Monday, September 29, 2014

Monoprint workshops with David Chamberlain--1997-c.1999


here I am in David Chamberlain's hall of fame as one of Duett Partners in making monoprints at Conference on World Affairs in Boulder, CO, bet. 1997-about 1999.

I am going to make this a FB "life event" as after those 4, 4 hour workshops, over 4 or 5 years, I started to paint professionally and obsessively,

so thank you David.

My dentist on the other hand, went to the wrong instructor.  I mean painting instructor, of course not a dentistry instructor.


basic monoprint--how to--video

basic monoprint

she used method of placing paper or fabric on the plate.
In workshop I attended artist David Chamberlain had us work in pairs on big plates about 18 x 24 " and had the master print maker place the plate on the paper, with a press.

We could also check the mirror image in a mirror above us.

In any case, SPEED is essential.

D.C. had us clean the plates with thinner between printings and approached it in more of a fine art than a crafts way--

but you can print however you wish.

You can even print your foot print or with a found object, even with a car tire or pieces cut from your flip flops (hnyut hpanatt)--I have done that too--also bottle caps, combs, whatever.

Sometimes I paint directly with the rollers on paper or canvas, and also I like to buy card-sized paper so as not to waste paint.

I use these for thank you notes to close colleagues or acquaintances who have gone the extra mile for me.

Try it.

You will forget all your worries, and you will "make your mark" on something beautiful that will last.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Important life Decisions -- by KMKaung--from my FB page

And to think, Ne Win's govt in 1980s, due to his daughter failing her entrance exams in UK (medical)--opened the door a crack for 6

SIX! in a country of 50 m to come to the USA.

I was supposed to study transport ecos.

but I figured the answer did not lie in good roads.

As I told Sean Turnell recently, even then, Fort Brag in South, military base, had closeup photos of the surface of the air strip in Myitkyina.

So I segued into the study of political eco systems (in secret) with the consent of my academic supervisors at Penn.

It's the system the system the system--

sorry kzo, it is NOT location location location for B.

You will see come 2015 and the boom will bust when investors etc realize that the system will not change after the so-called election.

--I hate to be a Cassandra and throw a wet blanket over everyone--but I am often right.

I come to USA to study transportation, and US transport, even in 80s, already broken and outdated (compared say to Japan)

and besides, as I just said, transport is not the answer, SYSTEM is.  As in Politico-Eco System.

The day I picked up Charles Lindblom's book Politics and Markets in van Pelt Library was the best in my life.

That is why I am drawn to the thoughts of David Simon (The Wire), Robert Reich and Joseph Stiglitz.

And I don't really think area studies has the answer, not for Burma, at least.

And at Penns van Pelt Library, I went into the aisle with shelves that slid on both sides on tracks on the floor, to look at the Burma books --that no one read.

Some of the pages were brittle and broke as I tried to fold down a small triangle to mark pages I wished to xerox.

It was a James Bond moment--what if the shelves slid back and crushed me?

But they did not.

In there, I even found an old photo, in the Pyidawtha Plan, of all places, of my husband (later estranged) and my ex sis in law at Mingaladone Airport abt to board a flight to Moulmein.

I wish I had xeroxed that page.

We all know the Pyidawtha Plan of 1950s of U Nu flopped because rice market fell due to end of Korean War.

Charles Lindblom, Samuel P. Huntingdon, Hanna Arendt, are impt intellectual influences in my life.

I don't think you can handle things with just economics

and I think the demarcation of the disciplines is very dangerous.

When I said "disciplines" in Burma at much vaunted Inst of Ecos, pretty face wife of nemesis did not even know I was referring to subject areas. 

And in 2008-09, when I helped write or compiled The Plan for Democracy and Development for the Burmese Exile Govt., the PR man changed "systemic" to "systematic"-- which is not the same thing at all.

But come 2015, the market in Burma will surely crash when the govt reasserts control--

therefore all I have to do is sit back, relax and enjoy the trip.

It will crash, just you wait and see.

I only hope a lot of innocent householders are not left holding a lot of kyats.

Caught up in the fever, many people say they don't see prices slowing down--but think about it, no boom can last forever.

Every boom busts at some point, esp. if it is Dutch tulip fever.

Think of China--how could it keep growing at 10% every year.

When I said this also, some fool did not understand growth rates.

The larger something is, the slower will be it's rate of growth.

That is physics and nature.

I'm tired of explaining.

Go move to Burma and China, pull your kids out of college and take them too.

Just when cronies are trying to leave.

Go figure.

Kyi May Kaung (Ph.D.)


Photo--Asian Correspondent--one of publications wh is non mainstream.

My novella The Lovers--about a dancer from Chile--in China (on Amazon)

Some of my collages--

Where to buy my novella The Rider of Crocodiles and others in Germany

Torena torena lantana lantana--by Kyi May Kaung

Torena torena
lantana lantana
flowers of my childhood
white roses
red peonies
pyo ni or red virgins

speckled cannas to cut up and play at making scrambled eggs
orange trumpet vine

the fig tree with a platform Uncle built on it, from which
hidden behind leaves
we watched
Actress Mary Myint's funeral
her remains in a glass coffin

but only Mongoose said he saw it well.

