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Bhuchang Kata

  • 15 Jun, 2023
  • Admin

All we have are our stories: Bhuchung Kata on Aha Moments and role of social media


We caught up with Bhuchung Kata la, whose talk show Aha Moments has captivated audience with his unique interviewing style and engaging conversations. He recently wrapped up an incredible workshop at Bangkok, Thailand, organised by Youth Beyond Borders which aims to support some Youth Champions (YCs) from Cambodia, Myanmar, Lao PDR, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and the Tibetan exile community in India to serve as key agents in promoting regional harmony and amplifying moderate voices of understanding and inclusivity.

1. What inspired you to start your YouTube channel, Aha Moments, and how has the journey been so far?

I am a Tibetan who came from Tibet and was exiled in India. Tibetans who come from Tibet do not have many possessions to bring; all we have are our stories. I believe that every person has their own story to tell, and this is our greatest asset. As a Tibetan youth, I believe I can create a bridge between Tibetan youth and elders, those who are employed and unemployed, and those who have plans and those who don't. The most important thing is that in the past, I worked as an admission helper for a long time, interacting with many people in our Tibetan society and traveling to various places. 

In our Tibetan community, some Tibetans contribute by working with our Tibetan government in exile, while a few contribute financially. However, there are very few who contribute by sharing ideas. That is why, through this (AHA MOMENT) platform, we can exchange ideas. I believe that contributing ideas to our community is significant, and I see this as an opportunity. This is how my first inspiration started.

2. As a Tibetan living outside of Tibet, how do you stay connected to your roots and maintain a sense of cultural identity?

People hold diverse perspectives on cultural identity. In my personal opinion, the key to maintaining a sense of cultural identity and staying connected to our roots lies in acknowledging and cherishing the experiences and narratives of our elder generation, particularly those who were born in Tibet. When I attentively listen to our elders sharing their stories, my commitment to staying connected to our cultural heritage grows stronger. Recognizing the significance of emotions and narratives is also vital for ensuring the long-term preservation of our cultural identity.

3. Can you share with us some of your favorite moments or experiences that you've had while creating content for your channel?

It has been a year since I started my YouTube Channel, and I must say I have had a wonderful experience overall. However, there are moments when people criticize and leave negative comments. Nevertheless, I remain focused on my goal and vision, determined to persist in my efforts. When I initially launched my Aha moment Channel, I had limited knowledge about the technical aspects, so I decided to find a cameraman. Unfortunately, while we were in the middle of shooting, his camera broke. Not only was his camera expensive, but we hadn't anticipated this happening. Despite the setback, we persevered and continued with our work. Another incident occurred when we conducted an interview with our Sikyong, but unfortunately, the video file became corrupted afterwards. I shared similar feelings and emotions with certain individuals, and our connection was strong on an emotional level. This is how my favorite moment came into being, created beautifully for me.

4. How do you believe your platform can contribute to raising awareness and understanding about the Tibetan community and culture to a global audience?

I believe that within our Tibetan community, I can make a small contribution. For instance, Tibetans who follow my YouTube channel can gain fresh ideas, especially the Tibetan youth. Naturally, I can become a role model for them and provide motivation. I have conducted interviews with several private organizations in the past. They shared their plans and strategies with me, but they did not execute them. However, some organizations expressed their desire to execute these plans, but no proper plans and strategies. so I believe I am bridging the gap and making connections for them. Additionally, there are organizations that lack funds, and through my network, they were able to secure funding. I have had many great experiences like these, and I am proud of myself. These experiences motivate me to continue my work consistently. I cannot provide extensive awareness about the Tibet issue to a global audience because my YouTube Channel is conducted in the Tibetan language. However, a few Tibetans residing in foreign countries watch my videos. After watching the videos, they experience strong emotions and share them with their friends, creating a ripple effect. In the future, if feasible, I will also create videos in English. 

5. In your opinion, what are some of the biggest challenges facing the Tibetan community today, and how do you hope to address these through your channel?

 In every society, there are certain problems that exist. During my interviews, I have had the opportunity to speak not only with Tibetans but also with individuals from the Himalayan region, which includes countries like Nepal, Bhutan, and Sikkim. It is important to note that these countries have their own distinct identities. As I delved deeper into my observations, I noticed that the Tibetan community exhibits unity and supports one another in times of need.

Based on my experiences, I have found that the biggest challenges faced by Tibetans revolve around the absence of a clear path, be it in terms of organizational structure, private endeavors, or individual pursuits. Recognizing the significance of having a clear direction in one's career, I have dedicated my Aha Moment YouTube channel to the theme of "Dream, Hope, Ideas." Through my channel, I aim to contribute to addressing this issue by utilizing my capacity to assist others. 

6.What can we expect from your channel in the future, and do you have any exciting projects or collaborations in the works?

Currently, we do not have any specific projects, as our learning and development occur through our work. The Aha Moment channel does not serve as my primary source of income. I do not travel specifically for the Aha Moment channel; rather, I have other purposes for my travels. However, during my travels, I take the opportunity to meet people and create Aha Moment videos. Recently, I had the privilege of interviewing Ama Methok Yangchen, who is like a grandmother to me. Her video received a decent number of views, and many people in our society connected with her story on an emotional level. After the video was released, several individuals contacted me and expressed their interest in collaborating to create more videos featuring remarkable elders like Ama Methok Yangchen. They are fascinated by the stories of our older generations and the struggles they have endured. They appreciated my interviewing style, describing it as casual and effective in unearthing captivating narratives from our elders.

