning dollars. the thing that really bugs me these days is the increasing use of nepali language among tibetan youths, including bro tashi. why can’t they speak tibetan among themselves? speak other language when you have to, but speak tibetan with tibetan. when i see that, i point it out.   

there are people who says that they are too old or its too late to learn new things, but i say we never stop learning and its never too late to learn. our whole life is a one long process of continuous learning. that’s why i want to learn tibetan language and it won’t be easy. i phoned the community centre here, but right now they only teach kids but they will have classes for adults in future, just like they started a tibetan dance and music lessons for adults in september. i didn’t join then but i’ve registered for classes starting in january and hopefully perform on stages at events. i’ll try to learn tibetan on my own by reading. i’m learning a dramnyen in between with the help of a another cousin who lend me one. after dramnyen, it’ll be guitar. i love the guitar sound. i’m a latebloomer, hehe.


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