Thursday, July 23, 2015

1st Result: NOMINATION OF NORTH AMERICA CHITUES' CANDIDATE



This is the first raw data of an online survey that was first launched on June 23, 2015 to help eligible voters in North America to nominate their two candidates for 2016 North America Chitues.  Online Google Form was used as a survey tool to collect the data via Facebook groups such as Tibetan, IMTIBETAN, NY NJ Tibetan College Students, GTPN - North America and North America Tibetan Political Network.

Please click on the photo to enlarge

Candidates receiving less than or equal to two count of nominations are consolidated into "Others" which is 31% of the total nominations.  In addition, "Invalid" which is 11% of the total nominations are those that the survey administrator deems invalid for the purpose of this survey such as nominations for survey administrator, Gyari Dolma, Geshe Youngdrung Gyaltsen, Tashi Wangdu and Lobsang Sangay.

As you can see from the pie chart, majority of the participants (28%) are still undecided.  Among the nominees, Anak Tsetan and Tenzin Rangdol received the largest individual nominations with 7% each; followed by Tenzin Dorjee (Tendor) and Tashi Namgyal with 5% each; and the remaining three candidates (Kalsang Phuntsok, Norbu Tsering and Kunga Thinley) received 2% each of the total nominations.


Majority of the participants in this online survey are from the United States.  Total participants for this first round of online survey is 62.

Limitations
This online survey has many limitations including the lack of participation from eligible voters. The result generated from these 62 participants is statistically insignificant.

Confidentiality
During the online survey, participants were not required to identify themselves.  They remain anonymous throughout the survey.

Conclusion
This online survey is intended to help eligible voters to think and discuss about their choice for 2016 North American Chitues.  Please keep on nominating and the results will be shared as and when there is a significant survey responses. If you have not participated thus far, please click on this link to nominate your two Chitues for North America http://goo.gl/forms/rnW40ylsa8


Stay tuned!




Monday, July 6, 2015

Happy Birthday Your Holiness The Dalai Lama!




Even before I was born
I heard your name
A thousand times

With your love
I grew up
As a loving child

Seeing you as a role model
I grew up
As a hard working kid

Listening to your advice
I grew up
As an educated person

Under your shadow
I grew up
Safe and secure

Under your compassion
I grew up
Happy and smiling

Under your reflection
I grew up
As a proud Tibetan

With your blessing
I grew up
As a good Buddhist

Today
I am successful
Because of you

I know
Thank you
Is not enough

I am
Who I am
Because of how much you gave
To me, my family and Tibetan people


*Just wrote this piece in a burst of emotion and gratitude.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Shaming in the Name of Donation



The guiding principle behind the collection of donation is to provide much needed support and services to the underprivileged communities in the world. Under this guiding principle, Tibetans in exile thrived and succeeded in preserving their culture, religion and identity - largely through the unwavering support of foreign donors.

After more than six decades of living in exile - in addition to preserving culture, religion and identity, - Tibetans have performed exceptionally well in securing their economic stability as well as excelling in the art of making monies. This economic growth, in one way or other, helped to reinvent the principle of donation which now focuses on the importance of "self contribution" and "self sustainability."

In these days, many depend on seeking donation for projects whether it is for charities or rebuilding or contribution to their Alma Mater from their own Tibetan community members. For instance, you will witness many individuals walking with a booklet to seek donation at most community events.  However, the problem now is too many donation seekers - few frauds, some genuine and many suspicious.

Due to the increasing reliance on asking money from others, people seeking donation has become a nuisance, especially in Tibetan settlements in India. There are people asking for donation in the guise of religious events or developments; medical support for ailing patient; funds for political activities; and many more. Donation is looked up as a solution for all financial problems in the society.

However, the dilemma now is: donation is no more an option. It's an unspoken compulsion. If you don't give, you are considered stingy, evil, people with less empathy or someone who is less Tibetan. And if you give less, you will be shamed publicly on social media via a list of donors (see the picture for one such example).



Its important to understand that every individual has a different financial status and based on their income, people contribute.

Moreover, donation should be voluntary and private. For instance, with your name as one of the donor in the list, it will be extremely hard to secure a visa to go to Tibet.  I now understand why many Tibetans from Tibet shy away from Tibetan community events which are largely dictated by Tibetans from India and Nepal.