Some pink flowered shrub we called shrimp plant, or I called shrimp plant

and later a heliconia I called kyet chay tauk or chicken legs.

Up in the fig tree wondering aloud with Mongoose my primary science consultant

how these wasps could have gotten inside the wild figs, when we could never find any holes--

neither of us realizing

they were born inside the fig.

Trying or pretending to make a wild fig jam

katutt yo.

Copyright Kyi May Kaung9-28-2014

A Memory of Blue Bells--Copyright Kyi May Kaung

A Memory of Bluebells--

I was maybe 5 or 6.

Mummy said, "We're going to visit your Daddy's yee sar" (girl friend).
She had a put upon expression on her face.  From that early age I knew that if it was something she did not like, it was "Your Daddy," or worse, "You, your father's daughter should--"

I don't know if I understood at that age what girl friend meant, but Mummy explained anyway.

She shrugged and said, "It's OK.  She married someone else, named McClintock (name changed) and he died in the war."

That was World War II.

The year was 1947 or 1948, more likely 1948 and we were living in a suburb of London called Eltham.  Previously we lived in Richmond where Mummy gave me permission to go pick the red peony "pyo ni" in the back garden, and I excitedly grabbed the pair of pointed scissors, the only one we had, and rushed off.

But I fell down on the steps and poked myself in the chest with the scissors.

We got in the car, a Morris? and Daddy drove us there.

On the way, we got to one of those picturesque English countryside level- crossings.  The gate was white or of wood painted white, (the style now called "distressed" or shabby chic and so fashionable these days) and over the waist high grey stone walls were spilling tumbling masses of white rambling roses.

The train had already gone past, but the gate was still closed.

No attendant was in sight.

Daddy was about a little over 40 at that time and he jumped out of the car and opened the gate, then jumped into the car again and drove through.


Aunty Fiona (first name changed too) was a very sad-looking, dumpy woman, who looked very unhappy.  Today I'd say she was about 5' 6" and about 150 lbs, with unremarkable hair, a dark color.

She was dressed in a black dress, about mid-calf length, and really looked dowdy to my judgemental little eyes.

[They might once have been passionately in love, and decades later I was to find a bundle of my father's love letters to her in my mother's steel trunk, but I did not read them, after I opened the first letter and read the first few words, and recognized what it was.]

During that short 1948 visit, the rest of us just stood around, and Daddy and Aunty Fiona went and leaned against one of those stone walls, and talked in very quiet tones.

We waited out of ear shot.

I don't think we were offered anything to eat or drink, a great house rule with Mummy and Nanny Ma Tin (name changed too).

We just came back home.

But on the way, maybe we came back a different way, maybe we came through Kent, we came to a small wood and the ground was covered with blue bells in bloom.

Daddy parked the car.

My mother and Ma Tin got down and picked armfuls of blue bells.

My brother Zor (name changed) poked his thin legs out of the car, and took pictures with his box camera. 

We brought the flowers home.
They filled every vase we had, but they all wilted the next day.

I do remember seeing faded black and white photos of that time in my mother's England photo album.

But I don't know where it is now.


Friday, September 26, 2014



great grandson of a Cossak named Chaikov--such a struggle to fuse E and W and the difft facets of his own personality.

I did not realize this before, because only knew the ballet music.
This is "only a wikipedia article" but it is a good start.


Stradivarius "Rode" 1722--in concert--

Erzhan Kalibeav playing Tchaikovsky Op. 35 on Stradivarius "Rode" 1722 (a famous violin almost 300 years old) in Poland.
I have a famous recording of Jascha Heifetz playing this, but Heifetz was somewhat like the Nabokov of violins, unmatchable technical virtuosity and brilliance, but not much heart.
This is a much softer and even more tender rendering--enjoy.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Rules of Citation--from MLA

Rules of Citation from Modern Language Association--pl don't go pissing all over the place without saying who said what where.

Burma Q and A from VOA 2013

Special post--economics--Burma--I cld only listen to first half--and leave it to the rest of you to make up your own mind--feel free to write comments.

I find it interesting that the pronoun "we" is used throughout, also it's from 2013, but I only saw it now.

Anything posted here does not mean I endorse everything said/written and I may not even like some items--they may just be there FYI and for debate purposes.

You can try contacting VOA and the interviewee--with dissenting opinions.


My novella FGM in Canadian $

Glass artist Dale Chihuly

Dale Chihuly  I have seen some of his installations at a hotel in Singapore where I was for a family dinner in 2006.
I kept pointing at the ceiling and saying, "Chihuly, Dale Chihuly,"

but everyone was focused on the food and each other, and did not notice what I was pointing at.

Good art can just pass some people by like trash by the wayside.

But if I told them they are worth millions of $$$

maybe their eyes would light up.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

How van Gogh became so famous--

Jo van Gogh-Bonger

The one woman promoter and popularizer of her brother in law Vincent van Gogh.

