Why don’t I find East Asian men attractive?

It’s a hot topic at the moment with hashtag #StarringJohnCho trending all over social media. Why aren’t Asian men (and, in particular, East Asian men) being cast in blockbusters?

Sidenote, I’ve seen John Cho in Sleepy Hollow. He’s a decent actor, but I was too busy falling head over heels in love with Ichabod Crane’s (Tom Mison) swoon-worthy British accent. Of all the Asian actors out there, I probably wouldn’t pick John to be the leading man in a blockbuster.

As a woman of East Asian descent, I find Caucasian men, Middle Eastern men, Polynesian and African men to be more attractive than East Asian men. I’ve watched my fair share of Chinese dramas and in my pre-teen years, I crushed on more than one Asian actor, with Jet Li being the chief of them. But then I hit puberty and now I crush on Orlando Bloom, Hugh Jackman, Chris Hemsworth, Kit Harington, Richard Madden… you kind of see the pattern.

Why? Is it merely exposure and the portrayal of Asian men in media? Or is it biology?  Continue reading “Why don’t I find East Asian men attractive?”

Banana and Proud

Recently I’ve been reading up accounts of people’s interpretations and experiences of being a ‘banana’. AKA, ‘yellow on the outside; white on the inside’.

My sojourn in Hong Kong in 2014 has taught me how different I am to the rest of my family and people who, in general, look like me, and I can say that I am truly a ‘banana’. From my reading, it seems that my experience as a banana is different from many other bananas as well. I can speak both Mandarin and Cantonese, read and comprehend traditional and simplified Chinese, I can type in Chinese with Pinyin and I can recite all the dynasties in order and tell you approximately what their durations were and where they occupy chronologically.

I’ve had exposure to many Chinese classics like ‘Romance of the Three Kingdoms’ and ‘Journey to the West’. I know some Chinese proverbs and can use them. The only thing I fail at is slang, which changes every year, and even my Chinese-speaking parents can’t keep up with it.

My ‘whiteness’ is purely cultural and sometimes it is something I have chosen because I dislike many traditional Chinese values. At other times, it just so happens that my values and ideas do not gel with the current predominant Chinese way of thinking.

Some things that I have chosen to reject in Chinese culture: Continue reading “Banana and Proud”

A struggling, recovering tiger cub – winning the war against overbearing and controlling overseas Chinese parents

You’ll probably have heard of the phrase “Tiger Mother”. And, based on anecdotal evidence, I feel that the phenomenon is most common amongst overseas Chinese/Asians. That’s not to say it doesn’t happen within Asian countries but the diaspora seems to take it to a new level.

Then again, maybe my parents were always just intense from the start. I want to be able to forgive them but I can’t let it go. I can’t just ‘forget’ it. I feel so angry on behalf of the little girl that I was. Today, the NYT published an article on how some young Chinese were talking to an app on their phone about their troubles instead of a real person. I wasn’t surprised at all that they found an app to be more sympathetic than the people who were supposed to love them the most. We’ve all been raised in an environment of so much judgement and condemnation. To show weakness or unhappiness would be seen as ‘complaining’ or ‘whining’.

Without context, none of this would make any sense. I don’t claim to speak for all overseas Chinese parents and children. Maybe there are those who have normal loving families. But I didn’t, not really. And maybe my story will resonate with some of you. Continue reading “A struggling, recovering tiger cub – winning the war against overbearing and controlling overseas Chinese parents”

Draconian appearance policing at schools.

Student suspended from school because of personal style choices — the revolutionary and controversial BEARD. 

This illustrates an issue I’ve had with schools in general for a very long time and one of the reasons why, if I ever have kids, I want them to go to school in the USA.

Honestly, the beard is not going to stop the kid from learning, nor is it going to stop his classmates from learning. If school rules make no sense then they should be changed, just like laws. Personally, I think school uniform rules are basically educators flexing the tyrant muscles that they’ve longed to exercise for the sake of their own egos. This is not about the students. This is about the adults who like to rule over students being all whingey because someone stood up to them and said no, I’m not doing what you say because what you say makes no sense.

Education is supposed to make people rational. What schools these days do is emulate a production line that does not value individuality or the individual. They only value what the school looks like to the public.

