Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Possibly re-posting -- but it's so beautiful --

Andy Goldsworthy's Rivers and Tides --

A kind of natural ikebana or action painting or performance art that is environmentally friendly.

Kyi May Kaung

Re-posting -- my obit on Shan activist and Scholar -- Dr. Chao Tzang Yawngwe -- from 2004 Irrawaddy magazine --

Nobel Laureate -- Playwright Harold Pinter died Christmas Eve --

Here is his 2005 Nobel acceptance speech from Democracy Now.

Burma Activists -- Don't forget these important links --


Two important documents from Dec. 7th 2008 have been leaked to the Democratic Opposition.

Since May and Cyclone Nargis, the number of leaks has increased significantly.

One is a report of the Russian Ambassador to Burma going to meet the Burmese Foreign Minister Nyan Win.

The other is a report from Kyaw Tint Swe, the Burma Permanent Rep. to the UN in NY to his superiors in Rangoon.

The Russian Ambassador expressed his interest in Russian tourism in Burma and for Russian companies to do business in extracting Burmese resources and Burmese minerals.

These documents say that

i. They would like to keep the Free Suu Kyi and other political issues separate from Mr. Gambari's visits.

ii. They also want to keep Mr. Gambari's and Mr. Ban Ki-moon's visits "separate."

iii. They know that the western nations led by USA and UK are campaigning vigorously for UN to be more effective.

So, Burma Activists -- why should UN reps. go to Burma except to pressure for Democratic Transition and to Free Suu Kyi and others?

So, do keep the pressure up and don't let the junta compartmentalize. Be unified in approach.

Don't be a Donkey -- New Year Greetings --

Don't be a Donkey -- don't let yourself be tied up, beaten and driven to exhaustion! Demand to be fed and watered and treated properly. Live long and be healthy.

Kyi May Kaung

Friday, December 26, 2008

Obama Inauguration -- at the juncture of poetry and politics -- from the New York Times --

Poet commissioned to write and read poem at Inauguration is a fine poet -- you can see this from her "sample poems."

I am writing, and have written, (prose) for hire, and have so far been "commissioned"(verbally) to write two wedding poems, that the bridal couples liked a lot, and a play.
Subject was not specified. The commissioning theater director liked my poetry.

For the play commission, I was taken to an upscale restaurant in Philadelphia located in a bank vault. Was a lot of fun.

Kyi May Kaung.

Chinese pockets filled while Americans' emptied -- from New York Times + Whither Burma??

Lady Vanda -- oil on canvas -- Copyright Kyi May Kaung

Q for economists and others -- where does Burma factor in in all this?

Have this increasing sinking feeling about Burma, what with

1. reduced strength of USA and so of democratic camp

2. SPDC gearing up for their show election of 2010 -- and some countries, especially in Europe, going along with it.

Heard from grapevine that Spain's ambassador went to Rangoon to try and persuade Daw Suu to run for election (again!!!) in 2010.

3. She and NLD are absolutely right -- why should they when 1990 election result, which NLD won by an overwhelming vote, has not been honored yet.

Junta has a history of making people "replay the game" when things don't work out the way they wish it to.

God help us.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Poem -- Eight Lies of a Mother by Anonymous Burmese Poet --2008

Nice poem -

EIGHT LIES OF A MOTHER~1.The story began when I was a child;I was born as a son of a poor family.Even for eating, we often got lack of food.Whenever the time for eating, mother often gave me her portion of rice.While she was removing her rice into my bowl,she would say "Eat this rice, son. I'm not hungry".
That was Mother's First Lie

2.When I was getting to grow up,the persevering mother gave her spare time for fishing in a river near our house,she hoped that from the fishes she got,she could gave me a little bit nutritious food for my growth.After fishing, she would cook the fishes to be a fresh fish soup,which raised my appetite. While I was eating the soup,mother would sit beside me and eat the rest meat of fish,which was still on the bone of the fish I ate.My heart was touched when I saw it.I then used my chopstick and gave the other fish to her.But she immediately refused it and said "Eat this fish, son.I don't really like fish."That was Mother's Second Lie.

3.Then, when I was in Junior High School,to fund my study,mother went to an economic enterprise to bring some used-matches boxes that would be stuck in.It gave her some money for covering our needs.As the winter came,I woke up from my sleep and looked at my mother who was still awoke,supported by a little candlelight and within her perseverance she continued the work of sticking some used-matches box. I said, "Mother, go to sleep, it's late,tomorrow morning you still have to go for work." Mother smiled and said "Go to sleep,dear. I'm not tired."That was Mother's Third Lie.

4.At the time of final term,mother asked for a leave from her work in order to accompany me. While the daytime was coming and the heat of the sun was starting to shine, the strong and persevering mother
waited for me under the heat of the sun's shine for several hours.
As the bell rang, which indicated that the final exam had finished,
mother immediately welcomed me and poured me a glass of tea
that she had prepared before in a cold bottle.
The very thick tea was not as thick as my mother's love,
which was much thicker. Seeing my mother covering with perspiration,
I at once gave her my glass and asked her to drink too.
Mother said "Drink, son. I'm not thirsty!".
That was Mother's Fourth Lie.

5.After the death of my father because of illness,
my poor mother had to play her role as a single parent.
By held on her former job, she had to fund our needs alone.
Our family's life was more complicated. No days without sufferance.
Seeing our family's condition that was getting worse,
there was a nice uncle who lived near my house came to help us,
either in a big problem and a small problem.
Our other neighbors who lived next to us saw that our family's life
was so unfortunate,
they often advised my mother to marry again. But mother,
who was stubborn, didn't care to their advice,
she said "I don't need love."
That was Mother's Fifth Lie.

6.After I had finished my study and then got a job,
it was the time for my old mother to retire.
But she didn't want to; she was sincere to go to the marketplace every morning,
just to sell some vegetable for fulfilling her needs.
I, who worked in the other city, often sent her some money to help her
in fulfilling her needs,
but she was stubborn for not accepting the money.
She even sent the money back to me.
She said "I have enough money."
That was Mother's Sixth Lie.

