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16:30 Mar 11 2009

Special ReportNetizen's VoiceMedia Voice
English>>Tibet Online>>Society
Tibetan people are happy (The source of joy)
16:29, March 11, 2009  

I have been into Tibetan-inhabited areas more than 40 times. My visits include the regions of Tibet, Qinghai and Sichuan. In 1995, I entered Tibet for the first time by invitation of the Yunnan Provincial Institute for Ethnic Studies and in 2001, accompanied by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand, I carried out investigations in Tibet and Qinghai.

I am a linguistic researcher and I studied Tibetan linguistics for my Ph.D in the US. At that time, my parents, as well as the rest of my relatives and friends, did not understand why I chose this as my area of study. Why study Tibetan? After your studies do you think you’ll be able to find a job?

At that time, I wanted to research a field that few Thai people had touched upon. Of course, I could have chosen to study the language of a west African country, but west Africa seemed so far away. And anyway, China is practically a neighbor of Thailand, moreover, the Tibetan people also believe in Buddhism.

It turned out that in fact, studying the language and culture of Tibet was to help me find a good job. In 1993, after graduating with a doctorate degree, I entered Chulalongkorn University's Faculty of Arts, where I became a professor. Chulalongkorn is Thailand's top university. Teaching at this institution is an admirable vocation in my country, just like working as a civil servant.

Since I was able to communicate with local Tibetan people in Tibetan-inhabited areas and could read the written language, I decided to carry out research in a Tibetan area as soon as I got the chance.

In order to gain a deeper understanding of the Tibetan people, I completed a prostrating pilgrimage to Tibet in May 2007, during which I walked 80 kilometers in 18 days. I would have gone further if my visa had not expired. Before making this pilgrimage, I resolved to accept hardships I might encounter. The journey was very arduous indeed and with less oxygen at the high altitude, I completed 500 full-body prostrations per day. It was a test of both body and mind, especially for a relatively weak girl from a foreign country. When I was tired, I would rest against a large tree, and would pitch a tent beside the road to sleep. After I got through this, both my body and mind experienced a kind of excitement and joy that I had never felt before. I had gained new-found passion and strength.

I received help from many people during my trip. Some gave me food, some gave me water, others even gave me money, and taking them to be expressions of love I accepted all of these things. I was experiencing the love of mankind. This kind of love knows nothing of nationality or a country's borders. It does not distinguish between Han and Tibetan, neither does it differentiate between China and other countries.

In Tibet, I saw enormous improvement in the living standards of people. The government pays great attention to education and has been constructing free schools for the children there. Though the material wealth of the remote areas of Tibet is as high as that of metropolitan cities, the local people are content and joyful. This made me reflect on, and attempt to discover, the source of joy.

I have written several books to convey my thoughts and experiences in Tibet to people in Thailand. I have told Thailand what Tibet really looks like, and that it is neither a land of mystery nor a mere tourist destination.

In Thailand, few people study Tibet, so I am trying my best to help Thai people understand the meaning and importance of Tibetan culture.

—— Thai Tibetan linguist Dr. Krisadawan Hongladarom on March 8 in Bangkok

By People's Daily Online

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