Friday, October 31, 2014

Been there too, in 1968-69--Auschwitz, German concentration camp--

Auschwitz, been there too in winter of 1968-9.

A terrible black mark on the Nazi German soul--

Majdanek Concentration Camp in Poland--How much ashes does one human being make--by Kyi M Kaung

I visited Majdanek former concentration camp in 1969  Easter, with a Polish friend from Lublin.  We saw the memorial, which Wikipedia says was completed in May 1969, and even took photos, now lost.
Concerning this I wrote a poem abt Aushwitz and Majdanek which features the line--"how much ashes does one human being make?"

Because there is a small hillock of human ashes under that round memorial building in Majdanek.

I have since asked several people who brought back relatives' ashes from cremations, and if you medical or science people know the answer, pl let me know.

In my present novel, a female garuda just laid eggs in ashes of Majdanek and Auschwitz.

Copyright KMKaung

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Just one more, just one more--

"Just One more, all it takes is just one more."
Just one more to make 1110 FaceBook friends--
In my novel Wolf by KMKaung
Daw Suu in a fictionalized scene, holds up a finger to ask someone to second her proposal (for a student leader) "Just one more" in 1988 on balcony of Rangoon City Hall.
And someone comes out to second her proposal "in a world of stoolies." (My words).
This scene was told to me by Moethee Zun.
Of course in a novel all scenes and dialog are made up or re-created.
I know a woman, beautiful, smart, well placed, rich, well educated in W., savvy abt Burma who used to write a lot in Asia Week about Burma.
But she gave up in a very few years.
I heard then she imported jeans to Burma.
I asked her about this--the giving up, not the imported jeans.
She said, "What difference will it make, just one person writing?"
Well, it was her decision, but I think if we all thought that way, where would be that much vaunted change??
In her defense, there is one very well known democracy advocate in her family.
Think how it would be if reporters thought they could make no difference?
This recent murder of Ko Par Gyi is terrible.
see also my blog
and a pox on the landowner "economist" who made fun of my blog.
History will show who got it right.

Seniors day out-- Midori concert rehearsal at the Kennedy Center--

As I said, I went to the Midori rehearsal at the Kennedy Center, M playing with the National Symphony Orchestra.
I was so nervous I would oversleep and miss my 8.45 AM bus, I took a shower the night before, and was just one notch short of my Philippina classmate in Boulder CO, when I first arrived, who said she always slept in her jeans if she needed to take a morning flight, and also packed a sandwich from Manilla, in case it was too dark and she was too tired when she got to NY and could not go out to eat.
Sounded reasonable enough to me, but of course customs threw out her ham sandwich.

I saw a custom bus waiting by the curbside at the Village Center near me, but the bus driver was sleeping inside and motioned to me to go to the Center, where the door was closed.

It's getting rather nippy, but the fountains are still on.

I saw one woman, but she said she was with the walking group.

The walkers were all dressed for walking, not to go to a classical music concert, albeit a rehearsal.

I used to walk with them before, before I got into the late night fiction writing, and before my favorite in that group, elegant, gracious Marjorie, died at the age of about 82.

Now maybe I should start trying again.

The group has reconstituted itself, apparently, with slightly younger folks and many Asians.  That should be interesting.

Presently they set off, and the music lovers arrived.

It was very easy, being shepherded by 2 staff members from the Center and going and returning almost door to door.

It only cost $25 and even the taxi one way cost $50 when I went to see the Shen Yun concert (balcony $95), in the midst of a very cold winter.


This is a rehearsal, the first I have ever been to.
They played one piece straight through, and it all sounded fine to me, but then the conductor, who had a most interesting conducting style, rehearsed the musicians over different phrases.

I think what he was doing was trying to bring up the drama of the dramatic moments, and the lyricism of the lyrical phrases.

It really was very interesting to me.

Classical music rehearsal (contd)

I was going to listen to Midori live! so I did not want to go in the clothes I might go to supermart with.

So I wore my customary black outfit with the light coat I made from Thai woven materials (I am wearing same on pic on L, taken with photographer Reza) and the same shocking pink scarf, also from Thailand.  I added a big floppy pink flower I made myself from the cut off edges of my old lambswool sweater.

