Monday, May 28, 2012

Dr. Kyi May Kaung's presentation - upcoming June 22, Burma - Reforms? What Reforms?

I will be giving a talk on Burma: Reforms? What Reforms? with Burma Round Table in DC on June 22. kmk
Young woman in green. Oil on canvas - copyright Kyi May Kaung. This is NOT a portrait of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, in fact it is based on a photograph in the public domain of the young Daw Mya Yee a.k.a. Mrs. U Nu, the wife of the Burmese PM from the democracy period 1948-1962. I added the flowers.

From Francis Wade - War Profiteering in Kachin State, Burma

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Kyansittha Umin in Bagan, Burma wonderful drawings photo taken in 2003

Friday, May 25, 2012

Miserere - the song that launched Andrea Bocelli - English lyrics by Bono

Burma situation heating up even though western media spin continues unabated-

VOA Burmese TV- go to their website in Burmese and click on the video icons, which have titles in English. - informal summary ASSK and NLD support 3rd day of candlelight vigil protesting electricity cuts. Workers have given 7 days after which if there is no change they will continue. Protesting textile workers continue strike. Average wage $40 a month. ASSK and Ying Luk Shinawatre will visit Mae La refugee camp in Thailand next month. Some steel factory workers start hunger strike on having their demands denied. Burmese army bulldozes farmers' fields, even though Thilawa Project is stalled and land unused for "development." ASSK and AK Sen among those awarded Dr. Of Humane Letters by Johns Hopkins. With all this going on, why is CNN's Paula Hancock's writing only about meditation centers? kmk
Looking at a pointilistic Picnic in the Park - Pointilism is when small points of paint are applied to create a shimmering effect. Art Institute of Chicago which allows photography for non-profit use. Photo - Kyi May Kaung

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Burma-Sanctions Redux - should the free world appear to reward such a horrible regime? from Foreign Policy in Focus 2007

II. ‘SANCTIONS ARE FOR AN ETHICAL OR MORAL REASON’ As part of a new strategic dialogue, Kyi May Kaung - a Burmese dissident, artist, poet, and political analyst living in exile - replies to a crucial question asked by Foreign Policy In Focus (FPIF): Which is the best way to effect change in Burma - through sanctions against the government, by engaging the leadership, or some combination of the two? Here are some excerpts [FPIF: 18.1.07] BURMA now is second only to North Korea as a rogue regime, to use the phrase first used by Noam Chomsky. With North Korea, I have heard Wendy Sherman of the Albright Group argue for more engagement, and with respect to North Korea, I agree with her. But North Korea is much more a hermit kingdom than Burma is, and we know much less about it. And so there can be an argument for the United States “engaging” with North Korea just to know what is going on and to have some leverage. In the Burmese case, however, the outside world knows a great deal already, more than enough. The United States has very little trade with Burma. As one Burmese dissident from the 1988 generation pointed out at a seminar in Washington D.C. last fall, “we don’t need to go to Burma to find out about Burma. There are thousands of refugees in Thailand and elsewhere, and we can find out everything we need to know from them.” Chiang Mai in northern Thailand is fast becoming the base for many foreign non-profits, Western and Australian expatriates, Burmese refugees, and Burma watchers. In the eye of the storm, in Rangoon itself, there is often a false calm due to the news blackout. A senior broadcaster who once worked at the Voice of America called this “Rangoonitis.” It often affects even western diplomats who unconsciously start to echo the junta’s statements. So, in terms of a token engagement in order to find out more about the system and how it operates, there is very much less of an argument in the Burmese case. … Sanctions and Burma have been an academic and policy issue for Burma watchers and foreign policy makers since at least 2001. At that time, the international sanctions movement picked up steam, with great success in divestment achieved by organizations such as The Free Burma Coalition (up to 2003) and Burma Campaign UK. Since then, the junta has sent overseas a steady stream of apologists to argue that sanctions hurt Burma. But their arguments have not been convincing at all. Alfred Oehlers has argued convincingly that sanctions in Burma are not scattershot but finely focused and have minimal “collateral damage.” There is no ban on travel to Burma or on exports, including food and medicines. To my mind, sanctions in the case of Burma are meant to send a message, to hurt but not to totally bring down a regime. When a tourism ban to Burma was first discussed in the early 1990s by one of the very first Burmese activist groups, the Canadian Friends of Burma, I had mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, the junta will understand nothing except what hurts their pocket book; on the other, total isolation might not be the best idea. Burma-born economist Ronald Findlay, who is an international trade theorist, told me at the time that “sanctions are for an ethical or moral reason.” Later, at an Open Society Institute event in 2004, he said, “Collapse is not an economic term.” By this I think he meant that a nation can go on for decades without a regime change, hanging on at the survival level. … The anti-sanctions faction argues for removing sanctions and visa bans against officials and families of the Burmese military regime. But it is impossible to ignore the fact that human rights abuses not only still exist in Burma, they are growing more numerous, more widespread, and also more blatant. Should we listen to the testimony of one million internally displaced persons inside Burma, thousands of political prisoners, and thousands of refugees outside the country? Or should we be taken in by the “arguments” of a few individuals who support engaging with the Burmese generals. Should the free world appear to “reward” such a horrible regime? 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Washington Post: Burma Sanctions - bad apple list

