Tuesday, September 24, 2013

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