Sunday, April 28, 2013

From Victor Hugo's preface to his novel - Les Miserables - 1862 -

So long as there shall exist, by reason of law and custom, a social condemnation, which, in the face of civilization, artificially creates hells on earth, and complicates a destiny that is divine with human fatality; so long as the three problems of the age—the degradation of man by poverty, the ruin of women by starvation, and the dwarfing of childhood by physical and spiritual night—are not solved; so long as, in certain regions, social asphyxia shall be possible; in other words, and from a yet more extended point of view, so long as ignorance and misery remain on earth, books like this cannot be useless.

The black bird metaphor in Salman Rushdie's Memoir, Joseph Anton -

The bird metaphor in Salman Rushdie's memoir, Joseph Anton, blackbirds, the black wings of death - Hitchcock's The Birds. 

Copyright Kyi May Kaung

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Pursuing art lost to Nazis -

At last I found my poem - At the Races in Havana - by Kyi May Kaung

At last I have found my poem that fits these trishaw pictures - of thin people peddling fat people -

At the Races in Havana

By Kyi May Kaung

Three times out of four
we marched
so as to appear active
not inactive our heels
ground down --
at the fair grounds
passing by the stables
a horse still there
smelling of horse shit --
The aging teacher flirting
with her young student
all night --
The leaders exhorting exhorting
no bigger than chilli flakes
in the distance
whisked in
in their black
Mercedes Benz.

We turned around and left
our sons in green longyis.

I've been there at the gate
when they suddenly closed the grate
and four soldiers stood guard
facing out.

We exhausted from
our march drinking
over-sweet coffee in
the coffee shop.

Did you see that?
My friend said
she and I between us
300 lbs -- The trishaw
peddler thin peddling
uphill -- Lucky we got out when
we did --
did you see that?

And inside the speechifying
and the slogans
long live the revolution
long live the revolution
little slips of paper
passed out 5 minutes
before --

We avoid each others' eyes
as we mumble
muddled and cowed.

Copyright Kyi May Kaung
Pelted with Petals:  The Burmese Poems,
Intertext, Anchorage, AK, 1996.

Friday, April 26, 2013

How to buy a painting - by Kyi May Kaung -

Buy paintings that you fall in love with and want to look at every day - they will last longer than a lover or a spouse.

Kyi May Kaung

Comments on my painting Little Bikkhuni - from my Facebook page -

  • It's beautiful!
  • Kyi May Kaung Thank you, she's my favorite.
  • Kyi May Kaung Her robes and her face and little bald head were challenging to paint.
  • Kyi May Kaung Even her "pumpkin bag"
  • Sahana Chaudhuri The colors are so vibrant!
  • Kyi May Kaung Thank you - I love color and light.
  • Poe Ziwa Aunty--Is that real Bikkhuni form Burma or you draw illustriously.
  • Poe Ziwa I like this painting very much.
  • Thaw Nyain Very artistic painting, Ah Ma Gyi! Is the term Bikkhuni (or) Bikkhuni Ma?
  • Khinmg Soe ကိုုလိုုနီေခတ္က အရွင္အာဒိစၥ၀ံသ ( ဦးေသဌိလရဲ့ ဆရာ) ဟာ ျမန္မာႏိုုင္ငံမွာ ေပ်ာက္ကြယ္ေနတဲ့ ဘိကၡဳနီသာသနာကိုု ျပန္လည္ထြန္းကားေအာင္ ႀကိဳးစားခဲ့ဖူးပါတယ္။ ဗုုဒၶဘာသာကိုု အေနာက္နုုိင္ငံေရာက္ေအာင္ လုုပ္ဖိုု ့ သံဃာေတာ္မ်ား အဂၤလိပ္စာသင္သင့္ေၾကာင္း ေရးသားတိုုက္တ...See More
  • Kyi May Kaung I painted from the photo of the real bikkhuni (Daw Thissawadi?) who was arrested for being ordained in Sri Lanka, but it does not look like her - none of the paintings I do from photos look like the people in the photo, sometimes they don't recognize themselves. Sometimes they seem to look like someone else. Sometimes they change gender. The correct term is bikkhuni (which is already female - grammar) as opposed to bikkhu (male) - See KMS above used bikkhuni, not bikkhuni ma, which is redundant, like saying table mesa (table table) or bento box(box box) - My friend who lived in Japan thought it hilarious when I ordered a bento box at Teaism - Thank you for all your likes and comments - I will send them to the current owner of the painting, who will be happy as it will increase the value of this painting.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Birds of a feather, flock together - please follow me on Twitter -

V day - Vicariously in Venice and Vincenza on a vaporetto with Kanlaon - contd.

Total hits on this blog have passed the 190,000 mark -

Total hits on my blog have passed the 190,000 mark

Yesterday was a new peak of 727 visits - most are from the USA and Western countries, with the least number, or almost the lease number, from Burma.

Most people are interested in visiting Burma - though blogs about Michael Jackson's son Prince Jackson, or about Kanlaon's visit to Venice, also get a lot of hits.

A blog about the Shan State Army and another about Dr. Maung Zarni's resignation from a university have stayed on the "bestselling" posts for weeks or months.

Photo and painting "Lady Vanda" copyright Kyi May Kaung.

