Ex-pat business owners, quit the “I do it for the people” act
I’ve just about had it with Ex-pats that set up entrepreneurial businesses in communities like Ladakh, Dharamsala, Delhi, Tourist towns in Tibet and try to sell their business as if it’s not there for profits but to uplift community or community members. As if their business is different from other businesses owned and operated by other community members. Somehow their business is different because they’re good at making it seem as if their profit has nothing to do with them but people in the community.
You know, they say stuff like it’s “Fair Trade,” that they create jobs and ethically treat these workers and pay them fairly. There are also those that start businesses that take on political objectives, you know, the types that say they are doing this on behalf of the community to empower community members or pushing forward political agendas of the community. Bla Bla Bla. All the while making a profit at a higher rate because they’re not just selling you a product, they’re selling feel-good bullshit, meaning, buyers are not only buying a product (that they can buy from another local) they get to also buy moral superiority. Because thats what these ex-pat business sell, a product plus the feeling that your money was spent to “help” the community. As if the money doesn’t somehow directly go into their pockets.
But here’s what I don’t get about these do-good Ex-pats. Why do you need to start a business, of which you are the boss, in the first place if your objective is to empower community members? You could use your western influence, networks, connections, currency inflation by investing in community owned and operated co-ops that already exist there. That place community members in empowered roles. Rather than start your own business and place yourself as the one running the show.
Also, all this morally superior high ground that these ex-pat businesses espouse end up stifling workers. How are workers allowed to make grievances if these ex-pat business operate under the message that the business is there in the first place to “help” community members or them directly (even though the profits go in their pockets)? It’s seems a bit awkward if I was a worker who has issues with the boss but can’t say shit because the boss is telling me that his business is there in the first place to help me. That leaves very little room for me to disagree nor does it allow me to bring up issues I may have with the boss or the work or if i feel like something unfair is taking place. How are you suppose to tell someone that may be doing things you’re uncomfortable with (like making you the face of the business to attract more customers) but you’re not allowed to say anything because I’m suppose to feel thankful the whole time. This kind of emotional blackmail is what I mean by the fucked up power dynamic involved in these feel-good businesses that sell their business as if its good for the community and has nothing to do with them (ex-pats) wanting to make a living for themselves.
I personally don’t find anything wrong with Ex-pats owning businesses to make a living
(Even if you do come with western capital in the form of currency, network and even if the money you make (by selling things in the west for example) circulate only within the business you own and not so much in the community….)
But be fucking honest. Why can’t you guys just open a business like anyone else in that community without all these mumbo jumbo bullshit about turning a profit FOR the community. That shit is bullshit and I’m personally tired of it, it’s also insulting that you don’t think some of us can smell the bullshit. You can quit the moral superiority bullshit that you sell with your business. Your cover has been blown to a lot of us, some of us just haven’t told you to your face.
And when I say ex-pat, its not exclusive to white people, its for anyone coming from the west that can use their unfair currency advantage in these places to turn a profit by making it about humanity.
PS helping a few people here and there financially doesn’t change the fact that that “help” you provided in the first place came from the sum you accumulated by selling the community or hijacking their message.
The Shuggie boogie woogies fake Buddhists are baaaaccckkkk
Remember my post rant against white shugden worshipers? Well they’re up to no good again, I know, no surprise there. Ok fine I won’t generalize them, but the ones picketing HH’s visit need to seriously get their shit together. Especially during a sensitive time for Tibetans. Basically its not the right time to antagonize the one person that brings us all together during a tough time.
Anyways, Jamyang Norbu recently wrote this blogpost on one Suggie nun harassing His Holiness which, as you would expect, pissed most of us Tibetans off. I actually saw the video several days back and thought about writing on the subject but then I decided not to, because see, I didn’t want to participate in spreading the hate this nun, calling herself peaceful, is obviously hurling at the one person that so many self-immolators are calling out to as they went up in flames inside Tibet. BUT Jamyang Norbu has a point, where the hell is his security team?
Or more to the point, what security arrangements were there in place to ensure His Holiness’s safety? We all know that over the last decade Western Shugden supporters have picketed his Holiness’s talks and appearances in the West. It was no secret that this time around they would do the same on his California visit. So why weren’t adequate precautions taken. I have written on a number of occasions that Dharamshala should be extremely careful in vetting visitors to the Dalai Lama, not only to ensure His Holiness’s physical safety but also to ensure that nothing untoward, unseemly or embarrassing could happen. One speculation I picked up over the exile grapevine was that the nun managed to get access to His Holiness because she was an inji, a Westerner, it being a given that Tibetans have a harder time getting access His Holiness than a Westerner does.