The complete correspondence of Vincent van Gogh

van Gogh's letters--a very valuable site--print edition is 7 volumes

I have one small paperback edited by Mark Roskill--anyway, it is enough for me to "catch" van Gogh's writing style and thoughts,

and I can always check here.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The must see paintings of Pawel Kuczynski

Writers who dare to confront--(fragment) by Kyi May Kaung

Writers who Dare to Confront--

from my memoir Solo Woman Traveler--

Copyright Kyi May Kaung
Last fortnight the food at Tea and Jungz was terrible.
The salmon bento was almost inedible and was accompanied by a slosh of over cooked spinach.
I don’t know what happened to them as all the food including salmon bento is excellent at their other location on Dupont Circle.
So I decided then that next time I would rather eat a dessert:  The German chocolate cake, served with gelato.  And I’d have one of their nice teas or tisanes.  That should perk me up to write and it would not be too heavy in my stomach to sit and write for 2 hours, and also the tea would keep me nice and awake and my brain sharp.
But last week I missed the critique session, as I just had way too much to do, and I was not feeling that well.
Another writing group appeared on line in my consciousness, because someone else mentioned it, but it looked too complicated on the website, and there was also a lot of, to my mind, redundant discussion about writing.
I did not want to get caught up again in more things to read, at a time when I was trying to write more myself and trying to wean myself off Face About or About Face for the umpteenth time.
So I missed that session, and I also forgot how to upload my pieces for critiquing, even on this much simpler site, but now the group leader Gerald has sent me an email exactly how to do it, so next week I will go under the axe, and allow myself to be eviscerated as one of my fellow group writers says.
But I will not draw and quarter anyone—I have seen it done too often in groups and classes, and anyway it defeats the purpose of constructive criticism, even though some people would say some writers would do better never to write again for publication.
But I am straying from the point.
So this time, I came back at half past six for the 7 PM meeting and it has been going well and I am writing and so is everyone else.
I had the Austrian chocolate cake, a big chunk, and I had a choice of 3 flavors of gelato, so I asked for green tea gelato.  And I ordered a jasmine tea, which smelled fragrantly of real jasmines, just like at home in Burma.
Was a bit of a juggling act when my number 999 was called, and I realized I could not take the tray loaded with tea pot, tea cup, dessert and a plastic cup of water downstairs to the writing area and also take down my computer in its carrying case, but I managed.  I took down my luggage first and then took down my food.
I did not see the writers group sign at first, but ate my food, which was the general plan.
I started with the gelato with a spoon.
It was melting a bit but very tasty and the salty caramel strung on top while hot had solidified and was a nice stringy, toffee sweet, just perfect.  The cake was also not too sweet and both had been strewn with real toasted coconut shreds, so all in all it was perfect.  I could not even finish the cake and the tea proved too much after five Chinese-style small cups.
As I was enjoying this, I suddenly remembered the first time I splurged like this while on a trip overseas, in Berlin in 2005.
I thought, my group writers won’t know what I am writing, and I don’t need to tell them.  Maybe now is the time to write up an account about the time in Berlin when Kanloan’s mother and the Philippine ambassador came to complain about her reading and her story, Mayor of the Roses, about the gang rape of a Philippina beauty queen.
Kanlaon has already given me her permission to write about it.
Ideas about where to take the plot of the speculative fiction long piece I am writing in the group also began to come to me as I was sitting on the Green Line Metro, after I changed from the Red Line and noticed that the people on the Metro changed perceptively after I changed from Red to Green.
I thought—somehow I am going to figure out how to get this Underground into my fiction.  I don’t even have to invent anything, everything is already there.

So as soon as 7 PM came around and I joined the other group members at their table (six came today), I jotted down some of these plot points in another Word document in the correct file, and then I started work on this. 
It is 8 PM now and if I go at this rate say 6 pages per week, then in 50 weeks I will have 300 pages.
So thinking, I left my laptop open as my group mates were all silently writing, and went to the ladies’.
When I got back, they were all taking a breather and discussing stalled novels, but we only chatted for about five minutes, then started to type again.

The invitation from Berlin House of World Culture in 2005 came in really unexpectedly.
It also came into the bulk mail, and since then my bulk mail has never had an auto delete put on.
When I got to Berlin, to the old—airport, which was about as small as the old Rangoon Airport, Mingaladone, all the other invities also told me their invitations had also come into their bulk mails, but after looking at the Hotel Spree Bogen on line, they had of course accepted, and so had I.
It was a great honor to be one of only 5 or 6 people invited as writers from Southeast Asia who dare to confront. 
The conference organizers told me that they found us on the Internet.
The others were Goenawan Mohamad , founder and CEO of the Indonesian “Time” Magazine, Tempo; Vietnamese poets Linh Dinh and Chang (Chang from inside Vietnam), Rattawut-Lapcharoensap   and film maker Prabda Yoon from Thailand, a writer for the Philippines who also wrote about Burma, and me, from Burma.
The good thing about these conferences is the organizers have already done the vetting and “interviewing”.
So once you get there, you are among a small select group of like-thinkers, usually liberal democrats and activists/dissidents, and so it is like a 3 or 4 day party, and you can have a talk fest.
It is however, hard to stay in touch after the heady time is over, but Kanlaon and I have managed to stay in touch for almost a decade now.

