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

Friday, September 12, 2008

Lehman Brothers collapse --

No Fly Zone -- Statue of George Bush Sr. at Houston International Airport -- Photo copyright Kyi May Kaung

Hold onto your jobs -- don't take too many benefits in stock options --

U.S. economy is on a tailspin. We need to stop the War.

Blog text Kyi May Kaung

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Weak radio piece on remittances by Burmese migrant labor --

on one of overseas radio stations, in Burmese.

I listened to it on 9-3 -- "12 hours" I think, about 48 minutes into the broadcast.

It's not a very strong piece, (the broadcaster) made some mistakes and it's obvious she translated it from a general piece about remittances. The conclusion is also weak to stupid -- as if she's asking junta to teach maids who go overseas to use knives and forks at table, instead of examining whole reason why they go at all.

Who for instance teaches them not to get raped by their Gulf State etc. employer? It happens all the time.

At beginning of piece she says "remittances FROM Philippines (to Burma?) benefit(the Philippines?)"

That is wrong. Or maybe just poor sentence structure, due to poor understanding of the issue.

Kyi May Kaung

Crazy things critics say --

of children's books illustrator Maurice Sendak --

If they think "illustrating" is easier than painting or drawing, let them try it.

Kyi May Kaung

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

What's Cooking?? Thai PM forced to resign overTV cooking show.

Bean soup and naan bread in painted porcelain - Painted ceramics and photo Copyright Kyi May Kaung.

Thai politics, like that of its neighbor Burma,has an amazing surrealism.

This is a case of "drowning in shallow water" as we Burmese say.

I am sure the Thai people are happy Samuk is gone.

In Feb.,the rumor on the Burmese dissident grapevine was that the Samuk government had allegedly allowed the Burmese junta's DKBA to assassinate Karen leader Pado Mahn Sha in Mae Sot on the Thai-Burma border.

The Samuk administration was widely assumed to be a stand in for the former PM Taksin,also a reputed friend of the Burmese junta -- so --

blog text copyright Kyi May Kaung
Reference link from The Irrawaddy.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Poem in The Nation by the late Mahmoud Darwish

Swirl 2 -- Copyright Kyi May Kaung

Pray and do Activism for Suu Kyi and her companions

Cast shadows -- photo copyright Kyi May Kaung

Aung San Suu Kyi has been under arrest and house arrest since the Depayin Massacre in May 2003.

Now she has been refusing food for the last 3 weeks and her female companions are not with her, so she is alone.

If SPDC, the UN, the world, that is us, let this great human being die,

it will be a great tragedy and the junta will have even more blood on its hands.

Kyi May Kaung

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

We've hung our collage show Cut and Paste --

For Victims of Nargis Cyclone -- Collage -- Copyright Kyi May Kaung

This one is not in this show -- just completed it. If interested in purchasing, leave a comment on this blog with your name, email and street address /phone number etc.

at 4433 S. Park St.

Sept 3- 30th, 2008

Opening Reception (light refreshments)

Sunday Sept. 14th, 11.30 AM to 1.30 PM

Kyi May Kaung

My archive at IISH, Amsterdam--