I had to wear my wool coat on top as it was 40 degrees F.

On the bus, the lady in charge explained concert manners, cell phones off, no chatting and told us not to get lost, our bus was #--rehearsal from 10-12 noon--

and we should do everything we needed to do during the intermission.

During intermission the ladies line was winding round and round like a snake.

Someone behind me admired my hat, so I said, I needed my hat now due to the glare bothering my eyes, and I bought the hat and added the felt rose.

I asked what piece that was they just played, and woman next to me said, Mendelsohn, with bits of Bach thrown in, if you listen carefully you can hear it.

And the conductor?

She said a name like Eichorn?

(I can't go to NSO site right now as my laptop is acting up.)

The conductor would make little jumps when he wanted to emphasize something.

--back in--

saw Midori on stage tuning with first violin, wearing black skirt, black and white top with red piping, habitual severely pulled back black hair, and black pump shoes.

I got sleepy during this section and felt the orchestra playing loud did not go so well with M's soft style, anyway, nodded off, maybe bc I slept only a few hours last night.

Then either intermission (2nd) or end of rehearsal.

No one announced anything and paid no attention at all to the audience, about 300? in all, mostly seniors, mostly women.

But ushers there, and ushers also seniors.

Well, I have been a theatre usher in Philadelphia at the Annenberg Center, as I love plays and have written one, and being an usher is a great way to study plays.

So I asked the usher if it was the end of the rehearsal, as our lady of the bus had said 12 noon, and it was 12 noon.

Definitely not, Usher said, I think he's going to do the Mozart.

So I headed back in straight away.

No way will I miss any Mozart.  If I miss the bus, I can return on the Metro.

There is no snow and ice and there's a Kennedy Center shuttle.

I love Mozart.

(In Boulder my friend, a lady who had known poet Langston Hughes, got us tickets to The Magic Flute.  I headed in fast after intermission, as Act II starts with O Isis and Osiris, a lovely prayer.  Not this ISIS, of course, the Egyptian god Isis.)

Anyway, it was Mozart, and they did a pretty good job.

It sounded like the Overture to The Magic Flute.

--Back on bus, only 2 people a bit late, but as we all sat in our seats and Lady was very systematic, no one was left behind.

I am going to do more of these day trips in future, and book early, and even maybe some of the over-nighters, if my budget allows it.

Got back to Village very hungry and went and had salmon bento, the salmon piece getting smaller and smaller, but still a good deal.

Waitress said I looked "fresh" but I know her English is not so good, and she meant "well-dressed."


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

John von Neumann--amazing genius

My 1108th Facebook friend--

Tribute to my 1108th FB friend-Khaingmar Kyawzaw  Previously I only knew Khaingmar as friend of a friend and someone who typed up U Mahn Nyein Maung's autobiography.

Now I am very happy to see she is such a strong writer and poet.



Tuesday, October 28, 2014

My novella The Lovers--

My novella The Lovers, about a Chilean ballet dancer who emigrates to Philadelphia can now be bought in France and other EU countries.

The Dalai Lama, reincarnation, Tibet and politics--

Went to book reading/signing by Walter Isaacson--

I went to a book signing and reading by Walter Isaacson which turned out very good.
As usual I was one of only about 3 Asians attending, and I had to wait till last to ask my question, but I did like his presentation on his new book The Innovators and I did like his responses to my Qs.

But even though he said citizen journalism, FB etc and Amazon self publishing and "the monopoly of the mainstream being broken" is a good thing perhaps, his book is still published by Simon and Schuster.

So many people buying the book, The Center was jammed.

Among other things he mentioned Lord Byron's daughter who combined poetry, math and first computer science, ENIAC first computer developed at my school Univ of Penn., John von Neuman, Google and other things.

It was good to get a painless recap of a revolution I have lived through and how it happened, and to get the history of the digital revolution all pulled together like that.

In response to the first Q, he also went into "What's so special about Middle America."


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Special post--Asses for the Masses translated by ko ko thett

Special posting with permission from Poet ko ko thett.

He's a Poet with a capital P, but he spells his name like e e cummings in lower case.

No lower case about this Excellent translation--

Asses of the Masses.

