Friday, September 27, 2013

The Elders including Jimmy Carter say international observers need to moniter 2015 elections in Burma -

In memorium -- Saffron Revolution monks 2007

On this day Sept 27, 2007, Buddhists monks chanting metta sutra in Burma peacefully, were beaten, shot and killed, and arrested.

Journalist Kenji Nagaii was shot point blank on the street and killed. 

His remains were crudely "post-mortemed" and his camera never returned.

The photographer who shot an image of the dying Nagaii still holding his video cam up, was awarded a prize by the US Newseum. 

Note, they are not the same monks, most of them, than the extremist nationalistic "buddhists" like 969 now in the news --

Try and avoid sweeping stereotypes, it does not become you. 

Read and find out the facts before you open your mouth.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Burmese government allows oil and gas firms to name profit sharing terms -

My consultancy bio -

Dr. K.M. Kaung, a  Burma expert of impeccable reputation, has consulted on –
·        Setting up a stock exchange for Burma
·        The Burmese money and banking system
·        The Burmese university system
·        A Plan for Democracy and Development (2008-2009)
·        Burmese/Myanmar government decision-making structure
·        Challenges of development and system change
·        Geopolitics of Burma/Myanmar
·        Economic and political backgrounders and private consults
·        Confidential document translation (Burmese to English) and interpretation.
·        Project feasibility studies
Her special expertise is transitional economic systems:  From planned economies to market economies.  She studied the Russian Federation and the Peoples Republic of China (Chinese Economic Reforms)
Dr. Kaung holds a Ph.D. in Political Economy from the University of Pennsylvania, has consulted widely internationally, was interviewed by BBC, CBC, VOA, NPR, RFA etc.
Her other degrees are an MA in City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania, and an MA and BA (Honors) in Economics from Rangoon University.

Nothing is objective -

I had a great lunch with a close friend whom I see about once a year these days, because she travels so much.  She told me she took a video theory course, and that the lecturer said, "There is nothing objective. Victors tell the story."

That's why Narasuan is "Byanarit" a corruption of Phra Naret or Phra Nares -  everyone becomes "bya" in Burmese chronicles -- e.g. Byamahin for Phra Mahin, one of Narasuan's uncles.

The novel by Tin Than Oo in Burmese, Ayudya Pledge, depicts "Byanarit" and his captor, Bayinnaung, as having a grandfather and grandson relationship, but it is hard to believe.

It's a nicely written novel in 2 volumes, but maybe a bit too romanticized.  Tin Than Oo followed the Burmese chronicles, but he made Narasuan older than he was when he went on campaigns in Syam before his capture, and sometimes the battle scenes are too like scenes in a movie.

At the same time it is written with Narasuan as the main hero figure.

This must have been hard to do, because according to my informant, the late Tin Than Oo worked in the Burmese junta's psychological warfare section, and so was "controversial."

I guess it was a survival tactic, the way Chinese writer Mo Yan also worked for the PRA - the Chinese Army -

and Mo Yan's best known work, red Sorghum, depicts Japanese invaders as the villains, never the communist regime.

That is why perhaps it is best to read books published overseas, or translated into English, and in case of Victor Hugo, Tolstoy or Mo Yan and other Chinese writers, including Alai who is Tibetan but writes in Mandarin -- I have to read the English translations as I don't read French, Russian or Mandarin --

But the redeeming feature is, latest research has shown that if you know, say 5 languages, your vocabulary in each is 1/5 of if you knew only one language -

but it is limiting I think to know only one language.