Sunday, May 20, 2012

From Victor Hugo's memoirs of 1848. This site is called Victor Hugo Central. The page on which the link is open describes Hugo looking for his son through a room full of corpses. It did not just happen that someone named Victor Hugo wrote a masterpiece like Les Miserables. Kyi May Kaungs

Robin Gibb - of Bee Gees, dead at 62 - "I started a joke"

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Re-discovered tomb of last Mughal Emperor of India Zafar Shah in Rangoon -

Friday, May 18, 2012

Full transcript of Bharka Dutt's interview with Salman Rusdie It is now 31 years since the publication of Midnight's Children in 1981 and Rushdie says in terms of freedom of expression,India is much worse than it was.

What happened at Jaipur Literary Festival last year -

William Dalrymple's essay on sacred prostitution in India - from the New Yorker and his web page

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Burmese hip hop artist Tha Xoe (Soe) says intellectual piracy rampant in Burma I know Tha Soe slightly as went to see art at National Gallery with him, but at that (2009) time could not talk him out of returning to Burma. kmk

Vulture's six recuses for brutality - Fred D'Aguier from International Times

Joshua Malbin's review of Zahra's Paradise

Neda's mother mourning - Neda was shot on the streets of Teheran - during the Green Revolution protesting the stolen elections.

Josh Groban - You Raise me Up.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Andrea Bocelli and Katherine McPhee - The Prayer - David Foster and Friends, Las Vegas, 2008.
Buddhas and Museum Guard. The Art Institute of Chicago. Photos allowed for non-commercial use. Photo copyright Kyi May Kaung

Chris Baker review of Red Journeys, about demonstrations in Bangkok 2 years ago.

Photos of Aung San Suu Kyi on campaign trail at French Institute, Rangoon, and to go to Arles, France.
Daughters of Aung San Suu Kyi - sweat shop workers on strike - sketch based on TV frame grab. Sketch and this photo copyright Kyi May Kaung

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Burma's democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi by Skype suggests caution in lifting sanctions Event in DC during which Former President George W. Bush honored her as a dissident. She said "reforms" may still be reversible. kmk
Devas and Asuras churn the sea of milk in Hindu Creation legend- Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok. Photo copyright Kyi May Kaung

Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes dead at 83 Uncompromising and writing till the end. For me as a writer from Burma, it is very easy to relate to the S. American writers. Kyi May Kaung

Full text of Anna Leonowans of The King and I fame Quite difficult to read for many reasons. kmk

Friday, May 11, 2012

Kyi May Kaung cited in The Irrawaddy etc. Letter to editor. Thank you, William Boot, for this citation. It has been picked up verbatim in some cases by other on-line publications, so I did not realize that your piece appeared originally in The Irrawaddy. For the record, Dr. Sean Turnell and I do not have different policies on sanctions. (In fact I have been on his Board at Burma Economic Watch at Macquarie University for the last 5-7 years). I also favor reducing or temporarily lifting sanctions bit by bit, in exchange for real reforms spelled out as stiff benchmark points, the reverse of the "strangulation experts" who are supposed to have existed in ancient China to "make victims die slower.(mentioned in Sterling Seagrave's The Soong Dynasty) Of course, these words and metaphors are my own, not Dr. Turnell's. Kyi May Kaung (Ph.D.) 5-11-2012
10 AM Superhighway South of Chiangmai - on Burma's so-called election day - Oct 7, 2010. I was on my "Narasuan Trip" in the steps of the Black Prince, Narasuan, patron saint of the Thai Army and considered by many to be the father of Thailand's present land boundaries. Narasuan was taken to the Burmese court at by King Bayinnaung as a hostage in the 16th century, was educated there in Pegu (Hanthawaddy or Hongasawaddy) and after serving some time in the Burmese army, was exchanged back for his lovely sister, who became Bayinnaung's consort (one of many). Eventually, Narasuan rebelled and fought back, repelling the Burmese invaders from Siam. Here is a photo of his image in his hometown of Phitsanuloke at the Chinnarat Temple.
Photo copyright Kyi May Kaung

