Burning in Shame

Burning in Shame

Burning in Shame


This article was posted on August 31, 2011 and the following is an excerpt from the piece. In this article, the writer expressed how he was deeply hurt when he saw a local Tibetan girl proudly speaking her broken Chinese at a restaurant instead of speaking Tibetan.

By zhogs-Jang

Yesterday, I and some of my family went to a Hui Muslim restaurant. This is a Tibetan area, so everyone there is Tibetan. While we were eating, a Tibetan girl called to the owner and said, “Bring some soup” in Chinese. The owner only heard the word “tang” (soup) in her word, so after a while, the owner brought a bowl of the favorite mutton soup of Tibetan cadres of Labrang called “qing-tang-yang-rou” (mutton soup). Fortunately, a kindhearted elder understood the situation and explained that what the girl had ordered was noodle soup.

The owner served the girl a bowl of noodle soup with laughter and asked her with in the local Labrang dialect, “Why don’t you speak Tibetan?” In general, the girl should have been burning in shame with no courage to raise her head, but in reality it was the opposite. The girl, with great pride in her broken Chinese, asked the owner, “Can’t you understand that even I speak Chinese?” Even though a Hui-Muslim from Linxia City has a hard time understanding her Chinese, it was really surprising that she stayed still with great pride. While thinking about this, I tried to finish my bowl of noodles, but there was a fever over my whole body and I couldn’t eat. So, I put the bowl of noodles in a plastic bag and brought it home with me.

When I was walking on the street, I felt like I was the one who had spoken Chinese, and it seemed like all the Han Chinese and Hui Muslims on the street were looking at me.  I don’t know how I walked. I don’t even remember how I got in a taxi. Moreover, even when I sat on the sleeping-platform at home, I felt like all the objects around me were watching and mocking me. Then, I turned on the computer and thought I should write this down.  I also chose “Burning in Shame” for the title.




1 comment

  • this is a very important issue which is relevant for all tibetans and tibetan identity of language. but young generation is culturally confused. therfore they feel like second-class citizens because they are not expert in chinese so they forget it is good enough to be tibetan in tibet and not worry, because chinese are the newcomers not tibetans. the older generation or those who have good experience of tibetan education must be strong in showing that our language and our culture are valuable and can also serve people into a modern future.

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