The readings went very well, and we did some extracurricular things together, such as going sightseeing on the River Spree, striking out on our own on the Berlin subway, and going to the Pergamon Museum , where I was greatly excited to see the Pergamon Altar, the Market Gate at Miletus and the blue-tiled original Ishtar Gates and Processional Way of Babylon with their realistically-colored and depicted prowling, snarling, lion images. 
Even Saddam Hussein could not get these back and had to build his own replicas.
When I kept reading “Pergamon Altar, Pergamon Altar” in my guide book, which I diligently studied before I left for Berlin, as is my custom, I visualized something like a Christian altar in a church, or a Chinese altar in a home, at most 6 x 18 feet x 4 feet.
I was truly surprised when I saw the Pergamon Altar was a hill-sized building of white marble, with a long flight of steps going up the front, and an open pavilion on top, and larger-than-life-size statues of a battle going all around it on 3 sides.
How I felt as a former colonial subject on how Western powers managed to bring back entire buildings to a museum is quite indescribeable.
I felt that same tight angry feeling when my Parsi friend Zarine and I first saw an Indian shrine  inside the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
“Somebody else’s religious building, imagine that!” Zarine exclaimed indignantly, even though she is a Parsi who worships fire, she told me, not a Hindu.  I see now from the official website that that Hindu temple is from Madurai in Tamil Naidu and dated at c. 1550.
Imagine that.

I “did” the Pergamon Museum and the Sony Center with Linh Dinh and his wife, and Chang and his lady friend.  Our talk session in the Sony Center where we all ordered fatty dishes like pigs’ trotters and legs of duck, and realized after about 45 minutes that the waiter was ignoring us, is another story.
The day of the readings went pretty well.
As Kanlaon was about to read her short story Mayor of the Roses, about a beauty queen who was gang-raped, her boyfriend framed for the crime, “and they found 43 different types of semen in her body,”
I noticed a woman in the audience who did not look like a writing fan, or indeed like an arts lover at all.  (add earlier portion on the Burmese men the evening before)
She looked Asian, but rather like an Asian business woman.
Earlier Chang had said his lady friend was a business person, but this woman looked much bigger and harsher, more rigid that Chang’s friend who was indeed very sweet and looked like an artist and an intellectual.
To this day I don’t know what Kanlaon’s mother looked like, but earlier she had told us that her mother was a renowned concert pianist.
I still do not know her name, as Kanlaon uses her married name.

Copyright KMKaung

All accessed 9-22-2014

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Praise for my novella Black Rice --

Cut and paste from email with permission--

Dear Ma Ma Kyi May,

Get back the novella 'Black Rice' from my Sis-in-law, this morning. I
went through it and so I am pleased to drop in my comment.

The novella 'Black Rice', fills my mind at least about the events that
went in the late 1940s in our country.

It gives a glimpse of the atmosphere of the country's politics. I can
sense the dwelling resentment in the minds of losers, the ethnics.

My thoughts also soldier on whats and whys about conflicts, fighting
that should be ceased by now.

The Question - Did a prayer ever stop a bullet? is so heartrending,
because... the answer's blowing in the wind...

I love the title given as 'Black Rice', and more so on the meaning of
it. You give a touch upon the harsh life of a soldier, life like that
of Sa Sao, Black Rice; and a feeling of K that illustrates the
compassion we all have as a human being.

I love it and I will go reading it again.

My warm Congratulations too!

Regards, kpo

Thursday, September 18, 2014

My novella Black Rice in Canadian $

Golden lads and girls--

from wiki link below--

Probably the most famous verses in the play come from the funeral song of Act IV, Scene 2, which begins:

    Fear no more the heat o' the sun,
    Nor the furious winter's rages;
    Thou thy worldly task hast done,
    Home art gone, and ta'en thy wages:
    Golden lads and girls all must,
    As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.

Shakespeare's play Cymbeline--

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

New books to read--

Oopsy daisy--good shot!

I just bought Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the end of the Lane, and did not buy the Selasi book, Ghana must Go.

How did I do it?

By browsing the bookstore and reading the first few pages.

I also dipped around in Kurt Vonnegut's Collected Letters--the voice is incredible, and it was not expensive, only abt $6 for a hardcover--however, I bought 2 other books and I have been eating out a lot this month, and so--

But I read as much of the Letters as I could--Enough to absorb that compassionate, angry and frank and honest voice.

The editor of the book must have collected all these letters, as legally letters belong to the recipient.

So it goes.  :)

Vonnegut started talking and writing about the fire bombing of Dresden by the Allies, in which 250,00 died "but not me" as soon as he got back to the USA, and was one of the earliest instructors at Iowa Writing Program.


Monday, September 15, 2014

Flash fiction featuring my late mentor, Dr. Aye Hlaing, economic historian--

Flash fiction--

I had a strange dream, almost sure it was not a nightmare, in which I went and visited U Aye Hlaing in his office, to talk about my upcoming Ph.D. defense.
He said, "Expect some flak from someone named Baw Saing," (after the silver mine).

I know no one named Baw Saing.

In the dream the paper was about agricultural debt.

I have never in my life been a specialist on the agricultural sector, and never written about Berm agriculture except in the macro-context, regarding agricultural surplus and fixed state procurement prices in the macroeconomic context.

I told Saya Aye Hlaing that probably this Baw Saing wanted to come and say it was all his work.

Saya said, "It obviously is not, but you should not be complacent.  After all, they are open defenses, and anyone can come.