Dr. Kyi May Kaung's presentation at E-W Center in 2008 - still relevant "Offering a macro-view of the Burmese situation, discussant Dr. Kyi May Kaung highlighted that the military-ruled government has not changed in character over time and cannot fulfill the needs of its citizens, thus making change necessary. She also stated that the hard-hit Irrawaddy delta was home to many opposition supporters. When Nargis struck one week before the proposed constitutional referendum, the government’s response to the natural disaster lacked sympathy and seemed almost punitive in nature. Kaung stated that in her view it is important for the international community to see UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s visits and other official surveys of the disaster areas for what they truly are: namely, public relations stunts. She voiced the need for the United States to re-think its Burma strategy so that Burmese leaders are held accountable for their mismanagement of the country. " regards kmk
Power of Plenty near Millenium Park, Chicago. Photo copyright Kyi May Kaung

Found my former English Literature lecturer on line - well, not found him Mr. Adlam in person, but here - I remember he was a very good actor and did TS Eliot's Murder in the Cathedral with Miss Quail in the Anglican Church on Inya Road near the University - was a great teacher - That's why I remember he was still around when we lived near the White Bridge in 1962. kmk

The essays of Sir Francis Bacon - I can never forget first "meeting them" in the classes of Mr Adlam from the British Council in Rangoon, at Rangoon University,in the late 50s, when I often sat next to Louisa Benson. kmk

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Nobel economics laureate A K Sen's The Idea of Justice This is very interesting to me, partly because I liked Rawl's book so much, and also because A. K. Sen spent some years in Mandalay, Burma, as a child and has been called in for Burma consults. Parallel to the push to "elections" in 2010, there was also a much less publicized push towards justice and an ICC. cheers kmk

One of my favorite Burmese people - singer Daw Mar Mar Aye When she first arrived in the United States about 1998, she told me she would "sing in Central Park" and I am so glad she has since sung all over the world for Burmese democracy. One of the golden Burmese people, as opposed to the dark junta. Kyi May Kaung

Marlene Deitrich's Lili Marleen - recorded in 1942

Stitch and Bitch Day - How to crochet a slouchy snood or beret -

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Burmese Nobel Laureate and Democracy Leader Aung San Suu Kyi gets passport to travel overseas -
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi with leaders of the Karen National Union, including Naw Zipporah Sein, who have been in armed struggle with the Burmese government since 1947 and are now in peace talks. TV frame grab.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

The lyricist of Mozart's opera, the Magic Flute - Emanuel Schikaneder

An interview of Vietnamese-born poet Linh Dinh by Marianne Villanueva

Children's author/illustrator Maurice Sendak dies

Some amazing new writing from Kenyon Review especially Amit Majmudar on poetry and prose and "left leg above the knee".
Peking duck carver - photo taken with permission - copyright Kyi May Kaung

Monday, May 07, 2012

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Millenium Park - from Galen Frysinger Travel Blog Happy travel on this most amazing of travel blogs. kmk

The Magic Flute - entire opera -- a bit scratchy, and I don't like the muted palette and "western" staging, but music is always heart stopping. It's very interesting for me to watch it with the time line underneath, as the whole plot set up in 30 minutes. I liked the Kathleen Battle version best with sets and costumes by David Hockney. kmk

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Mozart's The Magic Flute - Lyric Opera of Chicago

Actress Emma Thompson's Burma Diary

Nobel Laureate A. K. Sen on Burma
Wat Mahathat Chaliang - Sri Sat Chanalai - Thailand. Nov 2010 Photo copyright Kyi May Kaung

Burmese poet Aung Way - footage from 2007 Saffron Revolution (in Burmese) Aung Way calls himself a political poet or a poetic politician and describes poetry as his weapon of choice. He also says "a poet is a parallel government". Kyi May Kaung

Kyi May Kaung also quoted in Jakarta Globe

Children of Evin Prison in Teheran, Iran.