Maung Phone Myint

Asses for the Masses 

According to surveys

The masses who have accidentally smashed into fala

Have abandoned their cyclone aid clothes

That do not fit their constitution

The voice of the masses must be heard in the

Implementation of federalism for 

The asses of the masses

In the upper regions of Chindwin & Monywa

The cattle of the masses are already pissing 

Through a hole in the back of their house

Into the urinal tracks of SEA Games

The opposition who have agreed in principle

To toe the toad in principle says

They will support the bill in earnest

Nationalism is the sixth column

In the genuine XXX union

That will consolidate the asses of the masses

The foundation has not been laid yet

Partly because

The asses of the masses are not firm yet

When a party colludes with another

& blow a rubber

Peter, in the face of the masses,

Becomes a parliamentary erect for the masses

A nail is driven into the thigh of the masses

Another, into their ass.

The Commission for the History of the Asses of the Masses

Has been approved

For the monkeys in musth

In the midst of a storm

The masses who do not know how to react

When the Allies in all grandeur enter them

Simply croon their national anthem

‘The Grandeur’ in unison

No Committee is available to answer

the paramount question from the masses:

How can we fuck your ass back?

The masses are a damaged condom

Between the cliff of cronyism

& the opposition in the establishment 

It has become an additional duty

Of the masses who grind their teeth & moan

‘Tough it out. We are simply in the wrong age.’ 

To tough out the tyranny of the civil society

In all holes of their communities

It’s also an absolute norm for the masses 

To step back another line, so

Their country won’t step back

As the good masses, we only know

How to wag our head in approval

As such, in each & each age,

The masses & the asses, the asses & the masses  

Are synonymous

I heard, it has always been that way 

Since the twilight years

Of the Konbaung Dynasty.

Translated by ko ko thett


fala : a Burmese neologism, the translator has no idea as to the etymology and meaning of fala, perhaps fala alludes to maha (see below)

The Grandeur : maha in Burmese, a Burmese song by Zaw Win Htut. Written by Mya Than San, the song is an oath to ‘the grandeur’ of pre-colonial Burmese dynasties and that of the post-colonial military regimes. The song was performed at the official opening ceremony of SEA Games in Myanmar in December 2013.

Konbaung Dynasty: The last dynasty of Burma (1752-1885) whose sovereignty was lost to the British. 

The original poem is available at the author's blog:


ko ko thett

Friday, October 24, 2014

Long live markets and free to choose, from my Facebook page--by Kyi May Kaung

Long live markets & Free to Choose.

The first thing Dr Aye Hlaing and Dr Maung Shein taught us is what are markets.

Markets are not always a place.

They don't always have walls.

What do markets do?

They connect buyers and sellers.

The 2 profs went on to teach us about barter, a coincidence of wants and needs.

Then about demand and supply, goods and services, prices, money, government budgets, trade cycles.

Dr. Findlay taught Growth Models, International Trade Theory, Soviet Planning Experiences, among other topics.

His lectures prepared me for a lifetime of criticizing top down command economies.

I remember best his lectures on The Schoolmen, Duns Scotus, The Reformation, Martin Luther, the Sale of Indulgences by the Catholic Church --  Martin Luther nailing his points on the church door in Wittenberg.

Dr Shein  started us off with Lionel Robbins and a definition of Economics and a lecture on Jeremy Bentham.

(My brother told me of Bentham's corpse preserved in a glass cabinet in England).

I have been reading the essays contributed to our upcoming collection.

Only Daw Khin Khin Thein was one  or two years senior to me.  Therefore only she could remember and comment on the curriculum before 1962 and macro economics.

I am afraid my younger colleagues were not all in time for The Greats.

As I was saying to Sean Turnell a few weeks ago, in Burma things change a lot in 2 years, so we each had different experiences.

But I think, like that Social Science Lib downstairs set up by the Ford Foundation, initially by Paul Bixler,

which gave us all the essentials, incld several volumes of Havelock Ellis, which helped me at least prepare for my marriage

--the Economics staff led by Saya Aye Hlaing and Saya Findlay prepared us for understanding micro and macro economics, including business cycles.