"I don't want you to be nervous, but you should prepare meticulously, review your data and go over it again."

I said Yes, I would do that.

I thought of the piles of printouts collecting dust in my other house in the country.

In this dream I was about 27 years old, and Saya was about fifty, perhaps.

In those days I thought of anyone sixty as very old.

I asked him what he thought was a reasonable date to give me time to prepare, and he said, "Maybe schedule the exam for the 3rd week of October."

I said I could prove that my paper predated Baw Saing's, as I had a dated pdf in which he had criticized me--I guess from a Jin nationalistic viewpoint, though it was not clear.

In this dated pdf he had referred to my unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, and therefore it was obvious he had not written my dissertation, which predated his "critique."

During our chat in the office, there were 3 other men who were uninvited participants who did not leave, who eavesdropped and even tried to join the conversation.

This is quite usual in Berm and Berm society, and I have even noticed a monk, who said he was not The U Jotika, eavesdropping on me and my student MMT, when I was explaining to him how he could get his wife to join him in the USA.

I resent this monk, who did not move away but pretended to be studying a painting near us.

This happens all the time, and in my dream, I mentioned it obliquely to Saya--"These people who are here running interference."

But the three Jin men did not move away.

Though they were somewhat better than the white woman, interested in Asian trade, who asked me if I was for engagement, or "Just another of those Berm specialists" at a presentation in DC sometime in 2009.

Because Saya said, "Third week of October,"

I thought of the family obligations I had with my husband's family, where an elder had just died.

Aloud I asked, "If I don't get through, can the exam be scheduled another time?"

He replied, "By Laws say it can be re-scheduled one more time, and that would be your last chance."

I thought how I would present it to my eldest daughter that I needed to come to her house in Charles Town and fly there by plane.

Suddenly, I was not 27 anymore, but 73.

Saya was asking me the ages of my 5 children, and I was calculating in my head and telling him.

The Jin were still hanging around eavesdropping and collecting information.

Copyright KMKaung

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Washington Post books--Pulitzers--

Wash Washington Post books--too many too thought provoking, too good to list separately--Now this is JOURNALISM--not the Burmese translations broadcasters--

Friday, September 12, 2014

Best Bagan Temple ref site--use on visits--highly recommended--

Impt--Bob Hudson PhD thesis on Bagan--Burma

Important--this I do recommend

You may not be able to wrap your flibbergitty mind around anything longer than 500 words, but you should read this, esp if you consider yourself Burmese or great myanmar--

Bob Hudson, The Origins of Bagan, Ph.D. thesis, Univ of Sydney.

Disclaimer, I don't know and I have never met him, and he did not respond to an email asking for help as a reader for a Bagan novel.
Hudson-2004-The Origins Of Bagan-PhD thesis

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Mayo Clinic on depression--a treatable disease--

flash fiction sketch--couple on subway--by KMKaung

Flash fiction sketch--#2

Young couple on the subway.

Everyone these days is looking downward at the App on their cell phone.

The phones glow in all colors in the dim light of the subway--Washington Metro, Red Line.

All of them have ear buds in their ears.

I have a sudden fantasy of some authoritarian hacker getting into all their earphones, and telling them this or that about each other, so all of them are going to have their lives disrupted.

I used to think they must all be so well connected, to be talking connecting like this all the time.

But maybe not.  Maybe it's just like me and my 4080 friends on Face About.

We hardly really know each other, but we think we do.

I used to walk around Inner City Philadelphia with a poet, who was only a little bit screw loose.

When we saw a bit of a building lintel lying on the pavement, she wanted it, so I helped her get it to her house.

Inside her house all the level surfaces were covered by tons of little figurines, each less than 6 inches tall.

There must have been thousands of them.

They must collect a lot of dust.

I wonder what they are doing.

Do they help her write poetry.

She's the poet who once read a piece of poetry eating a sandwich.

She's the one who said of me--"You do look a bit impoverished."

As I was applying for jobs at that point, I would say she was quite accurate.

On the subway, the young couple were very taken with each other, in a very nice, endearing way.

They were the only people looking at each other, and actually talking to each other, instead of looking at their cell phones.

At the back the baby in the carriage kept going, "Wai, wair,"

but if I were in Berm, I would write the sound "oo nge, oo nge"

This bothered one writing instructor.

I said, "That's the way babies cry in Berm.  Like dogs here go bow wow," but she did not quite get it, and refused to let it go.

On the subway, the young woman was a bit shorter than the young man, as they usually are.

Though there were a lot of empty seats, as we were going downtown while most people were leaving work, going in the opposite direction, they still did not sit down, but preferred to stand near a pole and talk and look at each other.

She had pale brown skin and black hair, and he had pale hair and pink skin.

Other than that, they were so alike in facial features, small cute little eyes, pert noses, white teeth, I hoped they weren't half-siblings conceived by artificial insemination with sperm from the same donor and different mothers.

What then?

They were so nice to look at, beside them the pale man sitting left of the aisle with his blond hair, blond eyebrows and blond eyelashes, seemed really pale by comparison.

After a while we started getting closer to the fashionable stops downtown, and the couple, if they were a couple, started looking as if they were about to say goodbye or else it was their stop, and they would get off together.

But they looked like people who had just met each other, not people long married or living together.

