Tuesday, September 16, 2014

New books to read--

Oopsy daisy--good shot!

I just bought Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the end of the Lane, and did not buy the Selasi book, Ghana must Go.


How did I do it?

By browsing the bookstore and reading the first few pages.

I also dipped around in Kurt Vonnegut's Collected Letters--the voice is incredible, and it was not expensive, only abt $6 for a hardcover--however, I bought 2 other books and I have been eating out a lot this month, and so--

But I read as much of the Letters as I could--Enough to absorb that compassionate, angry and frank and honest voice.

The editor of the book must have collected all these letters, as legally letters belong to the recipient.

So it goes.  :)

Vonnegut started talking and writing about the fire bombing of Dresden by the Allies, in which 250,00 died "but not me" as soon as he got back to the USA, and was one of the earliest instructors at Iowa Writing Program.


Monday, September 15, 2014

Flash fiction featuring my late mentor, Dr. Aye Hlaing, economic historian--

Flash fiction--

I had a strange dream, almost sure it was not a nightmare, in which I went and visited U Aye Hlaing in his office, to talk about my upcoming Ph.D. defense.
He said, "Expect some flak from someone named Baw Saing," (after the silver mine).

I know no one named Baw Saing.

In the dream the paper was about agricultural debt.

I have never in my life been a specialist on the agricultural sector, and never written about Berm agriculture except in the macro-context, regarding agricultural surplus and fixed state procurement prices in the macroeconomic context.

I told Saya Aye Hlaing that probably this Baw Saing wanted to come and say it was all his work.

Saya said, "It obviously is not, but you should not be complacent.  After all, they are open defenses, and anyone can come.

"I don't want you to be nervous, but you should prepare meticulously, review your data and go over it again."

I said Yes, I would do that.

I thought of the piles of printouts collecting dust in my other house in the country.

In this dream I was about 27 years old, and Saya was about fifty, perhaps.

In those days I thought of anyone sixty as very old.

I asked him what he thought was a reasonable date to give me time to prepare, and he said, "Maybe schedule the exam for the 3rd week of October."

I said I could prove that my paper predated Baw Saing's, as I had a dated pdf in which he had criticized me--I guess from a Jin nationalistic viewpoint, though it was not clear.

In this dated pdf he had referred to my unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, and therefore it was obvious he had not written my dissertation, which predated his "critique."

During our chat in the office, there were 3 other men who were uninvited participants who did not leave, who eavesdropped and even tried to join the conversation.

This is quite usual in Berm and Berm society, and I have even noticed a monk, who said he was not The U Jotika, eavesdropping on me and my student MMT, when I was explaining to him how he could get his wife to join him in the USA.

I resent this monk, who did not move away but pretended to be studying a painting near us.

This happens all the time, and in my dream, I mentioned it obliquely to Saya--"These people who are here running interference."

But the three Jin men did not move away.

Though they were somewhat better than the white woman, interested in Asian trade, who asked me if I was for engagement, or "Just another of those Berm specialists" at a presentation in DC sometime in 2009.

Because Saya said, "Third week of October,"

I thought of the family obligations I had with my husband's family, where an elder had just died.

Aloud I asked, "If I don't get through, can the exam be scheduled another time?"

He replied, "By Laws say it can be re-scheduled one more time, and that would be your last chance."

I thought how I would present it to my eldest daughter that I needed to come to her house in Charles Town and fly there by plane.

Suddenly, I was not 27 anymore, but 73.

Saya was asking me the ages of my 5 children, and I was calculating in my head and telling him.

The Jin were still hanging around eavesdropping and collecting information.

Copyright KMKaung

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Washington Post books--Pulitzers--

Wash Washington Post books--too many too thought provoking, too good to list separately--Now this is JOURNALISM--not the Burmese translations broadcasters--


Friday, September 12, 2014

Best Bagan Temple ref site--use on visits--highly recommended--


Impt--Bob Hudson PhD thesis on Bagan--Burma

Important--this I do recommend

You may not be able to wrap your flibbergitty mind around anything longer than 500 words, but you should read this, esp if you consider yourself Burmese or great myanmar--

Bob Hudson, The Origins of Bagan, Ph.D. thesis, Univ of Sydney.