Many basic principles they taught helped me in real life to prioritize, shop, budget well, choose a place to buy a home and live, certainly to recognize it was time to leave Burma.

I will never forget the first words Dr Findlay said to me when I went to see him at his office at Columbia Univ.

His office was still full of books and articles, his legs were still up on a low table, as when I used to take my MA thesis drafts to him, but somehow his legs seemed shorter in the USA.

And in NY I noticed for the first time that both Saya and my cousin Mongoose had Ango-Indian accents.

My cousin said in introducing me to his UN colleague, "My cousin sister."

Saya took me to have lunch at the faculty club.

A lavish display/buffet of  meats, salads and desserts were set out on a long table covered with a white cloth.

My eyes could barely take it all in, and I was too nervous to eat.

I felt very studentish, in my wind cheater and jeans.  I went into NY in those days on Greyhound buses.

"Free to Choose, Kyi May, Free to Choose," Saya said, waving his hand at all the food.

On my first trip Saya and Ma Ma Jane invited me and my guide Ko Myo Thant, then going to NYU, to dinner cooked by Ma Ma Jane.

"The gold beef curry full of onions" which later made its way into my poem, Eskimo Paradise, later anthologized in Norton's Language for a New Century,

my first taste of broccolli and oyster sauce

and lots of strawberries with cream, Ma Ma Jane saying, "Take more, take more."

Free to Choose of course was the famous TV program on ecos. by Milton and Rose Friedman.

I had bought myself a copy at a yard sale in Princeton, that my good friend AM took me to.

The problem in Burma is there is no free choice.

Copyright  KMKaung

This was all a long way from our coffee club at Inst of Ecos, where Ma Ma Gracy Khoo helped make the coffee, but after 1962, coffee and condensed milk got so expensive, out club went out of business.  Also the stink of clogged up toilets seeped into everything, and come into my consciousness whenever I am stressed.  I still remember with some kind of shock how puffy haired ugly woman took so many spoonfuls of the condensed milk greedily when I brought in a tin of condensed milk for my lunch treat when I was promoted to lecturer in the 70s.  And this a woman who boasted all the time of how she was related to the general himself, not to his wife Kitty.

No wonder my Immigration Lawyer in the USA said Saya Findlay wrote me an excellent recommendation letter, and said I was repulsed by the system in Burma.

And once when we went on a day trip village survey, I took 2 plain cakes in a wicker basket, but no one else brought anything.  Moreover, they wolfed down the cake before I had a chance to save something for Prof. U Tha Hto.

Life was hard, in the country now changing they say to "discipline flourishing guided democracy.

People often ask me if I will go back or come to visit.

I think what I hate most is how the army has remade things in its own image, ugly crude vulgar.

And what it has done to the People is unforgiveable.

THAT, the damage to the psyche, I don't think that is reversible.


Photos, Copyright KMKaung

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Man on Golden Gate Bridge about to jump--Bottom line is Talk to someone, don't hurt yourself--

Black Rice of Winter (after Paul Celan) by Kyi May Kaung

Black Rice of Winter by Kyi May Kaung.

One hour to kill
how better to do this
than reading the poetry
of Paul Celan.

Black rice of winter
we till you and till you
seeding ya kyaw sabar
and other grains that don't
taste right
and don't sell.

Black rice of winter
we till you and till you
and brave
compulsory delivery quotas
and not being able
to feed our own families and have
seed for next year
left over.

Black rice of summer
you failed us you failed us

it flooded and Nargis the Cyclone
took all of our children--
the fields
are full
of skulls and dead bodies and bloated

Black rice of winter we hate you
we hate you.

Black rice of winter leave me

Don't stick to my thoughts
don't stick to my clothes
don't stick to my being.

Black rice of winter go take
Metta to Paul Celan's mother killed
by a piece of lead.

Now the hour is effectively killed
there are only 30 minutes

Copyright Kyi May Kaung 11-14-2013


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Forever--a poem by Kyi May Kaung

So many times I passed by
and I did not look closely enough or
long enough
I thought it and I
would see each other
Kyi May Kaung
ျမန္မာ အနုပညာ။
``ေရႊတိဂုံ(၂၀၀၅)``....အမည္ရ ပန္းခ်ီကား။
.....``Shwe Dagon(2005)`` By Khin Maung Zaw

My highly acclaimed novella Black Rice, now $3.99

My highly acclaimed novella Black Rice is now $3.99 for both e book and paperback

Garuda is one cool bird --by Kyi May Kaung

Poem by Kyi May

Garuda is one cool bird

I never quite realized this
till I read Ka by Roberto Callosso

he is more powerful than all the serpents of this world

and rightfully so.

