CANBERRA, Australia, 19 December 2020
Normally I prefer doing my work quietly rather than speak in public. However, recently I not only participated in a virtual panel discussion but also had to write this article. The reason for this is because if we go wrong this time, it will not only be a very costly mistake, but will also result in the loss of many opportunities that will be difficult to rectify.
As such, as the date of preliminary voting for Sikyong approaches, there is a natural apprehension and fear in me. I am concerned whether Tibetans would be able to choose the most deserving candidate for Sikyong. At a time when His Holiness the Dalai Lama has reached an advanced age and the situation in Tibet is worsening day by day, we cannot afford to waste time experimenting with democracy. If the issue of Tibet is not resolved while His Holiness the Dalai Lama is alive, it will most probably die out. This fact is clearly visible without having to justify with reasoning.
We have wasted the last ten years fooling ourselves or being fooled with petty issues, and thereby neglecting the main issue — the cause of Tibet. If we are adhering to the Middle-Way Approach policy, is there any other way besides engaging in Sino-Tibetan dialogue and negotiation? The current exile administration has failed to achieve any progress in this important aspect. Under the big label of secrecy, everything has been swept under the rug, thereby preventing public discussion on the matter.
Similarly, it seems that even the Education Policy appears to have lost all its core meaning, and is there on paper in name only. Likewise, if one scrutinizes the financial state of the exile Tibetan administration, it too appears to be not on sound footing after having wasted resources on projects which look good in appearance but are empty in substance. More importantly, even the rule of law which has been enforced since the promulgation of the exile Tibetan Charter has been overturned to supremacy of individual will. As such, the evil of nepotism to favour one’s friends over qualification is rampant everywhere.
In His Holiness the Dalai Lama, we have an outstanding leader, difficult to find anywhere else in the world. But unfortunately, from the administrative head down to the public, everyone is currently infected with the poisons of regionalism and sectarianism undermining our unity. If we are to rectify these problems, we need an administrative head who has fuller understanding of the Tibetan issues, who is honest and sincere, and who would fully respect and follow the rule of law. The candidate who has these qualities is Kungo Ngodup Dongchung and no one else.
It is a matter of joy that there are many candidates standing for Sikyong election this time. However, except for one, all others are standing as independent candidates. Kungo Ngodup Dongchung is the only one who has been chosen and requested to be a Sikyong candidate by many responsible and conscientious people, which makes him completely distinct from other candidates. In the past we have witnessed many who bragged of their capabilities which now seem disgusting.
However, what is encouraging, and a source of renewed hope, is that the supporters of Kungo Ngodup Dongchung are not only educated and responsible people, but they include substantial numbers of former and present officials of the exile Tibetan administration. The way they lend their support to him is highly ethical — not criticizing and abusing others, but offering principled reasoning. This reflects the principled thinking and conduct of the candidate and his supporters, which makes one feel that this candidate surely can bring about a positive change to the issue of Tibet.
In the case of other Sikyong candidates, some woo electorates to get sympathy votes, some brag they can resolve the issue of Tibet in a few years, some promise to bring amendment to the “Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy for the Tibetan People”, some use empty slogans to secure votes, and one candidate is in the election fray just for fun. Most of these candidates are likely to change their stands according to the circumstance and need of the time. However, Kungo Ngodup Dongchung agreed to be a Sikyong candidate due to the repeated and fervent requests made by many concerned people in our community as explained above. Kungo Ngodup Dongchung is a straightforward speaker and is open and honest in his conduct. His integrity is reflected in his responses to media interviews. In these interviews, he never brags about his abilities and accomplishments.
In short, this time we must reject those who are after the post with the objective of “victory for oneself and defeat of others”, but instead offer the opportunity to Kungo Ngodup, who is endowed with all the necessary qualities of being a Tibetan and whose sole aim is to serve with sincerity and total dedication. If we do this, we won’t regret later, but instead will bring peace and calm in our community. Otherwise, as in the past ten years, we are bound to waste our time and achieve nothing concrete. If one is genuinely interested, it is not difficult to know each candidate’s background, past works, everyday conduct, and lifestyle.
