Monday, August 31, 2009

Kyi May Kaung's translation of Tin Moe's Desert Years in Fire in the Soul, anthology

edited by Dinyar Godrej and published by The New Internationalist and Amnesty International.

Photo copyright Kyi May Kaung

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Nay Tin Myint (later Daw Suu's bodyguard)'s time in prison -- 15 Years!!

I met NTM via email as he was one of speakers where I was also invited, but I could not go, so participated by email.

His prison experience is very typical.

Kyi May Kaung

My upcoming art show at Kefa Cafe, Silver Spring, MD

Aug 31 to Oct 1, 2009

Identity: Mostly Burmese Monks.

963 Bonifant St., Silver Spring, MD.

Up the hill from Silver Spring Metro, free parking in Wayne Av.

Also see the refugee mural, which features a Burmese refugee, while you are there.

Kyi May Kaung

Photo essay -- Buddha and Glads, No Longer Glad, by Kyi May Kaung

Buddha and Barred Shadows. Photo copyright Kyi May Kaung.

Buddha and Wilted Glads -- photo copyright Kyi May Kaung

Gladioli closeup -- photo copyright Kyi May Kaung

Sunset -- Photo copyright Kyi May Kaung

30,000 Kokang Chinese and Burmese refugees flee into China

This is the drug kingpin the Burmese call Pheung Kya Shin --
since 2004 they had a drug deal/ceasefire deal with junta during MI Khin Nyunt's time. In 2004 Khin Nyunt was purged (internal purge), he's now released from house arrest.

Mostly former BCP Burma Communist Party "bakapa" and

before that Nationalist Chinese (Taiwanese) Kuomintang or KMT.

When Deng Xiao Ping started his eco. reforms in PRC in 1978, China stopped supporting the BCP. Communist former brigadier Kyaw Zaw's son and elder daughter are still in Muse(Ruili) and in Kunming, Yunnan Province.

The other daughter Sann Kyaw Zaw is now in Australia. She was in Eco.s Inst. in Rangoon where I also worked and was arrested in 1988. She may have been molested in prison. She was a statistician before, but now has trouble remembering her phone number "because of my time in prison" she said.

I met her in Australia in 2003,

Kyi May Kaung

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Why new Myanmar stamps don't stick -- :)

Fun -- from a Burma site.

New Myanmar postage stamp not sticking

This laugh comes from JJ at Burma-Myanmar News (via Jeg): The junta in Burma has created a new first-class postal stamp featuring its leaders. The stamp was not sticking to envelopes, which enraged the junta, who demanded a full investigation. After a month of testing, a special junta commission presented the following findings about why the stamps were not sticking:
1) The stamp is in perfect order.
2) There is nothing wrong with the adhesive.
3) People are spitting on the wrong side.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Burma at a Crossroads -- editorial

Found poem from Irrawaddy, letters to editor, 2008

Friday, July 4, 2008

No More Ban Ki-moon, Please

I am one of the volunteers who have been helping Cyclone Nargis victims in the Irrawaddy delta.

When the cyclone struck, we were shocked that the authorities did not warn us of the coming disaster or come to the assistance of victims, even though they had the means to kill our people and our monks last September.

We naturally hoped for aid from anybody possible, because here in Rangoon, we found it difficult to get food and especially water for people in the delta region. Of course, we would have welcomed assistance from the international community and the United Nations.

Then UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon came to Burma to negotiate with the army officers. After he left, he released statements about his concern for the victims.

Now, exactly two months after the disaster, nothing has improved for the cyclone-affected people. The UN secretary-general simply accepted what the Myanmar Government said.

So what good has the UN done for Burma? No more UN, no more Ban Ki-Moon for Burma, please.

Ma Thit Sar

Of course I am posting this as a found poem and a poetic truth, not a news item.


My response to Zarni's Case for Careful Engagement, in Irrawaddy.


"I didn’t just advocate engagement. I walked the walk. I gave up my US asylum voluntarily and returned home to Burma, having left my 5-year-old daughter in California in her American mother’s care. . . I tried to work on confidence building measures and substantive issues . . ."

