Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sad photos from inside Burma --


Look at as many as you can bear to look at.

As the late historian, Dr. Than Htun said, "none of the temples are authentic from the ground floor up."

They are badly "renovated" and I'm told it's all a scam to loot the treasures and artifacts inside.

Government sells off temples for "renovation."

As we say in Burmese, the leak starts from the roof, corruption from the very top.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

US Congressional Research Service says constructive engagement policy of ASEAN towards Burma has failed --


Ben Rogers -- Where impunity reigns -- need to take Burma to International Criminal Court


Yinka Shonibare -- Amazing artist


Black Oil and headless manikins --

Quote from Dr Zarni on Bama (Burman) "nationalism"

these nationalist discourses are not fully honest intellectually, although there is a tinge of truth to them. They are largely silent about our own troubled pre-colonial pasts. Our pre-colonial histories are marked by local imperialisms, brutal slave raids, rigidly enforced caste-like social stratification, institutionalized gender oppression, monopolistic economic exploitation of peasantries by ruling feudal houses, and wasteful and gigantic pagoda and palace building projects, be they of the Bama, Arakanese, Mon, Shan, etc.

China annoyed by Burma border battles


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Mrs. Obama and Dr. Jill Biden's clothes -- repeats


My comment left on MacArthur Foundation, Asian Security Initiative site --

Monk -- painting copyright Kyi May Kaung

Yesterday 12-18-09 another Burma activist donated the luncheon entrance fee for me to go to the Capital Hilton, DC, for a talk by Kurt Campbell on New US Policy in Asia, sponsored by Sasakawa.

My intention was to ask Dr. Campbell to intervene on behalf of American citizen Kyaw Zaw Lwin, Burmese-American activist jailed in Burma and subjected to a mock trial.

He is currently on the 15th day of a hunger strike.

However, Dr. Campbell did not see my constantly raised hand, and I did not get a chance to make my request directly.

Why are his handlers making him so inaccessible, or is he making himself so?

As Catharin Dalpino suggested in an article above, he needs to make himself more accessible to (exile) Burma groups.

I detect a lot of antagonism towards Burmese dissidents when I go to "academic" presentations in DC, and I feel it is uncalled for.

After all, time is showing that the Burmese junta remains as repressive as ever and engagement is likely to fail.

Now the ball is in the SPDC's court, how long is the US engagement policy going to wait for a response from the Burmese junta?

There needs to be some time line.

Kyi May Kaung (Ph.D.)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Split This Rock poem of the week --

Split This Rock Poem of the Week - A.B. Spellman

A.B. Spellman

Things I Don't Miss From My Youth

3. Not Knowing Better

florene barco moved
to philadelphia &
on a visit home told
us she went
to school with
white kids

it was a lunar image

everything shouted
to us
the patterns
we walked. the ease
with which they
commanded. that
we could not live

by the river
word of lynching
farther south & of course
the signs. i
thought it all to be
as much of nature
as the night sky
the birds of the air

the notion of place
meant not where
you stood but how
you talked
to a white man

place was
the wet brown earth
your knees
sank down in

& philadelphia
was the crescent

- A.B. Spellman

Excerpt from "Things I Don't Miss from My Youth" from Things I Must Have Known (2008). Used by permission.

A.B. Spellman is an author, poet, critic, and lecturer. He has published numerous books and articles on the arts, including Art Tatum: A Critical Biography (a chapbook), The Beautiful Days (poetry), and Four Lives in the Bebop Business, now available as Four Jazz Lives (University of Michigan Press). His poetry collection, Things I Must Have Known, was recently was published by Coffee House Press. Mr. Spellman has served on numerous arts panels, including the Africa Diaspora Advisory Group and the Advisory Group on the African-American Museum for the Smithsonian Institution. In recognition of Spellman's commitment and service to jazz, the National Endowment for the Arts in 2005 named one of its prestigious Jazz Masters awards the A.B. Spellman NEA Jazz Masters Award for Jazz Advocacy. In March 2006 he received the Benny Golson Award from Howard University for his service to jazz.

Spellman will be featured at Split This Rok Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness, March 10-13, 2010, in Washington, DC. The festival will present readings, workshops, panel discussions, youth programming, film, activism-four days of creative transformation as we imagine a way forward, hone our community and activist skills, and celebrate the many ways that poetry can act as an agent for social change. For more information: info@splitthisrock.org.

Please feel free to forward Split This Rock Poem-of-the-Week widely. We just ask you to include all of the information in this email, including this request. Thanks!

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Air brushed Twiggy ads banned in UK -- not enough crow's feet.


Irrawaddy cartoon of Stiglitz' visit to Burma oops Myanmar


Quote of the day from a leading "engager in Burma."

" Burma world is a shark-filled world. Inside and outside."

Monday, December 14, 2009

Boston Queens Expressway as music and art --


Call for help for Nyi Nyi Aung and Burmese political prisoners -- letter to Sen. Barbara Mikulski --

"Soon" being offered on behalf of Nyi Nyi Aung and Burmese Political Prisoners -- photo copyright Kyi May Kaung

Please post widely, and/or write to Sen. Mikulski's office yourself --

Dec. 14, 2009.

Dear Senator Mikulski,

I am writing to you as I believe you and your office can do something for MD-based U.S. Citizen Nyi Nyi Aung (aka Kyaw Zaw Lwin).

Nyi Nyi was arrested Sept 3rd at Rangoon airport and is currently on hunger strike since Dec 4 to protest prison conditions for himself and other Burmese political prisoners.

His aunts and the US Consul were only given occasional access to see him in jail and bring him food etc.

According to the latest reports in AFP, The Nation (Bangkok), Mizzima etc. the only concession made to him as a U.S. Citizen was that he was given a cotton blanket to put over his plank "bed" to alleviate his bedsores! Initially, he was not given food for 17 days and was tortured.