He fulfills the wish of his mother
who was tricked by his stepmother aunt

He'll eat all the black serpents of this world

he represents the power of Truth and Justice.

I sketch and sketch
his image from cyberspace
where he fights forever

it is no accident
the artists combined him
body of a man
wings and feathers of a bird
claws of a crab
beak of a bird.

That is what all artists do.

Ah Gotcha!

The Naga dragon twisting around in terror
got a taste of your own medicine have you?

Garuda has got you already.

Soon you'll be belly up and flat out and


in a birm garbage heap.

This summer we saw
so many dead snakes
in all

the garbage heaps on the beach

at Ngwe Saung and Chaung Tha.

No match
for the dead girl her genitals exposed
that the ABSDF young man said he saw
along the Burma-Thai Border but what could he do?

What can I do either?

Write a poem.

Put the dead girl into my novel Wolf.

Copyright KMKaung

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

My novella The Lovers, in which someone gets shot, close to where I went to grad school--

Originally published in Wild River Review on line, The Lovers is the story of a ballet dancer from Chile, who has to leave her native land for political reasons, and emigrate to Philadelphia, in America.
Burmese-born author Kyi May Kaung lived many years in West Philadelphia while pursuing her doctorate in Political Science.
The Lovers has vivid local color while traversing the uneasy life of political asylees. The Lovers, print edition
The Lovers, Kindle edition

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Stinking Corpse--by Kyi May Kaung

Novel excerpt from dream nightmare--by Kyi May Kaung--

Dr. Khine awoke from a daytime dream-nightmare with a stink like that of dead humans or animals in her nostrils.

At first she thought it might be her weekly garbage.

Since they started charging for plastic bags in Marietta Land about 2 to 3 years ago, Khine had now had to buy plastic trash bags, but she did not mind.

They were on the whole, more reliable than recycling plastic shopping bags, which she had done for the last 25 years in The Nation's Capital.

Those had seams and tended to leak at the edges and corners.

And also, she was the one who had suggested them after she went to a conference in Berlin in the New Unified Deutchland, and bought a disposable camera, and they had placed a camera, just a camera made of cardboard, on the counter and no plastic bag.

It was very different from Chimerique.

Now shops saved the environment at the same time as they earned tax rebates for bag fees.

Khine carefully kept her shopping cart lined with one big heavy duty black bag, and an extra bag folded in her handbag, just like the Poles with their little shotka in the old days.

The purpose-designed plastic trash bags worked much better, and usually did not leak onto the new carpet of the hallways, with their golden scroll design on a black background.

But they took time to fill, and now Khine would combine both her kitchen and her bathroom garbage before disposal down the chute--the problem was the kitchen trash tended to smell after three days, when the gallon bag was only half full.

Khine used odor neutralizer in a white generic bottle.  It seemed to work, but this time--

Khine awoke fully and found she was in the little house in an outlying Yangone suburb.

Yangone was called Yangone (End of Strife or Enemies) but enemies still grow on trees, so Khine called it Rangoon, it was a point of major strife with her.

She stepped out onto the narrow wooden 5 x 15 feet veranda in front, raised on 3 feet pillars of concrete and mosquito-netted.

A bleached-looking corpse, male, was hanging on the right side from the teak rafters by a coir rope twisted around its ankles.

So that was where the stink was emanating from.

Dr. Khine went inside, finally found her close-work glasses, put them on her nose when she was 12 inches from the corpse, wrinkled her nose, pushed her spectacles up nervously, and walked around it, carefully studying it without touching anything.

It had a terrible bluish white pallor and gravity and the anguish and pain of death had pulled everything towards its head.

Khine tilted her head and stared at the distorted features and the thick black hair.

She didn't recognize him, but she could not be sure.

The head was upside down and near her calf level.

