By Tsepa Bayul
To promote transparency, TPR invites campaign updates from all candidates.
On Sunday, December 19, The Tibetan community of Boston hosted a talk by Tenzin Namgyal Tethong la, one of the front runners of the Kalon Tripa election of 2011. Given the fact that Lobsang Sangay la, the other frontrunner, is from Boston, the week leading up to the talk was filled with curiosity, sparking the type of debate that is necessary within every voter.
Before the talk, Tethong la visited the Boston community Buddhist centers, Drikung and Kurukulla, as well as the Tibetan Sunday school.
The event kicked off with ex-TIPA members performing a song that they dedicated to Tethong la. Then, as the organizers provided a brief background on Tethong la and all of his achievements, they also emphasized the importance of educating and informing our voters. They stressed that as voters, we own the responsibility of learning about every candidate and of making an individual and informed decision for the sake of our cause and for all the Tibetans inside Tibet who do not have this privilege. Unlike many of the other Kalon Tripa events, Boston chose to hold this talk in both languages in order to cater to younger Tibetans, many of whom had requested that Tethong la make part of his speech in English.
The Q&A session lasted almost 2 hours, with plenty of thought provoking questions from community members young and old. Topics that were covered included Full Bright scholarships, 1000 US visas, clarification on the deficit issue, his priorities for the future, and where he differed from other candidates regarding policies and campaign strategy. He spoke of “campaigning ethics” and how he feels that the way he runs his campaign is not just a way to spread his ideas, but also an opportunity to exemplify Tibetan values. (Footage of the event will be made available on youtube as soon as possible.)
Although this event wasn’t meant to be a fundraiser, the organizers made a brief pitch that running a campaign is expensive and that donations would be welcome. As it turned out, many people did want to donate and donated to an impressive total of $4,861. The expenses for the entire event, which was free of charge with dinner included was only $400 due to the generous donations by numerous community members.
At the end of the event, Tethong la was swarmed by people offering khatas and thanking him for all his work. As people lined up to take pictures with him, it became clear that everyone in attendance was aware of his contributions to the Tibetan cause and was leaving with a better understanding of a strong candidate for our next Kalon Tripa. A candidate’s popularity in his/her base holds particular significance in an election and the strong support received by Tethong la in Boston provided yet another interesting dynamic to an already hotly debated election.