Name: Ngawang Gyurmey Chagzoetsang
Interview Age: 73
Date of Birth: 1941
Birthplace: Karze, Kham, Tibet
Year Left Tibet: 1959
Political Prisoner: No
Interview No.: 26C
Location: Seattle, Washington, United States
Categories: Culture and History
Keywords: childhood memories, education, escape experiences, Chinese -- first appearance of, refugee in India -- life as, trade, Utsang
Ngawang Gyurmey Chagzoetsang was born in Karze District of Kham Province. His parents had seven children of which he is the second oldest. His father was a successful businessman trading all kinds of goods between Tibet, China and India. The family owned a retail store in Lhasa selling mainly tea brought from China. He fondly remembers how as children, they waited for various gifts that their father brought from the places he travelled to.
Ngawang Gyurmey Chagzoetsang was enrolled in Nyarongsha School in Lhasa at the age of 7 and describes the repetitive handwriting exercises that the students were subjected to daily. Since he was doing poorly in school, his mother sent him to study with his uncle at Sera Monastery. Then at the age of 16 he, along with two of his younger brothers, was sent to join Gaden Monastery as monks.
As a child Ngawang Gyurmey Chagzoetsang witnessed Chinese people leaving Lhasa by order of the Tibetan Government. Later the Communist Chinese appeared and set up military camps around Lhasa and gunshots could be heard at Gaden Monastery. Ngawang Gyurmey Chagzoetsang recounts his escape journey taking along his two little brothers. He was fortunate to reunite with the rest of his family in India. He received further education in exile and became a teacher himself.
- Marcella Adamski (Interviewer)
- Tony Sondag (Videographer)