Saturday, June 28, 2008

Gustaaf Houtman's Burmese Mental Culture and the National League for Democracy --

One of few scholars who does not avert his eyes from Burmese politics, and therefore is relevant.

Kyi May Kaung

Burma: Golden Land vs. Rotten Land -- poem by Van Biak Thang

Van Biak Thang
Chinland Guardian
15 January 2008

Golden Land as the painted posters display
Along all the roads and streets in Burma
Some countries in sham still bet and play
Just like a famished wolfish ogre in Sahara
The world yet heeds what the junta chant
While the people away run and in fear pant

Rotten land as the helpless victims reveal
No more can the coloured billboards conceal
Well-dressed to look filled and healthy
In truth the country's been rotten and empty
The world yet feeds on what the dictators offer
While the young and old like fettered birds suffer

Public protests cropped and no news popped
Just like a dying bedridden cancer patient
Butcher shops forced to open but no meat chopped
Only uniformed despots outcome as a quotient
The world yet reads the regime's tattooed skin
While leaders, pastors and monks cry in pain.

Published here with kind permission of Van Biak Thang and Chinland Guardian.

Kyi May Kaung

Burma's Iron Lily's Birthday --

Join Free Burma Chicago &
US Campaign for Burma to


SUNDAY, JULY 6, 2008

Friday, June 27, 2008

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Review of Thai film Narasuan 1 --§ionId=2

Narasuan was a Thai prince who was taken to Burma by King Bayinnaung and then returned to drive the Burmese out of Ayuthia/Siam (now Thailand)--

I saw the first Suryothai movie by the same director, cut by Coppola. I did not find it particularly anti-Burmese - but more focussed on the court intrigues inside the Ayuthia court and the weakness of that court.

It was still long after the cuts, and even,yes, rather boring.

Kyi May Kaung

Burma Campaign UK starts flash ad campaign for cyclone survivors and other Burmese --

Brad Pitt and George Clooney start ad campaign for allowing in more Burma aid.

US Congress says "no more cyclone aid through Burmese junta."

A case of "the protective tattoos start becoming powerful after the thieves have gone!"

Kyi May Kaung

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Slain Japanese journalist Kenji Nagai's sister spearheads new protests --

Nagai was shot point blank in Rangoon by a Burmese soldier while covering last year's Saffron Revolution.

International activists please help the Nagai family.

Burmese government's isolated capital -- Naypyidaw --

Penguins and white tigers while the people starve.

Burmese Padaung writer Pascal Khoo Thwe's interview with NPR in 2002

Monday, June 23, 2008

Al Hurra -- US Funds Anti-American Broadcasts --

Watch also for tomorrow's article in Washington Post on Al Hurra.

It does not surprise me, knowing about the Burmese radio stations.


Sunday, June 22, 2008

The banded krait -- native habitat includes Burma --

During the recent cyclone Nargis, many people reportedly died of snake bite.

Wiki article above says a water buffalo bitten by a banded krait died in 20 minutes.

Presumably a human or child would die faster.

Kyi May Kaung

New refugee from Burma -- is an artist named Kennedy.

Indian Agriculture and World Food Prices --

Dictators' architects -- would be Speers of this world.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Happy 63rd Birthday Daw Aung San Suu Kyi!

Daw Suu look alike in Helsinki, photo copyright Kyi May Kaung.

Long life to Daw Suu and the beautiful people of Burma who have suffered so much and deserve to have good lives.

Civil Society strengthened by local groups in Burma --

Children selling snacks in Burma before the Storm. Photo copyright Kyi May Kaung/Citizen Journalist.

This article in The Washington Post confirms what I have been writing and saying.

1. Most of the aid supplies will be stolen by the junta.

2. Civil society and independent groups are forging new ties between the Delta and Rangoon.

3. The military government is making new rules and tightening its control but out of all of this, the new relationships are a net gain.

4. I believe it was a mistake for the international community not to tie the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners to the delivery of aid. NLD and others were the ones who could help monitor the aid delivery.

5. The junta is actively obstructing and arresting private citizens who have helped in aid delivery, and has brought its thugs out again to attack Suu Kyi supporters.

6. Citizens have had to jump in to do everything themselves and are exhausted. The military junta has lost all legitimacy.

I made point 1. in an article in Wild River Review immediately after Cyclone Nargis struck.

I have been talking about points 1-6 since in Helsinki, at E-W Center and in an interview with RFA. The RFA reporter asked me why the junta needs to care. Well, it does not need to care, it is at its most dangerous now -- flush with cash and power.

All totalitarian systems eventually fall, usually, in case of Hitler and Pol Pot's regimes by outside intervention. The Hitler regime could not keep up its control or army as its economic base declined under the slave system(forced or conscripted labor)it instituted. One of the most evil of all regimes, the Pol Pot one in Cambodia, lasted only from April 1975 to Christmas Eve 1978 when Vietnamese forces launched a massive invasion of Cambodia. See chapter Cambodia since 1945 pp 237-260 in Ian Mabbett and David Chandler, The Khmers, Blackwell,1995.