Beards don’t stop learning. Nail polish doesn’t stop learning. Make up doesn’t stop learning. Track pants and sneakers don’t stop learning. You want to know what gets in the way of learning? Pulling a student out of class because they left their school shoes at one parent’s house and came to school in the wrong type of black shoes, then making them sit in the school office until said working parent can bring their shoes from home; curbing self-expression; expensive uniforms that make sure everyone knows who the poor kids are and are absolutely useless at keeping people warm during winter and cool during summer; stopping a kid from attending school because he dared to be a little different; teachers too busy policing students’ appearances to actually teach.

What lessons are these schools teaching their students? Difference is bad; conformity is good. Are these the values that you want the younger generation to learn? Because this is the REAL sort of education that they’re getting.

Book slump

Not the easiest of reads but definitely wintry enough in some parts to make up for the lack of cold weather recently.

Not the easiest of reads but definitely wintry enough in some parts to make up for the lack of cold weather recently.

I think I’ve been having a bit of a book slump (and a blogging slump, too, by the looks of things, since my last post was in February). The last book I finished was The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros and it was a really short book. Granted, I’m currently making my way through Dr Zhivago and Wuthering Heights and neither are what one would call ‘light reads’. It’s not that I’m not enjoying them but I feel like I’m not enjoying them as much as I should be. I feel the urge to start another book but I’ve already got far too many on the go. All I really want, right now, is a long weekend with lots of rain and maybe a bit of thunder and lightning, when I can curl up with a blanket and read the whole day away. It feels like the ideal kind of holiday. I daren’t hope for snow. We never get any snow.

There really wasn’t much point to this post. I just felt like writing something here and pondering about the state of my life. In that way, it’s like one of my journal entries except it’s legible. In this time that I’m using to write this entry, I could be reading Pasternak or Bronte. Sometimes, I wonder if I’m focusing too much on my reading challenge and not on the books themselves. But I must say, without the Goodreads Reading Challenge, I probably would still be stuck in my total reading hiatus when I read nothing but fashion magazines and chicklit books. (Nothing wrong with chicklit, but they’re like sugar; you can’t have a healthy diet with just sugar.)

Turning Over a New Identity

Four years ago today, Christchurch reeled from the effects of a powerful earthquake. For four years afterwards, the entire city struggled to define itself and what made it – us – unique and Christchurch.

It’s a struggle I’m not unfamiliar with, on a personal level. Four years ago and before that, I identified very strongly as Chinese. It was what made me who I was. I would have been lost without it. My earlier posts on this blog will attest to that. I was staunchly pro-Beijing, pro-government. I had a map of China on my wall and I taught myself to speak Mandarin. Just thinking about it makes me want to shake that girl now. (Not that I regret the Mandarin. That has always been useful as a tool.)

Four years later, I no longer consider myself Chinese. I just happen to have been born with a certain DNA and in a certain place. What has happened? What has changed? Nothing. And everything.  Continue reading “Turning Over a New Identity”

Greatest Distractions to Reading (and everything else)

Since 2012, I’ve been trying to get back on track with my reading, not only because I regret devolving from a voracious devourer of books to a virtual non-reader who consumed nothing but fashion magazines and really bad chicklit (I know chicklit isn’t all bad but trust me when I say I read trash for fun during my university years. Not that there’s anything wrong with reading trash, but when you consume too much junk food, literary or otherwise, bad things happen to your mind and body).

While embarking on this journey to get back on track, I realized that there are several obstacles that get in the way of my reading.

1. Mobile phones

I got my first smartphone (tablet) in 2012. It was a Samsung Galaxy Tab v2.0 and I was thrilled with it. It would buzz whenever I got an email or a Facebook update or a like or a comment and, like one of Pavlov’s dogs, I’d rush to see what the buzz and ping was all about. It became compulsive. I had to do it just to see if there was a reward at the end of it. Yes, I knew that most of the emails I got were newsletters that I subscribed to years ago and never even opened once. Yes, I know my Facebook likes are pretty trivial matters and never really  go beyond single digits. But I still had to do it.  Continue reading “Greatest Distractions to Reading (and everything else)”

Drifting together and apart

It’s been years since I’ve written anything and it just feels like a lifetime ago. Looking back at my posts, I feel like I’m looking at the blog of someone else I used to know but haven’t kept in touch with anymore. It’s like, all of a sudden, wondering about a school friend, you click on their Facebook profile only to find that (a) they’ve unfriended you and (b) you don’t even know where in the world they are.

I’ve been looking at my other blogs and sometimes I cringe and at other times, I’m proud of the things I wrote. I just wonder, should I give blogging another go?

