They’ve done it again, just like Beijing 2008, the Olympic Committee has decided to pick a host country with an authoritarian government using the Games for political purposes. The Olympic Committee is not responsible for passing moral judgments, that’s true, but it is difficult to believe that they can’t see how this event has become … Continue reading
An older Tibetan man recently asked me what I thought about increasing divorces in Tibetan marriages, especially among couples fifty and over. The basic basic problem, he observed, is that women seem to want to stop having sex at some point in the marriage but the man wants to keep going. His friend was in exactly this situation, which he tried to solve by having an affair with a younger woman. Unfortunately, the affair wasn’t great for the marriage either. His question was whether women always lose interest in sex at a certain age and what men can do to hold their attention.
I’m too shy to go around asking women fifty and over, but I don’t think the issue is about age. The real issue comes when women don’t have a history of enjoying sex over the course of a relationship. If sex is something that happens between a couple when the man wants, anytime the man wants, and the focus is on the man having a good time, it shouldn’t be a surprise if the woman eventually decides she’s had enough. The attitude that sex is for men, and the women’s job is to let men take care of their business, has to change. Some men think women don’t even like sex no matter what. That is totally not true. If men pay attention to a woman’s feelings, women can be just as interested in sex as men are.
The first part of the solution for this problem is that men need to recognize when it’s a good time for the woman or not. If it’s not, that needs to be respected every time. Work for it, show her a little romance. A good time will come for sure if the man makes an effort. Next, the couple should communicate. If two people can have sex, they should be able to talk too. If you want to know what the other person in the relationship likes, trying asking. Finally, Tibetan men need to learn to respect their partner’s privacy about what happens in privacy. When the woman knows her boyfriend or husband is going to go out and describe every detail of their sex life to his friends she isn’t going to feel comfortable.
This is very sad, these self-immolations have been going on for a long time now. Almost every single one has been inside Tibet, where people don’t know much about what’s going on in the rest of the world. When I see this I wonder if these people expect the world to pay more attention than it really does. If they knew the world is not going to change anything because of self-immolation, maybe they would not want to suffer this way.
It’s not always great when Western people ask the Dalai Lama whatever personal questions they can think of, but this was an interesting, and surprising, moment. The Dalai Lama said that, for people not following the rules of a religious tradition, he thought gay marriage is okay.
I know it’s very hard for our community to talk about this. But this is part of freedom, giving people the option to choose how they want to live. I hope that one day someone will also ask him about equality and safety for women.
For some reason, since the publication of my essay responding to criticism of women’s equality last summer, I can’t get any response from Phayul anymore. Not at all. The last few articles and a book review were never accepted or rejected, only silence. I spoke with another women awhile ago who was having a similar problem. It seems like Tibetan news doesn’t want to talk about complicated issues. They want to pick out what is okay to say or not, and also cry for freedom. What freedom do we have if we have censorship? We should be better than China, not copying it. We should expect, and demand, true democracy from our exile government and from our media. Anything less fails to live up to our ideals. This is not a very big website, but if anyone has controversial opinions they would like to share and can’t find a platform, I would be willing to feature their views here. Healthy debate is necessary for our society to grow and improve, if people are wrong we need to explain the reasons why, not silence them.
The main problem with domestic and sexual violence in the Tibetan community is in the way we respond to the issue. Although some people find it easy to dismiss abuse in the Tibetan community by saying these things happen everywhere, there is a difference, the difference is that other societies have systems to deal with … Continue reading
When Tibetan refugees arrive in India, our struggles aren’t over. We still have to find a way to live, starting completely over, in an environment that is not always welcoming. Some locals resent us, and some established Tibetans look down on us. The stories of new arrivals are rarely heard because they are complicated and messy, it’s no simple Shangri-la easily pitched to Western sponsors. That’s why I deeply appreciate that the author of Dharamsala Days/Dharamsala Nights has produced a work highlighting newcomers experiences. It may be controversial for some people for shining a light on the messy complication, but the lives it documents are real, important pieces of Tibetan history.