Post war West Germany was helped by the Marshal Plan. After reunification, Germany is stronger. The European Union, formerly known as the European Common Market, has widened regional markets, unified the currency. Cambodia today is much different from the Khmer Rouge era.

Burma will change, the days of the military regime are numbered.

Copyright Kyi May Kaung.

Human Rights Lawyer Jared Genser: Suu Kyi's Continued detention is illegal

under SPDC's own law.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's Birthday celebrated on Capital Hill --

Friday, June 20, 2008

BBC undercover in Burma --

Essay by Burmese activist Nilar Thein --

Published on June 19, 20
I woke up from a dream in the middle of the night. I was with my daughter, playing in a small garden.
We were playing hide and seek. I was looking at her from behind a tree. She was so beautiful, with the prettiest smile on her face, looking for me happily. I couldn't hide anymore. I wanted her to find me. I wanted to hold her in my arms and kiss her face gently. I started to show myself to her, but, suddenly I saw three men -with black coats and ugly faces - watching from the shadows near my daughter. I stepped back. I wanted to be found by my daughter, not by them. I still saw my daughter, still looking for me with her innocent smile. I didn't want to hide anymore. I wanted her to find me, but these men would take me away and put me in hell. Then I woke up, with tears on my cheeks. I have been separated from my daughter for nearly ten months. A midnight knock at our door in August last year changed our lives dramatically. The military junta's security forces took my husband Kyaw Min Yu (also known as Jimmy) on the night of August 21, 2007. He is a leader of the prominent dissident group, the 88 Generation Students, comprising former student leaders and former political prisoners. He and other leaders were taken from their homes that night by the authorities. As a former student activist and a former political prisoner myself, I knew very well how my husband and friends would be treated in the junta's interrogation cells. Therefore, when they came back to arrest me, I went into hiding. But I must continue to lead the 88 Generation Students with my other colleagues, so that Burma may realise its freedom, and find justice and democracy someday. I must avoid being arrested. However, there are so many difficulties and hardships in moving secretly from one hiding place to another, and I didn't want my daughter to share these hardships. Therefore, I decided to send my three-month-old baby to my parents. Now, I miss her so much. My mind wanders to University Avenue, where "the Lady", Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, has been detained under house arrest for so many years. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the world's only imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize recipient, will have to spend her 63rd birthday today alone in detention. She will be missing her two sons, too. Her strength and determination helps me and many women in Burma stand up for justice. I thank her for being with us and leading our movement. She is a great reminder to the world that the military junta that rules our country forcibly separates mothers and children. Coincidentally, the UN Security Council will hold a debate in New York today on "Women, Peace and Security". This debate is a discussion of UNSC Resolution 1325, which was passed unanimously in October, 2000. Resolution 1325 "Calls on all parties to armed conflict to take special measures to protect women and girls from gender-based violence, particularly rape and other forms of sexual abuse, and all other forms of violence in situations of armed conflict." It also "Emphasizes the responsibility of all States to put an end to impunity and to prosecute those responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes including those relating to sexual violence against women and girls, and in this regard, stresses the need to exclude these crimes, where feasible from amnesty provisions." US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice is expected to chair the debate, with many world leaders discussing the development of women, peace and security. Will they discuss Burma? Will they remember Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the women of Burma who are suffering all forms of abuse by the military junta?

Burma is now in the midst of two conflicts. One is the 50-year-old civil war, raging between the Burmese military and the minority resistance forces, predominately in the eastern part of the country. Burmese troops are raping with impunity tribal women and girls, some as young as eight years old. Burmese soldiers use women in conflict areas as porters to carry their military equipment and supplies during the day, and use them as sex slaves at night. Many women have been brutally killed to erase the evidence of these crimes. The other conflict is a 20-year old war, waged by the Burmese junta against its own unarmed citizens, who are calling for freedom, justice and democracy. Women activists are beaten, arrested, tortured and then put in prison for many years. Many female activists are mistreated and sexually assaulted by their interrogators and jailers. Children are used as bait by the authorities to get their mothers arrested. Of the 2.5 million people severely affected by Cyclone Nargis - many of whom the military junta simply left to die through starvation and disease - at least a million are women and girls. Recently, a UN expert said that up to 35,000 pregnant women, all cyclone survivors, are at extreme risk of death. However, they will never receive any care from the military. I hope that Secretary of State Rice and other leaders at the UN Security Council will give consideration to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the women of Burma during their debate. Resolution 1325 is a great development, but implementation and enforcement is still in question. When the government itself is the abuser of human rights and the perpetrator of rape and other forms of gender-based violence, who will protect the victims? Who will end their tragedy? Who will secure the joyful reunion of mothers with their children? The appeasement policy of some bureaucrats is shameful. Effective and urgent action from the UN Security Council is necessary to help the women in Burma. No more debate. Take action. Please let me be happily reunited with my daughter.