However, it is futile to reason with those with strong partisan and factional mindsets. Instead doing so makes them worse. Although many additional reasons can be given here, I think this much is sufficient for those who can understand and see reason. Due to the reasons given above and understanding the urgency of the time, we are requesting Kasur Ngodup Dongchung to be a Sikyong candidate. There is absolutely no partisan or factional intention involved in this. In fact, it is madness to engage in partisan activities at such a critical juncture.
About the author
Kalsang Tsering is a former Joint Secretary of the Central Tibetan Administration. He moved to Australia early this year and lives in Canberra, Australia.
The tile reads: “Why do many people place their hope on Ngodup Dongchung for Sikyong?”. But I don’t see many people placing hope in ND as such. His ever silence vow has already caused people to be skeptical of his competency. It was very impressive at the beginning when many endorsers ranging from high ranking officials to ex-political prisoners; to young schooling students, appears endorsing his candidature online. But as the time goes by, his vow like ever silence and never appearing public made people questioned themselves: “How this man can lead when he doesn’t say a word about his vision and works now”. People are excited and interested to know his manifestos and he is silence like a meditating hermit in cave. Instead his supporters are speaking day and night on his behalf as if DN himself is bound by a vow not to break his silence.
Having said that I must also say that most of his supporters are very responsible and sincere people who wish good for the society. What they lack is the political wisdom to understand the requirement of a political leader. Candidate himself is also a highly respected man who has lived whole his life in the service of society. But when it comes to the question of leadership, ND is not a competent man. He is rather a good office boy who will do what is assigned to do. His supporters’ claim that ND is represents the aspiration of Tibetan people inside Tibet has no any substantial grounding. He is in no capacity sent by Tibetan people from inside the Tibet as their representative to contest the election on their behalf!
And don’t talk about Gyari Dolma. Voting her is equal to voting Urgen Topgyal and Nyagrong Dhundup, the two worst abusers of His Holiness.
Please don’t say anything immoral, against Ngodup Donchung as he never said or spoke anything ill against anybody. He is one such candidate we can truly depend upon at this crucial time. His past track record has clearly proven this beyond any doubts.
He had accomplished all his assignments with full dedication in the past. He shows equal respect to all people, no matter whether high or low, rich or poor. He doesn’t favor to any particular sect or region as these are very irrelevant to him.
I have never seen or met this gentleman, but his past credentials are good enough to be the next Sikyong to lead our freedom movement.
Now is the time for the Tibetan people to choose a man of high integrity who will not cheat us and abuse his power and position to make personal fortune. We need to be really very careful this time, and elect the right candidate.
It makes me sick to stomach and feel like throwing up every time somebody comes up with this mythology of Dhongchung Ngodup being saintly creature. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me!
This is the same opportunist guy who sat warming Kashag’s chair during LS first full term and at the end all of a sudden had a divine manifestation that LS is corrupt and it is against his grain to keeps the company of LS and decided to resign on moral ground! Where were his morals till the last wanna g days of Sikyong LS’s first term ?
Moral? He wants to ride two horses at the same. Enjoy the power and position of Bureau Office and at the same time want to ride and land on post of Sikyong. Mark my words, our people ignorant no more. We the serfs have woken up. The new aristocrat of new system have fooled us enough.
Real people will make the choice. Reins are no longer in the lands of power players. I am Tashi Topgyal la’s supporter. Vote for him.
Dolma Gyari is power hungry and not fit for sikyong. She works like Indian politician. We cannot trust her. Sorry you supporters of her make any noice but dolma Gyari will not win because half of the vote will be taken by Kador.
I have been paying very close attention to the candidacy of Dongchung Ngodup la because he seems to have the qualities of someone who could unite us. I also did not take issue with the unconventional approach to seek the post of Sikyong because he wants to refrain from, in his own words, “campaign style of those who have a country of their own”.
However, in recent days, what DN la committed himself to refrain from is being done by his surrogates. Of special note is a scathing attack on the current Kashag by a former Kalon and incumbent chithue Thupten Lungrik la. There are many others who showed support to DN without criticism of the current Kashag as desired by DN himself.
This piece by Kalsang also runs starkly agianst what DN stood for. Therefore, such attempts basically delegitimises the very campaign that DN la promised to pursue. If he is really serious about his committments, then he must immediately denounce them. Otherwise, it could lead to even worse outcome than what the previous election produced.