Ex-pats in non western countries
Along with living in a beautiful place, does it have something to do with wanting to live out colonial dreams accompanied by the unfair advantage of currency inflation and wanting affordable maids and servants that don’t accompany workers rights, that are unavailable in the west? And oh yes, is it also the adulation and civilization and superiority assumed to accompany the white skin by those who are white and the poor?
White supremacy accompanies not only white people, but non-whites from the west that come with currency advantages instituted by imperial institutions (WTO) that champion western capital interest. China’s not far behind. I hear there are a lot of Chinese and White ex-pats living in parts of Tibet nowadays.
My dear Tibetans, Losar Tashi Delek. May this new year bring us closer to freedom
A rising new aristocracy. Competition for power within our political systems. Finding scapegoats to promote themselves (Rangzen). Seems being displaced STILL hasn’t stopped some of us from scheming for power in exile. It’s the same old story.
Submission by heliosphile:
1. Perfume called Sikkim girls- by the way Lush is known as this ethnical, vegan company etc, huge competition to Body Shop. To stereotype Bhutia girls (could be argued not strictly Tibetan depending on semantic and anthropology debates) - heck imagine if it was called Khampa girls or any other type of Tibetan girl.
-also check out the comments
story behind perfume: http://www.gorillaperfume.com/uk/products/10/sikkim-girls
there are loads more blogs, articles etc on the story of the perfume creation and how exotic ppl feel . Oh they’ve made it into a body cream too.
ew WTF. seriously WTF? This is in no way degrading at all. So according to this company, all you have to do to smell like a Sikkimese girl is to buy a perfume named just that? It doesn’t sound objectifying at all. Heck how is it objectifying when you can sell a whole ethnic group, and to top it off, they’re all “girls,” it doesn’t suggest anything lewd at all.
It seems Sikkimese men, women, boys, and old people are not cool or ethnic enough to be sexually objectified by this cool “ethical and vegan” company.
Next time you want to satisfy your exotic and gross fantasy of smelling a Sikkimese girl, i mean girlS, just buy the bottle. Thanks LUSH!
Submission: things i’ve heard
I have spent time in Dharamsala and have several Tibetan friends. When bringing up the topic of homosexuality the first thing to be heard is always “There is no such thing in our community”. When I tell them I know some, they go into “you’re lying”, “must be because of the American influence”, or the even funny “but why? Aren’t there enough pretty girls in their towns? Aren’t there enough single girls in McLeod Ganj?”
Thank you for this post!
“Better to see once than to hear many times”
The approximately 5.5 million Tibetans are an ethnic group with bold and uninhibited characteristics. Archaeological and geological discoveries indicate that the Tibetans are descendants of aboriginal and nomadic Qiang tribes. The history of Tibet began around 4,000 years ago. Prayer flags, sky burials, festival devil dances, spirit traps, rubbing holy stones, all associated with Tibetan beliefs, evolved from the ancient shamanist Bon religion. The costume and ornaments communicate not only the habits, but also the history, beliefs, climate and character of the people.
The first picture isn’t of Tibetan monks, and neither is the last on the actual site (it’s from Bhutan, according to a Bhutanese friend of mine). You’d think someone making money off of
exploiting“tribal” people would bother to get their facts straight. No—that’s how it works. It doesn’t matter what “tribe” you belong to, as long as you’re brown and can pose and can make the white man money.
We are not “passing away” bitchface!
Also, learn to tell the difference between asian faces, Asia’s a continent that includes many asian countries!
Really? There’s Tibet and then there’s Thailand. Did the beginning letter T confuse you into thinking Thai people were the same as Tibetans? If you wana make a name for yourself by selling our faces, at the least, call the people you are selling by the right name.
I recently created these ladies to represent Tibet’s 3 regions, U-tsang, Kham and Amdo. Each lady’s region is defined by the jewelry she wears. They will soon make an appearance on a range of products from journals and pocket books to mugs and coasters.
I have always been drawn to trends but a great part of my inspiration comes from my cultural heritage. When designing, I love merging trend with tradition and creating designs that are edgy and modern yet tell a deeper story of a rich cultural past.
To see more of my work please visit me at
I LOVE THIS. A Tibetan artist not having to be confined to western modes but refusing to subjected her art to having to play the orientalist artist because of an asian background. Love the fusion of both in this.
But of course, this freedom always comes at an artistic price. I’m not going to hate on Tibetan artists that have to play the orientalist role by re-producing “traditional’ (oriental) art in order to be taken seriously in the (white) art world, where being asian means having to produce oriental art. Also, the ability to have that much control over what kind of art one wants to produce has also much to do with Class. If you come from a comfortable financial background, you can support your artistic sensibilities with or without the need for success, but if you lack that support, you gota play by the rules set in motion by the art world. Which means asian artists have to produce asian art in order to rake in the big $$.