I guess I was wondering that because this morning, as I got up and opened a huge Word document to do another day’s worth of writing, I suddenly felt the need to write something that was a little less structured and a little more raw than fiction. It feels awkward coming back to blogging, almost, and I don’t know if anyone still reads this blog.

Anyway, I might give it another try.

China and Tibet 3: Tibetan censorship

China is often accused of censorhip, and rightfully so. However, I think the urge to censor exists in everyone. Some of us deal with it better than others.

I was arguing with Tibetan independence movement people again, as I do. Here’s one of two threads. This one is in reply to this article.

Personally speaking, I don’t think I’m hating on them at all. I might come across as a little bit hostile, but that’s because I really do not agree with what they stand for and I’m putting my alternative views across.

This is the second thread that I posted on, in reply to this article:

This is their reply to my last post, which got deleted by them; I hope you can read it.

After this reply, I said something along the lines of how we should all be multicultural societies, that race should no longer be a boundary between people and how China should represent all the different ethnicities within its geographical and political borders instead of just the race of Han. I can’t give you the exact reply because I was late in screencapping, as this happened: (This is the thread about ‘What is Tibet’s Cause’)

All my griping about censorship got deleted too.

I then sent them a couple of vitriolic messages about how if they want to advocate a cause, they should debate better and let people see both sides of the argument, and how they’re no better than the Chinese Communist Party when it comes to censorship.

The same thing happened on the thread about ‘China’s Cultural Zoo’.


If you go to the original articles here and here you will not find my comments there anymore. On the first link, it will be as if I didn’t dare to argue with their terrific reasoning after they replied.

Do I need to say anymore on the topic? Not really, except that censorship isn’t just a Chinese thing. This group of people obviously couldn’t deal with opposing ideas and so had to get rid of them. If these are the people who will run Tibet after independence…I will leave you to judge whether it’s a good or bad thing.

Luckily, not all Tibetans agree with this stance. I was messaging someone on YouTube and they said they had no problem with Tibet being counted within the borders of a truly democratic China (if that ever happened) if Tibet had cultural autonomy. He was polite and didn’t tell me I was a propagandist.

I am still open to persuasion. If you support Tibetan independence, you’re welcome to try and convince me that I’m wrong.

Tiger mother-style parenting

I am contemplating buying Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua. I would have borrowed the book but alas, the library’s not open due to the earthquake, so I have to make do with my Kindle for PC. (Am contemplating buying a Kindle too coz my brother would never speak to me again if I bought an iPad, but that’s another story.)

Anyway, I read the first sample chapter, and I have to say that I found many parallels to my life, at least from what I’ve read. More traditional Chinese families tend to have a tendency to push their children to the point of insanity to make them succeed academically. I’m not going to say whether that’s good or bad –of course I have my opinions on it, but I’ll leave you to make your own judgements for now. I just want to share my experience of living under that style of parenting.

I have always been a rebellious child. I don’t follow the norms. I don’t like norms. I don’t like conformity. I veer towards right-brain thinking, which might make me see the world in a different way to the majority of people. Whilst growing up in Hong Kong, I would always refuse to do the set homework. It would be a huge battle of wills. My reasoning for not doing the homework: My hand hurt from holding the pencil and trying to control it so I could form those Chinese characters. I still can’t form Chinese characters well.

After my family moved to New Zealand, things let up for a bit. My mother used to make me remember English phrases from school and make me repeat them back to her when I got home. She quickly gave up when I started making up my own phrases. Clearly, the English language was not going to be a problem for me if I could start forming sentences after two months.

However, when I was eight, she discovered that I had no idea what decimal numbers were. Prior to that, my dad had always been the one who taught me maths. My dad is pretty good at maths, but he’s an awful teacher. He thinks that everyone should be a mathematical genius and automatically understand complicated concepts. Mum took over after I only got half the questions right in a maths competition.

From then on, it was war. I resented having extra work. Why did I need to be three or four years ahead than everyone else at maths? Why did I have to do all those stupid questions after school? Why couldn’t she leave me alone to read my books? Sure, I enjoyed getting the prizes for maths competitions. It made me feel like I was worth something. The rest of the time, I resented being called stupid or useless for not being able to grasp certain mathematical concepts. My excellence in mathematics alienated me from my peers. I was never the popular kid –I was too shy and too weird– but this just made it worse. I think I’m a bit socially awkward today because of what I experienced back then. I didn’t want to be noticed –and sometimes I still don’t want to be noticed– because the attention I got was hardly ever friendly.

