Saturday, March 28, 2009

Lit rejections from really small mags. :)

I throw all the rejection slips in a pile at the foot of my bed and never look at them again.

For Burmese the feet are lower (lowest) from the head.

Can post on my blog when I get famous.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Free Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, U Tin Oo and All Political Prisoners --

Cartoon by Harn Lay of Irrawaddy.

Book of Harn Lay's Burma cartoons available from Irrawaddy Magazine site.

Circus and Candy are America's Security Blanket --

Yeah! Ringling.

Apologist for regime publishes book on Burmese military's economic enterprizes --

International court condemns Burma junta for illegal and grotesque record on detention --

International court condemns Burma junta for its illegal and
ʺgrotesqueʺ record on detention

Today sees the publication of one of the most important international law judgments in recent years. In
a heavily argued case, decided last November but only now made public, the international legal system
has ruled in the clearest possible terms that the military regime in Burma has contravened every last
vestige of humanitarian law and falls to be condemned in the strongest possible way. Significantly, the
tribunal rejected every single one of the Burmese Government's arguments. The regime has been held
to be operating entirely outside of the law and its violations of minimum standards of international law
are described by the tribunal as "grotesque".
The judgment has come in a case brought on behalf of four prisoners in Burmese jails. Their "crime"
was to wear white clothes, to call for Buddhist prayers and to organise a letter-writing campaign to
inform the generals of the plight of the people. Their fate as a result has been extreme torture, a year of
detention without charge, lack of access to family and lawyers, eventual trial without representation
(their lawyers were imprisoned for contempt for trying to represent them) and now sentences of
hundreds of years of imprisonment for their supposed crimes. They are also representative of
thousands of other prisoners wrongfully and inhumanely detained by the Burmese junta.
Their names are Min Ko Naing, Ko Jimmy, Min Zayar and Pyone Cho.
The case of these four men was taken up by the Burma Justice Committee and was argued by two
English barristers (Sappho Dias and Adam Zellick instructed by Jared Genser of DLA Piper LLP (US))
before the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. The Burmese Government
defended the proceedings, arguing that the detentions of the four were legal and fully in accordance
with Burmese law.
In an impressive judicial ruling, the jurists of the international tribunal founded under the auspices of
the UN Charter have declared the Burmese Government's position to be unarguable and improper as a
matter of international law. The detentions of all four Petitioners have been held to be arbitrary and in
contravention of a whole raft of provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Whilst the Burmese military has so far ignored the outcome and continues illegally to imprison all four
Petitioners contrary to international law and in contempt of the judgment of the tribunal, the ruling is
almost unprecedented in its force and signifies that the Burmese dictatorship's conduct cannot be
tolerated in international law any longer. Experts believe that International Criminal Court indictments
against the ruling Generals and global sanctions against the regime are many steps closer today in light
of the judgment handed down.
Sappho Dias, Chairman of the Burma Justice Committee, said:
“The BJC calls on Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary General, to press for the release of all political
prisoners in Burma. The international community has a responsibility to those being persecuted in
Burma, and we must act now to end the injustice that is being perpetrated against the Burmese people.”
Tim Dutton QC, immediate past Chairman of the Bar and a leading member of the BJC, said:
“The Burma Justice Committee is pleased that the UN Working Group has reached its conclusion in
this case. The Petitioners' case was overwhelming, although that did not stop the dictatorship from
attempting to defend their actions. But the Petitoners remain incarcerated. The junta lost the case and
the tribunal has ruled, but the ruling is being flouted. These four men must be released immediately.
"More generally, the judgment is yet further evidence against the brutal military dictatorship, which, as
part of its regime of repressing its citizens, illegally detains thousands of people, and subjects them to
degrading and inhumane punishment.
“We support the call for the release of these four men. We also call for the release of all those
unlawfully detained by this regime. The junta is guilty of wholesale breaches of human rights, and the
continued oppression of those working to bring democracy and the rule of law to Burma will not be
tolerated. Those who support the illegal activities of this regime must expect, whether they be generals
or gaolers, that they will be brought before courts and tribunals and held responsible."
- Ends –
Note for Editors
(A) The Burma Justice Committee was established by lawyers in order to provide advice and
