Interviewee Profile

Name: Tsering Choden
(Alias: Yes)

Gender: Female

Interview Age: 68

Date of Birth: 1946

Birthplace: Lhasa, Utsang, Tibet

Year Left Tibet: 1956

Profession: N/A

Monk/Nun: No

Political Prisoner: No

Interview Details

Interview No.: 25C

Date: 2014-11-14

Language: English

Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

Categories: Culture and History

Keywords: childhood memories, Chinese rule -- life under, Chushi Gangdrug guerrillas, clothing/weaving, customs/traditions, education, festivals, houses/villages, pilgrimage, refugee in India -- life as, trade, Utsang, wealthy/upper class


Tsering Choden was born in a well-to-do family in Lhasa. Her father was in the import-export business and she fondly remembers when her father brought bubble gum and hair ribbons as gifts from his trade missions to India. She describes their spacious house, inhabited by many relatives and tenants, and the meals they enjoyed. She recalls the silk and brocade dresses and explains the aprons worn by the women and the patu--a girl's coming of age ceremony. She enjoyed visiting the nearby Jokhang Temple and learning about the Buddha's life. Her family was known for their gifts to the great monasteries near Lhasa.

Tsering Choden talks about her schooling in Lhasa and her talent in performing song and dance. Her Chinese teachers advised her parents to send her to Beijing for further education. When her parents were unable to continue making excuses to avoid sending her to China, they took her instead to India in 1956 and left her in a boarding school in West Bengal.

Tsering Choden was fortunate to be reunited with both of her parents after nearly three years. She didn't learn until later that her father was one of the leaders in the Chushi Gangdrug Defend Tibet Volunteer Force and had been declared dead. Although injured, he managed to escape to India at the same time as His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Interview Team:

  • Marcella Adamski (Interviewer)
  • Tony Sondag (Videographer)
Interview Video

Link: Watch On Youtube

Topic: Interview with Tsering Choden (alias) on 11/14/2014

Length: 01:01:23

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