True, I observed this first hand, much to my dismay and concern, mainly for Zarni's welfare and safety. It all came to nought because Khin Nyunt was purged shortly after, in November of 2004. The outcome was that Zarni "lost FBC" -- the DC part becoming USCB, and more importantly, he lost so many supporters. Someone in the State Department told me "that's what happens to those who go first. They get a lot of arrows in the back."

"Some kind of self-censorship is prevalent among the writers and analysts who are currently pushing for engagement with the regime for fear of reprisal or in exchange for entry visas."

True. So very true.

Not true that during BSPP most scholars were sent to West. Most sent to Eastern Bloc. I am living example of this. First stint was in Poland. Only opened up a crack in 1982 when Ne Win's daughter Sandar Win failed her medical grad school entry exams in UK. Then crack closed again.

Burma's tragedy is going to be compounded by the outside apologists' heavy handed attempts at "policy making."

God help us.

Kyi May Kaung (Ph.D.)

General Ne Win's daughter Sandar Win was released in Dec. 2008

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Frank McCourt, author of Angela's Ashes, died July 19.,8599,1911633,00.html

An amazing book, especially the first one.

The voice never lags, and goes on briskly in its honesty and vivid manner.

I think Angela's Ashes and Tis were originally one long autobiographical novel,and then were cut masterfully in half.

The first one ends with "Tis."

and the second one starts with "Tis." Think who can do that without a superb sense of control and timing. The two books are also about the same length.


Blog post copyright Kyi May Kaung

Take action -- Free Aung San Suu Kyi --

Comment I left on Irrawaddy site -- time to condemn the 2010 so called election

I totally agree (with Aung Zaw's article.) Too much time, effort and money has been expended already on "initiatives" that the junta would never entertain. I mean the pro-democracy Burmese leadership overseas. The ones inside the country are all in prison.

Kyi May Kaung (Ph.D.)

New York Times video on Burma -- "Useless Ban Ki-moon in Dictators' Disneyland" July 09

PBS Wide Angle "Eyes of the Storm: Orphans Fend for Themselves After Cyclone Nargis"

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Comment left on Irrawaddy website, concerning Jim Webb securing Yettaw's release from Burma

One visit it not likely to achieve much.

Than Shwe would have deported Yettaw anyway, they would not risk having him die on their hands. The sentence of hard labor was to scare people and show who's the master.

The US and the West (as during Nargis) may give up too much and receive very little in return.

SPDC is angling to get sanctions lifted, then it will continue to do what it wants.

We will see.

It's right of dissidents to be wary.

After all, Daw Suu and all the political prisoners are still under arrest.

When international outcry happened, they were going to send Daw Suu back to her house arrest anyway.

In the meantime they let one of their own, Ne Win's daughter, go.

Kyi May Kaung

Friday, August 14, 2009

This is not a news blog, rather it is a research and analysis and arts blog.

I reserve the right to post anything I think is relevant to our understanding of personalities or events. It's my blog after all.

For hard news, you can go to the regular media outlets, who have on the ground correspondents and million dollar budgets.

Your comment shows you don't understand what a blog is. It's mainly opinion and personal views.

Besides, I don't appreciate spatting at me from individuals who don't even have the guts to leave their real name. If you have other things to do, don't read my blog.

Kyi May Kaung

From Feb. 2008 -- article on Mrs O

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Kangaroo Court, Insane Jail -- posted with permission

Dear Friends,

Here is an excerpted eyewitness account of the junta's
real-life theater that just ended its latest episode.
The fat lady has not sung on the Burmese theatre - the plot
is just simply thickening.

Kangaroo Court, Insane Jail, Rangoon 11 August 2009

At 0940 hr Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's lawyers arrived, followed
by Foreign Correspondents who arrived around 1000.
Before the trial started, a few diplomats went and spoke with U Nyan Win, one of ASSK's lawyers.
The intruder Yettaw arrived at 1045 hr. He seemed to be in good health.
ASSK and her two aides were ushered in 3 minutes later; the audiencestood up and Daw ASSK greeted them by saying, "Sorry to keep you waiting. Let's see what happens."
The judge started to read out the sentence statement for Yettaw. He summed up the arguments presented by both prosecutors and defence attorneys.