assistance to those who are affected by the unlawful conduct of the Burmese Military
Dictatorship. It is chaired by Sappho Dias (a barrister) who is of Burmese origin and the Vice
Chair is Adam Zellick, also a barrister who has acted in a number of international human rights
cases, and is the author of a book on habeas corpus. Amongst its members are barristers and
solicitors with expertise in (amongst others) War Crimes, Human Rights, International Law,
International Trade and Sanctions, Criminal Law. It counts amongst its members and
supporters the current and immediate past Chairmen of the Bar Council and many other
distinguished lawyers and jurists.
(B) Burma : The Petitioners in Brief.
NB These notes on the Petitioners lives were included in the materials for the case put before the
UN Group on Arbitray Detention, and were released in November 2007 when the Petitions were
lodged. They record information known to the Burma Justice Committee as at that date.
1. Htay Win Aung (alias Pyone Cho).
The alias Pyone Cho in Burmese means Sweet Smile. He was a Joint General Secretary of the
Rangoon Division Students Union in the period 1988 to 1989. He was first arrested following
the post 1988 crackdown in July 1989 alongside Tint Sann. The Military Junta accused them of
anti-government activities although Htay Win Aung was not brought to face trial until 1991 (2
years after arrest). The so-called trial was before a military tribunal which did not permit Htay
Win Aung to be legally represented. Nor were his relatives allowed to attend the trial. A
sentence of 7 years imprisoment was imposed on him. This 7 year sentence was extended to 14
years as Htay Win Aung sent to the UN a statement about the conditions existing in the
notorious Myingyan Prioson. He was released for the first time in 2005. On release he was
suffering from malnutrition as well as cataracts, which made him blind. He was re-arrested for a
second time on 30th September 2006 being released (for the second time) on 11th January 2007.
Following the recent protests by the monks against the Military Junta, Htay Win Aung was rearrested
on 22nd August 2007.
2. Kyaw Min Yu (alias Ko Jimmy).
Kyaw Min Yu was a student in his third year studying Physics at Rangoon University when he
was first arrested in 1989. He was tried and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment. This sentence
was increased by a further 12 years when he contacted the UN Human Rights Commission. Ge
was released in 2005. He is married and his wife is currently in hiding from the Military Junta.
Nilar Thein AND Kyaw Min Yu have a daughter, now aged 4 months, who is now living
without her father or her mother. Kyaw Min Yu was re-arrested following the prodemocracy
protest by the monks on 22nd August 2007. There have been repeated rumours of his death in
Burma but U Myint Tein, a spokesperson for the National League for Democracy believes
these are false rumours generated by the Military Junta to flush his wife out of hiding.
3. Min Ko Naing. (Formal name: Paw Oo Tun).
Min Ko Naing is an alias meaning the Conqueror of Kings in Burmese. Min Ko Naing is one of
the prominent figureheads in the struggle for democracy. In 1988, he was the Chairperson of
the All Burma Federation of Student Unions. He was in his third year at Rangoon Arts and
Science University reading Zoology. Min Ko Naing is regarded as the most charismatic of the
student leaders to have emerged from the 88 Generation. He is described as kind, generous,
flexible and broad-minded. It is also said of him that he has a sense of humour which has
sustained him through the long years of solitary imprisonment. He was first arrested on 23rd
March 1989 and subsequently sentenced to 20 years imprisonment. During his first spell in
prison, Min Ko Naing was visited by the then-US Congressman Bill Richardson who offered
him freedom on the basis of an agreement to be deported to the United States. Min Ko Naing
refused this offer. He was subsequently released for the first time on 19th November 2004.
However, on 27th September 2006, he was arrested a second time and was not released until 11th
January 2007. Although his name his not well known outside Burma, his is a name which has
charismatic power in Burma. He was arrested after the recent prodemocracy protests by the
monks on 22nd August 2007. He is the recipient of human rights awards from Canada, the
Czech Republic, Norway, Italy and United States.
4. Min Zayar. (Formal Name: Aung Myin, Aung Par).
Min Zayar is an alias meaning the Teacher of Kings in Burmese. Min Zayar at 49, in the oldest
of the detainees. In 1988, he was in his fifth year at Rangoon University reading Law and was a
Committee member of the now banned All Burma Students Union. Throughout 1988, he was
repeatedly arrested and held in prison for short spells. There were 3 such arrests in 1988. On
25th August 1989, he was arrested for a fourth time and sentenced to 8 years imprisonment. He
was released in October 1995 but since that date has been repeatedly re-arrested and
imprisoned for varying lengths of time. He was last released on 11th January 2007. However,
following the recent pro-democracy protests he was rearrested on 21st August 2007.
There are fears that all of the detainees are being tortured and mistreated.