It must be apparent to DN la that some of these supporters are disgruntled former aficionado of Gangchen Kyishong who did not agree with the policies of the present Kashag. The current Sikyong is not re-running for re-election. As such, their only plausible goal seem to be to vent their displeasure against the present Kashag. This will, one, have a negative effect on DN la’s candidature as it runs counter to his approach. Secondly, such attempts are seeking to sow even deeper divisions in a community that already stands divided.
The writer wrote: “ Ku-ngo Ngodup Dongchung is the only one who has been chosen and requested to be a Sikyong candidate by many responsible and conscientious people, which makes him completely distinct from other candidates.” Meaning he and his chosen groups are spiritually ordained and of higher intellectual and other regular masses like us are ignorant fools.
And if fools like us are MADE to decide, we will make a wrong and dangerous decision of choosing other than this newly discovered saint called Dongchung Ngodup.
And he says, “The reason for this is because if we go wrong this time, it will not only be a very costly mistake, but will also result in the loss of many opportunities that will be difficult to rectify.” The decision we the people will make is wrong and the corrupt elitist supporting DN is sacred and right!
He further writes, other democratically chosen candidate if voted will be “ … such, the evil of nepotism to favour one’s friends over qualification is rampant everywhere.” Dongchung Ngodup and his circle of swamp dwellers like Kunga Tashi are what? Three Jewels, triple gem!
The writer further writes, “he (DN) never brags about his abilities and accomplishments.” But he is the magician who pulls these white short tailed rabbits like the writer himself and others to singing the tunes of his praises like prayers of 21 Taras.
And the writer concludes, With DN “There is absolutely no partisan or factional intention involved in this.” Really? What are his bunch of his hound dogs doing? Singing national anthem?
If DN and his gangs like this writer’s writ is to run, we the Tibetan people deserve no democracy! My, my …
I have nothing but utmost respect for DN. But he (his supporters) are running for the highest position in the exile community. If he wants it then he should speak about it NOT let his supporters do the talking. After all will he be sitting in that seat or will the supporters be sitting in that seat if elected? How can I vote for DN when I don’t know what he plans to do, what his vision is and how he can take us forward. Just saying he is the best because he will UNITE the community in exile for me doesn’t cut it. Issues have always been there in the past, we only know about the ones in the community recently because of the internet and social media. No matter who comes into power, there is always going to be some group that will voice displeasure. Personally I don’t think this should be the sole reason for putting someone in that position. If you want it, you have to come out and fight for it, not have people fight on your behalf. The Sikyong position merits respect and even running for it for some is an honour in itself, I don’t think we can afford someone who is not taking it seriously. I had great hopes from DN and in the early stages you were my choice but with time and with supporters who are doing your job for you (now and possibly in the future) you have lost my vote. I am sorry and I wish you best of luck in your future endeavours. A disappointed individual.
A POINT ON ELECTION RULES!
Article 63 (10) of the Tibetan Election Rules says this on Sikyong Election:
“A CANDIDATE MUST NOT BE A CTA EMPLOYEE”
Any person who participates willfully or not in an election, preliminary or final, becomes a “candidate.” All Tibetans have the right to vote anybody in the preliminary or final round. But the eligibility criteria will determine the candidacy and if a vote is valid.
Anyone can vote for Dongchung in the preliminary or the final. But for as long as he remains a CTA employee, Election Commission can count his votes. But Article 63(10) forbids EC from declaring “a CTA employee” as “candidate” in preliminary and final.
If Dongchung wins high votes, his status as a current CTA employee could automatically nullify all votes on the ground of eligibility. If the EC declares any person who is “(1) Not a Tibetan, (2) under 35 age, (3) a convicted criminal… (10) a CTA employee” as a “winning candidate” in any election rounds, such declaration would be in violation of Article 63(10).
Dongchung and his supporters must confirm with EC whether he must resign from the current CTA position before the first ballot of preliminary voting is cast. If Election Commissioners are incapable of interpreting law, it is their duty to consult a legal expert in electoral laws immediately.