For all of us who believe in Democracy and the United States and who have chosen to make it our Refuge, surely being a citizen of one of the most powerful countries on earth means more than the "security" of one thin blanket.

We urge you use your good offices to work for the release of Nyi Nyi Aung, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, U Tin Oo, Min Ko Naing, Suu Suu Nway and all the other over 2000 Burmese political prisoners in Burmese jails.

This letter is cc-ed to Wa Wa Maw, fiance of Kyaw Zaw Lwin and to other Burma activists.

I will also post it on the Free Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma Blog and my own personal bog.


Kyi May Kaung (Ph.D.)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Michelle Obama Look Book


Burmese photographer


"Burmese Flowers" site


Split This Rock poem of the week --

Split This Rock Poem of the Week - Lillian Allen

Lillian Allen

The Refugee

Silence rocks the night
nerve stretch tight
snapping left and right
anger peels...
a straight faced appeal
to the Canada that can
to save him

no one appeared
or dared to care
for the solitary heart
that paced the night

morning brought light
more panic and fright
for the vacant of days
that faced him

he ran from the light
took a balcony dive
plunges his life
to the pavement below
that plagued him

nothing resolved
a few problems got solve
two months rent defrayed
the credit companies got swayed
on his apartment a sign says
Now Renting

-Lillian Allen

From Women Do This Every Day (1993), used by permission.

Lillian Allen is an award-winning Canadian poet, fiction writer, playwright, and cultural strategist. As one of its lead originators, she has specialized in the writing and performing of dub poetry, a highly politicized form of poetry, which is sometimes set to music. Her recordings, "Revolutionary Tea Party" and "Conditions Critical," won Juno awards in 1986 and 1988 respectively. Her publications include Theorize This (2004), Psychic Unrest (Insomniac Press, 2000), Women Do This Every Day (Women's Press, 1993), Nothing but a Hero (Well-versed, 1992). Her many recordings include "Freedom & Dance," 1999, and "Conditions Critical," 1988. A past member of the Racial Equity Advisory of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Experts Advisory on the International Cultural Diversity Agenda, past executive member of the Sectoral Commission on Culture and Information of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, Allen was named a Foremother of Canadian Poetry by the League of Canadian Poets in 1992.


Allen will be featured at Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness, March 10-13, 2010, in Washington, DC. The festival will present readings, workshops, panel discussions, youth programming, film, activism-four days of creative transformation as we imagine a way forward, hone our community and activist skills, and celebrate the many ways that poetry can act as an agent for social change. For more information: info@splitthisrock.org.

Please feel free to forward Split This Rock Poem-of-the-Week widely. We just ask you to include all of the information in this email, including this request. Thanks!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ode of English plurals -- by anonymous

An ode of English Plurals

We'll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox becomes oxen, not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice,
Yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.

If the plural of man is always called men,
Why shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen?
If I speak of my foot and show you my feet,
And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
Why shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth?

Then one may be that, and three would be those,
Yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
And the plural of cat is cats, not cose.
We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
But imagine the feminine: she, shis and shim!

Let's face it - English is a crazy language.
There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger;
neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
English muffins weren't invented in England.
We take English for granted, but if we explore its paradoxes,
we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square,
and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing,
grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham?
Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend.
If you have a bunch of odds and ends and
get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught?
If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?
Sometimes I think all the folks who grew up speaking English
should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.

In what other language do people recite at a play and play at a recital?
We ship by truck but send cargo by ship.
We have noses that run and feet that smell.
We park in a driveway and drive in a parkway.
And how can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same,
while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language
in which your house can burn up as it burns down,
in which you fill in a form by filling it out, and
in which an alarm goes off by going on.

And in closing, if Father is Pop, how come Mother's not Mop?

US Embassy Rangoon seeks consular access to Kyaw Zaw Lwin (Nyi Nyi Aung) detained US citizen

currently on hunger strike in Insein Prison.


American on hunger strike in Burmese prison


Christian couple adopts 8 refugee children


Exiled Burmese writer (temporarily) free from fear.


UN urged to investigate Burmese junta's crimes against humanity


Friday, December 04, 2009

A Burma Policy for India by Ben Rogers


Jade vine in the wild


Do not go gentle into that good night -- Dylan Thomas

Glads -- photo copyright Kyi May Kaung


When kingfishers catch fire -- Gerard Manley Hopkins

Apples on home-made plate -- Photo and artwork copyright Kyi May Kaung


Kyi May Kaung's comment on Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz's proposed trip to Burma --- left on Irrawaddy site --

Union Station, DC -- The Long View -- photo and blog comment copyright Kyi May Kaung.

Stiglitz's credentials and wish to help are impeccable. In fact, it was I who first suggested behind the scenes in 2004 that he be invited to a closed door meeting in DC.

However, it is unlikely that he or anyone can get the SPDC to trim its budget. The junta is committed to keeping itself in power which means it has to keep spending on the army etc., buying favor.

It would be good if it did limited reforms in the agricultural sector, like rural credit, allowing farmers to own their land (or on 99 year leases) and letting them grow their own crops. These would be like the Chinese Deng Xiao Ping style reforms with Special Economic Zones which I have been advocating for a long time.

It's doubtful the junta will do anything even if "God spoke to them."

They just won't do anything that will erode their power base.

Farmers are losing their land. It is all becoming vast collective farms owned by junta cohorts, leading to mass starvation through low production.

Kyi May Kaung (Ph.D.)

Burma news wrap--MAH in Kachin State-- 40 SAC killed, hostages kept etc, AAPP wins McBride Peace Award, Rangoon,Dawbon Dalan   ...