Saturday, March 28, 2015

Kyi May Kaung's review of Stephen Baxter's Behemoth--

Fantastic trip, backwards or is it forwards, and to another planet, written in lyrical, descriptive prose.

I have never read anything by Stephen Baxter before, and how I got to this was from trying to find out what it must have been like for the first humans to cross the Bering Land Bridge from Asia into the Americas.  I expected no more than a rather insipid strained reconstruction of archaeological findings. 

Instead, I was taken on a fabulous ride.

Everything Baxter writes here is perfectly credible and logical, and it is all presented from "inside the head" of a major mammoth character.

In the time line, it is a bit like A Canticle for Saint Leibowitz, in that the 3 novels are  separated by aeons of time, yet all part of one Cycle, as the mammoths call it.

Baxter has created the mammoths own epic creation story, and it is told as the mammoths talk to each other, sometimes by stomping on the ground.

This novel creates so beautifully the meaning of the old adage "Elephants have long memories."  Perhaps it is easier for me to suspend disbelief, as I grew up on elephant stories, such as from the Buddhist jataka, where the Buddha was once an elephant king.  And in other incarnations, he was always surrounded by elephants and other animals.

I must say the mammoth characters are all superbly rounded, and much more believable than many homo sapiens sapiens characters written by some writers.

You can't help but root for Silverhair, Longtusk and Icebones, Silverhair's daughter.

The writing is very visual and descriptive, but you are never bored.

The landscape is part of the story, and details of landscape are given at the moment, for instance, that the mammoth characters encounter difficulties on their trek, such as glaciers, volcanoes, Blood Weeds and Breathing Trees.

And there are just not mammoths, but also mastadon(t)s, and differently evolved mammoths.

It is not just whimsical, and God-forbid, not cute at all, but very deep, and displays a deep sadness at what humans have done to the world and are still doing to it.

The humans are called The Lost, and Baxter has only one Neanderathal or Neandertal left.

The new humans he calls "Firehead", and in the second story, they grow more and more sinister and the politics and interpersonal relationships of Bedrock, Crocus, the Shaman and Longtusks become intricately interlinked.

There is a lot of conflict and violence.

Very little sex, as this was meant to be for a Young Adult audience.

He also knows a lot about elephants.

It gave me an idea to write--but I cannot talk about it here.

I am now a card-carrying Stephen Baxter fan-

Wow!  I don't understand why it has not been made into a movie, but I hope it will not be Disneyfied.  That would be almost as bad a disaster as the disasters portrayed in the three  novels.

Copyright KMKaung

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Power and Plenty, by Ronald Findlay and Kevin O'Rourke

Highly recommended The Power of Plenty by Drs. Ronald Findlay and Kevin O'Rourke

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Review by NNA of my novella The Rider of Crocodiles by K.M.Kaung

Review of The Rider of Crocodiles

By K.M.Kaung

This is my first time reading of this author K.M.Kaung novella even though it is not her first book of publication.

To my opinion, Ms Kaung’s novella “Rider of Crocodiles” is a kind of a bedtime Legendary story which is a factual fiction for all time.  As a novella, it could not give very details in some parts as I expected, yet from the night scene of invasion force entering into the Ayuthia area from northwest, I felt empathy for the people’s tears and fear and unpleasant scene of war.         

However, my curiosity was aroused to dig out more about the descendants of Saman, rider of crocodiles, if I get a chance to visit Central Myanmar after all.  I recommend this book to the parents for those telling the legendary stories to their children and surely they will love it.

(English grammar not edited)

.   The Rider of Crocodiles
Dr. Kaung was traveling in Thailand when a colleague told her his great great grandfather was not killed in Ayuthia in 1767 when the Burmese invaded, as he knew how to ride crocodiles.
print edition

Monday, March 23, 2015

Important post--on line compilation of all UN Human Rights Rapporteur's Reports on Burma to date--Read them

Important post--

All UN Human Rights Rapporteurs Reports, compiled on line.

Read them!

Listen to Democracy Now with Amy Goodman--

I cannot recommend highly enough--Democracy Now with Amy Goodman--only in depth radio TV interviews anywhere--

I do not know why vaunted Burmese have not been interviewed by her.  She seems to be one of few journalists who really does her homework,

not some bumbling airhead.