They explained that traditional media outlets have formalities and employ well-dressed interviewers, which often makes interviewees nervous and creates pressure, hindering them from opening up. In light of this feedback, I am considering collaborating with these individuals to produce new episodes focusing on the stories of our elders. I believe it is vital for our younger generation to be aware of and preserve our unique identity by understanding the experiences of our elders.

7. As an interviewer with so wide an experience, how does it feel to be interviewed, sitting on this side of the table?  

I don't have much experience being as a interviewer. Usually, I'm the one asking questions to others. However, recently I had the opportunity to be interviewed by Radio Free Asia. What I find valuable about being asked questions is that it helps me gain clarity and sheds light on aspects of myself that may have been in the dark. It's like someone is awakening me from a deep slumber when they ask me questions.

8. What do you think is the role of social media in today’s world and how it will help in spreading awareness about Tibet and its culture and traditions?

Social media platforms play diverse roles depending on individuals' skill sets and interests. Some people enjoy creating food-related videos or writing blogs on social media. For instance, there are Tibetan individuals living abroad who exclusively focus on sharing videos of Tibetan cuisine on platforms like YouTube. These videos have sparked interest in cooking different Tibetan dishes among viewers. Additionally, social media has facilitated the circulation of Tibetan circle dance videos, known as Gorshey, within the Tibetan community. As a result, more Tibetans have developed a keen interest in traditional Tibetan attire and dance forms.

Social media possesses tremendous power, as demonstrated through a personal experience. During my visit to Gankyi in Dharamshala, I had the opportunity to interview our esteemed political leader, Sikyong Penpa Tsering la, for our YouTube Channel called AHA MOMENT. Despite lacking any official position or prior experience, I was granted an unexpected and fortunate meeting with Sikyong, lasting over an hour. Interestingly, during the same time, a head monk from a Tibetan monastery was also visiting Sikyong to release of his book, but he was only given a brief 5-minute audience. This stark contrast highlights the influence of social media in today's generation. If Tibetans utilize social media responsibly and effectively, it can greatly benefit our cause and raise awareness about our unique culture worldwide. Conversely, if misused, it can lead to conflicts.

9.  You have had the opportunity to interact with many Tibetans from various fields. What are your key takeaways from the experience of hearing their stories? One memorable moment, if there is one.

Every individual is unique, and therefore, each person's experiences are also distinct. As a Tibetan, the majority of Tibetan adults consistently emphasize the message of never giving up on the Tibet Cause and continuing the current efforts, with the belief that success will be achieved one day. However, in my interactions with various individuals through my YouTube Channel, I have found that many of them stress the significance of health in one's life. Regardless of where you allocate your resources or time, investing in your own health is of utmost importance. If your well-being is compromised, it becomes challenging to pursue your dreams, aspirations, and future plans. The prevailing message conveyed by most individuals is that health should be a top priority. Furthermore, as an activist, the resounding message remains to never give up on the Tibet cause.

When it comes to my most memorable moments, I have had different experiences with different people. However, one recent interview stands out in my mind. I had the opportunity to interview Amala Methok Yangchen la on our YouTube Channel. Prior to the interview, her son and daughter informed me that she is elderly and requires rest every 10 minutes. I agreed and began the interview. To my surprise, Amala Methok shared captivating stories without pause for a remarkable two hours. Her son and daughter were astounded because she typically tires easily. Moreover, they mentioned that she was sharing stories we had never heard before, ones she wouldn't have shared if asked directly, according to Amala's son. 

Behind the camera, I noticed Amala's son and daughter were frequently shedding tears. Initially, I assumed it was due to the emotional nature of Amala's struggle stories. However, during our lunch together, they confided in me that this episode featuring Amala was their "Aha moment." They were overwhelmed with silence and emotions. During our conversation, they revealed that the doctor had given Amala only three weeks to live, unbeknownst to her. Hence, this story held immense significance for them. It marked Amala's final documentary and shed light on the gradual disappearance of our Tibetan tradition and culture.

As our grandparents, who hailed from Tibet, pass away, their tales about our homeland vanish along with them. Originally scheduled for release in June, this episode took priority due to Amala's limited time, and she found joy in witnessing her "Aha moment." We promptly edited and released the video of the Amala interview. This experience reaffirmed my belief in the critical role of preserving our elders' Tibetan stories, as they are essential to the Tibetan cause and the safeguarding of our unique culture and identity. Therefore, this recent encounter stands out as my most memorable moment.

10. Lastly, your message to the Tibetan, especially young Tibetan youth in exile?

I am not someone to deliver a message to our young generation. However, if I may share my opinion, if you wish to pursue something and understand the reasons behind it, it should be akin to Ikigai. If you possess both interest and skill in a particular field, it is crucial to consider whether it benefits our society as well. People may talk behind your back and question you, but as long as you have a clear path and vision, you can confidently proceed. Knowing oneself well will make it easier to integrate into society. Our young generation lacks the inclination to differentiate based on religious sects. I believe that among the younger generation, fewer individuals make distinctions based on religious sects. Therefore, if the youth unite and choose the right path, they possess significant power. The younger generation represents the future's potential and valuable assets. Lastly, never give up!