Friday, October 24, 2014

Long live markets and free to choose, from my Facebook page--by Kyi May Kaung

Long live markets & Free to Choose.

The first thing Dr Aye Hlaing and Dr Maung Shein taught us is what are markets.

Markets are not always a place.

They don't always have walls.

What do markets do?

They connect buyers and sellers.

The 2 profs went on to teach us about barter, a coincidence of wants and needs.

Then about demand and supply, goods and services, prices, money, government budgets, trade cycles.

Dr. Findlay taught Growth Models, International Trade Theory, Soviet Planning Experiences, among other topics.

His lectures prepared me for a lifetime of criticizing top down command economies.

I remember best his lectures on The Schoolmen, Duns Scotus, The Reformation, Martin Luther, the Sale of Indulgences by the Catholic Church --  Martin Luther nailing his points on the church door in Wittenberg.

Dr Shein  started us off with Lionel Robbins and a definition of Economics and a lecture on Jeremy Bentham.

(My brother told me of Bentham's corpse preserved in a glass cabinet in England).

I have been reading the essays contributed to our upcoming collection.

Only Daw Khin Khin Thein was one  or two years senior to me.  Therefore only she could remember and comment on the curriculum before 1962 and macro economics.

I am afraid my younger colleagues were not all in time for The Greats.

As I was saying to Sean Turnell a few weeks ago, in Burma things change a lot in 2 years, so we each had different experiences.

But I think, like that Social Science Lib downstairs set up by the Ford Foundation, initially by Paul Bixler,

which gave us all the essentials, incld several volumes of Havelock Ellis, which helped me at least prepare for my marriage

--the Economics staff led by Saya Aye Hlaing and Saya Findlay prepared us for understanding micro and macro economics, including business cycles.

Many basic principles they taught helped me in real life to prioritize, shop, budget well, choose a place to buy a home and live, certainly to recognize it was time to leave Burma.

I will never forget the first words Dr Findlay said to me when I went to see him at his office at Columbia Univ.

His office was still full of books and articles, his legs were still up on a low table, as when I used to take my MA thesis drafts to him, but somehow his legs seemed shorter in the USA.

And in NY I noticed for the first time that both Saya and my cousin Mongoose had Ango-Indian accents.

My cousin said in introducing me to his UN colleague, "My cousin sister."

Saya took me to have lunch at the faculty club.

A lavish display/buffet of  meats, salads and desserts were set out on a long table covered with a white cloth.

My eyes could barely take it all in, and I was too nervous to eat.

I felt very studentish, in my wind cheater and jeans.  I went into NY in those days on Greyhound buses.

"Free to Choose, Kyi May, Free to Choose," Saya said, waving his hand at all the food.

On my first trip Saya and Ma Ma Jane invited me and my guide Ko Myo Thant, then going to NYU, to dinner cooked by Ma Ma Jane.

"The gold beef curry full of onions" which later made its way into my poem, Eskimo Paradise, later anthologized in Norton's Language for a New Century,

my first taste of broccolli and oyster sauce

and lots of strawberries with cream, Ma Ma Jane saying, "Take more, take more."

Free to Choose of course was the famous TV program on ecos. by Milton and Rose Friedman.

I had bought myself a copy at a yard sale in Princeton, that my good friend AM took me to.

The problem in Burma is there is no free choice.

Copyright  KMKaung

This was all a long way from our coffee club at Inst of Ecos, where Ma Ma Gracy Khoo helped make the coffee, but after 1962, coffee and condensed milk got so expensive, out club went out of business.  Also the stink of clogged up toilets seeped into everything, and come into my consciousness whenever I am stressed.  I still remember with some kind of shock how puffy haired ugly woman took so many spoonfuls of the condensed milk greedily when I brought in a tin of condensed milk for my lunch treat when I was promoted to lecturer in the 70s.  And this a woman who boasted all the time of how she was related to the general himself, not to his wife Kitty.

No wonder my Immigration Lawyer in the USA said Saya Findlay wrote me an excellent recommendation letter, and said I was repulsed by the system in Burma.

And once when we went on a day trip village survey, I took 2 plain cakes in a wicker basket, but no one else brought anything.  Moreover, they wolfed down the cake before I had a chance to save something for Prof. U Tha Hto.

Life was hard, in the country now changing they say to "discipline flourishing guided democracy.

People often ask me if I will go back or come to visit.

I think what I hate most is how the army has remade things in its own image, ugly crude vulgar.

And what it has done to the People is unforgiveable.

THAT, the damage to the psyche, I don't think that is reversible.


Photos, Copyright KMKaung

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Black Rice of Winter (after Paul Celan) by Kyi May Kaung

Black Rice of Winter by Kyi May Kaung.

One hour to kill
how better to do this
than reading the poetry
of Paul Celan.

