Monday, June 30, 2014

Complete press kit and links for my 6 books so far--



About the author:
K.M.Kaung started writing fiction as a teenager in Burma.

She comes from a family of story tellers in Myingyan in Upper Burma. Her paternal grandmother May May Gyi, saw the last king of Burma - Thibaw, taken away on a steamboat on the Irrawaddy River by the British in 1886.

Kyi May Kaung's father U Kaung was named after the King's first envoy to the West, Kinwun Mingyi U Kaung.

Her father was a well known educationist and the first chairman of the Burma Historical Commission.

As a child Kyi May was privileged to have noted scholars and artists come to visit the house.

Dr. Kaung holds a doctorate in Political Economy from the University of Pennsylvania.

Her work has been previously published in anthologies and literary journals, and she has read widely in universities and bookstores in N. America and Southeast Asia. From 1997-2001 she had a poetry and political commentary program on air, broadcast to Burma/Myanmar. Edward Albee praised her two act play, Shaman, and she has won Pew, Fulbright and Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grants.

This is her first CreateSpace publication.

Upcoming are a full length novel Wolf, and a novella, The Rider of Crocodiles.

You may find her on her blog
http://kyimaykaung.blogspot.com

on Facebook
www.facebook.com/kyi.m.kaung
and at Kyi Kaung@kyikaung on Twitter.

Her web site is
www.kmkaung.com

She divides her time between N. America, travel in Asia and on cyberspace. Links to my recent publications of novellas and short stories.

1.   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
https://www.createspace.com/4767856?ref=1147694&utm_id=6026
The Lovers, Kindle edition
http://www.amazon.com/The-Lovers-Novellas-K-M-Kaung-Kaung-ebook/dp/B00JX8NZRU
2.   Black Rice is a Burmese man with very dark skin, almost purple, and almond eyes. What happens when he is captured in an ambush in Burma's delta in 1947, as ethnic strife rages, a year before Burma's Independence from Great Britain? Find out here as K.M. Kaung takes you on a heart stopping journey through life. An intensely flavored pill of a story in 48 pages. A view through oddly made eyes.

"You've got to be taught, to hate and fear, you've got to be taught, from year to year. . . ."

Song lyrics, Rogers and Hammerstein, South Pacific, the Broadway musical.
3.   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
--




4.  Dancing like a Peacock and Koel Bird
My two stories, Dancing like a Peacock and Koel Bird are also available on Create Space, print edition. Published by Words Sounds and Images--
A seven year old girl is sent off across the border to earn a living and send money home to Burma. A computer expert finds--

https://www.createspace.com/pub/simplesitesearch.search.do?sitesearch_query=K+Kaung+dancing+like+a+peacock&sitesearch_type=STORE

My short story collection-

Dancing like a Peacock & Koel Bird, also includes Little Transparent Fetus Buddha.

Print (soft cover) + Kindle editions

http://www.amazon.com/Dancing-Peacock-Bird-Border-Stories-ebook/dp/B00JWZSL3C
5.  FGM—Kindle edition
FGM: A Story about the Mutilation of Women.
Dr. Aset, a trained gynecologist with several post graduate American degrees, lets herself be drawn into an inappropriate
relationship.

My novella FGM is now available on Kindle--http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KJ3FUOE

there is also a print edition on the CreateSpace/Amazon store.

https://www.createspace.com/4738586
6.  Dealing with death and old age in the USA as immigrants--
No Crib for a Bed and Other Stories, Kindle Edition
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JW2ZD40
No Crib for a Bed, print edition
https://www.createspace.com/4768879?ref=1147694&utm_id=6026





Where to buy my novella The Lovers, if you live in Australia

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/NEW-The-Lovers-By-K-M-Kaung-Ph-D-Paperback-Free-Shipping-/291164380842

UNESCO World Heritage site--Orkhon Valley, Mongolia--

UN World Heritage Site--Orkhon Valley in Mongolia--please read as its continued use as pasture lands and buffer zones is very important.

http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1081

Sunday, June 29, 2014

I posted this yesterday, but don't know where it went--excerpt



Temujin and Jamukha, who had known each other since childhood, slashed their palms with the steel daggers they each carried in specially stitched scabbard-pockets on the sides of their leather boots, on the side of their sword arms.

They clasped their slashed hands together.

After that, the two anda or blood brothers took off their silver and tooled leather war belts and exchanged belts and horses.

