Thursday, October 31, 2013

Genocide Q from my Asian American forum talk 2007, 2 days after clampdown -

Q from my talk at Asian-American forum, Washington, DC, Sept 2007, second day of clampdown on "Saffron Revolution" monks --

Genocide against one's own people has gotten a bad name -- Khmer Rouge, Tiananmen, Uzbekistan.

Doesn't that affect the junta's thinking at all??

(I had to say I didn't think it did).

kmk

Les Miserables - 10th anniv concert - complete!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAVrm3wjzq8

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Welcome - stay away - notice -

Welcome all the crazy naive idealistic artistic harmless people.  Dreamers and song writers.

Stay away all the power mongers, king and queen makers, cut-throat capitalists, killers, child molesters, rapists, all those who gave the order and all those "just following orders."

Uggh -- and still want to smell like roses!!

kmk

Monday, October 28, 2013

My mother found us ABBA -

My mother found us ABBA in Burma after seeing an article in Readers' Digest.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQsjAbZDx-4

"Do you hear the drums Fernando?
.  .  .
Since many years I have not seen a rifle in your hand,"

Bjorn Ulvaes was the genius songwriter.  But like many famous groups, they fell apart and each struck out on their own.

Our family friend U KHt always said, "In America (the West) the temptation to strike out on one's own is very great."

kmk
10-28-2013

free Burmese by ear mp3 files for John Okell at SOAS

Free Burmese by ear mp3 files from John Okell -
can download for free

Saturday, October 26, 2013

09 Maersk Alabama hijacking now movie w Tom Hanks

09 Maersk Alabama hijacking now movie w Tom Hanks

but crew not happy with hero portrayal of Cptn Phillips, sueing -

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Joyce Carol Oates' novel Black Water, not about Chappaquidick

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Water_%28novella%29

Audio book on Aung San Suu Kyi -

http://www.audible.com/pd/Bios-Memoirs/Aung-San-Suu-Kyi-Audiobook/B00E5I1EYY?bp_ua=yes&mkwid=3SEtwpsL&pmt=b&pkw=_inurl:-Audiobook/&source_code=GO1GB907OSH060513&gclid=CIWQ1rXqproCFVOf4AodeF4AMg

Gary Jennings' magnificent novel Aztec -

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aztec_%28novel%29

Gatsby style - from days of robber barons -

Gatsby's Gold Coast: 8 grand estates http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/10/travel/gatsby-gold-coast-long-island/index.html?sr=sharebar_twittergatsby style from robber baron days -

unfinished Block Bauer portrait by Klimt maybe Nazi loot

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/news/nazi-loot-is-in-major-national-gallery-show-8891813.html

Vietnam photos never seen before -

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/news/slaughter-of-the-innocents-the-vietnam-war-as-never-seen-before-8852058.html

Nobel Laureate poet - Seamus Heaney - one of translators of Boewulf, dies in Ireland, age 74

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/sep/02/seamus-heaney-funeral-hundreds-mourners

More people read this blog daily than come on my Facebook page

but Facebook due to the intrinsic design is more interactive.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Latest review of my novella Black Rice -



BLACK RICE  BY K. M. Kaung
Review by Rosalind Lacy MacLennan
K. M. Kaung's beautifully crafted, fascinating BLACK RICE, told in 42 pages, is a must-read to fully understand modern Myanmar.  Fractionalized political groups, that emerged after Independence in 1948 from the British Empire, strive for domination.
This well-constructed narrative builds to an ultimate high point, a twist of luck, at the end that left me gasping.
       As for structure, the black rice metaphor works well throughout the telling of the civil war with the Karens.  We follow the first person account from Black Rice, who escapes his alcoholic, violent stepfather, only to fight in an army, struggling to hold together a split nation, crumbling apart in internecine warfare.
It's a jungle where no one can be trusted, far from the romantic jingoism of a Rudyard Kipling adventure tale.
        What Kaung succeeds in showing us is the ugly and false belief that light skin is superior to dark, the divided loyalties between self-preservation and any form of idealism.
References to historical characters like Thakin Aung San, the politically savvy general and activist, who liberated Burma from Britain, and who was the father of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, anchor us along the way.
Good show!














FIRST DRAFT: The deep-seeded prejudice against dark-skinned peoples, held by many Asians, is often unvoiced. But one senses early on in Black Rice, that author K.M. Kaung has a deeper intent. She's  blasting away more than  false beliefs and superstitions:  such as all that's needed to raise a healthy offspring is healthy blood and environment . 
Kaung's beautifully crafted, fascinating story, told in 42 pages, is a must-read to fully understand modern Myanmar.  Fractionalized political groups that emerged after  independence in 1948 from the British Empire have been striving for domination.  This well-constructed narrative builds to an ultimate high point twist of luck at the end that leaves the reader breathless.
This is an urgently told survival, jungle story, told to the author at age seven, by her deceased cousin "of the very pale skin," about an illegitimate, black, slant-eyed, Chinese child,  adopted by  upper class Burmese parents, whose life  is not guaranteed by learning to speak English, backed by an education in Rangoon.  
The reality of human biology is brutal, just like the history of Myanmar.  After losing ten fetuses, Pretty Lady  gives up trying to have babies of her own. Only then can she accept and adopt a child with a jet black skin. Her blood was Rh negative and her husband's was positive.  So the fetuses with the father's blood were rejected by her body with spontaneous miscarriages.  When her tenth baby dies soon after a live birth, Pretty Lady relieves the pain of her engorged breasts by nursing an abandoned baby with black skin, whom she names Black Rice, for good luck. The analogy of the name is not lost. Black rice is so glutinous, it is used in cement that has held temples together for centuries.  
As for structure, the black rice metaphor works well throughout the telling of civil war with the Karens. We follow the first person narrative of Black Rice who escapes his violent, alcoholic stepfather, only to fight in an army struggling to hold together a divided nation, crumbling apart in internecine warfare. It's a place where no one can be trusted, far from the romantic jingoism of a Rudyard Kipling adventure tale.   Yet Kaung keeps you gasping up to the last moment.
What Kuong succeeds in showing us is the ugly and false belief that light skin is superior to dark, the divided loyalties between  self-preservation and search for identity , and disillusion with any form of idealism.   References to historical characters  like Thakin Aung San,  who was the politically savvy  general and activist who liberated Burma from Britain, and who  was the father of Nobel Prize Peace Laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, help anchor us along the way.




