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Photographer's Note

This is Khedroob Thondup. He is an elected Member of Parliament for the Government in Exile for Tibet and the president of the Tibetan Refugee Self Help Center in Darjeeling, India. He is also the nephew of His Holiness the Dalai Lama; his father and His Holiness are brothers. I was lucky enough to go to a breakfast meeting with him Saturday morning, hear him speak and ask him questions.

It was fascinating to hear him speak and to have him pass along his experiences. I was really surprised at how openly he talked about past negotiations between his group, the government of China, the KMT and DPP parties of Taiwan and the methods and beliefs of those in his group who are looking for what they deserve; Tibetan autonomy.

Khedroob has led an interesting life himself. Living in exile in India, he has married a Taiwanese woman, the daughter of an ex KMT general as I understand and spends part of his time here in Taipei, as well as running the Darjeeling project.

Coming into the meeting, I knew he was a Member of Parliament for the exiled government, but I did not know he was the nephew of the Dalai Lama. With such a lineage, I guess one would have some preconceptions. Some of those preconceptions would be correct; he is a very gentle spoken, but extremely articulate man and clearly he has the sense of calm one would expect from the Dalai Lama's family. However, if you were to look at him and not know his story, what you would see is an intelligent, fully modern, very well dressed and well presented man who could easily be confused for an upple middle classed scholar. Not quite the traditional patina I associate with His Holiness.

The speech was interesting in that while he obvsiously espouses most of the same values of the Dalai Lama, there are also obvious core beliefs where they differ. Within the discussion, he talked about the inevitability of succession, as the Dalai Lama is not a young man and what potential changes in the laws of succession might come up as well. As I said, the level of candor he expressed was somewhat surprising, but totally appreciated.

Khedroob is certainly one of the most interesting and admirable people I have met; I was really lucky to have the experience I did Saturday. On a personal level, he even looked at the photos of my daughter and commented nicely on those too. Just a very nice man.

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Additional Photos by Darren Melrose (Darren) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1470 W: 120 N: 1049] (6823)
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