Case in point, I watched the documentary Cutie and the Boxer where a Japanese modern art artist, Ushio, tries to make it in Manhattan but seems to never achieve the kind of fame he enjoyed in Japan. Although the movie is not about his lack of success as an asian artist but about the relationship between his wife and her aspiration. But there’s the obvious turmoil of the financial constraints that surround their contentious relationship, which is related back to why his work seems to not be taken seriously in the NYC art scene.
In one scene, a white women from Guggenheim comes to examine Ushio’s work and the first thing she does is BOW to greet Ushio (I was LIVID with her obnoxious bowing, not out of respect but bitch wanted to get real oriental, i mean cultural, with it), he doesn’t seem to mind (probably cause he’s trying to sell something). But when looking over his work, she starts rambling to him about the kinds of work she was interested in purchasing for the Guggenheim, the kinds of details she was rambling on about suggested she wanted something that looked oriental. Of course, Asian artist = Asian art. His work wasn’t asian enough so she ends up not buying anything.
Another hint, I think in a scene when Ushio’s discussing preparations for an opening and he mentions he doesn’t want a certain look to his gallery opening which seemed to suggested he didn’t want to have an opening that had asian aesthetics that screamed, “Look an ASIAN artist is displaying art here.”
Anyways, it made me think how hard it must be for asian artists in a white art world where you’re expected to produce ASIAN ART, otherwise, you get over-looked. I guess modern art in this case is reserved for mostly white artists. I’m not really against asian artists that actually use asian aesthetic but feel bad for those who want to venture into a different style away from the asian look and still be taken seriously. I also feel bad that some asian artist may even feel the need to step away from asian aesthetics (why not, some are trained in that aesthetics) to be taken seriously as an artist instead of another “asian” artist.
Which makes me pretty happy about not being an artist that happens to also be asian. Glad I don’t have to face those conundrums. But props to Tibetan and other asian artists!
For those interested, here’s a trailer to the documentary:
These kinds of disgusting racist and white supremacist images and messages have been doing the rounds on Tumblr lately. Using the colonial occupation of Tibet and the daily discrimination and oppression faced by Tibetans as a way to justify your point is not only racist, but it is also based on the entirely false premise that PoC are treated equally in Western societies. My anger at this crap fuelled me to look up a couple of quick facts to dispel the ridiculous xenophobic argument that white people are under threat in the Western world (especially in USA/UK where these arguments often occur). These numbers make for some interesting reading:
- More than 60% of the prison population in the USA consists of people from racial and ethnic minorities. 1 in every 10 black men in their 30s is in prison or jail on any given day. This compares with less than 1 in 50 white men. According to the U.S. Department of Statistics, 0.8 percent of the white male population is incarcerated as opposed to 4.6 percent of their black counterparts.
- a 2009 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that the infant mortality rate for babies of black women was nearly 2.5 times the rate for babies of white women.
- In that same year, studies showed that the life expectancy for the white population exceeded that for the black population by 5.1 years. In addition, the maternal mortality rate was 3.3 times greater for the black population than for the white population.
- The 2012 US Census showed that Blacks (13.8 percent) and American
Indians, while Whites (7.2 percent) had the lowest, at almost half the unemployment figure for the Black population.
- The unemployment rates in 2012 for adult Black men and women (age 20 and older) were the highest. The unemployment rates for adult White men and women were less than half the figure for Black men and women.
- Black teenagers had the highest unemployment rate among the
race and ethnicity groups included in the census—38.3 percent in 2012.
- A US Census survey covering the period 2007 - 2011 found that By race, the highest national poverty rates were for American
Indians and Alaska Natives (27.0 percent) and Blacks or African
Americans (25.8 percent). In comparison, the poverty rate for Whites was 11.6 percent (less than half of the former).
- Out of the Bachelor degrees granted in 2009 - 2011, 71% of the total degrees earned went to White people, while only 1% went to Native Americans and only 10% to Black people.
- Hate crime against Muslims in Britain continued to soar throughout 2013, with over 500 hate crimes recorded just that year (this of course excludes any incident that was not reported to the police)
- The UK Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has spoken out about the fact that in some areas black people are 29 times more likely to be stopped and searched. That’s nearly 30 times more likely to be stopped by the police than a White person, without having committed any offence whatsoever. In all areas across the country PoC were more likely to be stopped and searched than White people, to varying degrees.
- In Canada, Aboriginal women above 15 years of age are 3.5 times more likely to experience violence than non-Aboriginal women. Between 1997 and 2000, homicide rates of Aboriginal females were almost seven times higher than those of non-Aboriginal females.
This could sadly continue for pages and pages.
THIS IS NOT AN ACCIDENT. It is the result of structural disadvantages built in to our society over decades and decades, which actively promote the interests of White people.