The man got off at Dupont Circle.

Even before the train pulled out of the station, and the young man disappeared on the platform, the young woman quietly pulled her cell phone out of her carryall bag, and put an ear phone in her ear, and starting scrolling through messages with her finger.

Now what was that?

Copyright KMKaung

flash fiction--sketch--mad woman--by Kyi May Kaung

Flash fiction--sketch--

Mad homeless woman by the Memorial.

I got off the subway and wished I had gone upstairs before leaving and gotten my cotton jacket.

The breeze is starting to get cool.

On the top of the circular Memorial steps was a woman, with a bag and struggling to put on another shirt.

I thought as I had some time before the Meetup, I would go down into the center of the Memorial and take some photos.

Down there was a very good statue of a soldier in some dark material, maybe lead?

My camera felt like it was running out of batteries, and I don't know if I got the pictures.

But I tried several times.

When I turned my back, I heard some shouting, but no intelligible words.

It was the crazy homeless woman making her statement.

I wondered when it would be me, standing on top of the steps like that, making my Statement.

In the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, right in front of the National Archives building.

She sure had a sense of timing and place, though maybe crazy as a coot.

I did not go near her, but think she may show up in a photo taken from about 100 yards away.

Because the negative space the sky made between the streets was very interesting.

Copyright KMKaung

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Excerpt from my W. Virginia novel--by KMKaung

Excerpt--from my W. Virginia story in progress,


Linda said I did not need to bring anything for the weekend in West Virginia.

I was alone and all the other meals had been divvied up already and the couples were all bringing something or the other in coolers.  I did not need to cook anything, though I offered to cook a Berm meal for all of them.

I could not really figure out why Linda had invited me.

If anything, it was I who owed her.  She had just produced, cast and directed my play Shaman about multiple personalities and nat or spirit worship in Berm at her house in Cleveland Park, with about 45 guests and 7 cast members in all.

But I was happy to go. 

I had never been to W. Virginia before, and I had never been camping before in the USA either, though I had been to Delaware Water Gap in a family friend's RV.

But I did not like it very much and the family friend had also long been unfriended, and become the model for Carl Carpetbagger in my play.

At the time Linda invited me, I had just returned from Bali, where I attended a board meeting of Free Burma Now.
It had been quite hot in Bali and I had traveled with a piece of roll on baggage.

So I assumed it would be OK to pack the same way for W. Virginia.

I did not know how cold it would get at night, and how there were no paths at all in Linda's jointly owned 225 acres.

Linda drove her van, and pointed out the small towns to me.

One was called Winchester, but she said it had nothing to do with Winchester rifles.

I took the subway to the Cleveland Park stop, where she parked on Connecticutt Avenue and waited for me, so I had no trouble with my luggage at all.

I packed a cotton dress with a long skirt and a scooped out neck, in case Linda hosted a formal dinner for me, as my hostess at the B and B in Ubud had done, with a performance of the Ramayana, and a walking on fire performance by her night watchman.

That dress also turned out to be a mistake, due to the mosquitoes and the chiggers, but I didn't know it till I got there.

"Turkey vulture," Linda said, turning her chin up at a dark shape that was perched on a tree which had no leaves.

She explained to me that turkey vultures were different from wild turkeys.

I nodded and tried to file away in my head all items of relevant information, which might come in useful later.

Copyright KMKaung

James Dickey's novel Deliverance--

Highly recommended--Poet James Dickey's only novel--set in W. Virginia.
Recommended to me by the friends when we went to "Linda and Sam Vail's" jointly owned 225 acres in W. Virginia.

(Not their real name and the acreage was less)

I have read this twice but not seen the film.

Planning to read it again as I look for my W. Virginia novel notes.

Opening of opening of my sci fi novel 3013--Copyright Kyi May Kaung

I posted the complete chapter with my speculative fiction group--for critiquing in 2 weeks--

here is the opening of the opening.

I only wish to know if you saw this in a bookstore (any kind, brick or mortar or electronic) would you plunk down $10-20 and buy it?
I may not post other chapters as I now have a group in place and also one--one on one Reader (anonymous)--so--

