KATHMANDU, May 7, 2008-- People's lifestyle in Tibet has totally changed, but the local culture has remained unchanged, said a Nepali journalist who visited the Tibetan Plateau last year.
"When we can compare Tibet 50 years ago to the new Tibet, there is massive change. People's lifestyle has totally changed. But their culture is still as it was," Bhojraj Bhat, who works for the Nepal Weekly News Magazine, one of the best-selling journals in the country, told Xinhua in a recent interview.
"I can tell everyone, every forum, what I saw there, as you know fact is fact," said Bhat, who paid a half-month visit to China's Tibet Autonomous Region and Qinghai province last September.
"Almost all the people can be seen clutching mobile phones in their hands; and underground fiber optics have linked each house with landline telephones there," he once described Lhasa in his essay, "Changed Appearance," published in the Nepal Weekly News Magazine.
"In some places, a single road has been transformed into double flyovers. Let alone a piece of dirt at the market areas and roads, there isn't even a piece of paper or plastic on the ground. Even the transportation system is very systematic," Bhat wrote in the essay.
"In Qinghai province, I found quite new things. There are Muslim communities and also Buddhists but they have social harmony," he said.
"I visited some monasteries, and conducted some interviews with monks too. They were so happy with the government. They want to secure their future as citizens of a country in rapid development, as well as preserving their culture," Bhat added. "Somebody told me they want to back the Dalai Lama as a monk but not as a political leader."
"I was wondering about it when seeing some new activities in Tibet and Qinghai. Before I went to this Plateau area, I had made up my mind that 'most of the people are followers of the Dalai Lama, they used to pray in a traditional way, etc.' But when I went there, I found quite a different situation," he said. "Most of the Buddhists are changing. They are grasping technology. They use mobile phones, cars and hi-tech products."
In "Changed Appearance" published last November, Bhat described what he saw in Lhasa.
"However, the sights of Buddhist monks busy with their prayers at monasteries in Lhasa are also common till now. The effect of development and change can also be seen in the monasteries and the monks there," he wrote.
"One can easily see very modern LCD television sets inside the monasteries, with monks and nuns riding motorbikes in very well-ironed clothes and talking through state-of-the-art mobile phone sets," Bhat said in the essay.
He narrated with surprise, "Before, I watched some western films and there were some anti-China movement scenes, but I never saw any activities of anti-China perception there. People told me they wanted development, they needed basic infrastructure, and the government provided them."
"Some of the Indian newspapers also exaggerated the Dalai Lama's activities. I try to find facts to match that news, but I couldn't find anything. Then, I made up my mind these western and Indian media want to manipulate the reality," he said.
Development has occurred in the Tibetan Plateau, but culture is still there, Bhat noted.
"This is a new type of theory," he said. "We, the Nepali people, should learn from Tibet."