Also, when a list of donors is shared, it is generally not listed in the order of "receipt number." Instead, the list is sorted in a descending order based on the donation amount which directly or indirectly effects the individual who are not in a good financial position to pay high donation amount or who could not pay because of undue circumstances such as non availability of cash at the time. If you closely look at the picture, how would you feel if you are the serial number 79 showing $5 as donation amount on your NAME.  This list will be viewed by everyone including your own friends and relatives around the globe.  You be the judge here.


Discussion and Recommendation

Tibetans should stop donating out of peer pressure, status pressure or identity pressure. It's better to not give than give something that puts you to shame.

Know that when you give donation to individual or unregistered organization, ask many questions such as the purpose, operational cost/percentage, utilization report, transparency, confidentiality and others.  If the donation seeker is a registered non-profit organization, ask for organizational receipt for your donation.  Remember, in most cases, you can use these donation receipts to avail tax credits.

A good practice of donation would be to have an "open box" where everyone puts in whatever money they can afford or available at the time. When you open the donation box, there should be more than one person to count the total donation amount.  Share this total donation amount and "utilization report" on the social media networks.  Doing this will harm "no one." It will help keep the required transparency too.

On a final note, Tibetans should not be good only at seeking donation or funds for their project. Tibetan organization registered in the name of Non-Profit Organization should write proposal for city, state, federal and foundation grants.

I insist that Tibetans cannot be a group of lifetime beggars: initially we begged from foreigners and now we are begging from our own community members.  There are a number of other avenues to generate income.  Tibetans need to think smart and move away from this repeating act of seeking donation for all purposes.








Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Temporary Protected Status for Nepal: What You Should Know


After much celebration on the recent announcement from the Department of Homeland Security designating Nepal a Temporary Protected Status (TPS), it seems many are still unclear on what TPS really means.  This article is an attempt to make it simple for an individual interested in learning more about this new status.


Temporary Benefits of TPS
  • You will not be removable from the United States such as deportation
  • You can obtain Employment Authorization Document (EAD) valid until December 24, 2016
  • You may be granted travel authorization to travel to Nepal


Who qualifies
  • Applicant has to be currently present in the U.S.
  • Applicant should have a continuous residence in the U.S. since June 24, 2015
  • Applicant should have a continuous physical presence in the U.S. since June 24, 2015
  • Applicant should be a Nepalese national OR people without Nepalese nationality but his/her last habitual residency is Nepal 
  • Who does not qualify: Convicted of felony or two or more misdemeanors in the U.S.


Who should apply
  • Applicant whose asylum request was denied
  • Applicant who fear of deportation
  • Applicant who intends to travel to Nepal
  • Applicant who are on Student Visa
  • Applicant whose visa has expired such as Work Visa and Tourist Visa


Who should not apply
  • Seems it's beneficial for an applicant with asylum pending request to not apply for TPS


What documents you need to apply
  • Application forms: I-821; I-765; I-601 (if applicable) and I-131 (if interested in travel)
  • Identity and Nationality Evidence such as Nepal Passport, Travel Document, school record, Tibetan green book or Birth Certificate
  • Date of Entry to the United States such as U.S. Custom and Border Protection stamp on your passport or I-94
  • Continuous Residence Evidence such as utility bills, cell phone bills, employment records, school letter, medical records, etc. 
  • Photographs



Application process

Registration begins June 24, 2015 and ends December 21, 2015

Fees: $50.00 - If you are under 14;
$515.00 - If you are between 14-65;
$135.00 - If you are over 66
*If you cannot pay the fee, you could apply for Fee Waiver.


Application Steps:
Step 1: File your application forms with copies of all supporting documents
Step 2: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) receives your application
Step 3: USCIS contacts you to go to the nearest Application Support Center (ASC)
Step 4: Visit ASC with all your original documents and USCIS letter
Step 5: Apply for travel document if interested (different process and fees for this document)
Step 6: USCIS determines your work eligibility (Work Permit)
Step 7: USCIS adjudicates your application - may ask for additional documents
Step 8: USCIS approves or denies your application
Step 9: Appealing a denial (if necessary) - may have to pay an additional $630.00 filing fee


Conclusion
As you see, TPS requires a lot of work to apply.  The work permit you receive will be valid till December 24, 2016 which is just about 18 months.  However, TPS for Nepal could be possibly extended after December 2016.  If extended, you need to re-apply form I-821 and I-765.

Please remember that TPS is a temporary benefit that does not lead to lawful permanent resident (Green Card) status or give any other immigration status in the United States.



Questions or need help? Contact Tenzin Consultancy Services at 347-537-2479; 646-854-5883 or TCSTenzin@gmail.com.
We speak Tibetan, Nepali and Bhutanese (Shar-chok-pa).