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.

My archive at IISH, Amsterdam--