Happy old resident in downtown Lhasa

By Song Wei (
Updated: 2011-08-23 10:42

Happy old resident in downtown Lhasa

Perpa, 68, lives in a four-story apartment in Lhasa, Aug 22, 2011. The compound where Perpa lives.[Photo/]

Perpa, a 68-year-old retiree, lives in a four-story compound building only 500 meters east of the well-known Jokhang Temple in Lhasa. The entrance to the compound is hidden among fancy decorated shops selling Tibetan artworks and souvenirs.

The entrance leads to a not spacious but neat and quiet residents' compound, which is surrounded by four-story apartments on four sides. Perpa lives on the fourth floor.

Following him up to his apartment, Perpa told me he used to live in a shabby apartment with no running water that seldom saw the sunlight all year round, but his new apartment is quite the opposite.

"Though it is only 49 square meters, it is enough for me," he said, explaining that he has been living alone since last year, when his wife died. He has two sons, both married and each with one little boy.

Even though he lives alone, Perpa said he didn't feel lonely because his sons and daughters-in-law were very dutiful, and he could go stay with them whenever he wanted. Both of Perpa's sons are civil servants and live not far away from their father.

Having "no burden", Perpa was content with his current life – he is in good health, and receives 1,000 yuan a month in retirement pension after working as a carpenter.

Moreover, Perpa has his own routines. He gets up at 7:00 am every morning, makes himself tea and breakfast, cleans his rooms and then does rituals as a Buddhist devotee – such as walking clockwise around Jokhang Temple while meditating.

"Life is much better now, you see, the straight concrete roads in front of my house have taken place of muddy roads, so for me, it is quite a convenience," he said with a grin.

The happy old man said he was not at all 'annoyed or disturbed' by the increasing tourists visiting Lhasa each year. "Tourism has been boosting Tibet's economy and I am happy about that.

"The changes in the past years in Tibet have brought great happiness to Tibetans, and I will continue to pray for a better life, not only for me, but also for the whole world," Perpa said.

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