Disclaimer, I don't know and I have never met him, and he did not respond to an email asking for help as a reader for a Bagan novel.

Hudson-2004-The Origins Of Bagan-PhD thesis

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Cat Stevens--My Lady D'arbanville

One of my all time favorites--His girl friend's name was really D'arbanville
and the song is so intricate, with its rhythms redolent of India--Love it.


It's 9/11 today--The Prayer--

It's 9/11 and we did not even remember it--

The Prayer-


Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Mayo Clinic on depression--a treatable disease--


flash fiction sketch--couple on subway--by KMKaung

Flash fiction sketch--#2

Young couple on the subway.

Everyone these days is looking downward at the App on their cell phone.

The phones glow in all colors in the dim light of the subway--Washington Metro, Red Line.

All of them have ear buds in their ears.

I have a sudden fantasy of some authoritarian hacker getting into all their earphones, and telling them this or that about each other, so all of them are going to have their lives disrupted.

I used to think they must all be so well connected, to be talking connecting like this all the time.

But maybe not.  Maybe it's just like me and my 4080 friends on Face About.

We hardly really know each other, but we think we do.

I used to walk around Inner City Philadelphia with a poet, who was only a little bit screw loose.

When we saw a bit of a building lintel lying on the pavement, she wanted it, so I helped her get it to her house.

Inside her house all the level surfaces were covered by tons of little figurines, each less than 6 inches tall.

There must have been thousands of them.

They must collect a lot of dust.

I wonder what they are doing.

Do they help her write poetry.

She's the poet who once read a piece of poetry eating a sandwich.

She's the one who said of me--"You do look a bit impoverished."

As I was applying for jobs at that point, I would say she was quite accurate.

On the subway, the young couple were very taken with each other, in a very nice, endearing way.

They were the only people looking at each other, and actually talking to each other, instead of looking at their cell phones.

At the back the baby in the carriage kept going, "Wai, wair,"

but if I were in Berm, I would write the sound "oo nge, oo nge"

This bothered one writing instructor.

I said, "That's the way babies cry in Berm.  Like dogs here go bow wow," but she did not quite get it, and refused to let it go.

On the subway, the young woman was a bit shorter than the young man, as they usually are.

Though there were a lot of empty seats, as we were going downtown while most people were leaving work, going in the opposite direction, they still did not sit down, but preferred to stand near a pole and talk and look at each other.

She had pale brown skin and black hair, and he had pale hair and pink skin.

Other than that, they were so alike in facial features, small cute little eyes, pert noses, white teeth, I hoped they weren't half-siblings conceived by artificial insemination with sperm from the same donor and different mothers.

What then?

They were so nice to look at, beside them the pale man sitting left of the aisle with his blond hair, blond eyebrows and blond eyelashes, seemed really pale by comparison.

After a while we started getting closer to the fashionable stops downtown, and the couple, if they were a couple, started looking as if they were about to say goodbye or else it was their stop, and they would get off together.

But they looked like people who had just met each other, not people long married or living together.

The man got off at Dupont Circle.

Even before the train pulled out of the station, and the young man disappeared on the platform, the young woman quietly pulled her cell phone out of her carryall bag, and put an ear phone in her ear, and starting scrolling through messages with her finger.

Now what was that?

Copyright KMKaung

flash fiction--sketch--mad woman--by Kyi May Kaung

Flash fiction--sketch--

Mad homeless woman by the Memorial.

I got off the subway and wished I had gone upstairs before leaving and gotten my cotton jacket.

The breeze is starting to get cool.

On the top of the circular Memorial steps was a woman, with a bag and struggling to put on another shirt.

I thought as I had some time before the Meetup, I would go down into the center of the Memorial and take some photos.

Down there was a very good statue of a soldier in some dark material, maybe lead?

My camera felt like it was running out of batteries, and I don't know if I got the pictures.

But I tried several times.

When I turned my back, I heard some shouting, but no intelligible words.

It was the crazy homeless woman making her statement.

I wondered when it would be me, standing on top of the steps like that, making my Statement.

In the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, right in front of the National Archives building.

She sure had a sense of timing and place, though maybe crazy as a coot.

I did not go near her, but think she may show up in a photo taken from about 100 yards away.

Because the negative space the sky made between the streets was very interesting.

Copyright KMKaung