7.After graduated from Bachelor Degree,
I then continued my study to Master Degree.
I took the degree, which was funded by a company through a scholarship program,
from a famous University in America .
I finally worked in the company. Within a quite high salary,
I intended to take my mother to enjoy her life in America .
But my lovely mother didn't want to bother her son,
she said to me "I'm not used to."
That was Mother's Seventh Lie.

8.After entering her old age,
mother got a flank cancer and had to be hospitalized.
I, who lived in miles away and across the ocean,
directly went home to visit my dearest mother.
She lied down in weakness on her bed after having an operation.
Mother, who looked so old, was staring at me in deep yearn.
She tried to spread her smile on her face;
even it looked so stiff because of the disease she held out.
It was clear enough to see how the disease broke my mother's body,
thus she looked so weak and thin.
I stared at my mother within tears flowing on my face.
My heart was hurt, so hurt, seeing my mother on that condition.
But mother, with her strength, said "Don't cry, my dear.
I'm not in pain."
That was Mother's Eight Lie.

After saying her eighth lie, She closed her eyes forever!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Talk on China-USA relations at Sasakawa Foundation last Monday

Written by John Feffer of Institute for Policy Studies.

Panel discussion on Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma on Feb 14, 2009

Chinese scholar whose blog was shut down threatens to sue Google and Yahoo --

Of interest to Burmese bloggers who undergo regime harrassment.

Activist Attorney for Migrant and Farmers' Rights, Shelly Davis, dies --

Fallout -- collage copyright Kyi May Kaung

In the face of death, so little we can do. Shelley worked to make others' lives better.

Sincere condolences to Helen and other family members and friends. I am looking for a floral tribute photo to post.


Owed to the press -- poem by Richard Lawson -- posted with his permission --

Owed to the Press

Want to lie without redress?
Get a nice job in the press!
If you're regularly pissed
You could be a journalist.
If you like to cast ordure
You could be an interviewer.
If your thing is smearing poo
Broadcaster's the job for you.
If you'd like to be a Nazi
You can join the paparazzi
If you think we do not need yer
Go and sign on with the media.

Don't let them fool you all the way -
Make April First your No News Day!

Copyright Richard Lawson. More poetry from Richard Lawson at

Which of us in the Burmese Democracy Movement haven't been batted around by (especially the Burmese language)media, but also certain hard talkers, who should be hard talking the junta, not us. I think this poem captures it all.

Kyi May Kaung.

Understanding the Kachin conflict -- from Pulitzer International Center for Crisis Reporting --

Renewed conflict is expected after Burmese military junta's 2010 "election."

Authors write that 1994 ceasefire achieved nothing.

Kyi May Kaung

Official portraits of President George W. and Mrs. Laura Bush revealed --

Friday, December 19, 2008

U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass on what is prose poetry, role of poetry etc.

In 1997 I was at a poetry slam downtown where a group of high school students "slammed" well-known poets such as Nikki Giovanni, the audience gave grades by holding up cards with numbers on them and the high school students won.

Kyi May Kaung

Death of political poetry in USA --

How different from poetry in my country of origin (Burma) where you can be jailed or killed or lose a job for a poem.


Review of Guy Delisle's graphic novel Burma Chronicles --

It's all true, let me assure you.

Kyi May Kaung

Rwandan official found guilty of 1994 genocide --

What is Transitional Justice -- from International Center for Transitional Justice --

International Criminal Court and America -- something -President Elect Obama should do as soon as sworn in -

Shoe-throwing Iraqui journalist was beaten -- from IHT

Junta backed USDA (Union Solidarity Development Association)

from Mizzima.

I am posting like others in case Mizzima can't be accessed directly from inside Burma due to government blocking.

Saki (H.H. Munro) was born today, Dec 18, in Akyab, Burma --

Very interesting. I did not know this, nor his "Burma connection" in colonial military police force in Burma, so like George Orwell's.

I also did not know he died of a sniper's bullet while an enlisted soldier.

I wish more native Burmese wrote/write in English then and now.

Kyi May Kaung

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Burma message from Edith Mirante and Scott Bateman on

Edith Mirante drew attention to Burmese human rights abuses in the early 90s, before anyone else did, distributing xerox copies of reports, some of which she wrote herself, with her mother as her only helper.

Bravo Edith, you give us Strength.

Ashin Kovida -- from Switzerland, on Buddhism and politics --

Apparently, this is not the same U Kovida who fled Burma after being one of the leaders of the Saffron Revolution.

It's a good blog, I hope he writes more.

Friend of Burma -- Simon Billeness -- mugged in DC

Get a fake wallet or money clip,keep a few dollars in it, throw in direction of muggers and flee in other direction.

I knew this, from police instructor, in Philadelphia, but have not thought about it lately.

They also told me, if raped, don't fight. Remember things about the rapist. Don't wash afterwards. Call 911 when rapist gone.

Walk with hand in pocket and with confidence.

Cross street if see gang approaching. Be aware of surroundings.

Walk in well lighted areas.

Don't take short cuts.

World's greatest blogger -- Arianna Huffington, on blogging --

"Blogging is good, if like me you have a strong accent. I am much better understood on my blog."

Arianna Huffington

Jewelry made by Alexander Calder --

Josh Groban sings"Vincent," "Imagine" etc

Madoff billion $ Ponzi scheme --

Don't keep all your eggs in one basket!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

In Bangkok, Suvarnabhumi airport re-opens as protesters force out PM.

If protesters had closed down Rangoon airport, the army would have staged another crackdown and thousands would have been killed and arrested.

In Thailand, the Thai army did not stage a coup this time. Seemed to support the demonstrators, and so did the king.

Amitav Ghosh on terrorist attacks in Mumbai --

Ghosh started writing about Burma in an article in The New Yorker in 1996.

He is the author of The Glass Palace, set in Mandalay in 1886.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Scholarship info -- Heinrich Boell Foundation, for Burmese --

Dear All,

Heinrich Boell Foundation, Southeast Asia Regional Office, holds an

annual scholarship competition for a small number of students from

Myanmar/Burma to study at two Thai premier Universities offering three

international Programmes specifically designed for younger generation

candidates from Myanmar/Burma.