Nilar Thein is a former student leader in the 1988 democracy uprising in Burma and spent more than nine years in prison. This is from a U.S. Campaign for Burma email.

Statement of Senator Barack Obama on the 63rd Birthday of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

http://obama. press/080619- statement_ of_se_39/

Thursday, June 19, 2008

CONTACT: Michael Ortiz, 202 228 5566

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Barack Obama today released the following statement on the 63rd birthday of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma:

"The 63rd birthday today of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma offers an opportunity to remind the world community of the continuing tragedy in her country and the responsibility we have to press for change there.

"This year marks the 20th anniversary of Burma's 1988 democracy movement and of Daw Suu's emergence as its inspirational leader. She has sacrificed family and ultimately her freedom to remain true to her people and the cause of liberty. And she has done so using the tools of nonviolent resistance in the great tradition of Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King, earning the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize.

"Since her last birthday, the world has watched in horror as Burma's ruling junta first crushed the "Saffron Revolution," gunning down and rounding up Buddhist monks and other Burmese citizens peacefully demonstrating for political reform and social justice, and then, last month, resisted and impeded international provision of critical assistance to millions of Burma's people in the aftermath of cyclone Nargis. Tens of thousands died from the immediate impact of the cyclone itself, and at least 2.4 million people, 40 percent of them children, remain homeless and in desperate need of assistance.

"For decades, the junta has overseen the continued deterioration of living standards, basic human rights, and general well-being of the Burmese people. Two million refugees, thousands of political prisoners in Burma's jails, and the retreat of the junta's leaders themselves to an Orwellian capital cut off from its people are further testament to the alienation and devastation that Burma's current leaders have brought upon their nation.

"This situation offends the conscience of the American people, as it does for millions of others around the world. If the junta continues its failure to protect the dignity, health and well-being of the Burmese people, the international community must be prepared to work harder toward effective coordinated action, including but not limited to action through the United Nations Security Council.

"Aung San Suu Kyi will spend her birthday the way she has spent 13 of the past 19 birthdays, under house arrest. Nonetheless, she continues to serve as a consistent manifestation of hope even as hope has been on the retreat in Burma. As we honor Daw Suu today, we must do so the way she would want it done: by honoring the people of Burma, and keeping faith with them in their struggle for freedom, justice, and democracy."

Cindy McCain Blasts Burma's Junta on Asian Charity Trip.

Priscilla Clapp, Kyi May Kaung and David Steinberg at E-W Center, June 12, 2008.

Summary of presentations.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Must see -- Frontline's Sue Williams' Young and Restless in China +

Amazing speech by then 12 year old Severn Suzuki

New York Times -- A Book Club Courts Liberals -- by Motoko Rich

AP's Ann Flaherty -- (US) Officials warned of harsh interrogations --

Burmese performance artist and artist Htein Lin re-enacts a prison experience, Helsinki, 2008. -- photo copyright Kyi May Kaung.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Post Nargis -- More bad news from Burma -- by Kyi May Kaung

In Helsinki I spoke to a Europe based dissident whose family had lived in the Irrawaddy Delta for generations. About salinity, he said farmers told him it is old lands where salt comes in a few minutes and then leaches out, that can recover.

The lands now flooded are new sedimentary lands and salt water has been lying there for weeks.

After my E-W Center talk, I also heard that SPDC is trying to take over the private lands -- whose owners are all either dead, lost or relocated.

That means starvation for years to come, given that state-owned farms have never succeeded in any country.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Independent Burma Watcher Dr. Kyi May Kaung interviewed by RFA on her presentation at E-W Center DC -- role of NGOs & state legitimacy --

pl see program #


on Radio Free Asia's Burmese language program --

the font may show as alphabet soup but the date will be in English and you should download that program.

Sorry, no English translation is available -- I spoke on the role of the younger generation and Non Governmental Organizations in Nargis Cyclone recovery programs.


Important Blogsite tech details --

All comments --

this site is set up, by my choice, in such a way that I cannot respond to any comments, only accept or reject them.

I do not engage in correspondence of any sort about Burma matters.

If you saw me at a public forum, your points should have been raised there.

The fact that I published your comment does not necessarily mean I agree with you, nor does comment rejection mean that I disagree with you.

Post Nargis -- Burma -- What to eat? Fish vs pork.

Indoor sculpture and water feature at a mall in Helsinki -- photo copyright Kyi May Kaung.