For more information, or a copy of Opinion No. 46/2008, please call Camilla Barker on 0207 067 0330

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Kyi May Kaung reads her poem "Poetic Justice" -- Video "Tongues Don't Have Bones" by Lisa DiLillo --

It's amazing that this poem still has so much power a decade and a half after I wrote it.

I wish it were otherwise. But the junta's ratcheted up oppression makes the poem still true.

Contrary to what one reviewer in The Village Voice wrote, my poetry was not illustrating Lisa's video but the other way around.

Lisa told me the "big puppet" dancers were in fact performing in Virginia, but the curtain falling just was so metaphorical.

She has fitted the cadences of the poem with the dancer's movements superbly.

The rest were "tourist shots."

Thank you Lisa for a beautiful work of art and a lovely showcase for my poetry.

For copies, contact Lisa DiLillo at her website.

For copies of my poetry chapbooks, leave a message and your real name and email address (it won't be published) on this blog site.

I also welcome poetry and portrait commissions.

Kyi May Kaung

Funeral photos -- Zarganar's mother passes away while the famous comedian, jailed for helping Cyclone Nargis victims, languishes in remote prison.

The basket of red and yellow roses tied with a black ribbon is from Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

The sign around the neck of the man in the white shirt reads --

"We are as devastated and saddened as much as the bereaved family.

Aung San Suu Kyi."

Burma-Bangladesh border fence will not "save the Rohingyas."

From email list serv -- Internet.

All Human Right activists
Around the world.

With the fencing of the border of Area of Burma with Bangladesh, the Arakan State will become a terrible concentration camp for the Rohingyas. The Rohingyas will die more in this big Jail as there will not able to go out easily even after bribing the Na Sa Ka. Moreover the Na SA Ka, the boarder Security Force of SPDC will get more access to make funds through various checkposts. The SPDC soldiers will organize more forced laborers on the backs of Rohingyas and Rakhaines in confronting with the insurgents of Rohingyas and Rakhiens. The Military Commanders will accumulate more funds from the resources of Arakan State that are smuggled to Bangladesh. Human right activists from all over the world, those willing to visit Arakan will be denied their easy entry. The relations between Burma and Bangladesh will further deterioriate on the issues of unsolved maritime and land boundaries and Bangladesh will not materialise the already agreed an establishing Arakan Road from the Cox's Bazar District of Bangladesh to Maungdaw Township of Arakan state.

But the Arakan State will be more focus(ed)in the eyes of the International Community. In this case the already Stationed UN agencies like UNHCR and UNDP shall be more active to safeguard the oppressed Rohingyas of Arakan.

With best wishes,
Dr.- XXX (name withheld)

--- On Sat, 3/21/09, Rohingya Concern International wrote:

Border fence is not a solution to Save the Rohingyas!

What a foolish idea it is to fence the Burma-Bangladesh border by the SPDC military junta to Save the Rohingyas!
They disregarded even the neighboring brotherly Bangladesh (Burmese Junta uses this phrase all the time in the media) when decided to fence the border!
They think by doing so they can silence the world showing that they care about the suffering Rohingyas not to flee from Arakan which caused the neighboring countries a headache.
This means that the Rohingyas must die at the hands of Burmese Nasaka and military forces without enjoying a way-out to escape the persecutions of the brutal Burmese security forces in Arakan.
The solution is not fencing the border but restoring the Rohingyas citizenship rights and show respect of human rights letting the Rohingyas live as human beings with dignity and honor. The border fence will not deter the Rohingyas whereas seeking life security will compell them to find alternative ways.

The more the SPDC invents new ways to further tighten their grips on Rohingyas to suffocate them the more the situation will be worsened and the world public opinion and the attitudes of ASEAN will go against the Burmese military junta.

So, it is the responsibility of the neighboring countries, ASEAN and UN to seek a durable solution for the suffering Rohingya people in Burma instead of a temporary solution of halting the Rohingyas who are risking their lives through Ocean to find a safe place of shelter..

Recently the exterminating campaign has been accelerated by killing the innocent Rohingyas on fabricated and false accusations.
by Nasaka as reported by the Kaladan Press network

We express our grave concern on the worsening situation of Rohingyas in Arakan and urge the international NGOs and all Govt.s to exert pressure on the SPDC Government to cease all inhuman activities against innocent Rohingya civilians in northern Arakan State.

