Sunday, April 10, 2011

Happy time in Old Tibet

“Happy time in old Tibet”

Ten years of research and writing has resulted with this historical novel. Drawing from the theme of love, life and social situation of the old Tibet, Zhurai, a Chinese woman writer has woven what seemed to be an interesting and lively work of historical significance for Tibetan. Speaking at ICT to a minuscule audience of Tibetan and American, she has shared her determination to probe further the reality of old Tibet, at the background of what Chinese propaganda has been projecting the old Tibet as “dark society, barbaric”. The talk in Chinese, that was translated in English focused on her effort and interaction with the real people of Tibet, who belongs to different social status of the old Tibet. My understanding is the book is based on a true life account of some of the living characters of the historical novel. But the book has been written in a fictional, novel style.

My initial impression of the book is some pure research historical works of a writer, who makes a case against Chinese propaganda. The talk generated good discussion and curious questions from the audience. However, as the author said, the Chinese government didn’t receive the book positively. Its publication was denied by communist government in mainland China, so she has to publish it in Taiwan. I feel In order to fully appreciate the work of literature, a thorough reading is essential, albeit it is written in Chinese mandarin.

The author looks very gentle with a mild character and interesting personality. With a great sense of humility, she spoke of what she believed to be the true. “She portrayed a very perfect old Tibet society”, shared by one of the audience members. The author to my astonishment confidently said there was no serfdom in Tibet. She said it was a creation of the Chinese government for propaganda reason. There are nobles, merchant and farmers. There was only one instance of Tibetan farmers ever revolted, in Tibet’s 2000 history. It is a strong indication of the complacency attitude of the farmers, whereas in China, peasant revolt is a recurring phenomenon. The ICT lecture series is often very informative and eye-opener to many issues. I was glad, I could make it.