When it came to maths, I had to get all Excellences (the New Zealand equivalent of straight A’s). Anything less was not good enough. I felt pressured into performing well. I felt like my parents’ show pony. They loved being able to say how good at maths I was, but I felt as if they loved my mathematical achievements instead of the person that I was. I was much more than just a bunch of mathematical formulae and Distinction certificates. They didn’t care that I loved to write. They didn’t care that I liked dancing. They didn’t care so much when I got Excellence in English or French. They cared when I failed a mock history essay. Failure was not acceptable in my family back then.

The resentment grew. Even the Excellences in Mathematics failed to boost my mood. I was not a mass of numerical formulae. I didn’t feel any sense of achievement because hey, I was only this good because it got drilled into my head every day for the past ten years. I was sick of it. Maths took up most of my time, leaving me little time to concentrate on subjects that I enjoyed and naturally were good at, such as French and English and…well, not so much history. My history grades in high school were hit and miss. But I liked history and I felt that if I had more time to spend on it, I’d be better. I just didn’t have the time.

This excellence in mathematics led to me being pushed into taking Physics in Year Twelve (twelfth grade in American and sixth form for some other nations). I slept a lot in class because of the heater. All of the theories went right over my head. My boat for my practical went backwards so its speed was in the negatives and there was a burnt plastic smell when I tried to construct a circuit for the electricity topic. To put it simply, I sucked at it.

That year was my last stand. The pressure was too much. I hated Physics and I hated Maths. What if I didn’t get an excellence for a maths paper? That would be the equivalent of failure. Besides, I wanted to prove something; I wanted to prove that I had talent all on my own and that I was right about myself all along. I was not a mathematical person. My talents lay in the arts and other more creative subjects.

My parents wanted me to take Year Thirteen Calculus. Dad wanted me to get a maths scholarship in university, then a maths degree, and then he wanted me to go and teach maths. Mum wanted me to do it because why would I not do it? I was good at it.

I laid down an ultimatum. If they made me take Calculus, I was simply going to fail it, there it was. The word ‘fail’ scared them. My mother tried to threaten me. If I failed Calculus, she was going to rip up my in-progress novel. I, in turn, told her that if she did it, I was going to leave home and never look back. I would change my name and cut off all contact with the family.

I’m not whether she took me seriously, but I think she was a bit afraid. She didn’t really know what I was capable of.

The lesson here? Raising a child goes both ways. The child trains the parent too. I started early. It’s not easy, but if you’re lucky, eventually your parents might learn. Parents have to learn that their children are not putty to be moulded any way they please. Children have minds of their own, personalities, their own inherent talents and flaws. Children can be quite different from their parents. A child is not their parents’ doll or tool or show pony. The child is a little person who deserves to be loved for who they are, not for what they achieve. Achievement should be encouraged, but don’t force the child to do something that they really don’t want to. Guide them when they are small, but as they grow, let them choose their lives. After all, in the end, the parent is not the child. The parent actually doesn’t know what’s best for their children.

I always say this; “I’m the one who knows what’s best for me. You’re not me so you can’t know.” I truly believe that.

Just a few thoughts…

Just a couple of thoughts:

On Palm Sunday:

When Jesus was praying in the garden of Gethsemane, he was supposedly alone, so how did anyone find out what he said in prayer? Same with the forty days in the desert. He was alone, wasn’t he?

If Jesus was preaching day in and day out in the temple, the Pharisees should have recognize him and they should not have needed Judas to identify him. That is, of course, the Pharisees were really dumb.

Pilate probably knew what was going on with the Pharisees and the elders, and he didn’t want Jesus to live because he was afraid of a rebellion, so he went along with it and pretended he was reluctant to kill an
innocent man.

On the Tibetan independence movement:

Fact: There are six million Tibetans and 1.6 billion Chinese.

Fact: Most of that 1.6 billion Chinese do not want China to disintegrate.

Fact: A lot of that 1.6 billion Chinese want freedom of expression and democracy.

Fact: Tibet is landlocked.

Therefore, we should not let ethnic boundaries divide us. Instead, we should work together to create a new China. A better China. Not the Communist Party’s China, but a democratic people’s China that encompasses all
ethnic groups. China should not just mean the nation of the Han. It is the nation of the Manchurians, the Mongols, the Uyghurs and the Tibetans, as well as the fifty six other ethnic minorities out there. The government should reflect that.

