Volunteering in Tibetan communities having a Chinese background?

#1 Aug 28th, 2012, 13:16
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  • liliapunto is offline
#1
Hello everyone!
I plan to volunteer in the Tibetan communities in Dharmasala for a few months but am worried about one issue. I moved to Australia when I was little and am an Australian citizen now. But I was born in Shanghai and have Han Chinese looks. Am I going to encounter any negativity due to my race?... I hope that it's just a stupid worry.
Thank you very much for your help in advance!
Cheers,
Lilia
#2 Aug 28th, 2012, 14:24
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  • unclelach is offline
#2
Lilia, Your question is most interesting even if I'm quite unable to answer it.

In 2005 I took a four week tour of China but to neither far western China or Tibet.
Around that time I read what I could find about present day Tibet thinking I might reach there some day(I haven't). In 2003 I had been in North India and had a short tourist's stop in McLeodGanj. Even then I was reading about the situation of exiled Tibetans now of several generations.

The few Tibetans I have met and conversed with in India and Nepal have been very good hearted and pragmatic people. I should hope that you would be accepted as a volunteer even if folk might wonder if you had official links with China.

I am less observant that I might be but people of Han Chinese appearance are not commonly seen in North India that I remember. There is likely a blur of perception of people having somewhat Central and East Asian appearance who are Indians of the north-east states. Japanese and perhaps Korean people I think are seen more often.
#3 Aug 28th, 2012, 14:46
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  • Matka is offline
#3
Better not try. The police see Chinese spies everywhere. This link below is just one example, but I have heard from many (non-Asian) volunteers that the paranoia is very real among the Inspector Clouseaus in Dharamshala:

http://articles.timesofindia.indiati...pies-sim-cards
#4 Aug 28th, 2012, 17:41
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#4
Hi unclelach and Matka! Thank you very much for the information. Oh that's such a sad news for me... On Lha's website, it even says that they want Chinese language teachers. Will I really be arrested?! I have (and only have) an Australian passport. I've always wanted to do this kind of volunteer work, and visiting the Himalayas has been my childhood dream...

Please let me know if there's any further information. Thank you!
#5 Sep 18th, 2012, 03:26
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#5
I know one lady from Taiwan working in Dharmshala, McLeodganj as a volunteer with Tibetans. She is well liked by people there. If you want, I can ask her or let you get in contact (if she allows)
#6 Sep 18th, 2012, 03:53
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#6
Quote:
Originally Posted by liliapunto View Post Hello everyone!
. But I was born in Shanghai and have Han Chinese looks. Am I going to encounter any negativity due to my race?... I hope that it's just a stupid worry.
Thank you very much for your help in advance!
Cheers,
Lilia
If you do have trouble, just tell them that you are from Mizoram or Manipur . Oh! that might cause trouble these days; maybe North Korean, very few know how they look !
You may not look very different from these:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ahinsajain/4989619576/
http://manipurifriends.blogspot.in/2...t-chennai.html
http://bluemountaintravel.blogspot.in/
And they are all Indian!
You may be bothered because you are a girl, but your Han Chinese looks will not cause you trouble , because north east Indians have similar features!
Last edited by happyhippy; Sep 18th, 2012 at 08:51..
#7 Sep 18th, 2012, 08:02
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  • bluppy is offline
#7
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjamwal View Post I know one lady from Taiwan working in Dharmshala, McLeodganj as a volunteer with Tibetans. She is well liked by people there. If you want, I can ask her or let you get in contact (if she allows)
i lived in Taiwan for 8 years,
and I had a roommate who is a Tibetan
I can tell you that the perception of
Taiwan and China is very different for Tibetan

Even Taiwanese will get upset if you say they are chinese from mainland china. It's a very different thing for them. Taiwanese think they are and independent country with their own currency, national flag, constitution, president election etc. And Mainland China still think that Taiwan ought to belong to China.