Kyi May Kaung & Jennifer Quigley cited in article by Carey Biron on rush to invest in Burma
A Gustave Caillebotte painting of a butcher's window at Art Institute of Chicago - photos allowed for non-commercial use. Photo Kyi May Kaung

Friday, May 04, 2012

The 140 year old song La Paloma and English lyrics

Lisa DiLillo's film with Kyi May Kaung's poetry - Tongues don't have Bones About 7 minutes total. The dance is called sin taw min thamee with puppets dancing like humans and humans like puppets. Lisa diLillo, the film maker, said she shot the footage of the dancers in VA. Kyi May

Rare photos of Hitler's bunker from Life Magazine|mostpop#end

Kyi May Kaung's A Burmese Vampire Story on scramble for Burma's resources, in Asian Correspondent
Chicago downtown and street musician - photo copyright Kyi May Kaung. A few days later Nobel Laureates met at Symphony Hall close to this place and praised fellow Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma

From Asia Pacific Network - Burma - a virtuous carrots and sticks cycle from March 27, 2012 The 'virtuous circle' of carrot & stick sanctions Irrawaddy - March 27, 2012 Burmese army chief defends political role - Irrawaddy. March 27, 2012 Burmese legal system remains tool of Government: Asian Human Rights Commission - Irrawaddy. March 27, 2012 Myanmar exiles test government's promise of change - Associated Press. March 26, 2012 Government sincerity key to civil war endgame - Irrawaddy. March 24, 2012 Protest held in Mandalay for political prisoners - Irrawaddy. March 23, 2012 William Boot – Have economic sanctions against Burma passed their sell-by date, or do they remain a key element in prodding the Burmese government down the road of reform? Opinion is as divided among many leading Burma watchers as it is among the Western politicians who must ultimately decide on the fate of the sanctions, with some arguing for an immediate end and others believing the restrictions must remain in place until more positive and permanent reform happens. A third line of opinion is that the sanctions could be gradually withdrawn bit by bit if reforms continue. One of the most high-profile voices urging a rapid end to the sanctions, American economist and Nobel prize winner Joseph Stiglitz, has described them as an "impediment" to Burma's emergence from decades of isolation. Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz has described sanctions as an "impediment" to Burma's emergence from decades of isolation. Stiglitz praises what he sees as "unprecedented transparency" in recent financial decision making coupled with an easing of restrictions in key areas. That's not the view of more than 60 members of the British Parliament who, while praising the Thein Sein initiatives, argue that no reforms have yet been enshrined in law. They are seeking to commit the British government to block any attempt by the European Union to ease the sanctions after Burma's April 1 elections. A parliamentary motion to that end signed by British legislators from across the political spectrum "notes with concern that hundreds of political prisoners remain in Burma's jails, and that there has been an increase in human rights abuses in ethnic states." The 62 legislators who have so far signed the motion said: "International pressure has played an important role in encouraging reforms so far, and [we call] on the government to ensure that EU sanctions on Burma are not relaxed prematurely before substantially more political prisoners are released, conflict is ended and there is an inclusive dialogue process to secure further and irreversible reform." The editor of the Burma Economics Watch, Sean Turnell, is in favor of the carrot-and-stick approach – reducing sanctions gradually in return for more reform. The primary purpose of the sanctions imposed by the United States, the EU, Australia, New Zealand and Canada was to induce change, argues the economist from Australia's Macquarie University. "This I think they have done, primarily by creating incentives for all but the most rusted-on supporters and ideologues of the old military regime to embrace change," Turnell told The Irrawaddy this week after a visit to Burma to assess the effect of the Thein Sein reforms. "Consistent with such purposes then, sanctions easing in response to meaningful reforms in Burma have always been the promise. Such reforms are as yet partial, as I suspect then are the likely modifications to the various sanctions regimes. Of importance at the moment is the direction of change and its momentum, in terms of reforms and, as a consequence of these, changes to sanctions." The US special envoy to Burma, Derek Mitchell, appears to be in the same camp as Turnell, and it's his views which are most likely to influence White House thinking and calls for US Congress action to roll back the most draconian of sanctions. Mitchell said the Washington government is looking at which sanctions might be getting in the way of reform, but he has warned that there is no one change in Burma that will magically lead to the lifting of all sanctions. "The conditions for sanctions and other restrictions are more than these [April] elections," he said after his latest visit to Burma. "There are specific issues that have to do with the release of all political prisoners, have to do with ethnic minority issues and have to do with other issues. So, we are not looking for one particular event in order to say everything is normal, everything is right and is not reversible." Former British ambassador to Thailand and now chairman of the NGO Network Myanmar Derek Tonkin believes continued sanctions are "dumb". "Sanctions directed at the population at large have become a serious obstacle to the country's financial and economic reform programs, notably in rural development, poverty alleviation and social welfare," he says on the Network Myanmar website this week. "We should then have the honesty to recognize that it is the population at large which is being held to ransom by the Western pretense that their sanctions are 'well-targeted' when the overwhelming evidence is that almost all of them are not." In the same camp, Stiglitz argues: "It is clear that this moment in Myanmar's history represents a real opportunity for permanent change. It is time for the world to move the agenda for Myanmar forward, not just by offering assistance but by removing the sanctions that have now become an impediment to the country's transformation." Not so, says prominent Burmese exile Kyi May Kaung, a writer and analyst based in Washington. "Countries that wish to see democracy and a free market in Burma should not lift sanctions too soon," she wrote in an appeal for the Western world not to get carried away with what she says is the hype being generated by international media. "Reporters love to preface their interviews by feeding the interviewee 'Now that there is change in Burma' – in fact, there has been no meaningful structural or institutional reform. I and a few other voices are the only ones remaining skeptical, we think with reason, and our voices are all but drowned out by the sounds of the big media wheel." Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has also urged caution, warning only days ago that media freedom in Burma was still being gagged by the authorities. Turnell, who is in touch with a wide circle of opinion inside and outside Burma, thinks there is hope for what he terms a "virtuous circle of reform" in which sanctions can continue to play a part. "One might also expect a narrowing and more specific targeting of measures, to ensure against unintended effects and to best encourage and hasten the reforms," he told The Irrawaddy. "At the moment the ball is with Thein Sein. April 1 marks the next serve."

