My Kind of Town

Don Chapman

Different jobs

>> Kapalama Heights

The Honolulu city lights glittering below, Kamasami Khan noted, had nothing on this young lama's head, even with the blond surfer boy wig and Quiksilver cap. And now, as he spoke of his reason for choosing this time to reincarnate, his head was like a beacon.

"Yes, of course, friend Khan, we will need your help, as always," the second Lama Jey Tsong Khapa said. At 18, the Liliha native was making his first return to Hawaii since being identified at age 2 and spending 16 years in the Himalayas of India and Nepal studying and meditating. "We will need you and all Tibetans to rededicate themselves to the teaching of Buddha. Only in this way will we end suffering and return peace to Tibet."

"That's your job, your holiness. Mine is different," said Khan, descended from the mighty Khans of Mongolia.

"And that is?"

"Keeping you safe from Te-Wu, first of all. We're told the Chinese secret police had at least 25 people at the arena this evening, including your driver, with orders to make you disappear.

"But there is more. Always through the centuries, even as Tibet became a peaceful Buddhist society, the Dalai Lama counted on the Khans to offer protection. Nobody in the world wanted the wrath of the ferocious Khans upon them, and Tibet remained free. Over time, though, our wealthy royal patrons -- some have called them war lords -- felt better about giving money to universities and monasteries, and acquiring merit points in the eyes of Buddha. And so, declining in numbers, we trained in the shadows, part-time warriors.

"The movement remained alive, but just barely, for we Khans and others of the warrior society recognized the importance of self-defense. By the time the Chinese began their occupation in 1949, however, the Tibetan warrior society consisted of only a handful of people, including my grandfather, who died fighting the Chinese butchers."

"And so you carry on his work."

"I do, with others of the Free Tibet Warrior Society. We have been secretly organizing, planning and training -- with the intent of returning to Tibet and conducting guerilla actions against the occupying Chinese Army, while others target government structures in Beijing."

"And apart from making yourselves feel better, at least until you're captured and tortured, what are your goals?"

"To shake the Chinese faith in themselves, to create fear and doubt. Already there are signs of weakness. Remember, Mau Tse-tung said the Chinese would have 250,000 Chinese living in Tibet, but today only about 50,000 are there, and they're mostly in the border areas. Actual Chinese people do not want to live in Tibet. And world opinion is on our side. The Communists are vulnerable to our attacks."

The lama's head had lost its luster.

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Don Chapman is editor of MidWeek. His serialized novel runs daily in the Star-Bulletin. He can be e-mailed at


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