The judges found Yettaw guilty for the charges made under Immigration Act 1947 and Municipal Law 1990.
On the SPDC Court's legal reasoning:
The judges summed up different arguments presented by the prosecutors and the defense.
The prosecutors had argued that Aung San Suu Kyi was under restriction according to the State Protection Law, restriction order and prohibition order. As for the restriction order, certain sections of her fundamental rights prescribed in the 1974
constitution had been restricted; In addition to the restriction
order, a prohibition order was issued. The prohibitions in the order are : 1) not to contact embassies and political parties and those connected with the political parties, 2) not to go outside except the house and 3) not to contact outsiders by post, by telegram or by phone.

The defence lawyers had argued that Aung San Suu Kyi had been prohibited to initiate or send out communications, but she had not been prohibited from receiving communication such as accepting letters.

The judges rejected the defense's reasoning. They also said it was not a constitutional dispute. They found ASSK guilty for receiving Yettaw in her house and receiving letter from his daughter etc. while she was under prohibition order.

ASSK was sentence to 3 years' imprisonment with labor. Khin Khin Win, Win Ma Ma and John Yettaw were also given 3 years' imprisonment with labor.


Immediately after the trial after 12:00 p.m., the audience was asked to wait for a while for the briefing of the Minister for Home Affairs, Maj-Gen Maung Oo.
Maung Oo said the case was now finished as far as the judiciary was concerned. He added he was there to read out four orders as far as the executive branch was concerned.
Two orders were for ASSK, from the Office of the Chairman of the SPDC (Than Shwe) and Home Affairs Ministers respectively.
The other two orders were for Khin Khin Win and Win Ma Ma, also from Than Shwe and Home Affairs.
The order from Than Shwe (dated 10.8.2009) said the SPDC was unhappy with the court unavoidably having to put ASSK on trial and figured out ways to commute her sentence if ever she was found guilty. He is exercising this power according to Criminal Procedure Code
Section 401(5). The reason was ASSK being the daughter of national independence hero, Aung San. ASSK's sentence will be commuted to half and for the remaining
period will be suspended sentence. During her suspended sentence, she will have to live at her University Avenue house and abide by the rules. If she lives according to the rules, she will get the amnesty before her suspended sentence is over.
She will have access to medical care. She will be able to watch two official TV channels (MRTV and Myawaddy). She will be allowed to read state newspapers and local journals and magazines. She will be able to receive guests after getting permission from authorities.

The orders for her two assistants said they will also
be allowed to live together with ASSK for her welfare. The same conditions for amnesty and rules will apply for them too.

ASSK said to the audience that she hoped there were "opportunities for us to work together for peace and prosperity for my country."

As of 15:00, MRTV-4 is also broadcasting the news about the verdict as breaking news.

Section 401(5) reads: "Nothing herein contained shall be deemed to interfere with the right of the President of the Union to grant pardons, reprieves, respites or remissions of punishment.

It was like a show. After the court was over, curtains were immediately drawn and a "Correctional Department" speech stand was taken out.

I thought "Whatever!"

Home Minister ("home min") Brigadier Maung Oo entered to read out the orders. Disgruntled U Kyi Win refused to leave and so Maung Oo asked his men to remove the old man from the premise.

Here is the Chinese official media coverage of the verdict: 2009-08-11 16:48:23

YANGON, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar government gave some reasons to commute Aung San Suu Kyi's three-year sentence to 18-month under house arrest on Tuesday.

The Myanmar district court sentenced her to three years in prison for violating her terms of house arrest but the ruling State Peace and Development Council reduced her prison term to one and a half years confinement to her residence according to an order signed by its chairman Senior-General Than Shwe on Monday.