What disturbs me about Burmese, even those overseas, is they only read in Burmese, or they only read about Burma -- that is terribly disturbing to me -- Even the foreigners interested primarily in Burma, only have books about Burma on their shelves -- (Ha - I check everyone's book shelves) 

That I am sure will produce a very insular mind -

Kyi May Kaung

Will the Burma Road end in Democracy - by Walden Bello - from 2012

Friday, September 13, 2013

Chintzy chintz - textile exhibit at Met in New York

Native American geese prayer from Chesapeake, by James Michener

Quote of the Day - from Chesapeake, by James Michener -

"she saw a flock of geese in a cornfield acting strangely.  The males were running at each other, and the yearlings were restless, gathering twigs .  .  .
suddenly an old gander, much heavier than the rest, ran awkwardly a few steps, flapped his great wings, and soared into the air.
"In an instant the whole field of geese flew aloft, circled a few times, then set out resolutely for the north.  .  .  . 
"Oh," she cried, "they're leaving,"
.  .  .
the werowance appeared .  .  .  uttering the timeless prayer.
'Great Power.  You who watch over us .  .  .  Watch over them as they fly to distant areas.  Find them grain for their long flight and keep them from storms.  .  .  Great Power, protect them while they are gone from us, and in due season bring them back to this river, which is their home and ours.'"
James Michener, Chesapeake, p. 28.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Plums -

A painting of the plums that William Carlos Williams might have eaten is in the shares below.  Every year one of my friends makes beautiful cakes studded with seeded half plums when the black plums are out.  I ate one bag of plums about 3 weeks ago.  They were delicious, with a tough black/purple skin and red soft sweet inside flesh. 
The trick is to squeeze the plums through the plastic bag and buy the soft ones.
As they are soft, they are also on sale and are not like the hard crisp ones that remind me of silicon, not that I have ever tasted silicon.

"I have eaten the plums -- "
William Carlos Williams -
I won the William Carlos Williams Award of the Academy of American Poets in 1993 through the Department of English at the Univ University of Pennsylvania for my first five poems. My student health counselor suggested I send them in, after I found an article about Ann Sexton in a magazine in her waiting room.

FB & blog 9-12-2013

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Un Chapeau (hats off) for my novella Black Rice from Peter Carey

Un Chapeau (hats off) for my novella Black Rice, from Peter Carey.

Dear Dr Kyi,

I was deeply affected by your powerful essay 'Black Rice' which is beautifully written and extremely effective in evoking the tragedy which has overwhelmed Burma in all the years since independence. In fifty short pages it is all there - the tragedy and the waste and the pity of it all.

I was born in a recently independent Rangoon (30 April 1948) in a state which which was known as the 14-mile government because the Karens were pressing so hard on Rangoon's back door. My mother had to take her own mattress into the Dufferin Hospital when she gave birth to me! So the arrangemnents you evoke in 'Black Rice' are very  accurate.

What particularly affects me is that the story is built at the very physical level - and the emotions generated are experienced through the body. It is almost as though one is hearing the sounds amplified through blindfolds - the same blindfold that the non-Burman protagonist is forced to wear when his naval vessel is ambushed and he falls into the hands of the Karen rebels. He hears and feels through his feet the execution of his friend. This is what I would call the 'the brillig and slithy tove' style of writing pace Lewis Carroll. It is very visceral and only to be experienced through the body. Every day this story comes back to me in my memory and imagination. It works like a depth charge deep within one's being - very powerful and very true. A remarkable achievement.

Well done! Chapeau - as the French would say!

Again sorry to be so long in writing back but I didn't want to send something too quickly as I needed it to

Peter Carey – via email – 7-24-2013

Note:  This Peter Carey is not the famous writer Peter Carey, but my fellow board member Dr. Peter Carey at Burma Advocates.

40 work spaces of already famous and successful -

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Amazon sent a message that I helped them sell a book -

Amazon sent me a message that my review of Rosamund Bartlett's A Life of Tolstoy, helped them sell a copy.
I never even knew they did this until last month, when my friend told me as we were having dinner of two appetizers each at a French restaurant, that she had received a similar message for her review of my novella Black Rice.

So it's worth it to read books, get your grey matter cracking and help sell books, one or some of which might be your own.

By the way, my eye problems are not related to reading, but may be hereditary, may be due to general systemic health problems - though if the macular degeneration progresses, it may affect my ability to read, or I may have to use other devices, such as special computer screens and audio books. They give classes in coping, so I will deal with those things as they come along, with my doctors' and family members' help.

I always wanted to do pod-casting anyway, and voice recognition software has been around a long time.