A sad day for Burma - from Anna Roberts at Burma Campaign UK -

[BurmaCampaign] News update: A sad day for Burma

Tuesday, April 23, 2013 5:02 AM
Dear friend

Yesterday (Monday 22nd April) was a significant and sad day for Burma. It provided a striking example of the growing disconnect between the reality on the ground in Burma, and the policies of the international community, including British government policy.

The day started with the BBC releasing a shocking video of the anti-Muslim attacks which took place in the Burmese town of Meiktila last month. Police stood by doing nothing as Muslims were beaten and burned, and shops and homes destroyed. You can view the video here:

Human Rights Watch then published a new report, ‘All You Can Do Is Pray’, which provided evidence of ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity against the ethnic Rohingya Muslim minority in Burma. The report included evidence of Burmese authorities involvement in crimes against humanity. You can read the report here:

Later the same day European Union Foreign Ministers met and decided to lift all sanctions against Burma except the arms embargo. This is despite multiple violations of international law still taking place, and the fact that the EU’s own benchmarks for improvements in human rights have not been met.

Our press release, which includes details on how those benchmarks have not been, met is here:

The Democratic Voice of Burma also published an article by the Director of Burma Campaign UK on how the EU is ignoring human rights, available here:

Perhaps just as bad as the lifting of sanctions was the statement from the EU, which is a significant misrepresentation of what is taking place in Burma, downplaying and ignoring problems, and talking up small positives.  It’s a rose-tinted view of Burma which ignores the facts and the serious human rights abuses still taking place. You can read it here:
(You may need to copy and paste this link in to your web browser to view the PDF).

In an editorial, the Daily Telegraph said that it was ‘deeply embarrassing’ that British Foreign Secretary William Hague agreed to the lifting of sanctions. The Telegraph warned that the EU’s credibility is damaged by lifting sanctions despite human rights benchmarks not being met, and that the EU is now relying of the regime's goodwill to make further reforms. You can view the editorial here:

A key factor in the shameful approach by the EU is the fact that Foreign Secretary William Hague has abandoned the former policy of putting human rights first in making Burma policy. Without Britain’s strong voice for human rights within the EU, countries like Germany, which always wanted to prioritise trade, get their own way. Worse, the British government now seems to be trying to compete with Germany in downplaying human rights and promoting trade.

Sanctions are gone now, but the human rights abuses remain. Burma Campaign UK will campaign to persuade the British government to put human rights first in its Burma policy. We will be in touch with you soon with campaign actions. The people of Burma still need our support, now more than ever. We will keep campaigning for human rights for all the people of Burma.

Thank you for your support.

Anna Roberts
Executive Director
Burma Campaign UK

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Burma Campaign UK

Continuation of Musharraf and dictators, from my Facebook page -

  • KMK-- Never pretend, and if you are a dictator, don't fool yourself you are loved - I wonder why he went back to Pakistan - amazing.
  • Dana Tusaw He probably tempting fate, hoping that he could salvage what's left of his power and perhaps rise again like the Phoenix.
  • Kyi May Kaung Amazing - as one of charges against him was complicity in the death of Benazir Bhutto, and only he knows what he did/commanded. Strange he would go back where Benazir's widower is in power, when FBI? had already said it was an accident caused by the door hatch of the SUV
  • Dana Tusaw Musharraf's an interesting figure like many other dictators around the world who have fallen off the power pedestal one by one. In a way, I wonder if the countries they ruled were not better with them in charge, as terrible as they were. Now these countries are in such chaos.
  • Kyi May Kaung Ah - that's what they want to "prove" -- that people can't rule themselves - But since dictatorships are like pressure cookers, all held together by the top, then when it blows, it blows - you would not say "it was better" under Stalin if your parents were sent to the concentration camps and you/we were never born - No one can say it is "better" in N. Korea as opposed to S. Korea. Democracy just seems chaotic, that's all. But better chaos than the quiet of the grave.
  • Kyi May Kaung But when power removed from top, things like mafia can come in as they did in Russia.

Dinner in Black and White - ICG gives $1000 a plate dinner to award Presdt Thein Sein

Monday, April 22, 2013

On so-called reforms - continuation - comment by K.M. Kaung -

They need to change the system - not pretend to change the system - the army needs to return to the barracks - Now they foment "ethnic strife" so that the thankless people will know what anarchy is and be begging for the army to restore order.  Their 2008 "Nargis constitution" clearly specifies they can step in in an emergency.

Follow up comments on so-called reforms by Anonymous - from my Facebook page -

  • Dana Tusaw Obvious and agree one hundred percent.
  • Poe Lah Hsa I like your statement and it is true therefore I want to share it to my facebook friends...
  • Peter Popham Ok, so if they don't start by stabilising the currency, releasing political prisoners, removing intrusive surveillance, freeing up the media and opening the door to non-Chinese foreign investment that will bring jobs for educated and uneducated alike - where should they start? I'm dying to know!
  • Dana Tusaw Peter, a proper start would be to clean up the rotted foundation properly first before building new structures on top of it. Now we're about to compound old flaws with new ones in this crazy rush. This is not good for Burma. The government's actions so far, including the ones you mentioned, are gestures, let's realize, and ones which they can afford to manage or reverse if they wish at any time. It's not much of a concession or change.
  • Kyi May Kaung It's a good start - but needs A LOT of follow through - remember, I did not write the original comment, Anonymous did.

My archive at IISH, Amsterdam--