The Scholarships apply respectively to the academic year of 2009/2010

for Master of Arts in International Development (MAIDS) at

Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok , Faculty of Political Science, the

2009/2010 academic years for Master of Arts in Sustainable

Development, at the Regional Center for Social Science and Sustainable

Development (RCSD) in Chiang Mai University , Faculty of Social

Sciences, and the 2009/2010 academic year for International Master of

Economics (MEcon), at the Faculty of Economics, Chiang Mai University .

Application forms and entrance qualifications for the international

Programmes of the respective Universities are available at web links

provided below. Application forms are attached as word documents.

The Master of Arts in International Development Studies (MAIDS)

Program at Chulalongkorn University 's Faculty of Political Science;

http://www.ids. polsci.chula.

The Master of Arts in Sustainable Development of the Regional Center

for Social Science and Sustainable Development (RCSD) at Chiang Mai

University, Faculty of Social Sciences; http://rcsd. th/

The International Master of Economics Program of the Faculty of

Economics (M.Econ) at Chiang Mai University ;

http://fuangfah. econ.cmu. asp

The selection process is highly competitive. Students for the

Scholarship Program are selected by both HBF and the respective

Universities in an open competition. Decisions made are final. Only

selected candidates will be contacted. Applicants can re-apply for the

Scholarship Program the following year.

We kindly ask for your assistance in forwarding the relevant

information and documents (applications forms and general information)

to interested parties and suitable candidates.

Please find attached:

- HBF Call for Applications

- RCSD, MAIDS and Mecon application documents

For further information on our Myanmar/Burma work pls. visit:


Thai protestors shut down Suvvanabhumi International Airport in Bangkok --

Churning the Sea of Milk -- at Suvarnabhumi Airport - photo copyright Kyi May Kaung

Suv. airport ceiling --photo copyright Kyi May Kaung

SuvarnaBhumi airport on Nov. 9, 2008. Photo copyright Kyi May Kaung

Friday, November 14, 2008

Punished for making a Hat: Cruel Sentences, of up to 65 years, meted out by Burmese junta to activists -- condemned by USA and EU.

Green Bilu or Orge -- who eats human flesh -- at Suvannabhumi Airport in Bangkok -- photo copyright Kyi May Kaung

"Shwe Maung was imprisoned in 2002 for making a symbolic gold-coated copper hat, known as kha mauk, which was the emblem of NLD party when it won in the1990 elections. The hat is a recognized NLD symbol and was intended as a gift for NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi." Irrawaddy Newsletter.

Malaysian Embassy Batik Fashion Show --

Real Malaysian Women -- others anorexic -- photo copyright Kyi May Kaung

In the purple -- Photo copyright Kyi May Kaung

"Michelle Obama would look stunning in this." Photo copyright Kyi May Kaung

(Don't give me) that look -- photo copyright Kyi May Kaung

Shocking pink -- photo copyright Kyi May Kaung

Tunku Abdul Rahman -- photo copyright Kyi May Kaung

Chandelier -- matched by star below on marble floor -- Malaysian Embassy -- photo copyright Kyi May Kaung

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Mark Rothko paintings at Tate Modern --

Disturbing "developments" or rather retrogressions regarding Burma.

Cockatoo head stuck in cage -- photo copyright Kyi May Kaung --

Disturbing "developments" or rather retrogressions -- regarding Burma --

At least for the past six months or so I have noticed a disturbing trend in news coverage of Burma, commentary by "experts" -- some self-styled, I am sure, and at international seminars on Burma, of which I have been a more or less regular attendee since 2001.

1. More people, some well-known "dissidents" are buying into, or letting themselves be bought into, the Burmese military junta's 2010 "elections" and their legitimation of their so-called "constitution."

2. Nargis Cyclone has become a gravy train for the junta and the non-profits around it.

3. There is too much unjustified criticism of Daw Suu, who has been under arrest since the Depayin Massacre, and is kept totally incommunicado by the junta. Even her two maid/attendants are kept isolated. How do you "criticize" such a person and the NLD for "not having a game plan," "not being unified?" etc. These criticisms border on the ridiculous.

4. The anti-sanctions lobby is as active as ever, but now they plug the 2010 "election" and the junta's Indonesian style "guided democracy." Guess who will do the "guiding."

I don't believe there is need for another "election" when the results of the 1990 election, which the junta itself touted at the time as free and fair,have not been honored.

5.Unfortunately, even Gambari, Ban Ki-Moon and the U.N. have been endorsing a 2010 "election."

6. The junta is as harsh as ever, evidence being the recent sentences of the 1988 activists and the arrest of their defense lawyer and the junta's treatment of U Gambira, one of the primary leaders of the Sept. 2007 Saffron Revolution, during which Buddhist monks chanted the metta sutra.

Why are these people buying into the 2010 farce?? Is it because of Burma's newly discovered natural gas reserves??

Kyi May Kaung

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Cruel and Unusual Punishments in Burma's kangaroo courts --

Found abstract -- photo copyright Kyi May Kaung

Should people be talking reconciliation in 2010 and new elections at this time?

http://aappb. org

Trials in Burma (9): Burma's Kangaroo Courts Deliver Harsh and Cruel Sentences to Democracy Activists
November 11, 2008

The special courts held inside the Insein Prison Compound are rushing to complete the court hearing against Burmese democracy activists and Buddhist Monks, who were arrested one year ago during and after the peaceful protests in August and September 2007, and delivering harsh sentences everyday. Family members are not allowed to attend the hearing and not informed by the authorities before and after the sentencing. Three lawyers, who defended these activists, were arrested and imprisoned earlier under the charge of contempt of court and therefore, no defense lawyers were present during the sentencing.

On November 11, 2008 alone, over 30 detained activists and Monks were sentenced. Details are as follows.