Sea fish avoided, pork price soars

Rai Maraoh, IMNA

June 10, 2008

People in Southern Burma are avoiding sea fish, firm in their belief that the fish have been nibbling corpses floating from Irrawaddy delta. The price of fish has plummeted by 40 per cent whereas the price of pork has soared.

Although fish is still selling in the markets the number of people eating fish has dropped significantly, a resident in Mudon said.

"The price of fish dropped from 5000 Kyat to 3000 Kyat per viss. But some are still buying fish. The majority favour pork and chicken," she added. Now price of chicken and pork has soared from 5000 Kyat to 7000 Kyat per viss. Price of eggs has also risen.

A majority of people in Thanpyuzayart Township and Tavoy are avoiding fish.

Not only Mudon and Thanpyuzayar Township it is difficult to find sea fish sellers in the markets in Ye township where some bodies were found floating.

Two weeks after Cyclone Nargis struck, bodies of victims floated to sea beaches in Mon state. At least 300 bodies have been buried or burnt by local teams formed by authorities in Thanpyuzayart Township on the Set-sae beach. Some bodies floated in some costal villages in Tenasserim division and southern Ye Township.


For further information please contact to ,,

Contact Editor: 66 (0) 81 3659140 (or) 66 (0) 892 072 825,

Please visit Burma News International Web-site:, in which IMNA is a member.

Is soaring Chinese art "bubble" about to burst?

Kyi May Kaung's art -- Mostly Burmese Monks, on display in Helsinki -- at the Hotel Arthur --

Photo and paintings copyright Kyi May Kaung.

Photo and paintings copyright Kyi May Kaung.

Audience is watching a riveting performance piece by Burmese artist Htein Lin.

"I don't have any materials so I am using my body."

Artist and Performance Artist Htein Lin.

Q and A on Burma (sometimes called Myanmar) -- as words --

Question: "I read with much interest, your explanation of the meanings of the word "Naing Ngan", such as what it meant back in the Pagan period and what it means now. Given that, I was wondering if you could educate me on the etymology of the words Bama and Myanmar, particularly when they were first used and the scope of their meanings in the pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial periods.

Moreover, I vaguely recall reading somewhere that the word Bama has its roots in Bhrama, the highest of the 31 realms in Buddhist world view. Is that accurate?"


I am not a linguist nor an etymologist. I don't know the answers to your questions. Ask someone else.

Essentially there is no difference between the 2 words in the Burmese language, except "Bamar" is more colloquial and "Myanmar" more formal.

But because the SLORC (predecessor) of SPDC unilaterally changed the names of everything in 1988 after it clamped down, we dissidents insist on Burma, not "Mee -- ahn marr" as many foreigners mispronounce it.

Your question about etymology points to a wish for "authenticity" but that is less important than how the words are used right now in a current context.

BTW -- I have never written abt the word Naing Gan and what it meant in the Bagan (Pagan) period.

Naing Gan before the 19th century meant city states.

If you attribute something to me, please provide an exact reference.


Activist Analysts on Burma call Michael Aung Thwin's allegations groundless --

See The Irrawaddy Newsletter --

Forum of Burmese in Europe -- June 2008.

Artist Htein Lin in Performance -- "Yes and No" about Cyclone Nargis and SPDC's "referendum.
Photo copyright Kyi May Kaung.

Venerable Ashin Sopaka -- photo copyright Kyi May Kaung.

Activists -- photo copyright Kyi May Kaung.

Dr. Kyi May Kaung spoke on lack of legitmacy of the Burmese junta and the increasing role played by groups in Burma --

at the East-West Center in Washington DC --

She was also interviewed by Radio Free Asia's Burmese Service.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Ambassador Priscilla Clapp, Prof. David Steinberg and Dr. Kyi May Kaung will talk about Rethinking International Engagement in Post Cyclone Burma --

Dupont Circle metro station in DC with inscription from Walt Whitman -- photo -- by Kyi May Kaung

Democracy & Human Rights Seminar on:

Rethinking International Engagement

In Post-Cyclone Burma


Ambassador Priscilla Clapp

Former U.S. Chief of Mission to Burma

Kyi May Kaung

Independent Scholar on Burma

David Steinberg

Professor of Asian Studies, Georgetown University

Thursday, June 12, 2008

12:30 – 2:30 P.M.

A light lunch will be served at 12:30pm.

East-West Center in Washington

1819 L Street NW, Washington, D.C., 2nd Floor Conference Room

This event is free and open to the public.

Please RSVP with

Limited seating. Nearest metros are Farragut North (red line) and Farragut West (blue and orange lines).

Chiangmai, Thailand based Irrawaddy magazine gets a record number of hits during Cyclone Nargis in Burma --

I highly recommend their email newsletter and am proud to have been one of their earliest contributors.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Top universities in USA producing billionaires --

In contrast, where will the dictators of this world end?

Monday, June 02, 2008

Sunday, June 01, 2008

My archive at IISH, Amsterdam--