"He will keep his spiritual role but wants to lessen his political burden as he moves into retirement," the report went. Yesterday, Tibetans denied that they were taken aback by the news: recently in the US, they pointed out, he had told a group of students that he was already "semi-retired", and would "retire completely" within a few years. ... He will hand over to the directly elected prime minister, elected by Tibetans living around the world.I have to say, when I saw him speak recently at Rice, I was underwhelmed. English isn't his first language, but his entire speech was just a rambling collection of vague platitudes. His translator, which occasionally and eloquently took over when the Dalai Lama couldn't find the right words, stole the show. The only entertaining bit was his habit of random maniacal laughter.