We also urge the United Nations to send a fact-finding mission to Arakan so as
to bring the real facts happening in Arakan as the SPDC military junta is distorting the reality of the Rohingyas condition compelling them to confes Bengali ethnicity instead of Rohingya identity and ethnicity.

Mohiuddin (aka) Maung Sein
Tel:1-646-625- 9407
Rohingya Concern International (RCI)
New York, USA

Queens bus driver delivers free meals --

Micheal Pollan -- Abolish the White House Lawn

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Back from the days when money had value -- my father's signature on kyat 10 note -- c. 1950.

Photo copyright MTK

Banknote is modestly signed "Maung Kaung" -- i.e. "Younger Brother Kaung" in contrast to "U Kaung" or "Mr. Kaung"

My father was named after the famous Kinwun Mingyi U Kaung, who led the first Burmese embassy to the West.

My father was not an economist. His focus was on education, and in London where he was posted, he was more interested in mentoring the Burmese students there at the time, including economist Dr. Hla Myint, one of the pioneers of Development Economics and the late Dr. Hla Pe, Burmese linguist.

However, I think it was Bogyoke Aung San who sent my father to England to be attached to Delarue (sp?) the company that then printed Burmese banknotes.

10 kyats was quite a sum those days. Even in 1956-1959,the payment for the first article I ever wrote was K 40 and so was my monthly stipend from the University, with which I could clothe myself in Burmese handwoven longyis.

Times have changed.

To learn more about Burma's money and banking, and currency boards, watch out for Sean Turnell's upcoming book on money and banking in Burma, Nordic Institute of Asian Studies Press.

And here is a comment from Sean:

"Of interest to historians of economic thought is that the other signature is
that of Sir Richard Hopkins - an interlocutor of Keynes in the 1930s and then in
the British Treasury."

And here is the Wikipedia entry for Sir Richard Hopkins

Text copyright Kyi May Kaung

Don't do this, but interesting to read -- Group Tour to Iraq!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Than Shwe's selective diplomacy demands caution by Aung Zaw of the Irrawaddy Magazine --

Additional comment by Nora Rowley MD on Yeni's article on Burmese sanctions in Irrawaddy Magazine --

"...They must agree that the suffering of the Burmese people has been almost exclusively caused by decades of economic mismanagement and lack of vision..."

I am bothered by this inaccurate assessment which is often repeated in international articles. Perhaps it is for diplomacy. Economic mismanagement can be spun in many ways. But, lack of vision? Articles conveying information should not mislead, by accident or otherwise. The military rulers of Myanmar hold all the wealth and thus power in Burma and in the region. This has not been an accident.
Pre-independence Burma was the richest British Colony and held one of the highest literacy rates in the world. Since 1962, the ruling military has set limitations on the general public's economic freedom. In the 1960's the dictatorship broadcast their slogan of implementing their Road Map to Socialism. This ANIMAL FARM-like Pseudo-Socialism by claiming State ownership of land, businesses, education and, let's face it, the people (sic -- goverment?) took everything from the people and gave nothing back. This state of authoritarian oppression has induced regime dependence, subjugation and the devastating poverty seen today. Any group as seen as not belonging or a threat to regime power has been subjected to crushing brutal persecution that has transformed much of Burma's border areas into States of Fear, of regime violence and terrorism.
Thailand, China,India, Bangladesh and Malaysia are funding much resource extraction programs inside Burma. These international development projects (take) the homes and fertile land from the people of Burma while using the people for forced labor and to extract bribes to support the military. Land and waterways in the path of this development are devasted (divested) of their income and food generation capacities for local populations. The regime, in return, generates billions of US $ in income.
As the regime grows richer in wealth, arms, regional power, complicity with its neighbors and global big businesses and impunity, the people of Burma are dying of preventable and regime induced violence, starvation and disease.

This is not diplomatic, but it is the truth.

Nora E. Rowley MD
Member Physicians for Human Rights
Stop Burma's Crimes Against Humanity
Member US Campaign for Burma Board of Directors

Comment on Yeni's article on Burmese sanctions -- left on Irrawaddy website --

I agree with Yeni, who seems to understand economics better than most journalists.

It is more than lack of development
"almost exclusively caused by decades of economic mismanagement and lack of vision" on part of SPDC.


It has not grown economically because of a system of central planning and control that was first set up in 1962 by Gen. Ne Win, the grand daddy of them all, and then exacerbated by the factors Yeni describes, which started after the Slorc's so-called "open economy" after 1988.