Qin Shi Huaung Ti--Chinese emperor--fr Burmese wikipedia

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Thanks for buying my books--from my FB page

Someone bought some of my books in Japan via Kindle--it may be someone who visited my blog--I mean my real blog blog, not this FB.

In any case, thank you so much, and I hope you review the book/s too on Kindle.

I always would like feedback--even if you hated the book.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Beginning of my Introduction to Let the Shit Fly with the Flowers: A Collection of Essays from the Institute of Economics, Rangoon.

Beginning of my Introduction to Let the Shit Fly with the Flowers:  A Collection of Essays from the Institute of Economics, Rangoon. 

Last year I had the good fortune to publish several novellas and short story collections, some of them set in Burma, some not.
In the euphoria of the moment, feeling I had mastered the supply side of the publication process on line, I offered to publish scholarly or semi-scholarly articles to two groups of people:
1.     A group I will call the Informal Rohingya Scholars Group.
2.     My former colleagues and students from the Institute of Economics, Rangoon, 1950s to about 1980.
The IRSG and our discussions via e-mail are at this point indefinitely stalled, as my co-editor and facilitator’s book proposal on behalf of all members was rejected by an academic press.  But I am proud to say that I did help Columbia University in New York City in Sept 2012 find specialists to speak, at a Rohingya Conference in the very auditorium in which Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was to be interviewed by journalist Ann Curry and few days later, the Low Library.
Five hundred people registered and Nobel Laureate A.K. Sen gave the keynote address.  The University took the word “Rohingya” (a sub-group of Burmese Muslims) entirely out of the title of the presentation, but the specialists all spoke about the Rohingya issue, and I am glad that almost all my suggestions for invitations were acted on, in one case (Dr. Maung Zarni’s), he was flown in from Asia.
Prof. Sen was invited directly by the University and the Convenor, but the rest who constituted about 50% of the panel were those suggested by me.  I only regret that Chris Lewa who has focused on Western Burma deliberately since at least 2001, when I first met her, was unable to come due to her busy schedule.
In my life, I often do or agree to things because I think they will not work out.
Two cases in point were the 1969 scholarship I received to study Economic Planning in Warsaw, Poland, and the scholarship I received twenty years later to study in the USA.
But those are different stories.
But when I put out feelers about an Institute of Economics, Rangoon, alt-memorial edition of essays, it turned out that almost all my friends submitted essays or poems, some 2-3 items each.
So I was stuck, and since I gave me word (through U Hla Hpyu Chit) I have had to go through with it.
It is my pleasure now to say that I am in process of putting together and formatting the final manuscript and so far it is about 50% complete too.


Friday, March 13, 2015

Glowing review by Mya Win of KM Kaung's novella FGM--

 I just read your novella FGM and loved it.  It said volume 2 so I was wondering if there volume 1 that I did not know about?  (No, # refers to novellas)
    In the Western world, I heard and read about this FGM, but never had I come across anyone who brought forth (fiction) about this, as it still happens in several countries.  FGM is to point out the violation of women's human rights.
    In my own experience while I was in Saudi Arabia for business two years ago (yes wearing a burka covering from head to toe) and hijab to cover my head. Security guard in the office, came to me and pointed me to the back of the room (in Arabic) and I realized that I did not belong in the front of the office. I needed to go to a special room where all the ladies hung out. I felt I was a second class citizen and was so fed up that I did not even go out to eat as 1) I had to put the whole costume each time,  2) I needed to be accompanied by a man (husband or relative) Luckily, my cab had dark windows, when the driver came to pick me up at the airport.

    I felt the same way where men had privileges to act and do anything they wanted and got away with it in that culture. I  experienced it myself.

Your book was intense, bold and very interesting - the reason I'd wanted to read it in the first place.

I liked the way you conveyed FGM  through the eyes Dr. Aset as an educated professional.  Ramesh' life was a series of convoluted relationships among his family members, including incest and I was not sure how it ended.  Is there a sequel to this?  (No, not now).
    I know other readers will find this story as intriguing as I did.

Good job and keep on writing.

Review by Mya Win