Friday, November 23, 2012

Institute of International Education to work with nine US Universities in Burma As a beneficiary of a Fulbright Fellowship which enabled me to pursue a Ph.D. in Political Economy at the University of Pennsylvania, I am very happy with this. The Institute of International Education did a great job at the time, of placing us in our respective universities and administering the Awards. I have many stories of that time, mostly about the blocking activities of the then BSPP (Burma Socialist Program Party) government in Burma. And we were only SIX students for the whole of Burma. Imagine that! I am saving the details for a future memoir. It is incredible,for instance, how the then military attache! - at the Burmese embassy at 2300 California Street in Washington DC was so paranoid about "the US government finding out things from your dissertations" that he took part after 1988 in harassing us by refusing to renew our Burmese "special passports" annually. This at a time, really, when for instance the state of the airstrip surface in Myitkyina was available to all from satellite imagery at Fort Brag, North Carolina. This same attache, memorialized in one of my poems, also infamously said: "Why is it taking you so long to write your dissertation? Why don't you write it from Cliff Notes" These are the yellow notes that are sold in super marts for students (up to about 10th grade) to memorize while prepping for exams. I was so horrified my mouth opened in shock. These are the people who rule Burma today - think about it. The only difference is now they have learned to talk the talk. I doubt though that they will ever walk the walk. Kyi May Kaung.
Light fixture at US Capital Porch - photo copyright Kyi May Kaung