What will happen if sanctions are suddenly lifted? As they did not have much effect anyway, trade may grow a little but it won't as much as if SYSTEM were changed -- in Chinese or Vietnamese way which involved Special Economic Zones and lifting of compulsory delivery quotas on rice etc. and long term leases for farm land to real farmers.

Give me a break, I am tired of people writing about economics when they know no economics.

Kyi May Kaung

Sanctions -- Norwegian Oil Fund divests from Chinese firm selling trucks to Burma --

What if horses had never been domesticated --

New UN Human Rights Envoy Thomas Quintana urges junta to free dissidents before 2010 "elections."

Peru's Shining Path guerillas and narco-trafficking on the upsurge -- from New York Times.

Quote of the Day --Russian Elections, from New York Times -

"If these elections are transparent and honest, which I give a 1 percent chance, it will be a great sign for the future of Russia."
BORIS Y. NEMTSOV, a candidate for mayor of Sochi, Russia.

Same goes for 2010 "elections" in Burma.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Combining Art and Important Words or Messages.

User friendly art in Public School Libraries, USA.

ASEAN (including Burma) and Obama Admin. Seminar

Kavi of The Nation (Bangkok) is a well-known commentator on Burma and the Muslim south of Thailand region. Indonesian Tempo founded by Goenawan Mohammad is known as the Indonesian Time Magazine. Go to find out how ASEAN has been favoring "Myanmar" over pro-democracy dissidents.

Google -- Sasakawa Peace Foundation to find out more about it, especially Bertil Lintner's critique.


Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA

Invites You to an Asian Voices Seminar:

ASEAN and the Obama Administration:
Views from the Region


Bambang Harymurti, Editor-in-Chief, Tempo (Indonesia)

Kavi Chongkittavorn, Executive Editor, The Nation (Thailand)

Yuli Ismartono, Executive Editor, Tempo


David Steinberg, Distinguished Professor of Asian Studies
Georgetown University

Monday, March 30th, 2009
12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
(lunch will be served)


The Cosmos Club
Powell Room
2121 Massachusetts Ave. NW
(business attire required)

This event is supported in part by the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, Japan

Please RSVP with your name, organization, and e-mail to, tel (202)296-6694 x102, or fax (202)296-6695

by Thursday, March 26, 2009.





[details TBA]

Hedge Fund Manager Steven Cohen puts his collection of women-centered art on display.

Not for sale.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

ASEAN Failing on Human Rights --

Wednesday, 11 March 2009
By Nehginpao Kipgen

By removing trade barriers and integrating on matters of economy, politics and security, ASEAN looks forward to becoming a European Union-like community in 2015. If this comes to a reality, ASEAN will have a greater leverage in international politics.

In order for the bloc to become a vibrant and responsible body, it needs to protect the welfare of the ruled and not just the rulers. The association needs to review its policy on Burma. Will ASEAN leaders continue to say that it is not our business when neighbours' houses are on fire, women are raped, thousands of villages are destroyed and thousands of people are forced to flee across borders?

The association needs to start addressing human rights problems - the issue on which the body has consistently failed.

Full Story: http://www.phnompen index.php/ National- news/ASEAN- failing-on- human-rights. html

China's trash recycling sector crashes -- Western nations' trash piles up

I hate to say this, but Burma may be next big trash importer --


However would SPDC have an "election" in 2010, when Wa etc. refuse census takers --

Editor's note -- As part of a ceasefire deal, they have the right to bear arms and are also unlikely to give that up,nor their dealings in drugs which are the main source of their income.

11 March 2009

Wa continue to resist census taking

Latest reports from the Sino-Burma border say the United Wa State Army (UWSA) is still refusing entry to census takers coming from Kengtung, the capital of Shan State East.

A team of 27 government officials who arrived on the Wa border checkpoint Kho-Hsoong on 26 February were forced to return to Kengtung.

Col Than Tut Thein, G1 from Kengtung-based Triangle Region Command, was dispatched to Panghsang, the Wa headquarters last week. “He returned empty -handed on 6 March after spending two days in Panghsang,” said an officer from the Wa’s closest ally National Democratic Alliance Army-Eastern Shan State (NDAA-ESS), commonly known as the Mongla group by the name of its main base.

