By Lobsang Wangyal
DHARAMSHALA, India, 29 October 2010
Lhakpa Tsering received a hero’s welcome as he arrived in Mcleod Ganj after touring 22 countries with his motorcycle, campaigning for the Tibetan cause.
Hundreds of exile Tibetans in Mcleod Ganj welcomed Lhakpa with traditional white scarves and slogans “Free Tibet” and “Victory for Tibet” as he arrived at the final destination of his eight-month motorcycle tour — Dharamshala, the headquarters of the Tibetan Diaspora — on 28 October 2010.
Lhakpa set off with his BMW R 1200 GS from the United Nations office in New York City on 10 March, the 51st anniversary of the Tibetan Uprising Day, this year.
“It is a mission accomplished!” a jubilant Lhakpa said after speaking to the crowd.
“I am happy and satisfied, and now looking forward to join my family in New York.”
The journey of more than 35,000 km was hit with an unexpected difficulty when he reached the last leg of his tour in India. The customs in Chennai in south India seized his motorcycle for want of proper documents. The motorcycle had been shipped to India from Australia, and the customs office asked a bond of 18,000 US dollars. Lhakpa’s old friend and teacher from Rubling family in Canada came to his rescue for the deposit which put him back on track after going through a 16-day processing ordeal.
The 2008 anti-China protests in Tibet triggered off the idea of this world tour for Lhakpa. “Life is comfortable in New York City, but the pictures of the suffering of the Tibetans inside Tibet moved me to undertake the tour.”
He said his Jewish wife fully supported his tour as she was able to relate to the Tibetan situation. Lhakpa is looking forward to return to New York to be with his wife and four-and-a-half-year-old daughter.
The countries he travelled included Canada, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, France, England, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Japan, Australia, and India.
Lhakpa was born in exile in India. His mother, who escaped from Tibet while she was six months pregnant with him, died shortly after giving birth to him. His father was left with six other children to look after. Lhakpa was admitted to the Tibetan Children’s Village school in Dharamshala. Then his father also passed away soon after he was sent to school, leaving all the seven children orphaned.
“If China had not occupied Tibet, we would not have been in exile, or orphans.”