65 Years for 14 Members of the 88 Generation Students, More Sentences Will Be Added Soon
14 members of the 88 Generation Students group were sentenced 65-year imprisonment each with hard labor by Rangoon Northern District Court and Rangoon Southern District Court, held inside the Insein Prison Compound, today. They are Min Zeya, Jimmy (aka) Kyaw Min Yu, Ant Bwe Kyaw, Panneik Tun, Nilar Thein (Female), Mie Mie (aka) Thin Thin Aye (Female), Kyaw Kyaw Htwe (aka) Marki, Zaw Zaw Min, Thet Zaw (aka) Zaukhto, Than Tin (aka) Kyee Than, Sandar Min (aka) Shwee (Female), Thet Thet Aung (Female), and Mar Mar Oo (Female). They were sentenced today only for five counts of indictment, 15-year each for four counts of indictment under the Section 33 (A) of the Electronic Transactions Law and 5-year imprisonment for one count under the Section 6 of the Law Relating to Forming of Organization.

They will receive more and more sentences as their trials continue under another 16 counts of indictment. They all are a part of the 35 members of the 88 Generation Students group, led by Min Ko Naing, who all were arrested since August 21, 2008. They all were charged with altogether 21 counts of indictment and are on trials since August 2008. Two more defendants were added into their cases, when Mar Mar Oo and Nilar Thein were arrested in August and September 2008.

Nine of them, Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi, Mya Aye, Pyone Choe (aka) Htay Win Aung, Aung Thu, Hla Myo Naung, Aung Naing, and Nyan Lin were sentenced six-month imprisonment under the charge of contempt of court and transferred to Ma-ubin Prison in the delta region in the end of October. Their cases are now being heard by Ma-ubin District Court, without defense lawyers. They are expected to be sentenced soon.

Since Min Ko Naing and the eight were transferred to Ma-ubin, the authorities formed the rest of the group remained in Insein Prison into two groups, with 14 members each, for continued trials. Today, the first group of 14 members was convicted and sentenced for five counts of indictment. Another group of 14 members will be sentenced soon.

Su Su Nway and Bo Bo Win Hlaing Imprisoned
Labor activist Su Su Nway and her colleague Bo Bo Win Hlaing were sentenced by a special court, held inside the Insein Prison Compound today. Su Su Nway received 12 and a half year imprisonment under Section 130 (B), 152 and 505 (B) of the Penal Code and Bo Bo Win Hlaing received 8-year imprisonment under Section 124 (A) of the Penal Code. They both were arrested on November 13, 2007.

Five Buddhist Monks from Ngwe Kyar Yan Monastery Imprisoned
A summary court held inside the Insein Prison Compound delivered six and a half year imprisonment each with hard labor to the five Buddhist Monks, arrested since September 2007. They are U Zar Nay Ya, U Agga Dhama, U Vila Thetka, U Nanda and U Eithariya, from Ngwe Kyar Yan Monastery from South Okkalapa, and arrested after the security forces brutally raided the monastery. They all were forcibly disrobed since their arrest, detained in Insein Prison and sent before South Okkalapa Township Court for trail, under the charges of the Section 143, 145, 147 and 505 (B) of the Penal Code. However, their sentences were delivered by a court held inside the Insein Prison Compound.

Nine Activists from Bogalay Imprisoned
Nine young activists from Bogalay Township, arrested since September 2007 and detained in Insein Prison, received harsh sentences today from a special court, held inside Insein Prison Compound.
Pyae Phyo Hlaing was sentenced 24-year imprisonment under the charges of Section 13 (1) of the Immigration Act, Section 17 (1) of the Unlawful Association Act, Section 17/20 of the Printers and Publishers Registration Act and Section 505 (B) of the Penal Code.
Nay Lin Aung (aka) Lin Lin was sentenced 22-year imprisonment under the charges of the same charges.
Aung Myo Paing (aka) Ahyoe, Thiha Aung (aka) Aung Aung, Phyo Maung Maung Soe (aka) Phyo Gyi, Myat Lin Htut (aka) Pyaung Gyi, Pyae Phyo Aung (aka) Hnan Mue, were sentenced 10-year imprisonment each with the same charges except Section 17/20.
Thein Zaw and Thiha Thet Zin were sentenced 8-year imprisonment each with the same charges except Sections 17/20 and 505 (B). Thiha Thet Zin is a sole survivor in his family as his parents, his wife and children were killed by the Cyclone Nargis while he was in prison.

Musician Win Maw and Group Sentenced
Mingalar Taungnyunt Township Court in Rangoon delivered sentences to three activists, including Burma's famous musician and former political prisoner Win Maw today. Win Maw received seven-year imprisonment for his leading role in video recording the bloody events of the Saffron Revolution and distribution of DVDs, contained the brutal crackdown of the junta's security forces against peaceful protesting monks. His colleague Than Naing, an active campaigner to prevent spread of HIV/AIDS, received six and a half year imprisonment and Thein Aye, former political prisoner, received two-year imprisonment.

Cyclone Survivor Imprisoned
Dala Township Court delivered a sentence to Ni Ni Mar (Female), a cyclone survivor from Dala Township, today. Ni Ni Mar, a NLD organizer from Dala Township, was arrested in October when she made a complaint that the relief items she received from the authorities were different with the items that the authorities officially announced. The authorities received relief supplies from an international NGO, called AMI, for cyclone survivors. However, they kept the original relief supplies and sold them out in the black market. They replaced with low-quality items and issued them to the cyclone survivors. When Ni Ni Mar complained about the difference, she was arrested and charged with Section 353 of the Penal Code, an offence of disturbing an official duty. Today, Dala Township Court sentenced her two-year imprisonment.

Nine Muslim Leaders Imprisoned
Maung Taw Township in Rakhine State delivered harsh sentences to nine Muslim leaders today. They were arrested by the authorities in March 2008, while they were holding a meeting at the residence of Than Tun, who is a lawyer. Among the 12 arrested, the authorities released three in exchange to use them as prosecution witnesses. They were accused by the authorities that they planned to form an illegal organization with intention to instigate unrest in the country.

Than Tun was sentenced to 13 and a half year imprisonment. Kyaw Win, who was the founder of the NLD branch in Maung Taw Township, and other 7 co-defendants, received ten-year imprisonment each.