Meeting Col Sai Hsarm, Commander of the UWSA’s Mongpawk-based 468th Brigade on his way back, he had reportedly stressed on two points:

* To inform Kengtung as soon as Panghsang is ready to admit census officials
* Not be swayed by exile media “trying to bring the two sides on a head-on collision course”

Tension between the UWSA and the Burma Army has been high since the beginning of the year. According to the Wa’s own estimates, they are being besieged by at least 50 Burma Army infantry battalions.

Mongla, on the other hand, has permitted junta officials to conduct census in its domain, but refused to divulge the group’s own roster.

Local people meanwhile are skeptical about the process which is expected to last until the end of March. “They are taking back our white cards (temporary IDs issued before the May 2008 referendum) without issuing us a substitute in return,” said a villager.

A permanent ID is a pink card.

The ruling military generals are taking a nationwide census in preparation for the 2010 general elections. The New Mon State Party (NMSP) has also refused to provide information on its members and their families, reported Independent Mon News Agency (IMNA) yesterday.

For further information, please contact S.H.A.N. at:

Shan Herald Agency for News
P.O. Box 15
Nonghoi P.O
Chiangmai 50007
Ph: 66-81-5312837
www.shanland. org (English)
www.mongloi. org (Shan)
www.mongloi. org/burmese (Burmese)

S.H.A.N. is an independent Shan media group. It is not affiliated to any political or armed organization.
News related to Shan & Burma, including other interested news items are collected and posted from time to time for your information. Those interested are requested to write to "Shan Herald Agency for News" for subscription, and likewise, to unsubscribe.

Burma -- Please never forget the fourth D. which should be the first D!


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Rohingya vs. "Bengali"

Of course they are a Burmese ethnic group and if there were DNA tests you would find they have been here for centuries.

The Burman generals are inherently racist. One is not an economic migrant (from "Bengal" -- Bangladesh -- if one has been in Burma "less than a century" That was the 1975? definition used by the military junta using the Burmese annexation date of 1886.)

Here is an unedited comment from a dissident email list:

The Rohingyas are bonafide citizens of Burma.
The Military Coup detat of General Ne Win had changed their status as he is too much anti Muslims and anti Islam.this is the only point to remember by the justice loving world.
They will not be persecuted if they profess Buddhism. Ne Win had made wrong against these humanity being and now his family members are suffering under Than Shwe. Where is Khin Nyunt now, who terrorized the Rohingyas?
There are new Burmese settelements in Arakan as the Jews did in Occupied Palestine.
There are gross human right violations in Arakan.The absent of world electronic media,the world is silent on Arakan and Rohingyas. I will ask BBC,VOA,Al JAZIRA to visit inside Arakan to see physically .


Economic Intelligence Unit -- Burma Report 2009

"It looks better this way" cartoon by Harn Lay of The Irrawaddy.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Aung Naing Oo recalls shooting small birds with a catapult in Burma.

Torn Banana Leaves in the United States in Winter -- copyright Kyi May Kaung.

Good one ANO, mainly because of its honesty.

Multiply this thousands of times for all of us that make up The Burmese Diaspora.

On my last visit to Thailand a few months ago, a young lady the age of a grandchild suddenly came up to me while all her classmates were singing and dancing and said,
"Don't worry Sayama, you will get to go home."

I thanked her the next day when it was quieter.

Frankly, now I don't care. I've asked my family to strew my ashes in the Atlantic.

There's a beach I am particularly fond of for its wildness.

Kyi May Kaung

A Prayer for the New Administration --

Only version I could find -- other versions have been removed from U Tube due to copyright disputes.

Economics -- rethinking the Keynesian multiplier and deficit spending --

How Pete Seeger came to write "Turn Turn Turn"

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Dear Mr. President by Pete Seeger --

from Wikipedia --

Now, Mr. President, / We haven't always agreed in the past, I know, / But that ain't at all important now. / What is important is what we got to do, / We got to lick Mr. Hitler, and until we do, / Other things can wait.//

Now, as I think of our great land . . . / I know it ain't perfect, but it will be someday, / Just give us a little time. // This is the reason that I want to fight, / Not 'cause everything's perfect, or everything's right. / No, it's just the opposite: I'm fightin' because / I want a better America, and better laws, / And better homes, and jobs, and schools, / And no more Jim Crow, and no more rules like / "You can't ride on this train 'cause you're a Negro," / "You can't live here 'cause you're a Jew,"/ "You can't work here 'cause you're a union man."//

So, Mr. President, / We got this one big job to do / That's lick Mr. Hitler and when we're through, / Let no one else ever take his place / To trample down the human race. / So what I want is you to give me a gun / So we can hurry up and get the job done.