It felt just like an earthquake on the 46th floor, that she felt while she was lying on her futon in the afternoon, that moved sideways and caused cracks in the Washington Monument, still being repaired. 
It was a few years before the great stinky flower bloomed in the National Botanical Garden, Dr. Khine remembered.
Or it was like that time when her father and she and the long-spined peon came back from Moulmein in a World War II Dakota, and the plane dropped straight down so many times, so many air pockets, Khine threw up and thought, This is it. 
We are all going to die.
Her father Kong groped around in the seat pocket, found a brown paper bag, and hed it open for her, while she vomited into it.
But that time, they arrived safe and sound in Rangoon, a little rickety in the legs, but fine.
Kong would die later of a car accident.
In this dream nightmare, she was all ready for her poetry reading and waiting in the wings.
The West Wing.
She was waiting for her cue to come on, and the Organizer Woman was going to come and get her.  Just like Dr. Robert Finch said he’d come upstairs and get her when they were ready downstairs for her Masters orals then called viva voce.
But Organizer Woman was late.
Meanwhile a voice that sounded like the legendary Barrack Obama was addressing the crowd or the room.
Khine thought, 3013 and Mr. Obama is still alive? 
That is not possible.
She leaned her head and neck further into the Oval Office, and saw someone at the telephone, looking out the window with his back to her, talking.
There was not anything memorable about the conversation—something about the most recent international crisis, Gaza, Hamass, ISIS, Palestine, the PLO, more beheadings.
The man hurriedly signed off and put the receiver down with a clunk.
“I will call you later if anything new develops.  OK?”
Who was he talking to, Putin?  Kondratiev?
He turned around to face the audience.
Khine saw it was not the first African American President, Mr. Barrack Obama, but the first Asian-American President, Mr. Henri Kim.
Mr. Henri Kim, survivor and defector, descendent of one of only a handful who survived escape from N. Korya. 
Mr. Kim’s blood lines were inscribed in the white marble wall, veined with black, red and gold, at the Survivor Memorial. 
Only 35 people had survived the latest Holocaust. 
And contrary to what one might have thought, the ones who had survived were not the ones who had stored water and honey and maple syrup in glass jars, which after all could only last a few weeks or months at the most.
The ones who had survived were the richest and the brightest, who in addition to supplies of food and water had stockpiled the real currency—gene pools and frozen sperm of animals—mammals including homo sapiens, all the copyrights of all the botanical useful herbs and food crops, all the hybrids.
When will they give the neem tree back to India though, Khine thought.
It was then that she felt the room rise and be pulled up in the air.
She could see out the window that they were rising, as the Rose Garden outside grew smaller and smaller, they were being pulled up vertically, and then she could see Lafayette Square and the environs, and then more of The District.
But they were not pulled up very far nor very fast, and pretty soon the bunker Oval Office had been deposited with a thump. 
From the Washington Monument now visible in the window to her right, Khine saw that they were on the newly sown grass of the Mall.
President Kim has disappeared, she thought perhaps to a safe place during the Move.
She was surprised it all went so smoothly, and remembered with a start that in 2513 all this Mechanism of Moving had been already put in place so the Office could be moved en bloc.
Khine wondered if her scheduled poetry reading was still on.
Then the Administrator’s voice came on the invisible intercom, manifesting itself as intrusive, alien thoughts in her subconscious.
Khine let it in as she had no choice.
A receptor had been implanted in her brain at birth, even though her mother Glamis had objected. 
It could not be removed because by now, when she was 81, the device was deeply embedded, just like the sleeper agents she and Joy had precociously embedded in various politico-economic systems, Ha ha, Khine thought.
Moreover, it never ran out of batteries, as it did not need batteries, it recharged itself, feeding off the host’s own legitimate brain synapses.
But Khine had found a way to turn it off or at least mute it. 
She could do this by taking more Joint Supplement, but this was a trade secret that only she and Joy Verge, the modern leader of the modern Assassins or Hashishim, knew. 
At the moment Joy was ensconced in her own bunker and empire based in Konroe, Tejas.
No matter, she must concentrate on the Moment, see what was going on, Khine thought.
The Administrator came on again, and said “The Move is Complete.  We are now in our new location.”
Khine thought sourly why he had to emphasize the obvious.
She had eyes.She could see out the window.
The gold brocade drapes with the distinctive ovals and laurel wreaths in the Jacquard design that Michelle Obama had had installed, had hardly shifted. 
In the artificial air, they might last forever, Khine sniffed.
Copyright KMKaung
end of sample.

Time to say goodbye--

Time to say good bye--very clingy woman but she can sing--

Seafood paella recipe step by step--

Here you go, this seems very easy--subst veggie oil for olive oil--Don't use sesame oil as it has a strong sesame smell--I made mistake once of using it in carrot cake I tried to make in Burma.

Maybe you will have trouble finding rosemary and saffron, but good luck.

I am sure a chicken dhanbauk can be cooked like this too.

Spanish/Mexican use a round grain rice.

Anyway, good luck.

Now it seems I have to try it too.


Friday, September 05, 2014

Special post for Burma activists--Lucille Ball in the chocolate factory-

Special post for Burma activists--

"Listen Ethel, I think we're fighting a losing game!"

Kaung--excerpt from Let the Shit Fly--

Ecos. etc Q and A--answering at random--

Where you would place yourself in terms of economic thought - i.e., classical,
Keynesian...pragmatic, etc.
Who were your influences?

When I was at the Univ. of Rangoon (later the Inst. of Ecos.) none of my mentors or other staff members classified themselves publicly by schools of thought, though generally we knew (as General Honors students and later graduate students) where each prof. had gone to school, and what their dissertations had been about, what was their contribution to the store of human knowledge, even one lecturer reputed to have got his degree from a Ph.D. correspondence course. This person left for the Cooperatives Ministry and then I suppose lost his job, but he was allegedly the pet of Gen. Ne Win's brother U Nyi Nyi, and was also in a scandal involving the loss of his wife's longyis and a scandal with the black marketeers. The newspapers even though socialist covered it extensively and much much later, I heard he was making a living by telling fortunes

but my real mentors were much more grounded than this man and had their degrees from well known places like MIT (Massachusetts Inst of Technology, not myanmar Inst of Theology).

