Third small town sketch “Nora” Drolma

Third small town sketch “Nora” Drolma

By Laozangmin (Old Tibetan) See the original article in Chinese

DromaDrolma, in charge of a beauty parlor, is in a thirty-square-meter building facing the street. From her eyes above the bridge of her nose and clear, white skin, she doesn’t look like a local (the local weather is fiercely hot, dry, and sunny), only upon speaking does one believe what she says in answer to my question: “I’m a genuine local Tibetan, I’ve been here since I was little”. She stamps both feet in emphasis. Only by hearing Drolma open her mouth and speak Tibetan, did I consider her more and more like a compatriot. She said she was close to J villagers. Drolma said she was 18, 19 when she got married, “divorced in 2007”. Her Chinese is very fluent, and doesn’t bring in a trace of the local Chinese accent.

“If he starts a conversation with you, would you respond to him?”, I asked Drolma. “Of course I have to respond, for the sake of the child we also have to face each other. We should sit down and really talk.” Drolma says that when business is good in the shop, she makes 70-80 rmb per day, when business is light, 40-50 rmb. “Those who come for beautification are business people, people who collect yartsa gunbu, and civil servants, and also ethnic minority common people.” Drolma regrets getting married so young, she married after graduating from high school, and didn’t go to college. “Now you need to have at least graduated from a junior college to get a job.” Eloquent Drolma, quick-witted Drolma, independent-minded Drolma washing hair, cutting hair, painting faces day after day, year after year in a cramped space facing the street in a small town. Because of her own decisive personality, Drolma has chosen this life. “Everyone says that kind of situation (is going off the track) but actually it’s very common, I also realized this.”

However, in my eyes this Nora (The free-willed and independent-spirited protagonist in Henrik Johan Ibsen’s play “A Doll’s House”. It’s the cultural harbinger and spiritual model of contemporary women’s liberation consciousness), resolutely walks out into the deceptive life and bravely searches for her own place of dignity. Regarding the social considerations after Nora left home, Luxun once put forth the question “What happened after Nora left home?”, and points out the only real two paths for Nora who hasn’t yet achieved financial independence: one is “to return”, the other is “to degenerate”.

After she has set out, Drolma relies on her own perseverance to find a place in society to settle down and carry on. She’s neither returned nor even degenerated. Her decision has broken through the “no one to beat, scold, or push you out the door” low standards of people who suffer in silence and deceive themselves. I think her payouts will surely have returns; all the costs in life are worth it! Drolma’s self liberation isn’t just a one-time release of her character, but touches a broad system of critical discourse—without the female spirit independently, freely pursuing, our discussion of meanings of “liberation” in other areas is nothing more than an after dinner conversation piece!

2009-08-19 By: hh
Poets and prostitutes selling sex together!

2009-08-18 By: He
Why are you guys harsh like this, you should read the article more to see what he and you guys have in common. This is really boring.


  • This is quite a beautiful story, I think women’s liberation is important for the communities and society to really modernise. However I feel real balance has not really achieved properly in modern world in terms of upbringing of Children. I feel both parents are very important in children’s development inparticular their moral character. Therefore to achieve true equality and balance, its important for both men and women to understand the scarifices needed by both to persue thier independence. But the real goal is not about independence but happiness and how to persue it.

  • This is a very important story. I know a lot of Tibetan women like Drolma. I know many more Tibetan women that feel they have no choice but to stay in compromising situations. When you walk a mile in someone else’s shoes you many begin to understand them. I found myself in Tibet in a similar situation where Tibetan men threatened to send family to kill me, attempted to blackmail me into handing over my half-Tibetan son. But unlike Dromla who had no choice but to walk away without her child, I was able to escape with my son to safety. I agree that both parents are important for a child’s upbringing, but some parents are not good role models for their children or society in general. I know many Tibetan (and Western, Chinese etc.) men that are wonderful fathers, I know many that are not. Not all mothers are great mothers either. Drolma made the hardest decision of any mother, we must respect her braveness and the sacrifice she has made.

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