As it is discussed in various social forums, it is possible that there could be litigations filed with the Justice Commission challenging Election Commission if “any CTA-employee” is declared a winning “candidate” in the preliminary round. Such litigations are foreseeable.
So Ku-ngo Dongchung must decide his path in these few days to avoid legal complications.
The headline news: Tibet Sun 3r May, 2021.
Ngodup Dongchung declared Sikyong elect by Tibetans in Exile. Tibetans in Tibet celebrate.
No chance. Sorry lo!
Wait for May 3rd, 2021, The news will say Ngodup Dongchung declared Sikyong elect 2021.
Vote for Dongchung Ngodup and you are assured that you will get bunch of clowns and opportunists like Kunga Tashi (Khampas) Jigme Jungney (U-thang) Sharchok Khugta (Amdo), Tseten Samdup (U-thang) as Kalons. Dongchung Ngodup is nothing but a success story of culture of “you scratch my back and I scratch your back”.
Vote for Dolma Gyari or Acharya Yeshi Phunstok.
Do the opposite of what mercenaries like Kunga Tashi of elite power structure says, it will benefit Tibet more. Keep an eye on people like Kunga Tashi and games the creeps like him play in creating division among our people. They will say Lhaeee to goats and Bheeee to the lambs.
“No partisan and factional mindset involved here,” said this author. Isn’t that ironic? I respect Kasur Dongchung Ngodup as a decent bureaucrat. But the level of utsang factionalism and the type of opportunist supporters that surround him and his campaign makes me not want to vote for Kasur DN.
Look! Who is endorsing Donchung Ngodup and criticizing our CTA. A former joint secretary of CTA, who just moved to Australia. If you are worried about Tibet cause, then why you quit your job? What do you mean by chosen leader? Oh mean, kongngo don’t want to be a leader, but public requested him to be a leader. In this case, if he wins, then his supporters will run the CTA. Oh excuse me! We need someone, who is interested to be a leader.
I am kind of tired by the campaign style being used by Dongchung Ngodup supporters. It is good that there are people endorsing Ngodup la as a sincere and good CTA official. But this is not enough now. How can the public vote for somebody who has not said anything on what he will do and what he will not, and where he stands on issues? If in the future he cannot govern for some reason or the other as a Sikyong, on what basis can we hold all his endorsers and supporters as accountable? This is a concerning trend as the main actor has no responsibility and accountability.
The fact that the author here could say that what the other Sikyong candidates said are not true or whatever is because these Sikyong candidates at least spoke to the public and took ownership of their speech and campaign for the public to make them accountable later. DN has taken that responsibility to the public so far and public has no way to judge his vision. So far, only thing the public heard about him are how good he is and how he will be good as Sikyong. If DN needs vote, he needs to let the public know what he will do as Sikyong.
we do not publish fb links here. Sorry.
I find it a bit unnerving that we have a candidate who is running for Sikyong incommunicado! Like it or not, democracy is raucous and bumptious. The candidates have to prove through their oratory, personnel history and national service to attract the attention of the public to vote for them.
This is democracy in action. It can be chaotic and dirty at times but at the end of the day, this is the only way one can explain oneself to the people to get their vote. Through such effort, if the candidate becomes the winner, that is a legitimate victory.
If on the other hand, big powerful vested interests high jack the election by imposing candidates that would serve their own vested interests, this is obviously not democracy but autocracy. It doesn’t take into account the voice of the people but the scheming tactics of a few powerful elements who wield power behind the ballot box.
Every candidate must earn the respect of the people to be elected as the next Sikyong through hard work on the campaign trail.
Ngodup Dongchung must realise that he is no Samdhong Rinpoche who was elected without any election campaign. Samdhong had no serious challenger and being a highly regarded Lama, he romped home the Kalon Tripa trophy with ease.
Dongchung can boast of no such standing to speak of and he has very serious challengers in Gyari Dolma, Kaydor Aukatsang and the rest. I would suggest that if he is really serious about winning, he had better pull up his socks and start campaigning in earnest.
No pain no gain goes the maxim. You can’t stay home and expect the public to come in droves to vote. Out of sight, out of mind will most likely happen in the aftermath.
If Dongchung pulls the impossible without doing anything, will such a verdict be legitimate?