1.6 billion Chinese working together would do a lot more than just six million Tibetans. By demanding complete independence, the Tibetan liberation movement is alienating Chinese who would otherwise think that what they want (democracy, freedom of expression etc.) is reasonable. It’s certainly alienated me. From my earlier discussion, my feeling is that the Tibetan liberation movement hates China because it is Chinese and not solely Tibetan.

And independent Tibet would most likely be cut off by China. China would not trade with it or give aid to it. Export requires sea ports and there are none in Tibet, unless India would grant it access to the sea. Does that seem likely? Man cannot survive on bread alone, but he cannot survive on spirituality and dignity alone either.

On China:

Right now, ‘Chinese’ is synonymous with Han. It shouldn’t be. The Han people make up a great part of China, but China is comprised of many different cultures. There needs to be more education about all these other cultures that we don’ hear about. Han culture is not the pinnacle of civilization and should not be treated as such. No culture is the pinnacle of civilization. Cultures only grow when they take the better things from other cultures and evolve.

Other general thoughts:

Ethnicity should not be a boundary. There needs to be more connections between different ethnic groups. There should be cultural exchange, respect, understanding, acceptance of differences.

China and Tibet (2)

I was twittering with a Tibetan liberation group on…yes, Twitter, asking them about the situation in Tibet in the past ten years and why they are so eager to be free of China. I know there are a lot of things wrong with the Chinese government, but if you are so opposed to something, there has to be a reason for it, right?

First tweet from them when they saw this post linked on my twitter.

@F_Le_Rulz China’s achievements:52 yrs of Brutality,52 yrs of  killing & continue,result 1.2 milliom Tibetans being Killed in occupied Tibet

And then the conversation took off:

@TIBETANS Can you tell me of the situation in the past ten years? Has anything changed since 1979 when China opened up?

@TIBETANS Also, what is the source for the statistics?

@F_Le_Rulz Tibet opened to bolster population transfer, big lost 4 Tibetans & means more China brutality http://www.tibet.net/en/index.php

@TIBETANS Can you be a little more specific? What sort of losses has Tibet suffered in the past ten years? What sort of brutalities?

@TIBETANS Also, are Tibetans treated differently than Han Chinese?

@F_Le_Rulz China is deeply afraid of Tibet & its people, fearful of the truth-Tibet is an independent Nation.”Facts”: http://t.co/OBuzMru

@TIBETANS You haven’t answered my question. What has Chinese govt done to the Tibetan people in the past decade?

@TIBETANS The article you linked me to did not talk about history before the twentieth century, which is central to China’s claim on Tibet.

(This is in reference to the Emperor Qianlong’s military campaigns in Tibet during the 18th century, when rebels were quashed by the Manchurian army and the Dalai Lama was re-instated but as a vassal of the Qing dynasty. Whenever Chinese talk about Tibet being part of China, they cite this event as proof that Tibet is part of China. The article in the tweet, which you can read for yourselves, only talks about Sino-Tibetan relations after 1911. I want the Tibetan take on Qianlong’s campaigns, but that is not addressed.)

@F_Le_Rulz As I said what we counting is not material development. In past China brought alot suffering result 1.2 milliom Killed in Tibet.

@F_Le_Rulz We’ll never thnx China unless China ends brutality & leaves from occupied Tibet,History with Tibetan,not with China, so pls leave

@TIBETANS Ur doing wht China’s doing; trying to stop ppl from xpressing their views. U hvn’t given me any specific evdnce. I’m not convinced

@F_Le_Rulz Yes Ppl can express their views in truth way but we not allowing propagate Chinese propaganda on Tibet,we’ll challenge those lies

@Peace0310 I’m asking questions. You haven’t given me real answers with real evidence. I want historical events, dates and credible sources.

(All of a sudden, a different account is answering me. I don’t think they want me asking questions on their official twitter feed. I can’t let them foil me, therefore…)

@TIBETANS I’m asking questions. You haven’t given me real answers with real evidence. I want historical events, dates and credible sources.

@TIBETANS Credible sources include Amnesty international reports, UN reports etc.

@F_Le_Rulz Appeal by Dalai Lama regarding situation in #Tibet. #China must stop this brutality, force is not solution!

@Peace0310 Unfortunately, the Dalai Lama is not a neutral party. Anything from the UN or Amnesty International?

