National Geographic : 1955 Jul
33 Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic, Taught to the Tune of a Bamboo Stick Tibet has no public school system, but noblemen hire tutors for their children and those of their servants. The author found this outdoor school in session on the estate of Phalha Sey (left). Pupils are writing on smooth planks, copying Tibetan A B C's with homemade bamboo pens. "Every family is expected to give at least one son to the Church," a friend once told us. The vast majority of monks never rise above servility. Only a few become scholars. Winter froze a small tributary of the Kyi River. Lobsang and I found several pairs of ice skates in the city. Soon Lhasa young sters were "walking on knives" with grim enthusiasm (page 31). The Dalai Lama, confined to his lonely rooms, heard about the skating parties on the Kyi. But the Chagpori Hill hid the rink from his binoculars' line of vision. Through Lobsang, the enterprising young King, who had become an ardent photographer, deliv ered a motion picture camera to me with in structions to film all the fun and festivals that he could not see. Through the camera's view finder I witnessed the medieval glory and daily life of his city. Lobsang searched me out one day and said, casually, "The Kundun has expressed the wish that you construct a cinema house at the Jewel Park. He is eager to see the films, and there is no projection room in the Sum mit or the summer palace."