Blooger Nay Phone Latt Received Harsh Sentence
Nay Phone Latt, a NLD member, Internet Café owner and blooger, was sentenced to 20 years and six month imprisonment by Judge Daw Soe Nyan of the Rangoon Western District Court, held inside the Insein Prison Compound on Nov 10, 2008. He was sentenced 2 years under the Section 505 (B) of the Penal Code, three years and six month under the Section 32 and 26 of the Television and Video Law and 15 years under the Section 33 and 38 of the Electronic Communications Law.
His co-defendant Thin July Kyaw received two and a half year imprisonment from the same judge. They were arrested since January 2008 and detained in Insein Prison.

Poet Saw Wai Sentenced
A famous poet Saw Wai was sentenced to two-year imprisonment by a special court held inside the Insein Prison Compound on Nov 10, 2008. He was arrested since January 2008 for his poem, which was insulting the junta's paramount leader Than Shwe as power-thirsty and foolish general. He was charged with the Section 505 (B) of the Penal Code and detained in Insein Prison.

One Monk and One Activist Imprisoned
On Nov 7, 2008, Judge U Sein Hla Oo of the Rangoon Eastern District Court, held inside the Insein Prison Compound, delivered 19-year imprisonment each to a monk and an activist. U Thaddama from Garna Puli Monastery in Twantay Township was arrested in September 2007 for his participation in the Saffron Revolution. He was released in a few days, but rearrested again in January 2008 and detained in Insein Prison. Tun Tun Naing, who lives in Insein Township, was also arrested in October 2007 and detained in Insein Prison. They both were changed with Section 33 and 38 of the Electronic Transactions Law, Sections 295 (A) and 505 (B) of the Penal Code.


Aung Din
Executive Director
U.S. Campaign for Burma
1444 N Street, NW Suite #A2
Washington, DC 20005
Tel: (202) 234 8022
Fax: (202) 234 8044

Poet/writer/activist Alice Walker writes an open letter to President Elect Obama --

This concerns us all who work for change.

I was in Thailand on Nov. 4 -- more later --

Kyi May Kaung

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Falling demand causes fall in gasoline prices in USA --,8599,1853775,00.html?cnn=yes

And now for Michele O. fans -- a lot in Asia --

Now cost of Cindy's clothes --

Estimates by Vanity Fair.

Red Shoes -- Sarah Palin has spent $150,000 of RNC money on clothes and charged kids' travel to AK taxpayers --

From and Channel 7 news --

Why $ soars -- Americans can make fun of Sarah Palin -- also called "Caribou Barbie"

This is from Saturday Night Live Comedy show -- from Huffington Post


I really could not tell the actress Tina Fey from the Governor P.

Maybe if R.s win -- and there's an emergency, Tina can play Sarah.

Dollar and yen soar as other currencies fall and stocks slip -- from New York Times --

Ancient city of Bagan (formerly spelled "Pagan") in Burma -- look at all the stiff and horrible "renovations."

In a way, I am glad all my mentors are dead -- otherwise they would be heartbroken.

The late Dr. Than Htun: "None of the temples are authentic any more in their upper portions."

But now it's worse. The junta gave "permission" to private donors to "renovate" and they tore down 10th to 13th century ruins and built things from ground up --

Few foreign scholars have spoken up about this.

Thai non-profit says many Burmese migrant women targetted and gang raped --

In 2006 I visited two factories in Mahachai -- the article is in Wild River Review --

Kyi May Kaung

From US Campaign for Burma -- Aung San Suu Kyi marks 13 years in prison --

Today marks the day that Burma's Nobel Peace Prize recipient Aung San Suu Kyi has spent 13 years in detention. She is the world's only imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize recipient. Though she hasn't been released, we wanted to share with you some of the exciting things that are being done around the world to set her free.

Now is the time for action. We are working to ensure that this date doesn't pass unnoticed by the world.

Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years before he was released, and Aung San Suu Kyi shouldn't have to wait that long.

Mandela was virtually ignored by the world for the first two decades of his imprisonment -- we are making sure that doesn't happen to Aung San Suu Kyi.

Among the other things we are doing to help her (see below), we printed new posters of her that you can order on our website.

We are also sending you a powerful video we made earlier this year about her.

Here is what is happening right now:

1) Yesterday, the United States called for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners in Burma.

2) Additionally, the European Union called for her release

3) At a meeting of European and Asian leaders, it appears that Euro/Asian countries will call for her release, including China

4) Aung San Suu Kyi's first cousin Dr. Sein Win and her attorney Jared Genser, who represents her at the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, published an opinion piece that has been published in multiple newspapers

5) Most importantly, the UN Secretary General had said he would travel to Burma by the end of this year to secure changes in Burma. Now, it appears that he may be trying to back out of this trip for fear of failure -- don't let him give up on this trip -- send him a message today!

6) In Washington, DC and London, human rights activists are holding demonstrations in front of Chinese embassies. China is the Burmese regime's #1 ally, and they need to do more to secure peaceful change in Burma.

7) Today, the creators of The Trouble with the Alphabet , a photographic journey through the alphabet that illuminates the world's injustices from the point of view of a child, will launch their compelling new exhibit to celebrate the book's release at the Ditto Gallery in downtown Denver. If you buy the book, you can designate US Campaign for Burma as the beneficiary and we will receive 10% of the profits.

8) Students across the United States are participating in events to help raise funds to free Aung San Suu Kyi and all the people of Burma.

While we are doing many things, we have much more work to accomplish. Thank you for your interest in our work -- we are asking you to continue to support our efforts.

Aung Din, Jeremy Woodrum, Jacqui Pilch, Jennifer Quigley, Mike Haack

Support 1991 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Aung San Suu Kyi and the struggle for freedom and democracy in Burma:

Become a member of the United States Campaign for Burma today.

Or, make a donation today.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Demonstration for Daw Suu --

Dear Friends of Burma in the DC Area,

I wanted to send you a last minute reminder about today's demonstration for Burma.

Today, Friday, October 24th, will mark the day that Aung San Suu Kyi has spent 13 years under house arrest.

We, and many others around the world, are organizing demonstrations at Chinese embassies. Will you join us?