so Tibetan has a great relation with Taiwan,
and Taiwan support Tibet.
#8 Sep 18th, 2012, 08:11
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#8
Quote:
Originally Posted by liliapunto View Post Hello everyone!
I plan to volunteer in the Tibetan communities in Dharmasala for a few months but am worried about one issue. I moved to Australia when I was little and am an Australian citizen now. But I was born in Shanghai and have Han Chinese looks. Am I going to encounter any negativity due to my race?... I hope that it's just a stupid worry.
Thank you very much for your help in advance!
Cheers,
Lilia
ehm....
if you explain that you are an Australian citizen
and grow up and live in Australia.
maybe it will be fine. you can always try first

just go to dharamsala first
and hang out for a few days,
and decide afterwards.
it's still a very nice place to visit
even if you later decided not to volunteer there
#9 Sep 18th, 2012, 09:34
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  • Musk is offline
#9
Quote:
Originally Posted by liliapunto View Post Hello everyone!
I plan to volunteer in the Tibetan communities in Dharmasala for a few months but am worried about one issue. I moved to Australia when I was little and am an Australian citizen now. But I was born in Shanghai and have Han Chinese looks. Am I going to encounter any negativity due to my race?... I hope that it's just a stupid worry.
Thank you very much for your help in advance!
Cheers,
Lilia
Do not worry! there are a large number of chinese who visit Dharamshala and take blessings frm H.h. the Dalai Lama. every one is welcome
#10 Oct 7th, 2012, 13:12
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#10
Hi everyone, thank you so much for the info. I'm so glad to hear some positive responses towards my intention. I have bought my ticket to India and really hope that things will work out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjamwal View Post I know one lady from Taiwan working in Dharmshala, McLeodganj as a volunteer with Tibetans. She is well liked by people there. If you want, I can ask her or let you get in contact (if she allows)
Thank you jjamwal. It would be great if you could let me get in touch with her.
#11 Oct 8th, 2012, 02:20
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#11

all the best!

Hey,

You will get lots of opportunities to volunteer, even outside Dharamshala, in Himachal Pradesh, and in Uttarakhand as well, just in case things don't work out.

I have been to one- Aarohi.org, in Nainital, Uttarakhand. Their administrative space is built like a cottage in a hamlet Satoli, while their rural development work spans to quite a few other villages, so you will get to explore.

Although I think they will work out and the locals might, somewhere in their hearts, actually find the fact that someone from Chinese origins warming up to them poetic.

Try not lying about your origins. Hope you find your place
#12 Oct 8th, 2012, 12:45
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#12
As I said in my earlier post, the problem, IF ANY, won't be with locals, but with the police. They aren't a very open-minded nor knowledgeable lot. See the link. They couldn't even differentiate between a Taiwan passport and a Mainland China passport.

The Tibetans, I'm sure, will be friendly to every Chinese. I suspect more than a few "lamas" probably even snuck over from China very recently, and that too, not from Tibet!
#13 Oct 8th, 2012, 19:31
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#13
Thank you again, Matka. Hope my Aussie passport gets me by!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sahilj View Post Hey,

You will get lots of opportunities to volunteer, even outside Dharamshala, in Himachal Pradesh, and in Uttarakhand as well, just in case things don't work out.

I have been to one- Aarohi.org, in Nainital, Uttarakhand. Their administrative space is built like a cottage in a hamlet Satoli, while their rural development work spans to quite a few other villages, so you will get to explore.

Although I think they will work out and the locals might, somewhere in their hearts, actually find the fact that someone from Chinese origins warming up to them poetic.

Try not lying about your origins. Hope you find your place
This is a lovely reply. Thank you for the info on Uttarakhand, and indeed as you said, I don't plan to lie. If my origin could even bring some peace and warmth to their hearts, I'd be incredibly happy.
#14 Oct 16th, 2012, 07:44
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  • Cardinal Divide is offline
#14
Sorry, I just came across this. I have spent around three years in Dharamsala and met many people from China there who had a great time. As an Australian Chinese, your race will be pretty much a non-issue. You will not face racism from Tibetans if you are sympathetic to their cause. In fact, you will be made to feel very welcome. Supportive Chinese people are treasured.
If you have doubts you should contact Common Ground Cafe. They are a Chinese - Tibetan friendship organization based in Dharamsala and have a website and are on Facebook.
People from Tibet usually love practising their Chinese. You can even get Chinese TV channels in Dharamsala. I should have mentioned that Mandarin is the Chinese spoken by most there, often with a regional accent. If your Chinese sucks, they will consider you Australian.
Last edited by Cardinal Divide; Oct 17th, 2012 at 20:35..
#15 Oct 17th, 2012, 17:53
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#15
Thank you Cardinal Divide!! You set my heart at ease.

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