Kyi May Kaung -

Sentinel Project says Burma at high risk for genocide -

Sunday, September 08, 2013

cut and paste from Irrawaddy site ref - recent death of economist Dr Khin Maung Kyi -

cut and pasted from Irrawaddy site ref. late Dr Khin Maung Kyi -

 One Response to Burmese Economist Khin Maung Kyi Dies   

    Oo Maung Gyi Friday, September 6, 2013 - 9:20 pm   

    Dr Khin Maung Kyi is one of the conspirator of the military government and with his knowledge from General Ne Win to present regime the country economic system had been spoiled and the country become Least Develop Country ( LDC ) in the world. May be he is a good man by nature, but by cooperating with military junta, he is one of the conspirator.
    Kyi Kaung (@KyiKaung) Monday, September 9, 2013 - 1:23 am   

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Oo Maung Gyi, if that’s your real name, you are entirely wrong. I think you mixed him up with U Ba Nyein. Dr. Khin Maung Kyi never collaborated with the military regime. That’s why he lived all the rest of his life overseas. His book was written for the Exile Government. You should check you facts before you write something like that that maligns someone who sacrificed quite a bit to maintain academic integrity.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

International Crisis Group's 2012 report on Burma

Dirty Rangoon -

Yazathan by Maru (Kyaw Aung Lwin) translated by Kyi May Kaung -

Our Late Dear Departed
Maru (Kyaw Aung Lwin)

by Kyaw Aung Lwin (Maru)
Translated by Kyi May Kaung.

Our late dear departed
You won’t be in time.
As for us we aren’t quite sure
The train has not yet – arrived.
There are many fallen – on our side.
Before – the enemies have become friends, the friends
Have become enemies.

In that kind of – rather messed up
Raggedy rundown country, with its rather
Wobbly, lopsided history
We are backward in everything
Backward behind
In monsoon winds
Backward behind in
The sun rising, and the tide
Backward behind, in education
In rock music, tin beer cans
Tissue paper and lavatories that keep
The flies, firmly, out.

From these things to something called
Democracy. We are behind in everything
Most clearly and effectively, behind.
In that place we had to trade, for something called
Human rights
with our lives.

Before our young men have become
Buddhist novices
They have gone, early into prison.
Before they’ve even gotten
A little diploma
They’ve been sentenced
A heavy jail term.
Before they’ve even gotten themselves
A little sweetheart, they’ve become
Long-term prison residents.

It’s that kind of country, with that kind of hatchet marks and
Stab wounds on it. That kind of struck dumb nation
Notched crooked nation.

The kind of nation where, even without
Anything to eat, you have to meet
Your financial obligation.

That kind of nation where even though
Married, children have to be carefully
Prevented, with permanent

That kind of country where, if it
Becomes unbearable, and you want
To vomit in disgust, you’d better plan
A silent noiseless

That kind of country where lives
Slowly become small
And insignificant.

Where husband and wife
Start to fight more and more.
Where you soon lose

Where you begin to suffer from
Malnutrition, where
evil deeds multiply, where
the bad stars cast their light, growing
cruel and oppressive, where
rather than live one would
rather die.

A great nation like that where
The seeds of our dreams never reach

A great nation where many fall and die
Where the standard of living is low
The death rates high.

A great nation that can’t hold up
Its head, among others.
A great nation that is, below par.
A great nation that isn’t, truly human.
Where it isn’t worth it, to be
A human being.

A nation without a parliament, our great
Royal nation, of course.

But there are people who would
Like to see that country
Of all countries shining gold
Would like the country to be
accepted among all others.

Our martyrs, our late
dear departed have died
for their beliefs, been
crushed, their blood fallen
on black earth.