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Quote of the day --

Our loves are composed of people who are like us in ideas and thoughts, not based on which soil we were born on. Kyi May Kaung
> Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy, from China, at the Art Institute of Chicago. Photo Kyi May Kaung

Satire, fiction/creative non-fiction: A Burmese Vampire Story by Kyi May Kaung

Time to say goodbye lyrics - translation

from - Time to say goodbye -- I'll go with you/ Sarah/ When I'm alone/ I dream of the horizon/ and words fail;/ yes, I know there is no light/ in a room where the sun is absent,/ if you are not here with me./ At the windows/ show everyone my heart/ which you set alight;/ enclose within me/ the light you/ encountered on the street./ Time to say goodbye. -- I'll go with you/ to countries I never/ saw and shared with you,/ now, yes, I shall experience them./ I'll go with you/ on ships across seas/ which, I know,/ no, no, exist no longer;/ it's time to say goodbye. -- with you I shall experience them./ Andrea When you are far away/ I dream of the horizon/ and words fail,/ and, yes, I know/ that you are with me;/ you, my moon, are here with me,/ my sun, you are here with me/ with me, with me, with me./ Time to say goodbye. -- I'll go with you/ to countries I never/ saw and shared with you,/ now, yes, I shall experience them./ I'll go with you/ on ships across seas/ which, I know,/ no, no, exist no longer,/ Both with you I shall experience them again./ I'll go with you/ on ships across seas/ which, I know,/ no, no, exist no longer,/ with you I shall experience them again./ I'll go with you./ You and me./ It is this translation that I will regard as the "official" one and use on the "all lyrics and translations" pages. David Parker suggested to change the word "exist" in the line no, no, exist no longer of the "chorus" into "stay" or "remain", which would give a different feel to that part of the song: no, no, stay no longer, is said when they are parting. I am not sure what to do: neither "exist" nor "stay" or "remain" is making complete sense to me. Since both the above translation and the one below have "exist" I will keep that word. Tim from the USA send me the translation of the song as it appears on the inlay to the "Time To Say Goodbye" single he has got. This translation is different at several places from the above one, and seems to be giving some things double. I changed a thing or two near the end to get the translation right for this version, and I added some interpuction. Time to say goodbye/ Sarah: When I'm alone I dream of the horizon and words fail me./ There is no light in a room where there is no sun/ and there is no sun if you're not here with me, with me./ From every window unfurls my heart the heart that you have won./ Into me you've poured the light,/ the light that you found by the side of the road./ Time to say goodbye./ Places that I've never seen or experienced with you./ Now I shall, I'll sail with you upon ships across the seas,/ seas that exist no more,/ it's time to say goodbye./ Andrea: When you're far away I dream of the horizon and words fail me./ And of course I know that you're with me, with me./ You, my moon, you are with me./ My sun, you're here with me with me, with me, with me./ Time to say goodbye./ Places that I've never seen or experienced with you./ Now I shall, I'll sail with you upon ships across the seas,/ seas that exist no more,/ Both: I'll revive them with you./ I'll go with you upon ships across the seas,/ seas that exist no more,/ I'll revive them with you./ I'll go with you./ You and me./

Robin Gibb recovers from coma - "I started a joke" -- "I fell out of bed, hurting my head, from things that I'd said -"

John Lennon's Imagine - "Imagine there's no country,"

For revolutionaries young and old - ABBA - Do you hear the drums, Fernando?

Henri Fantin-Latour - the all time greatest painter of roses

Paul Guaguin - from Wikipedia Lots of images.

Burl Ives-Ave Maria