Black rice of winter
we till you and till you
seeding ya kyaw sabar
and other grains that don't
taste right
and don't sell.

Black rice of winter
we till you and till you
and brave
compulsory delivery quotas
and not being able
to feed our own families and have
seed for next year
left over.

Black rice of summer
you failed us you failed us

it flooded and Nargis the Cyclone
took all of our children--
the fields
are full
of skulls and dead bodies and bloated

Black rice of winter we hate you
we hate you.

Black rice of winter leave me

Don't stick to my thoughts
don't stick to my clothes
don't stick to my being.

Black rice of winter go take
Metta to Paul Celan's mother killed
by a piece of lead.

Now the hour is effectively killed
there are only 30 minutes

Copyright Kyi May Kaung 11-14-2013


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Forever--a poem by Kyi May Kaung

So many times I passed by
and I did not look closely enough or
long enough
I thought it and I
would see each other
Kyi May Kaung
ျမန္မာ အနုပညာ။
``ေရႊတိဂုံ(၂၀၀၅)``....အမည္ရ ပန္းခ်ီကား။
.....``Shwe Dagon(2005)`` By Khin Maung Zaw

My highly acclaimed novella Black Rice, now $3.99

My highly acclaimed novella Black Rice is now $3.99 for both e book and paperback

Garuda is one cool bird --by Kyi May Kaung

Poem by Kyi May

Garuda is one cool bird

I never quite realized this
till I read Ka by Roberto Callosso

he is more powerful than all the serpents of this world

and rightfully so.

He fulfills the wish of his mother
who was tricked by his stepmother aunt

He'll eat all the black serpents of this world

he represents the power of Truth and Justice.

I sketch and sketch
his image from cyberspace
where he fights forever

it is no accident
the artists combined him
body of a man
wings and feathers of a bird
claws of a crab
beak of a bird.

That is what all artists do.

Ah Gotcha!

The Naga dragon twisting around in terror
got a taste of your own medicine have you?

Garuda has got you already.

Soon you'll be belly up and flat out and


in a birm garbage heap.

This summer we saw
so many dead snakes
in all

the garbage heaps on the beach

at Ngwe Saung and Chaung Tha.

No match
for the dead girl her genitals exposed
that the ABSDF young man said he saw
along the Burma-Thai Border but what could he do?

What can I do either?

Write a poem.

Put the dead girl into my novel Wolf.

Copyright KMKaung

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

CNN--thugs from local triads/gangs alleged to have been used to break up Hong Kong riots

Alzheimers--Glen Campbell's last song--

My novella The Lovers, in which someone gets shot, close to where I went to grad school--

Originally published in Wild River Review on line, The Lovers is the story of a ballet dancer from Chile, who has to leave her native land for political reasons, and emigrate to Philadelphia, in America.
Burmese-born author Kyi May Kaung lived many years in West Philadelphia while pursuing her doctorate in Political Science.
The Lovers has vivid local color while traversing the uneasy life of political asylees. The Lovers, print edition
The Lovers, Kindle edition

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Stinking Corpse--by Kyi May Kaung

Novel excerpt from dream nightmare--by Kyi May Kaung--

Dr. Khine awoke from a daytime dream-nightmare with a stink like that of dead humans or animals in her nostrils.

At first she thought it might be her weekly garbage.

Since they started charging for plastic bags in Marietta Land about 2 to 3 years ago, Khine had now had to buy plastic trash bags, but she did not mind.

They were on the whole, more reliable than recycling plastic shopping bags, which she had done for the last 25 years in The Nation's Capital.

Those had seams and tended to leak at the edges and corners.

And also, she was the one who had suggested them after she went to a conference in Berlin in the New Unified Deutchland, and bought a disposable camera, and they had placed a camera, just a camera made of cardboard, on the counter and no plastic bag.

It was very different from Chimerique.

Now shops saved the environment at the same time as they earned tax rebates for bag fees.

Khine carefully kept her shopping cart lined with one big heavy duty black bag, and an extra bag folded in her handbag, just like the Poles with their little shotka in the old days.

The purpose-designed plastic trash bags worked much better, and usually did not leak onto the new carpet of the hallways, with their golden scroll design on a black background.

But they took time to fill, and now Khine would combine both her kitchen and her bathroom garbage before disposal down the chute--the problem was the kitchen trash tended to smell after three days, when the gallon bag was only half full.

Khine used odor neutralizer in a white generic bottle.  It seemed to work, but this time--

Khine awoke fully and found she was in the little house in an outlying Yangone suburb.

Yangone was called Yangone (End of Strife or Enemies) but enemies still grow on trees, so Khine called it Rangoon, it was a point of major strife with her.

She stepped out onto the narrow wooden 5 x 15 feet veranda in front, raised on 3 feet pillars of concrete and mosquito-netted.