"A cross between an aging bon vivant and a secret agent" -- Larry Gagosian and his Art Gallery in a major recession --

Found art in the kitchen sink -- Copyright Kyi May Kaung

My point of view is true quality will ride out all boom-bust cycles.

And as an artist, all I need to do is keep painting. That's not too difficult.

Writers can keep writing. Fantasy always sells, especially when things are down. As I am a writer too, I am strangely OK. Besides, I come from Burma where people continue in conditions lower than in any developed country.

Visual and plastic artists and writers can make art from anything. If things are bad, there are more stories.

Short comment Copyright Kyi May Kaung.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

The not altogether lighter side -- my top pics from Doggie Park USA --

All photos Copyright Kyi May Kaung

International Criminal Court for dogs?

If you are aggressive you might even be "fixed" that is, castrated.

Burmese writers subjected to harrassment can gain asylum in the Maldives --

From New York Times -- indicting a sitting head of state for war crimes

International Criminal Court puts out arrest warrant for Bashir of Sudan -- he retaliates by kicking out non-profits supplying aid to refugees from atrocities.

What is the best thing to do, do you think?

Typically, non-profits "stay away from politics" in order to keep doing their work.

Weigh in on this debate.

Should a similar warrant be put out for ???

Zimbabwe -- Mugabe rival Morgan Tsvangirai injured and wife killed in suspicious accident --

Echoes of Burma and the 2003 Depayin Massacre --

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

My comment on recent Irrawaddy article.

Blaming the NLD for "not thinking about Burma and economic development" is nonsense, it's blaming the Victim.

I did not respond earlier because this person has sent me hate mail.

The bottom line is he does not understand economics.

As part of intensive research I have done over the last 20 years,I know there are many democratic visions and plans for Burma including a book published in 1998 and many confidential reports since 1993 that I was given access to.

Many things can cause a country not to develop. The main reason is the design of the economic and political system.

Burma has a military dictatorship with many socialist elements such as state-owned enterprises, state monopolies and central control in place. The sanctions are very focused and financial in nature.

The military regime has income from natural gas but a lot of the earnings disappear into private coffers. I have heard IMF and World Bank delegations talk of this.

Now the junta is planning a sham election. And this person blames the NLD which is a Party under tremendous stress and has been weakened by arrests and natural attrition such as time, death and old age, not to mention strong arm tactics and constant harassment for decades.

If one knows nothing one should keep one's mouth shut.

What about money the army spends on itself, the gains it makes from the gap between official and free market exchange rates? The army still tells farmers what to grow and gives them "sun baking" torture.

Monday, March 02, 2009

13,000 year old stone age implements found in Boulder, Colorado-

What a story --

"I'll just leave my tools here for a moment."

One wonders what interrupted the stone age persons, for whom these must have been important tools.

Kyi May Kaung

60s retro-chic--color- style-

Of course these are new clothes, styled "60s style."

If you tried with old clothes, provided you still have them in your cabinet, it won't come out like that.

For one thing, the clothes, like former political systems, {Ha!!}

no longer fit. I don't know anyone from 60s generation who still looks Twiggy-ish.

Oh well -- I can design "60s clothes" as fine art and not necessarily to wear.

Kyi May Kaung.

This most beautiful blog in the world, will soon be a book --

I love this and can look at it forever.

Kyi May Kaung

Poem which got Burmese poet arrested -- from Huffington Post.

Are you listening Mrs. Clinton? Sanctions are effective -- diplomacy combined with sanctions are best.

I whole-heartedly agree with Robert Karniol and have been advocating my views for a long time. Kyi May Kaung

Burma: US gem sanctions bite

Robert Karniol
The Straits Times
Publication Date: 02-03-2009

With Washington rethinking its policy towards the military-run regime in Burma, there are signals that Rangoon is being hard hit by tightened US sanctions on its lucrative gem trade.

The policy review currently under way is aimed at addressing a dreary conundrum acknowledged by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a Jakarta press briefing on February 18. "Clearly, the path we have taken in imposing sanctions hasn't influenced the (Burma) junta. But reaching out and trying to engage them hasn't influenced them either," she said.

Speaking by telephone from Washington, state department spokesman Rob McInturff explained the US objective. "We're going to be looking at all aspects of our relationship (with Burma). The goal is to make the policy effective, to have improved actions on the part of the regime," he said.