My novella Black Rice getting rave reviews -

https://www.createspace.com/4232789?ref=1147694&utm_id=6026

Alice Munro wins Nobel Prize in Literature -

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/arts-video/why-alice-munros-nobel-prize-win-is-well-deserved/article14795446/

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

SN Goenka's ashes laid to rest in Burma -

http://www.latimes.com/world/worldnow/la-fg-wn-myanmar-sn-goenka-guru-funeral-20131008,0,6613345.story

National Archives related to the JFK assassination -

http://www.archives.gov/research/jfk/warren-commission-report/

JFK assassination conspiracy theories -

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_F._Kennedy_assassination_conspiracy_theories

Quote from James Michener's Texas - "Santa Anna's Leg"



“Santa Anna’s Leg” – from James Michener’s Texas, p. 495-6.
(Ref. Mexican General Santa Anna of The Alamo fame)
Next morning Santa Anna revealed why he had asked Garza to make the long ride  .  .  .  to Benito’s surprise, it did not concern the invasion of Tejas, or even the guerrilla warfare there; it was an imperial concern which no visitor could have anticipated:  ‘My dear and trusted friend, I seek a guard of honor for a deed of honor.  In response to demands from the people of Mexico, and also its religious leaders, I have consented with some reluctance, for I am essentially a modest man, to have my right leg disinterred, borne to the capital, and buried in a pantheon reserved for heroes.’
‘Your leg,’ Benito asked.
‘Why not?’ Santa Anna snapped.  ‘It gave itself in service to our nation, did it not?  What leg has meant so much to a nation?  Does it deserve the treatment we give other heroes?’
‘It certainly does,’ Benito said hurriedly  .  .  .   
.  .  .
Garza was still in the capital when a vast revulsion against the pomposity of Santa Anna surfaced, and he watched in horror as a mob tore down a gilded statue of the dictator   .  .  .  rampaged through the streets, and cheered when a crazy-eyed leader shouted:  ‘Let’s get that goddamned leg!’  From a safe distance, Garza followed the frenzied rabble as they broke down the gates   .  .  .  destroyed the cenotaph honoring the leg, dug up the bones, and dragged them ignominiously through the very streets where they had a short time before been paraded with such majesty.  He was aghast when the bones were separated, some going to one part of the city, some to another, and all of them ending in rubbish piles.
James Michener, Texas, pp.  495-6.

Robert Bateman - nature artist -

http://www.robertbateman.ca/

First humanitarian convoy to Kachin State in 2 years -

http://reliefweb.int/report/myanmar/myanmar-humanitarian-bulletin-issue-07-1-%E2%80%93-31-aug-2013

World's constitutions to read search and compare -

https://www.constituteproject.org/#/

Path breaking 1997 book on Burma by Khin Maung Kyi et al

I was on peer review meeting as invited peer reviewer.
kmk

Friday, October 04, 2013

Mini book review of Domique Dunne's In Another City, Not my Own --

Reading - Dominique Dunne - Another City, Not my Own - about O J Simpson trial - makes me remember what Dunne shared in essay in Marie Arana edited - The Writing Life. 

Dunne, early in his career, in Los Angeles, suffered the murder of his daughter by her boyfriend, who walked free after only 2 1/2 years.

In Another City, he goes back for Simpson trial, having previously covered Menendez brothers' trial and also the trial of high society member Claus von Bulow for the murder of his wife Sunny.

Another City is written as fiction--A Novel in the Form of a Memoir, and that is why I picked it up at my local library after my enhanced flu shot today.

That is some of the compensation of living in the most educated county in the USA.  This library, within walking distance and the one upstairs of my building have no due date -- I educated myself about plays entirely on books from the library upstairs.

Shakespeare, of course, and also Jean Genet (a former convict's) scariest play about prison life.

The Dominique Dunne book is written as fiction, but with all real names for public characters, even for Dunne's conversations in private with them (semi-private--at dinners and lunches in restaurants and private homes - the rich and powerfuls' homes).

It is a bit like Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, or John Barendt's Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, which mainly write about dead people.

However, Dunne does a curious thing, he fictionalizes himself, like Salmon Rushdie does in his own memoir Joseph Anton (Rushdie changed names of his security detail, of course, but not the names of his famous literary agent and others).

In - In Another City, suddenly the names from the riveting trial of the nineties come back to us, OJ, Nicole Simpson, Judge Lance Ito, Marcia Clark, etc. 

It is all presented as dialogue - amazing - the snippets of info that Dunne picked up.

We know how that first trial ended, but it is still fascinating to read.

Kyi May Kaung
http://kyimaykaung.blogspot.com