A bleached-looking corpse, male, was hanging on the right side from the teak rafters by a coir rope twisted around its ankles.

So that was where the stink was emanating from.

Dr. Khine went inside, finally found her close-work glasses, put them on her nose when she was 12 inches from the corpse, wrinkled her nose, pushed her spectacles up nervously, and walked around it, carefully studying it without touching anything.

It had a terrible bluish white pallor and gravity and the anguish and pain of death had pulled everything towards its head.

Khine tilted her head and stared at the distorted features and the thick black hair.

She didn't recognize him, but she could not be sure.

The head was upside down and near her calf level.

She considered using a pencil to close its open eyes and mouth, but in the end she did not.

.  .  .
Athena, Ariadne the web weaver spider and Diana the Huntress, RadhaKrishna, simultaneously male and female entered her head simultaneously and started to talk and act up.

As Athena, she took up her spear, and slammed it down on the worn shardoe teak plants of the small veranda, so it stood there shivering, causing an earthquake in the whole of Berm.

She leaned her shield on the wire mesh on the front of the house, facing the street, so that everyone knew Athena herself had claimed this murder investigation, and she would brook no interference whatsoever.

Athena's owl flew outwards in ten directions simultaneously, and alighted on high teak trees, twisting its neck and looking and listening attentively.

Ariadne, in life the victim of Athena, who had been jealous of her weaving skills, started spewing white liquid from her mouth, the strongest natural fiber ever, and weaving nets all around the small house and the trees.

Sensitively waving in the breeze, the nets would detect any infringement, cyber, nuclear, telepathic, personal, sexual, mechanical.

Radha Krishna, a former Untouchable, who had gone to school in Prince Town, leaned against a tree outside of the network, and calmly considered how he would use both sides of himself, to talk to both genders and anything in between.

The earth shook some more, and all the elephants and the banyan trees cried, for they realized the murder victim was someone very important.

The cannon ball tree made some more cannon balls.

Excerpt from my pol sci fi series 2131
Copyright Kyi M. Kyi May Kaung10-13-2104

The Elongated Ear of the Buddha--Poem by Kyi May Kaung


Elongated Ear of the Buddha by Kyi May Kaung.
(Composite or fictional characters)

Elongated ear of the Buddha/all hearing and omnipotent
but it isn't really that kind of religion.

I don't teach Economics now
just the Dharma
that's good.

After all a hobby farm
how much can we earn
selling farm produce

What's that?


Maybe scale down I do not know

Small hot house things more specialized and expensive and more difficult to grow labor intensive

"Oh Mother, don't buy anything,
don't go crazy in there--
after all, you can't really dig."

Dig it?

The former diplomat is still saying
he/she coined the term Saffron Revolution, in 2007.

Hard to think it is so relatively recent.

The monks walking the rain chanting the Metta Sutra

Japanese journalist Kenji Nagaii dying on the street shot point blank--

While I was in Philadelphia 20 years ago, writing Black Rice when I thought it was part of Once, then called
I Weep for You my Native Land
my classmates debated
the exact meaning of the term Point Blank--Kenji his death, no fuss made why Japanese gov took lying down

poor Kenji his chest cut open
poor autopsy technique
all swollen
not slim as in death

seen 2 like that
crudely stitched together

Other man killed by steel catapult balls--

his head shaved most likely in death--
as crudely stitched together

autopsy is not brain surgery

JFK's brain allegedly disappeared
in Bethesda, MD.

This is called Abuse of Corpse--actor FFS Free Funeral Society banned from acting since 07 went to see Arlington National Cemetery

My character Fleur washing and washing her hands
making only the female corpses beautiful
hot water bottles bringing back the bloom to their

Oh Ma Ma Elder Sister--I was so lucky
as soon as I left Mummy said
they came for me
10 cars and 3 tanks
in the yat kwet looking
for Daw Zin Zar Maung (made up name)

--Oh Ma Ma ma ma--
think about it, board meeting in Bali
if they came for me with 40 soldiers
JUST one beer magnate

how many would they come.

To arrest some one like him?

And then in Singapore
you know they sent a letter bomb?

What did you do?

The head of Singapore Intelligence at our board meeting regular nice guy looking  saying he's a poet like me

and he saw me in the swimming pool.

Not sitting in the back
I don't like to squish the ladies

I called Security, and they said fill the sink and soak the suspected letter bomb in water so I did

Beer Magnate beer magnate not so hunky dory lost my play ms Shaman/only posted to her as she said she would produce a play
never sent it back in SASE.

I hate people who are cavalier with other people's

Threw her used tissues after blowing her nose
right in the Ubud farmers' irrigation canal.

I observed, in 3 days, the water flowed 2 ways.

Copyright KMKaung