@TIBETANS Wht wd Tibetans do if China became democ that respected human rights? What sort of govt wd Tibet hve if they gained independence?
@Peace0310 As for spreading Chinese propaganda, it might interest u to know that I don’t support the Beijing regime and want reform in China
@F_Le_Rulz His Holiness Dalai Lama of TIBET often says: Hope for the best and prepare for the worst. How could be Tibet is a part of China?
@TIBETANS Tibet was conquered militarily. If military conquests are not legitimate, then countries like the USA wouldn’t exist right now.
@TIBETANS If violations of human rights stopped in Tibet, would you still reject China?
@F_Le_Rulz Yes 6 million Tibetans will determine our owm future,if China became democracydemocracy.we have freedom of speech &access 2 media
@TIBETANS Believe me, I’m Chinese and I want what you do; freedom to determine our own future. We must push for reform for all of China.
@TIBETANS So would you say you wouldn’t mind being being labelled as being part of a greater Chinese state if there is democracy?
@F_Le_Rulz again “Independent Tibet:The Facts” – http://bit.ly/cql5ij Stop Chinese Propaganda & Distortions on TIBET. We’ll never accept CN.
@TIBETANS Well, let’s say you did get independence. What sort of govt would you have in Tibet?
@TIBETANS I don’t think asking questions is propaganda. You need to look up what that word means.
@TIBETANS Just because you say something is a ‘fact’ does not mean I’ll believe it based on your word alone.
At the time of publishing, the conversation is still going on. However, suffice to say that I haven’t gotten the information I want. All I really know is that the few representatives of the Tibetan liberation movement only seems to know that they hate China because China is China and that China should not have anything to do with Tibet. I’m still convinced there are very valid reasons as to why the antagonism has continued for so long, but it’s hard to say when you can’t get any information on what Tibet is like these days.
Are Tibetans being treated worse than Han Chinese?
How is their culture being ‘annihilated’?
How do Tibetans address the issue of Qianlong’s conquests?
If the CCP’s invasion of Tibet is considered illegal, then what are the implications for colonial countries like Australia, New Zealand, USA, and most of South America? Should New Zealanders of non-Maori descent move back to Europe and re-establish Maori sovereignty? Does that mean Israel is not legitimate? Does that mean Mexico’s official language should be Nahuatl instead of Spanish?

China and Tibet

I will go ahead and admit that as a Chinese girl, I’ve always thought of Tibet as being a part of modern China. For me, Tibet became part of China after the Manchurians, the then rulers of China, established their sovereignty over it in the 18th century.

What I am most interested in, however, is why Tibetans have so much antagonism towards Han Chinese. Many peoples have been conquered and incorporated into foreign kingdoms in the past. Many of those conquered peoples accepted foreign rule and didn’t really care as long as they could live their lives. A recent example is New Zealand, which was colonized by the British. The Maori now live in harmony with all the other racial groups, and the government seems to be predominantly caucasian. Another example is England, which was conquered by the Normans in 1066. The only people who did care and tried to revolt were the privileged minority. However, from what I can see in the media, it seems that all of Tibet has something against
the Chinese, from peasant to Lama. I want to know what the reasons are.

Would Tibetans still oppose Chinese rule if China became a real democracy? Would they still oppose Chinese rule if religious persecution stopped? Are they against the Chinese because of their policies or because of their race?

Also, another important question must be asked: What sort of government would be established if Tibet did gain independence? Who would be the head of state? And would this government be better than the Chinese?

China has many flaws; I will admit that. The Chinese government is an oligarchy and thinks it can rule as the emperors of old did. Chinese people are not well informed about other cultures and so come across as being disrespectful a lot of the time. However, it is extremely inaccurate to portray Tibet before Chinese rule as being some sort of utopia. It wasn’t. There were gross violations of human rights, all the same. Peasants suffered and were forced to work for the Lamas as serfs. If they disobeyed, they were mutilated and left to die of exposure. I’m not saying that it makes the persecution carried out by the Communist party okay. It isn’t. All I’m saying is that we should be realistic here. Tibet was not a perfect society before the Chinese came.

I would really like answers to my questions, especially from people who have a) been to Tibet or b) are Tibetan. If you’ve been to Tibet or lived in Tibet recently, as in the past decade or so, I would be really interested in your perspective and your experiences. All I want is a bit of clarification about the situation from real people, not governments and their PR machines.