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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

Dalai Lama blessed Tibetan-Canadian activist’s fauxhawk

December 27, 2008

By Matthew Burrows
Georgia Straight - Vancouver
December 24, 2008
 
 
Tibetan-Canadian filmmaker and heavy metal musician Shenpenn Khymsar is pretty easy to spot in a crowd.
 
At many pro-Tibet rallies, the 34-year-old Vancouver activist is the one with the goatee and what he calls the fauxhawk hairdo. Khymsar’s mop recently got the attention of the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India, as the spiritual leader was preparing to give a press conference during recent talks on Tibet.
 
“Hundreds of people were gathered and I was just one of the crowd,” Khymsar said by phone. “I was standing in the corner with my head bowed down, and he just walks, and of all the people he notices me and comes up to me and says in Tibetan, ‘Where did you come from?’ I said Vancouver, Canada. He asked what my name was and I said Shenpenn, which means ‘altruism’ in Tibetan, or ‘others before self’. He said are you being selfless? Are you living up to your name?”
 
At this point, the Dalai Lama touched Khymsar’s hair and goatee, and made mention of him later during the press conference. (The Dalai Lama also blessed the beard of three-time COPE city councillor David Cadman during a visit in 2006.)
 
“I said I was making a film and he got to know about it later, but after that he went inside and in the press conference he was talking about Tibetanness and Tibetan consciousness and then he said, ‘There is this young Tibetan-Canadian guy who is making this film. He has very funny hair, like punkish hair, and he’s very modern, but at the end he is also Tibetan.’ So that was a very blessed moment.”
 
Aside from working on the movie, called Journey of a Dream, Khymsar said he attended the entire two-week process last month, where the members of the Tibetan exiled community convened to debate whether to amend the Dalai Lama’s Middle Path, seeking autonomy within China, rather full independence form it.
 
“The overall feelings are mixed from my perspective,” he said. “His Holiness orchestrated this and said, ‘Here. We have done enough talks on the Middle Path.…You guys talk and you guys decide and I am not going to be a part of this. And whatever you guys come up with, we will have to deal with that.’ But, what ended up happening was, it seemed like the majority of the votes went for the Middle Path.”
 
Added Khymsar: “Overall it is up and down. Tibetan people for the first time—and I can say confidently because I saw it first hand—they are a lot more optimistic today and more hopeful than ever before. That doesn’t mean we are resorting to violence or anything, but we feel like we can break China somehow.”
 
On February 7, Tibetans celebrate Losar, or Tibetan New Year. March 10, 1959, marks the 50th anniversary of a failed uprising in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa against the Chinese occupation.
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