She considered using a pencil to close its open eyes and mouth, but in the end she did not.

.  .  .
Athena, Ariadne the web weaver spider and Diana the Huntress, RadhaKrishna, simultaneously male and female entered her head simultaneously and started to talk and act up.

As Athena, she took up her spear, and slammed it down on the worn shardoe teak plants of the small veranda, so it stood there shivering, causing an earthquake in the whole of Berm.

She leaned her shield on the wire mesh on the front of the house, facing the street, so that everyone knew Athena herself had claimed this murder investigation, and she would brook no interference whatsoever.

Athena's owl flew outwards in ten directions simultaneously, and alighted on high teak trees, twisting its neck and looking and listening attentively.

Ariadne, in life the victim of Athena, who had been jealous of her weaving skills, started spewing white liquid from her mouth, the strongest natural fiber ever, and weaving nets all around the small house and the trees.

Sensitively waving in the breeze, the nets would detect any infringement, cyber, nuclear, telepathic, personal, sexual, mechanical.

Radha Krishna, a former Untouchable, who had gone to school in Prince Town, leaned against a tree outside of the network, and calmly considered how he would use both sides of himself, to talk to both genders and anything in between.

The earth shook some more, and all the elephants and the banyan trees cried, for they realized the murder victim was someone very important.

The cannon ball tree made some more cannon balls.

Excerpt from my pol sci fi series 2131
Copyright Kyi M. Kyi May Kaung10-13-2104

The Elongated Ear of the Buddha--Poem by Kyi May Kaung


Elongated Ear of the Buddha by Kyi May Kaung.
(Composite or fictional characters)

Elongated ear of the Buddha/all hearing and omnipotent
but it isn't really that kind of religion.

I don't teach Economics now
just the Dharma
that's good.

After all a hobby farm
how much can we earn
selling farm produce

What's that?


Maybe scale down I do not know

Small hot house things more specialized and expensive and more difficult to grow labor intensive

"Oh Mother, don't buy anything,
don't go crazy in there--
after all, you can't really dig."

Dig it?

The former diplomat is still saying
he/she coined the term Saffron Revolution, in 2007.

Hard to think it is so relatively recent.

The monks walking the rain chanting the Metta Sutra

Japanese journalist Kenji Nagaii dying on the street shot point blank--

While I was in Philadelphia 20 years ago, writing Black Rice when I thought it was part of Once, then called
I Weep for You my Native Land
my classmates debated
the exact meaning of the term Point Blank--Kenji his death, no fuss made why Japanese gov took lying down

poor Kenji his chest cut open
poor autopsy technique
all swollen
not slim as in death

seen 2 like that
crudely stitched together

Other man killed by steel catapult balls--

his head shaved most likely in death--
as crudely stitched together

autopsy is not brain surgery

JFK's brain allegedly disappeared
in Bethesda, MD.

This is called Abuse of Corpse--actor FFS Free Funeral Society banned from acting since 07 went to see Arlington National Cemetery

My character Fleur washing and washing her hands
making only the female corpses beautiful
hot water bottles bringing back the bloom to their

Oh Ma Ma Elder Sister--I was so lucky
as soon as I left Mummy said
they came for me
10 cars and 3 tanks
in the yat kwet looking
for Daw Zin Zar Maung (made up name)

--Oh Ma Ma ma ma--
think about it, board meeting in Bali
if they came for me with 40 soldiers
JUST one beer magnate

how many would they come.

To arrest some one like him?

And then in Singapore
you know they sent a letter bomb?

What did you do?

The head of Singapore Intelligence at our board meeting regular nice guy looking  saying he's a poet like me

and he saw me in the swimming pool.

Not sitting in the back
I don't like to squish the ladies

I called Security, and they said fill the sink and soak the suspected letter bomb in water so I did

Beer Magnate beer magnate not so hunky dory lost my play ms Shaman/only posted to her as she said she would produce a play
never sent it back in SASE.

I hate people who are cavalier with other people's

Threw her used tissues after blowing her nose
right in the Ubud farmers' irrigation canal.

I observed, in 3 days, the water flowed 2 ways.

Copyright KMKaung

My archive at IISH, Amsterdam--