China is the number one supporter of the military regime in Burma, again and again preventing the UN from taking meaningful action to set Aung San Suu Kyi and the rest of Burma free.

Incidentally, Friday October 24th also marks the 60th anniversary of the UN charter, known as "UN day". Help us hold the UN to its promise by taking action for Burma.

The embassy is located at: 2300 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008. It is between the Dupont Circle and Woodley Park metro stops, off of Connecticut Avenue. The demonstration will begin at 5pm.

Questions? email: or call: (202)234-8022.

I look forward to seeing you there!

Mike Haack

How the pros do it -- all of New York in a warehouse --

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Burma Border Consortium reports that 66,000 in Burma displaced in last year alone --

The statistics can't get more reliable than this. TBBC feeds refugees in the camps along the Burma-Thai Border and has done so since at least 1997, when I first met Director, Jack Dunford.

You see what a weak case ICG has when it recently called for a regularization of aid on grounds that that alone would create democracy.

The junta has learned to play the game and plays it "well."

Even long time dissidents have been taken in and speak as if 2010 were some magic number.

Prof. Bob Hudson's page on Bagan (used to be spelled Pagan) -- ancient Burmese city --

Influential art historian Albert Boime dies -- analyzed Van Gogh's Starry Night --,0,3159641.story

World art prices expected to drop through the floor --

Monk-activist flees to Burma-Thai Border -- from Democratic Voice of Burma --

Wanted monk flees to Thai border -- from Mizzima --

World-wide recession -- so Queen recycles her clothes --

My red jackets -- photo copyright Kyi May Kaung

Hey, I haven't bought anything new since 2004. I even re-cycled my wedding clothes. If it's good enough for Tennessee William's grandmother, it's good enough for me.

Kyi May Kaung

The Color Blue --

So calming --

Colorful house in Mexico --

Friday, October 17, 2008

Exhibit reception for Cranial Vault -- in which "My Skull" will also be exhibited --

"He was from China" art work and photo copyright Kyi May Kaung.

Exhibit Reception, Cranial Vault

Cranial Vault: Artifacts and Impressions
November 3 through December 31, 2008
City of Takoma Park Municipal Building, 3rd Floor Gallery
7500 Maple Ave, Takoma Park, MD 20912

Opening reception: Friday, November 14, 7:00 to 9:00 pm.

One man's journey from a middle-of-the-night grand mal seizure through cancer treatment and brain surgery to a survivor's new normal. Part curiosity shop, part medical illustration, and part memoir, the exhibit is an experiential travelogue of a trip, nine years and continuing.

Exhibit features commissioned artwork by local artists Bobbi Kittner, Kanchan Balse, Alice Sims, Peter Krsko, Amy Kincaid, Kyi May Kaung; designer Norman Mallard; photographer Emily Deisroth; and more.

Posted by Amy Kincaid --

--- For other images of "My Skull" or "He was from China" scroll down this blog for month of October 2008. Kyi May Kaung

AP -- Voters souring on MacCain, Obama holds steady --

Woodcuts (some portraits), all political, by internationally acclaimed artist Sid Chafetz-- now 86 years young --

Vietnam joining growing list of countries vying for Burma's oil and gas -- by William Boot --

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What radio should be -- sample from Democracy Now with Amy Goodman --

Excellent use of 59 minutes which Burmese language radios would do well to emulate.

Kyi May Kaung

Paul Krugman wins Nobel Prize in Economics --

Red plate made in China and cherries from where? Photo copyright Kyi May Kaung

The Theory of Comparative Advantage explained a lot, but Krugman's work has explained country specializations and trade better.

See for Jim Lehrer's interview of Krugman, yesterday. (10-13-08)

Krugman said countries fall into trade patterns also by chance and then economies of scale take over.

Think of China's increasing role in African trade and investment.

Kyi May Kaung

Monday, October 13, 2008

My Skull by Kyi May Kaung --

Photo Copyright Kyi May Kaung

Covered skull art work and photo Copyright Kyi May Kaung.

When A. dropped off the skull, I was afraid to open the box for a few days, in spite of being born into a Buddhist culture. When I unwrapped it, the plastic felt slimy. The screws, especially the big one, the open-up top, the hinges and the teeth bothered me. So I quickly covered them up with torn up brown paper bags from Chinese takeout food, using a pot of home-made glue. I covered the mouth because of the teeth. Now it looks like an Egyptian mummy that can't talk.

Copyright Kyi May Kaung.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Burma signs energy deal with Singapore and Thailand --

Hurricane Ike sunsets --

Paleantologist finds fossil of mammoth tooth after Hurricane Ike --

on Bolivar Peninsula, in Texas --

Maybe anyone else might not have recognized it.

Machu Picchu

Tibetan Blue Poppy (meconopsis)

In bud --

Never yet seen in the flesh.

And another blue poppy shot --

It's worth dying after you've seen a blue poppy once.

Kyi May Kaung

Presdt. Bush and financial rescue plan --

Make sure to watch the video clip of his speech --

meanwhile McCain campaign does rabble rousing and "character assassination."

In my view, Obama makes the most sense and has the best grasp of economics of the two presidential candidates. The rabble is frightening and a presidential nominee should not resort to such tactics which could get out of hand.

An interview Friday night of George Soros on Bill Moyers Journal was the most enlightening about what is happening.

Kyi May Kaung

Renowned literature critic Harold Bloom on (financial) panic --

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Hurricane Ike video essay --

The victims look so fat and actually have brick houses, compared to the victims of Cyclone Nargis in Burma. And the aid actually arrives.

Another loss -- a relative dies of cancer in Burma --

Pink crepe myrtle -- maybe one of many hybrids developed by the National Arboretum --

Photo copyright Kyi May Kaung.

The Grim Reaper is Always Grim.

She wanted to be an actress, so my father took her to see A1 Studios.
She married well and had four children.
She nursed the twins through dengue haemorrhagic fever.

She was always well groomed and had taste in her clothes.
You could not tell she had cancer and was dying.

She always stayed in touch.
She listened to me on the radio.
She wanted change.

She liked drawing family trees.