When you use Tibet as an example to bolster your racist claims, you are neglecting to mention these plain facts.
We call for freedom for Tibetans because they are oppressed in their own country: discrimination against them is embedded in the law, government structures, the education system, employment and many other areas. As I hope becomes clear from only the limited examples above, White people do not face any such discrimination. In fact they face the least amount of disadvantage when it comes to education, wealth, employment, hate crime, imprisonment, police violence, and many other forms of structural and physical violence.
Fighting against racism and inequality is not contradictory to the Tibetan struggle. It is complementary to it. I’m sorry if you feel upset when PoC claim what has been denied to them over decades and decades (well actually, I’m not), but those who struggle for Tibetan freedom should rightly struggle in solidarity with PoC all over the world in their fight for equality and freedom from discrimination.
Unfortunately a lot of white and chinese racists use this argument to justify colonization of Tibet and to justify xenophobic racism in the West. And ahem, white people in the America’s were and are IMMIGRANTS also.
LGBTQ Tibetans and the Homophobia revealed in the suppression of the subject
Many moons ago, a reader asked me to do a LGBT post and I’ve kind of held off on it because well, to be honest, that conversation NEVER happens in the Tibetan community. There is ZERO discussion on the subject, and whenever I hear someone actually mention gay people in the Tibetan community the response I usually get or hear (mostly from older and some younger people) is that gay people don’t exist in our community and that gay relationships are, well, unnatural. It’s obvious that these people have either never interacted with a gay person that happens to also be Tibetan. And even if they have, then their homophobia acts up with how unnatural such relationships are.
The discussion hasn’t always been one sided of course. I remember a popular youtube video of a gay Tibetan guy’s wedding ceremony with his white gay husband became a heated topic on different discussion forms. In the video, it seemed that his Tibetan family and friends were on board and supportive but the discussion that it generated when viewed by different Tibetan audiences created quit a stir. You had people on all spectrums disagreeing or supporting gay marriage, in this case, of a Tibetan guy. Of course their marriage is not anyones business, however, it did generate a discussion that is usually never talked about.
If anything, it made me realize how taboo the subject of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer topics are in the Tibetan community, especially when they happen to be Tibetan. But one thing I did noticed is that most Tibetan who were supportive of Tibetans identifying as LGBTQ were those who were either exposed to Tibetans who identified as such, or lived in places where they were exposed to the subject of LGBTQ. I found Tibetans in India and Nepal where they lived in clusters with one another to be the most insensitive, mostly because they seemed to operate on the belief that gay Tibetans didn’t exist. It’s not to say that there were no Tibetans in Asia who were supportive or that Tibetans in the west weren’t capable of being homophobic but I noticed the difference in numbers which I’m assuming has something to do with exposure to the subject.
The point? Not enough Tibetans talk about the subject, its completely suppressed, and it makes sense why gay Tibetans are unwilling or have a hard time coming out. Basically, we need to actually acknowledge that gay Tibetans exist, since most conversation that take place on the subject is on their existence and then maybe we can have conversations on the subject, but on their terms.
But no worries, these discussions are taking place! I found this website recently called Nyingtam that talks about the LGBTQ issue and much more. On their Direction section, they wrote:
"The intention of Ningtam is to make space for murmurs to become conversations, and turn those tallks into dialogue and compassionate, wise action. By bringing forward willing Tibetans (LGBT and straight-identified), a step toward visibility and safety is being taken. Someone living near you, someone who knows your parents, or someone in the profession you aspire toward is making a commitment to not look away, to look out for your secret, and to encourage change.
We all know there are other secrets that need trust and caring. Domestic violence, sexual assault, and drug abuse are all serious issues facing every community and every demographic in the world. Ningtam’s starting point is the struggles of sexual orientation and gender identity, as faced by Tibetans. These experiences are less likely to be talked about than others, because of not being in common with one’s whole community. Yet the unhappiness of one person affects us all, just as one person with a peaceful mind and heart is capable of great change.”
Check them out and join the conversation!
So…The Tibetan Women’s Football team is just Killing it
Tibetan Girls REPRESENT!
Congrats to the Tibetan Womens Football team!
I am done with this conservative idea of “UNITY”
My Tibetan people, please clam the fuck down, LS may not have been clear but “UNITY” is a strategy taken from non-violent theories, it is NOT an ideology! When it becomes ideology, it becomes divisive, not strategic.
I’ve been seeing a lot of disturbing trends on Tibetans inside and outside taking the literal word “unity” from Sikyong Lobsang Sangay’s campaign slogan and making it into a racially charged ideology based in the idea of identity purity. That shit’s dangerous and NOT COOL.
Unity in DIVERSITY people!
Voa, how about you guys do a story on this instead?