American economist Jeffrey Sachs, writing in the Financial Times in 2004, said: "Economic sanctions should be lifted because they do not work." He argued for increased diplomacy and humanitarian aid instead.

Pro-democracy activists instead favour a combined effort. Brian Leber, a Chicago jeweller at the forefront of the gem sanctions campaign, is among those advocating a carrot-and-stick approach. "Economic sanctions and the support of diplomatic efforts working towards reform can go hand in hand," he said.

The key, he added, is to finely target sanctions against a specific sector, company and individual. He, together with others in the US and elsewhere, find in Burma's gem trade the perfect fit.

According to reports citing government data, the gem trade was Burma's third most important export earner in fiscal year 2007/08 with a value of US$647.5 million. It was topped by natural gas at $2.6 billion and agricultural products at $1.1 billion, with forestry and marine products in fourth and fifth place respectively. However, the official figures are somewhat skewed as they fail to account for substantial smuggling activity of unknown worth.

Together with its contribution to state coffers, the gem trade provides specific benefit to Burma's military. Human Rights Watch (HRW) noted in a report last year that the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), or ruling junta, "has a direct stake in many mines, in some cases through joint ventures with private entrepreneurs".

It added: "It also has a direct ownership interest in many of the country's top gem businesses, including state-run firms such as Myanmar Gems Enterprise and Myanmar Pearl Enterprise. In addition, the military-owned conglomerate Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Company owns many businesses.. .including in the lucrative gem-mining sector (so the) gem industry is dominated by the SPDC."

Several countries have imposed sanctions against Rangoon, some broadly based and some more specific. The European Union (EU) sanctions, for example, include more than 400 named individuals and nearly 1,300 state- and military-run companies. The EU, US and Swiss sanction regimes are particularly important because of the substantial markets these represent. But there remains significant trade with China and Japan, and with the gem processing centres in India and Thailand.

The US initiative is especially noteworthy, partly because of Washington's leadership role and partly due to the monetary impact. Its import of ruby and jade alone, according to industry estimates, was previously worth more than $100 million annually. But the broad US sanctions introduced in 2003 were flawed, not least because they included a loophole allowing the import of ruby and jade from Burma if these were processed through cutting and mounting in a third country.

The US Congress moved to tighten its sanctions and shut the loopholes with an amendment to the 2003 law called HR 3890. This was approved last July and came into force two months later, with another month set aside by the US Customs and Border Protection as a buffer period.

Bangkok gem traders began to notice the impact even before HR 3890's implementation last October, as the market anticipated change. "We've been hard hit by the US sanctions and are unable to unload our stockpiles," one trader complained to The Straits Times. "Jade and ruby are particularly affected but less so with sapphire, which isn't specified in the new law."

The Chiang Mai-based periodical Irrawaddy, meanwhile, noted in a recent article that "Mogok, the historic centre of (Burma's) gem industry, is struggling to cope with the effects of (tightened) US sanctions". Citing a source there, it reported that "at least 50 mine sites in the area have decreased production and several have closed completely".

"Our view is that sanctions have a role. The gem ban, together with targeted financial sanctions, are effective," said Arvind Ganesan, director of HRW's business and human rights programme, in a telephone interview from Washington.

Hopefully, Mrs Clinton is listening.
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Of course you failed (For a dead activist) by Kyi May Kaung

Of course you failed
what did you expect
your liver soused
from drinking whenever
you’re dejected.

They after all
had the guns.

Your’s is only
one voice
out there
in the wilderness.

You’ve done what you can
now let it be.

Flowers have to be watered every day
don’t you know that?
Seeds have to have soil contact.

Now it’s for them
on the other side of the earth
who hear your voice faintly
to decide
they will believe.

Copyright Kyi May Kaung
Written in 1994.

Mr. Smoothie by Kyi May Kaung

This is what
you’re paid to do
spin doctor to put
a good surface on things.

Your side says we’re rude
you’re recognized by the UN
no less

You don’t lose
your temper, polished in your
polyester suit
cheroot burn in your
tie, big hole dead center.

But remember
truth is sometimes ugly
often ugly
lies can be beautifully crafted
the smoothness of a surface
is not our criterion.

Lies make us angry we shout
blood comes out
through our nostrils and all
our bodies other orifices.

What can be uglier
and more truthful
than blood?

Copyright Kyi May Kaung
Written in 1994.

Corruption and abuse mark Burma's cyclone recovery --

My archive at IISH, Amsterdam--