She introduced me to someone famous.
She sent me Maddhi Dewi's Ode to the Himalayas and asked to see
my translation.

Her brother also died of cancer.
Her mother died of Alzheimers, in her house.

Her daughter says she "suffered a lot before
she let go of her life
but she did not suffer long."

Rest in Peace, H.H.

You did well.

Poem copyright Kyi May Kaung.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Bird Art --

Beloved Singer Daw Mar Mar Aye --

Photo copyright Kyi May Kaung.

Chicago -- from air.

Photo copyright Kyi May Kaung.

Obama and McCain --

Paper cutouts at an airport -- Why no Joe Biden? Photo copyright Kyi May Kaung.

On a shelf in dorm in a Mid-West college -- photo copyright Kyi May Kaung

Htein Lin's Art -- I think this performance piece is called "September" but art itself is "Crossings."

Set up for the performance.

Near the beginning of the performance.

Middle of the performance.

Near the end of the performance.

End of performance.

All art and performance itself copyright Htein Lin, photos, copyright -- Kyi May Kaung

Monday, September 29, 2008

CNN -- to combat brain drain, Iraqui doctors offered higher salaries and allowed to carry guns.

This is successful nation building??

Re-writing history in Burma -- from Irrawaddy --

World Economy -- it's all interconnected -- stupid --

Photo "World Markets" and blog title -- Copyright Kyi May Kaung

What "bailout" means -- from Wikipedia --

Commentary by Jeffrey Miron, CNN -- Bankruptcy, not Bailout is the Answer.

Speaker of House Rep. Nancy Pelosi's speech --

Republicans blame her speech, which is like shooting the messenger --

Nobel Laureate Economist Joseph Stiglitz on recession, now that $700b bailout was denied --

Peter Cave (ABC) from Burma on Saffron Revolution anniversary --

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Hope everyone listened to U.S. Presidential Candidates' debate --

I did not like Senator McCain's rambling, personalized non-answers, and was impressed by Sen. Obama's grasp of economics, numbers and foreign affairs, as well as his overall macro view.

I thought McCain was patronizing and talked down to Obama which he had no cause to do, while Obama remained cool and polite, but did not let false statement pass.

I invite my Burma audience to comment.

From my own informal surveys of Burmese dissidents and people in Indonesia, most like the Obamas. They spoke as if they knew Michelle and Barack in person. They often asked me to "give my regards to Sen. Obama when I return to D.C." People I spoke to included a high ranking Thai-based Burmese dissident, another one who recently won a prize, a lovely 85 year old grandmother (now deceased) who shook hands with me on this as early as last summer,a busboy in Bali who pointed to his sunburned skin.

Kyi May Kaung

Friday, September 26, 2008

Presdt. George W. Bush and Laura Bush talk to U Kovida, one of leaders of last year's Saffron Revolution --

Re-arrest of Burmese dissident U Win Htein ( from Amnesty International )

Released prisoner rearrested in Myanmar

U Win Htein © Amnesty International

26 September 2008

Amnesty International confirmed on Friday that one of the seven prisoners of conscience freed this week, U Win Htein, was re-arrested a few hours after his release. He was released from Kathar prison in Sagaing Division in north-western Myanmar on Tuesday.

U Win Htein was picked up by police officers in a guest house in the town of Kathar where he was staying for the night before catching a boat to Mandalay the following morning to meet his wife.

U Win Htein is now back in Kathar prison. It is not known why he was re-arrested or how much longer he will remain imprisoned.

Amnesty International has said that the re-arrest of U Win Htein illustrates that there is no policy change by the Myanmar government to free political prisoners.

One of 7 political prisoners released (rest were criminals) enjoys a brief 17 hours of freedom before re-arrest --

Over 2000 political prisoners remain in Burmese Gulag at any one time --

Irrawaddy interviews U Win Tin who spent 19 years in prison --

Irrawaddy editorial -- "humanitarian space opened up since Cyclone Nargis" is nonsense --

Irrawaddy Magazine, which suffered cyber-attack -- probably from Burmese junta, now back on line with this report --

Laura Bush speaks up for Burma.

Peace March for Burma in NY --

On one year anniversary of clampdown on Saffron Revolution, frightened people stay off streets of Rangoon -- from AFP

Burmese junta threatens "legal action" if NLD does not retract its criticism of "constitution."

Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe on Broadway in Peter Shaffer's Equus --

Someone who has managed to grow up normally and well apparently, in the glare of modern day success.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

(Sr.Gen) Than Shwe "changed history" as she is spoke --

Essentially he changed name of Universities Historical Research Dept (my translation) to "Historical Research Central Department" and moved it from the Ministry of Education to "The Ministry of Culture."

Anthropologist Gustaaf Houtman said recently that after 1988 "Culture" as defined by junta, of course, replaced the 1962-1988 BSPP (Burma Socialist Program Party) policies.

Maybe personnel changes will follow -- certainly a re-writing of history from the junta's perspective. I know that HRCD (may not be real name) was headed by Daw Ni Ni Myint, widow of Gen. Ne Win, and Dr. Than Nyun (British Socialist??) trained economist was minister of education -- has been under travel sanctions to USA since 1988.

I will find out more at upcoming Burma Studies Conference -- but as many commentators now realize, the Sr. Gen. is not to be underestimated.


An eye witness account of what happened last year -- during what became known as The Saffron Revolution -- by U Gawsita-

video produced by U.S. Campaign for Burma --

Bomb goes off in Rangoon -- but who planted it -- most people assume these are work of junta itself --

Opera: Renee Fleming in designer costumes -- dying of TB or flaming with passion in La Traviata -

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Re-posting -- my Wild River Review piece on Eritrean artist Elsa Gebreyesus --

All you naive children who want to go back to Burma in 2010 for "the new election" make sure you read this --

Kyi May Kaung

Message of support from well known Native American poet -- Susan Deer Cloud --

Dear Kyi May Kaung ....... I am teaching a writing course at Broome Community
College this semester, and I am going to take this in to share with my students. Some
of them don't care very much about reading and writing, and I tell them that a powerful
use of language is a central part of our freedom .....

