By Tenpa Dhargyal Gashi
So, you think you are a politician? That should be the name of his show keeping it on par with all the primetime show running these days on the television but for some odd reason the Namgyal Shastri Barbecue Grill seem more appropriate. And barbecue grill it was for all three candidates running for the Katri seat. I don’t believe I have heard more incisive and precision guided questions regarding each candidate anywhere else, including the recently concluded NY/NJ Katri debate. During that debate, the moderator sometimes spoke in such a half-halting manner that I thought the video was struck a few times until I observed the girl moving her head to check up on him. Compared to that, Namgyal Shastri moved from one question to the next like an agile cheetah without missing out any details and slowly guided the pre…I mean the candidates, back to answering his questions if they happen to linger around irrelevant issues. I sincerely hope he is the Moderator for the final debate in Washington, D.C. I have seen him moderate in one debate before and he was spectacular. He will not suffer foolish elongated ‘questions’ from the public and usually cuts them off before they had even finished telling us their own personal history, which for some reason, seem to be the norm amongst Tibetan questioners. I personally feel some of these frequent flyers of convoluted questions should be photographed, and then their pictures sent out to all future venues, to avoid further suffering for all sentient beings. Seriously, I feel, he is really trying to set a good standard for all future debate formats and that is an admirable thing to do if we wish to evolve in a more professional manner.
Now coming back to the grilling, with Tenzin Tethong la he made sure he asked about the deficit issue during his tenure as Kalon and also about his reasons for leaving Government service at the time. Tashi Wangdu La was similarly probed about this apparent lack of interest in the whole issue and why he was still in the race when the numbers are overwhelmingly against him compared to the other two candidates. Some people thought the Grill was put on high with Lobsang Sangay la but I didn’t think so. Lobsang Sangay la does not have the record of having worked in any Government post nor had he held any leadership position to date, so what else was he supposed to ask on that front? Both Tashi Wangdu la and Tenzin Tethong la have decades of service records for others to peruse and scrutinize and come to a reasonable conclusion regarding their performance and integrity. Lobsang Sangay la does not. How else was he supposed to ascertain people’s questions about his integrity and his experience? I personally felt he left no stone unturned or to use another metaphor, he grabbed everyone’s skeletons out of the closets and danced with them to the tune of Kunleng.
Also, he didn’t give out any opinion himself but rather asked all the questions that were running rampant in people’s mind and on the internet and blogs and gave the candidates a fair chance to clear things up and then left it to the voters to decide for themselves. I felt it was superbly done and he demonstrated courtesy and respect to each and everyone without letting that get in the way of being a journalist. But don’t just take my word for it. It seems a lot of people are saying good things about his show on Phayul and on Facebook and I am sure a lot of people will eagerly tune in each time his show comes up.
Maybe, he should come up with his own Facebook fan page if he hasn’t got one yet. That would be a good way to engage with the younger crowd and keep them abreast of all developments related to Tibet. It seems he is very well liked across generations.
Now people might think I am just praising him because he used to be my Tibetan teacher at one point back in high school. But let me remind you I was probably one of his worst students and an honour he would rather not acknowledge publicly, unless he really doesn’t have a choice…like right now. Oh. I am glad I am not a politician nor do I have any ambition in that direction and thereby I do not have to go on his show. But if he should ever call me for anything, even unrelated to his work, like for example, why I had to mention him name at all, I know exactly what I would say: “I am not at home right now. Please leave a message after the beep. Beep.” Click. Then, I am going to look for the person who gave him my number.