Those of us remaining, can only
Quite often, pray
And pay our respects, to the fallen, as to
The Buddha in this
Country of ours where
Morning has
Not yet

That’s all!
Translation copyright Kyi May Kaung - 1999

My poem - Never look back woman - from 1993 -


Never look back woman all your bridges
nearly burned behind you
you may be turned to salt stone
salt from caked up tears a pillar
like a plaster cast holding me immobile rigid
spine broken needing to be reset
naked underneath –
my head turned backwards
south southeast

Fragment - copyright Kyi May Kaung

Renowned Burmese economist Dr Khin Maung Kyi passes away in Singapore --

How Thein Sein Gov betrays Burma - Shwe Gas Pipeline

From Kyaukhpyu in Arakan to Kumming in China.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Burmese ancient Buddhist art coming to NY in 2015

Chinese astrologer/historian Sima Qian, who was castrated for supporting the truth -

T. S. Eliot's Ash Wednesday

Digitized version - Dylan Thomas - Poem in October & In My Craft or Sullen Art

Dylan Thomas - And death shall have no dominion

Dylan Thomas - Poem in October

Dylan Thomas - Love in the Asylum

Dylan Thomas reads his poem - Do not go gentle into that dark night

Text of an article I wrote last summer -

Reckless optimism: Myanmar’s ‘reformed’ government?

Civilians in Myanmar lack the luxury of wearing rose-tinted glasses

A comment by Dr Kyi May Kaung, an independent, Washington DC-based political economist
Dr Kyi May Kaung
Dr Kyi May Kaung
Following recent developments in Burma, the international media has suffered from a surfeit of overly optimistic reports of the glass-is-half-full variety, failing to analyse what constitutes ‘reform’. Change, indeed, is one part of reform. Considering that a handful of changes do not qualify as a ‘reformed’ government, it is clear to me that most media people do not understand what they are talking about.
For reforms to stick, they need to be structural or systemic reforms. As Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been a victim of a kangaroo court’s ruling, repeatedly points out, there is no rule of law in Burma.
For all you cup-half-full people, please be aware that you may be half-baked. It’s nice to be cheerful, but what if your good cheer is based on faulty facts?
To understand Burma you need to know that it has always been a centrally-controlled system – from 1044 under the time of the Bagan kings, through British colonial rule to the ‘more’ centralised system set up by general Ne Win that is still in place today.
Suu Kyi recently claimed that “good laws already exist in Burma”, but they are not enforced. In fact such ‘laws’ in Burma are either based on outdated British colonial laws, like the riot act, or were established under the command economy of Ne Win.
With the exception of the democratically-elected U Nu period post-World War II, which ended with Ne Win’s coup of 1962, no law in Burma has ever been set by discussion and consensus in a real parliament. (I consider the present Hluttaw at worst a joke – a bad joke and an evil one – and at best, a movie studio setting). Farmers still don’t own their land – all they have is the right to cultivate it.
Following the brutal clampdown on mass pro-democracy demonstrations in 1988, the junta began to change to an ‘open economy’. But guess what? It was open only to the regime and its crony capitalists.
Tempted perhaps by the tasty profits the military earned under the caretaker government of the 1950s – which was a kind of dry-run coup for the junta led by people such as Brigadier Aung Gyi, a renowned capitalist from a commercial family – in 1990, the military established its Union of Myanmar Economic Holding Ltd, now the country’s largest conglomerate.
Even though Suu Kyi’s recent call for responsible investment – warning investors of “reckless optimism” – rubbed the president the wrong way, I think they were completely justified. If investors flee from Burma, it won’t be due to her remarks, but because of the following things that made the news in May and June: escalating racial unrest in the Arakan region of western Burma leading to deaths; gold miners and factory workers striking as labour unrest spread; a lack of rule of law, allowing police to act like thugs, with a group of 70 ganging up on people at a roadside cafe and one woman dying while in their custody; the anniversary to mark a year of increasing attacks on the Kachin in northeastern Burma; a court ruling in favour of Zaykabar, a company that has been accused of stealing more than 800 acres of land from farmers in Rangoon’s Mingaladon Township; and farmers striking in Monywa against a Chinese copper company that has dumped excavation waste on their farmland.
In short, dark storm clouds are gathering. Given the degree of anger, it is not hard to imagine something unfolding along similar lines to the French Revolution.

Burl Ives-Ave Maria