Social Media Executive (SME): Could you tell me briefly about yourself?
TT: My name is Tashi Thakchoe. I joined the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) 18 years ago. Currently, I am working at Kashag Secretariat.
In 2001, started working at the Audit office and a year later, I was recruited as a full-fledged commissioned staff of the CTA.
My first posting was in Tibetan Dickey Larsoe Co-operative Society Ltd., Bylakuppe as a Chief Accountant and later designated as Executive Secretary. In 2005, I was transferred to the Kashag Secretariat where I worked for almost a decade and was assigned various responsibilities including the record-keeping of Cabinet meetings for over 6 years. During this period, I had the privileged opportunity to attend more than 400 cabinet meetings.
Having been selected in 2014 for the post of Secretary of Tibet Information Office, Canberra, I moved to Australia with my two beautiful children and my beautiful wife and worked there for 5 years. Working in the Office of Tibet is an entirely different experience and a special privilege.
On 22nd August 2019, I returned to Dharamsala, back at the Kashag Secretariat once again, having completed my tenure at the Office of Tibet.
As a gesture of gratitude, I would like to mention that I am a pure product of Tibetan Homes School (THS), Mussoorie. Since joining the school in 1986, after my escape from Tibet, until my graduation in 1997, THS has groomed me into the person I am today. I am extremely grateful to my alma mater for providing me and many others like me with a home-like environment and more importantly, a valued based education.
Since I am not as qualified as other staff, I kept my qualification at the last. I completed my Bachelor of Commerce degree from St. Joseph’s College, Darjeeling. To boost my morale, I should add that I am a natural leader: I was a school prefect in THS, and also the Tibetan Department head in St. Joseph’s College.
I was the lyricist in the Tibetan album Miyul and others. I researched modern Tibetan songs in 2001 and produced a compilation album called Gasue Thaldra (Applause). So far, I have published three series of Tibetan Lyrics book.
SM: Please explain your job description and how best does your work represents you or vice versa.
TT: I am assigned to scrutinize the Consolidated Audit Report of CTA Departments and its branch offices. I am a ‘one-man army’ in the Kashag Secretariat’s Audit Scrutiny and Follow-up Section.
This section is also tasked with scrutinizing the Consolidated Report of Tibetan Parliament-in-exile’s Public Accounts Committee and preparing a draft of the Kashag’s response to the report.
This section, furthermore, assists in drafting official bills for the Executive to table at the Parliament session for discussion and debate.
My past work experience at the Kashag Secretariat, combined with my accounting knowledge and unique exposure overseas, helps me in carrying out my responsibilities effectively.
SME: What inspired you to serve the CTA?
TT: When I was in Tibetan Homes School, I was unaware that we could serve the CTA. In fact, Dharamsala is far from Mussoorie and we did not have any access to any information about CTA. Thus, I always appreciated what the school has done for us and wished to work for the school.
From an early age, I had faith within that I can do something good and useful for our society. I tried to get a job in THF (Tibetan Homes Foundation) but there was no job. I then looked for a job outside the Tibetan community and landed a job that included a handsome pay that came with many perks.
I decided to do it for the rest of my life which meant I was going to live away from the Tibetan community. I came to Dharamsala for a short trip, prior to joining my new job, to meet my friends. Never did I knew that my journey of civil service at the CTA would begin on that short visit.
In short, my service in CTA didn’t start out of inspiration but by fate, and now I can say that I have a good fate.
SME: What does it mean for you to be a civil servant in CTA?
TT: I was born in Tsogo, a small village in the Dhingri district of southern Tibet. To my knowledge, there isn’t any person from my village or district who has ever worked for the Tibetan government in free Tibet. Thus, you can imagine how big a deal it is for me to be a civil servant of the Central Tibetan Administration. My parents are so proud that I am a Shungshab. I am sure, my village people are also equally proud of me.
I always believe that I am in this position by the grace of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Central Tibetan Administration, and my school, Tibetan Homes School, Mussoorie.
SME: How best do you think you can make a difference to CTA?
TT: While working at the Bylakuppe Tibetan settlement, I realized that a CTA staff needed to be available beyond the official working hours. We had to be 24X7 available in the service of the settlement. As the Tibetan saying goes, we were a man in the day and dog in the night.
Owing to limited resources, the staff at the Offices of Tibet (like my role in Canberra) had to wear different hats. We had meetings and social gatherings to attend during weekends as part of our official role.
What I meant to say is that a civil servant must always be prepared to face challenges and different nature of work. We are playing an important role in keeping our struggle alive. By discharging our responsibilities in earnest with our heart and soul, I believe, we can make a real difference to CTA.
SME: Who is your role model and why?
TT: I don’t really have any particular role model in my life. Every person who came across my life has taught me something or the other. But I very fondly remember the moral stories told by my school Tibetan teacher, Geshe Jamyang Gyatso-la. Those practical stories have motivated and guided me in life.
My brave and intelligent Ani-Tsering-Bhuti-la from Darjeeling has a huge influence on my lifestyle and philosophy.
SME: What is your piece of advice for the young Tibetans serving or wishing to serve at CTA?
TT: Whenever someone asks me for advice, I always remember the words of Taring-Ama-la, (that our teachers in school always reminded us): “Do your best, very very best, do it every day”. I also would like to remind this to all of my younger colleagues in the Central Tibetan Administration.
Since we are working for an important cause, we should work differently. When we work for CTA, we can’t compare it with others. We can’t work like others. Just work for CTA and work for Tibet, our forbidden country.