Sunday, September 14, 2008

Gay Tibet on Gay Beijing

A reader pointed me to the blog China Book Reviews and led my joyful discovery of a (seemingly unlikely) "colleague" of some sort. Jason Lee's latest review is on James West's Beijing Blur, which describes Beijing's gay scene. A well written review. You should also read the comments under it. It's kind of amusing that a Chinese shouted "only you westerners and sickos attracted to gay books. stop polluting our china!" (Is "li" a real person? I can't believe anyone is still so ignorant out there.) But it gets even more interesting when a reader named "Gay Tibet" turned the discussion around to Tibet topics, topics that we outsiders kept arguing about without any real basis. So we may as well read and listen to some first-hand observations, and see the complexity.


Anonymous said...

One of the contributors to that discussion left a comment directing readers to an article by Yan Sun, which he says he came across via this site.

It is an interesting discussion. What's your position on the Tibet issue, Xujun?

Mark Anthony Jones

chamberoftenthousandflowers said...

Be careful of responding to MAJ [Mark Anthony Jones] - a source of some annoyance several years ago on various China blogs. Go to the Peking Duck and do the following search
read the first item on the list and draw your own conclusions.

Xujun Eberlein said...

Mark, my thoughts on the Tibet issue have been pretty much spelled out in several articles, which you can read in the category "Tibet Issues." I still have questions and I'm open to balanced views.

CoTTF, thanks for the heads up. I'll do some research.

Anonymous said...

Xujun - thanks, I will read through your Tibet posts later in the day.

Apart from the chapter on Tibet in my book (I emailed you the pdf file) you can read my views on the American Public Broadcasting Organization's "China from the Inside" discussion forum, at:

Best regards,
Mark Anthony Jones

wuming said...

M. A. Jones

I have read your PBS discussion with great interest a while ago. I wonder if you have any update on the subject. For example, in a recent internet discussion, a Tibetan from Dharamsala stated that he receive his education almost completely in Tibetan. My internet search have failed verify this information one way or another. Do you know what is the current language of instruction in schools run by Tibetans in Dharamsala?


Anonymous said...

Wuming - there is a good book on the market that deals with this very topic: Dagmar Bernstorff's "Exile as Challenge: The Tibetan Diaspora", (Orient Longman), 2003. The study is a little out of date though, and I'm not aware of any changes that may have occured to the education of Tibetans living in India, Nepal and Bhutan.

Primary education in Dharmasala is largely Tibetanised, as it is in the TAR, and in the case of Dharmasala this development first took place as far back as 1988, thanks largely to the pioneering work of the Tibetan Children's Village.

As pointed out,by Bernstorff, "The parents in the elite, rich and educated class prefer English as the medium of instruction," though "generally speaking, this programme of Tibetanisation has the approval of the majority of parents." (pp.270-271) In the TAR, similarly, Mandarin is the preferred language of instruction among members of the Tibetan middle class - and for exact same reasons: job prospects are perceived to be greater with such language skills.

With the exception of Tibetan (and there are of course many different Tibetan language dialects - I'm referring to the Lhasa dialect, which is what the written Tibetan language is based on), all subjects in Tibetan schools in India are taught in the English language from secondary school onwards. (p.271) Students in secondary school can also learn Hindi as a third language.

Tibetan and English are both compulsory subjects at secondary level. The curriculum taught at secondary school is actually the Indian education curriculum, as students need to graduate with recognised school leaving certificates. (p.271)

All Tibetan schools in India, Nepal and Bhutan generally follow a curriculm approved by the Board of Education. The Central Board of Secondary Education, New Delhi, or similarly, in Nepal, approval must be provided by the Nepal School Education Board. (p.272)

You might also be interested to know that for the teaching of Tibetan language, history and culture, textbooks prepared by Tibetan experts under the direction of the Department of Education at Dharmasala are used from classes I to XII without exception in all Tibetan schools in India, Nepal and Bhutan.

So the medium of instruction from years I to V is in Tibetan, and from years VI to XII is in English (except of course for Tibetan and Hindi language subjects).

This information is based on a 2003 study though, and as I said, the curriculm may have changed a little since then.

Mark Anthony Jones