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Unrealistic 75th Birthday
Wednesday, 14 July 2010 20:18
America is a land of opportunities, a place where people can express themselves freely and proudly. Tibetans feel that this is a perfect place to raise their kids in hope for their bright futures. One thing Tibetan parents seem to urge consistently is the importance of keeping their culture alive. Parents ask us next generation to not forget our native tongue and to not get swept off our feet by the American lifestyle; this seems reasonable. Parents work hard for their kids, and as much as their lectures bore us, it is all for the best. In the end, the results would be fantastic; however, in between the lectures and hard work, there are many little things that are missing. As you can say, our parents do not exactly practice what they preach. They might not know it, but it is true. 

July 6 is a universal term among Tibetans; it is the birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. When people celebrate his birthday, not only are we rejoicing, but we are also praying for his long life. Now, it’s quite obvious that in order to have a full celebration, we should acknowledge the birthday on the actual date. More importantly, the Exile Government has requested that on the Dalai Lama’s 75th birthday, every Tibetan should have an extravagant celebration to honor His Holiness. Many people across the world did that well enough, such as India. This past July 6, Tibetans gathered in Dharamsala, India and all day long they celebrated. It was held outside as people danced, sang, and prayed. Although it was pouring rain, people still arrived with umbrellas and in their traditional Tibetan clothes. There were no chairs, but even in the rain people willingly stood up. Dedication like this presents the joy and pride the Tibetans have. Even in Tibet, where it is forbidden to celebrate His Holiness’s birthday, Tibetans still lurk off quietly on the edge of peril to honor His Holiness in some special way.

Now in America, where everyone is free to do as they wish and free to express themselves, Tibetan communities did not do much to celebrate His Holiness’ birthday. In many places, such as New York, a celebration is held on a particular weekend every year. In Chicago, the Dalai Lama's birthday was commemorated four days after the actual date. I live in Boston, Massachusetts, and the celebration for July 6 this year was held on Sunday; the American Independence Day. It is reasonable to hold a gathering on a weekend because more people will be able to attend. However, in this type of occasion, it doesn’t matter how many people come. The Dalai Lama’s birthday should be celebrated on the exact day, and people who are not capable of taking time off of work will just have to miss the event. It’s quite simple, really. Even if there was no choice, the least we could do is give our full attention to the ceremony. 

At different locations through the country, many Tibetans who attend these gatherings lull around bored. They barely listen, let alone watch, the performers. Teenagers gather at one table, texting, gossiping, or talking loudly with one another. Not only that, little kids run amuck, creating chaos wherever they go as they ignore their parents’ shushing, causing neighboring people to complain. Now with the pricy ticket admission, the purpose of having a gathering for His Holiness is not to fundraise, the point is to honor Tibet’s leader and pray for his long life. 

If people in Tibet, who are not allowed to celebrate, are capable of gathering without getting caught, then it shouldn’t be a problem for Tibetans in America to properly honor the Dalai Lama’s birthday. To fight for our rights, freedom, and anything else that might be banned in Tibet shows the world our perseverance and pride. However, we should also take advantage of what we can have and use it to our convenience. 

The writer is a 15 year old Tibetan student of Milton Academy, she lives in Boston, Massachusetts with her parents.

The views expressed in this piece are that of the author and the publication of the piece on this website does not necessarily reflect their endorsement by the website.



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