The commutation was made on grounds of her father, General AungSan, once being a national hero and for national reconciliation and democratic process, the order said.

As revealed by Home Minister Major-General Maung Oo, the remaining one and a half years' term out of the three years' would be suspended for carrying out.

Over the period of suspension, Aung San Suu Kyi is set to stay at her Yangon lake-side residence with prescriptions that she is allowed to watch state-run MRTV and read newspapers as well as receiving medical treatment.

She is also granted to meet guests but with permission by the government, and if there is any demand, she can present it in writing.

Under such conditions, if she abides by the rule prescribed forher, all the remaining terms could be exempted, the minister said.

According to Tuesday's verdict of the court, Aung San Suu Kyi's two female housemates, Khin Khin Win and Win Ma Ma, were also sentenced to three years' prison terms each but were also given one and a half years' commutation by the Myanmar SPDC

The remaining one a half years' terms set the two housemates to stay at home together with Aung San Suu Kyi.

According to the court verdict, the American citizen John William Yettaw was given a seven-year jail term.

Quote of the day -- 8-11-09 -- for writers

"All of writing is a huge lake. There are great rivers

that feed the lake [...] And then there are mere trickles

[...] All that matters is feeding the lake. I don't matter.

The lake matters. You must keep feeding the lake."

--Jean Rhys

Monday, August 10, 2009

My comment on pro-Burma-engagement Senator Webb's visit to Burma

-- lined up for moderation at Irrawaddy site --

Webb is well known in Washington??

Why is this the first time I have heard of him?

If he goes to talk and can achieve the release of Daw Suu and all political prisoners, we will believe him.

If he's going to talk the talk and walk the walk of other pro-engagement people -- the well known ones -- what use will it be? Just more gilding of the Burmese military.

I doubt this carrot will work either.

Meanwhile there are reports that Australia is about to give the junta aid.

Irrawaddy and dissidents should look into that.

Kyi May Kaung

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Performance art in Burma,1,7666886.story

I met Moe Satt in Chiangmai some years ago.

I told him if he wants to continue the performance art, he should live outside, but he preferred to live there and stop contacting me.

That's fine.

Eventually the junta will find everything is political. Artists and writers walk a fine line, until they can walk it no longer. I did not feel artists like Moe Satt should be risking their lives for a five minute performance. But of course writers also risk all, all the time, for a few words or sentences of the truth.

Blog post copyright Kyi May Kaung

Friday, August 07, 2009

Comment I have left on Irrawaddy website, concerning NCGUB's Plan for Democracy and Development in Burma --

Dated August 7, 2009.

Washington DC.

With other scholars, I worked on this Plan from Dec 1,2008 to May 30, 2009, but later compilations and editing were done solely by NCGUB with its international consultants.

The title was also changed and political input added from exile groups.

But I was not officially given and have not read the finished report.

My impression is that the lowest common denominator approach will water down the initially very strong proposals from the member scholars.

And there is absolutely no guarantee that the junta will entertain any of these ideas, so Burma will slip even faster into the morass it is known for.

The Transition Plan itself may have been partially inspired by a joint economists' vision for Burma, published in 1998, but now in need of updating.

I was only a Peer Reviewer, and not a Contributor, to the 1998 Visions book.

Any questions concerning the Plan should be addressed directly to NCGUB.

Kyi May Kaung (Ph.D.)

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Comment I left on Irrawaddy website -- don't blame the victim -- Daw Aung San Suu Kyi -- and the other victims --

Aung San Suu Kyi is another victim of the junta and the anti-sanctions and therefore pro-junta(who else will benefit most from lifted sanctions?)lobby mentioned in the article "Lay off the Lady" in the Irrawaddy, commenting on an article in the Economist.

Yettaw is also another victim of circumstance.

So are all the political prisoners and all the people of Burma.

To blame them is like blaming the birds and trees and everything else blown away by the storm, for the storm itself.

It's the junta who made Burma what it is, and is holding up progress, nothing else.

Kyi May Kaung

10 words that should be banned from press releases --

My archive at IISH, Amsterdam--