This tore my heart apart. I hope that I can put this into one of my poems.

Thank you, thank you, thank you ...... as painful as reading this was for me,
it also heartens me when sometimes I want to give up in my own life. But I have never
had a life as hard as Saya's. What a sadistic act on the part of the army office. It reminded
me of the great writer Dostoevsky being taken out to be executed and then told he wasn't
going to be shot but sent to Siberia.

What is Saya's full name? I am about to go to youtube ..... but I won't be
able to understand the language, evidently .... even so, I can get some sense of him
and what he says.

I worry about my own country's freedom. This is important to people
all around the world.

With respect and caring for all of you ......

Susan Deer Cloud

Thanks Susan,

Note: Saya= guru or teacher.

His full name is U Win Tin, U, pronounced "Oo" means "Mr." for a man.

"Maung" = "master" for a younger man or if one wishes to refer to oneself humbly.


Prominent Burmese journalist and democracy activist U Win Tin released from prison after 20 years.

Demonstration in U.S.A. on 20th anniversary of 8-8-88 Revolution. Photo per kind favor of and copyright Maw Shein Win.,8599,1843853,00.html

He is still in light blue prison garb, as a sign of his continued resistance.

He told VOA reporter he will continue (with his pro-democracy activity) -- he was 20 years in prison and when his sentence was completed at 16 years, he was "about to be freed," singled out by name by the army officer "I have read your writings, Saya," served dinner and then taken back to prison.

He said he was only allowed to read about 3 years ago, before that would scratch on floor with a piece of brick or reads scraps of newspaper that he came across.

Reading material allowed in last 3 years was mostly government papers, and later a very few (semi-independent local?) papers.

Those of you who don't have Burmese please find a Burmese speaker near you and ask for help. Also as a way of networking.

Kyi May Kaung

Friday, September 19, 2008

Generals go Cyber? by Aung Zaw in Wall St. Journal.

Stormy skies -- photo copyright Kyi May Kaung

This is a must read. Aung Zaw, who has been Editor of Irrawaddy Magazine, which has an online as well as print edition, has been publishing Irrawaddy since about 1999, when I interviewed him briefly for radio. He said then, "so long as things keep happening, we'll keep writing about it." He also spoke then about the media as "a second government."

I'd like to thank everyone at Irrawaddy and other Burmese media outlets for their fine work. I check The Irrawaddy website everyday for news updates.

I'd also like to say that while correspondents at some other media outlets displayed "fishy ethics" in my point of view, by "leading the military agents" to monks like U Gambira and other activists by keeping them up to 30 minutes! on their cell phones for live interviews, I have never noticed this, nor heard about anything like this with regard to Irrawaddy and its protection of its sources.

According to Aung Zaw's research, this most recent attack has been traced to a computer in Norway where Democratic Voice of Burma is based, and other hackers overseas may be involved. The junta has windfall profits from natural gas and its monopoly of Burmese exports and can well afford to pay cyber sabotagers.

It's also my belief that the junta spies are now more sophisticated and they work through embedded "scholars, broadcasters etc." rather than having heavies from the M. Embassy show up at the first Burma Studies Conference in DeKalb, in the early 90s, for instance.

K.M. Kaung

Van Gogh at night -- exhibition at MOMA -- NY

DVB and (Burmese) New Era Journal also hit by junta hackers -- but why weren't others such as VOA, RFA, Mizzima, BBC?

This bears thinking about.

Irrawaddy says hackers were trained in Russia and attack was "severe and sophisticated."

And that hackers can be hired for as little as $500.

My assumption is the ones that are most effective in gathering and disseminating information were hit first.

Important message from Irrawaddy Magazine --

Dear Irrawaddy subscribers,

We regret to inform you that the Irrawaddy Web site is still unavailable due to a severe attack that has also targeted a number of other exiled Burmese media groups.

We attempted to redirect Irrawaddy readers to a mirror site, but that site has also come under attack. Our technicians worked until 2 a.m. to correct the problem, but finally had to take both sites offline.

Unfortunately, we still don’t know when we will be able to return to regular service. We have been informed by the company that hosts our Web site that the attack was severe and sophisticated, and will resume immediately if we attempt to restore service.

As a temporary measure, we will be posting online content on a new blog,, until further notice. Please visit this site for updated news and other regular features.

For news in Burmese, please visit

We have also received reports that Internet speeds in Burma have been very slow since Wednesday, and that Internet cafes in Rangoon have come under heavy surveillance, with police and officials checking customers’ ID cards and monitoring Internet use.

These developments come on the anniversary of last year’s monk-led uprising known as the “Saffron Revolution.” At the height of the crackdown on peaceful demonstrations, the Burmese regime stopped all Internet traffic into and out of the country to stem the flow of information about atrocities being committed by the army and security forces.

We would like to assure Irrawaddy readers that we will make every effort to keep you informed of the situation inside Burma. We thank you for your patience and continued support.

The Irrawaddy

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Kyi May Kaung's paper "Weakness in Traditional Area Studies Approach in Burma Studies"

U Kovida, one of leaders of last year's Saffron Revolution, now a refugee in the USA, and the "old original" Burmese flag from 1948. Photo per kind favor of Maw Shein Win. Photo copyright Maw Shein Win.

My Paper is to be presented at annual Burma Studies Conference, Burma Studies Center, DeKalb, IL., Oct 3-5th.

Seeing Burma in the mirror of Chad --

"World Bank takes its money and runs" from Foreign Policy in Focus.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Special posting for Burmese readers -- Hurricane Ike in Texas

Like Nargis, but in a developed country.

Since Norma Bixler wrote in a CIA Factbook about Burma, that "Burma is about the size of Texas," that is, in square miles, it's become a cliche with people who write about Burma.

Now this Hurricane Ike was as large as Texas.

Lot of lessons for Burma in how this was handled.

But the biggest lesson of all is that Democracy makes a difference.

I am tired of all the talk talk talk about Burma -- most of it skirting around systemic factors.

Another seminar coming up in October.

Blog text copyright Kyi May Kaung

Burl Ives-Ave Maria