Dr. Maung Shein taught the first honors class in ecos. I ever attended, in which he spoke of the definitions of ecos, needs and wants, markets and Jeremy Bentham's "The Greatest Good of the Greatest Number."

At that time my brother had just returned from UK, so he told me about Bentham's corpse still in a glass cabinet.

We could read copies of Dr Maung Shein's thesis, which was about the Burmese Provincial Contracts when Burma was part of India (to 1937) and a British colony.

And his argument that Burma was "a milk cow of India" once it became profitable as a colony was very well put.

I still have a copy that I begged from the rector before I left Burma.

--When he became a top party cadre, Dr Shein talked a lot of Keynesian deficit financing, I guess in an attempt to justify the military government's deficit budgets.

(To be continued, I have to stop now for lack of time)-

but to jump to conclusions, I would classify myself as a pragmatist.

Most of my academic life has consisting in looking at the problems of central planning and I have lived in two command economies, Burma and Poland (before the opening)

and Prof. Herbert Levine a renowned expert on the USSR (and China) was one of my dissertation field examiners--

the Q he asked me, in 1993, was

"How can China learn from the experiences of the USSR"

and I had one week to answer this Q which was left for me in a sealed envelope.

As I had been expecting the reverse, "What can the USSR learn from China?"

I had to think quite a bit before I could write everything in longhand on paper.

(I must look for the xeroxes of my Field Exams)

All of this helped me in 2008--2009 when I was commissioned by the NCGUB (National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma or Exile Government
) to compile and write a 20 page paper (manifesto?) on how Burma should reform.

If the NCGUB website is still up, you can find it there by Googling.

Thank you, Sean Turnell, for the Qs.

Like all Qs. yours have also caused me to think more deeply what "I am all about."

Copyright Kyi May Kaung

Thursday, September 04, 2014

From me, for September--my novella The Rider of Crocodiles--

The Rider of Crocodiles
Dr. Kaung was traveling in Thailand when a colleague told her his great great grandfather was not killed in Ayuthia in 1767 when the Burmese invaded, as he knew how to ride crocodiles.
print edition
Kindle edition

The Platters--Smoke gets in your eyes --

Remembered Recipes and famine in China book--

I am a great fan of "mont" cakes and thayesar "salivating food" snacks.

That Burma snack page has made me remember foods from 3 decades ago.

I made a Chinese new year cake (tee kuay or thee kay) and it tasted good, but did not look so good, as I did not have straight sided pans/molds.

I am going to try and make brown sugar mochi, combining the tee kuay and the mochi recipes.

I still have to make half or 1/3 the boiled kidney beans into bean paste.

Maybe can do it now.

In a state as I saw some poetry presentations and it seems you can't be a poet unless you hold a poetry chair somewhere and had an MFA in poetry

or you were in prison and won a Nobel Prize.

Sometimes it seems you can't win if you write from the heart, from life and from the  grimy street.

Feel like steaming all those establishment poets for 4 hours till they get sticky like tee kuay and well cooked.

Have many tee kuay stories too, and my nanny, whom I disliked, made about 40 in one batch, but my mother forbade her any more of these expensive experiments after my father died.

She had to stoke the fire with old railway sleepers and of course I was reined in to help butter the butter tins--Hammer and Sickle.

All that is in them is ground sticky rice, water and jaggery syrup, and maybe some salt

but a big superstition that one must not be menstruating when preparing this.

--I found mochi is traditionally prepared by pounding steamed sticky rice in a mortar and pestle and I am reminded that Ma Ma B. told me how to make Shan khaw poke

which I also love--"One handful of kauk hnyin, one of sesame seeds, and keep pounding."

I have to find out how to mail order Asian groceries.

Made a pounded fish paste ngapi htaung (kapi htaun? in Thai)

I used Anaheim chillies but even that very hot for me--

and even though I padded it with roasted bean powder, it was still hyper salty.

Had a comida (mid-day Mexican meal) at 3 PM with Burmese (sort of) food--all leftovers, but why should I worry.

This is the first time I have had 4 curries in one meal in a very long time, usually have only 1-2.

1.  chicken and split pea curry made in slow cooker
2.  sour water convolvulus
3.  pounded fish paste with round green small eggplant
4.  stick to the pot eggplant made with dried pork.

Then after the comida, I had a siesta to rest

and now going to have a merida (supper)--maybe the same food, but have to make some rice.

Note:  It is very difficult to eat a salty thing with too little rice, but since I have to manage I ate very little of the fish paste too--just one or two licks, literally.

Also paid my bills (half of the 3-4 regular bills every month), bought a bottle of milk from the convenience store downstairs, looked at his selection--which incld dust masks, wine, Ben and Jerry's ice cream, spaghetti sauce, Immodium AD etc.

I guess he stocks what sells?  Right?

Still reading abt Mao's Great Famine--

just like the Soviet Purges, the way he got rid of Peng Dehua--

and how Zhou (Chou Enlai) was such a stoolie--

so much waste, people starving, The Great Leap Forward (that fell flat on its face)

and Khruschev already in his thaw--

I will write a separate book review when I have finished reading the book.

Just wanted to comment how hard to read about a man made or dictator made famine while cooking all sorts of food in America.

Remembered Recipes--9-4-2014

My archive at IISH, Amsterdam--