Temujin gave Jamukha his silver grey gelding that he had rescued from the raiders.
Jamukha gave Temujin his yellow horse with the brown mane and tail.

Then they ate together and slept under the same horse blanket.

This should not be construed as homosexuality, as when Temujin united the tribes later and declared himself Khan of Khans--Genghis Khan--he outlawed sodomy and made it a crime punishable by death.

Theirs was an age when humans were sparsely distributed over the plains, and it was always necessary to breed more children to replace the deaths and to strengthen the military force of the tribes.

--
One April, when the two sworn blood brothers were marching with their tumens in search of new pastures, Jamukha suddenly stopped and suggested they camp apart from each other, along the banks of the Onon River.

Temujin could not understand this, and trotted the yellow horse onwards as if he had not heard.

When they were out of ear-shot of Jamukha and his men, he lifted an eyebrow to ask his mother Hoelan her opinion.

Hoelan grimaced and looked away.
Temujin next turned towards the other woman he trusted for a truthful opinion, his wife Borte.
Borte paused a moment before she said noncommittally, “Anda Jamukha is not a man who has a fixed commitment.  He gets bored easily.”
This was enough for Temujin.
He barked an order to his ten thousand and their families in carts, and they all galloped and trundled onwards along the Onon until they were two days march away from Jamukha and his troops.
That should give him enough breathing space and living space, should Jamukha turn treacherous.

Copyright Kyi May Kaung

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Sunday morning in Manhatten by K.M.Kaung

A little conversation in Manhatten--with one of my first cousins.

What are your going to do tomorrow morning.

In the afternoon I am taking the Amtrak back home.

But what will you do in the morning?

Nothing.

Oh, you can't do nothing.

Do you want me and --to come into town and show you around.

Is there anything you want to see.

Not particularly.  I've already been to the Met and seen all the Buddhist art.

(My first cousin is Christian)

I might like to go inside St. Patrick's Cathedral, as never been inside, but never mind.

You've all spent a lot of time with me already.  I've already taken about 8 hours of your weekend.

But what will you do?

I will pack my luggage and I will read the Sunday New York Times.

And I did.

Then I had breakfast downstairs, then I walked along the streets (one street) on the Upper West Side, then I walked along a farmer's market, then I sat on a bench, then I walked in the gardens of the Natural History Museum, and then I took a taxi to Penn Station, and it was a very good way to spend a Sunday morning in Manhatten, doing nothing.

KMKaung
6-28-2014

Frankly, it sucks--

Frankly speaking, it sucks.

Stupid place, the exile radio station where I threw 3 years of my life down the drain.
Still suffering from the after affects.
Ostensibly about "freedom of expression" but all about control and doing b junt's PR for them, or damage control, whatever.
Great waste of US taxpayer money.
Now the BBG Broadcasting Board of Governors, is rumored to be going to be dissolved, as it is "so corrupt."

This controls all broadcasting to foreign countries in the USA, both ASS-B and The Eagle's Voice (not their real names).

I still remember 2001 when I went to a presentation, at NED I think, on broadcasting to Afghanistan, and there, I heard a well known expert Barnett Rubin, talk to the woman from Pashto (Pastun section) who was almost fired, because she interviewed Mullah Ohmar, after 9/11.

The Lion was already dead, as of course he had been assassinated the night before 9/11 by someone posing as a journalist, with a bomb hidden in his camera.

BR expressed surprise that the woman was still there (at the Voice).

At the time renowned NYTS journalist William Safire wrote about it also.

Safire also wrote about the lax work atmosphere at the Voice.

I myself have seen a TEV correspondent from the Nigerian section harass and try to
"trap" Nobel Prize winning playwright Wole Soyinka with some fast talk at Pols and Prose bookstore in DC.

And it's impossible to count the # of times ASS-B has tried to ask hardball Qs of DASSK, or otherwise make her look bad on air, for instance by the womanizer talking to her as if she were his girlfriend.

I think they get away with it as no one cares about Burma, and there is the language and the cultural barrier, but it is high time people looked into it.

The former head of ASS-B bur even used "freedom of expression" as being listed above "promoting democracy" in their charter, and therefore as justifying attacking Daw Suu.

And they are all still around.

The rumor was before 2007, that they would be combined, the two stations, by their 10th year (10th year of ASS-B) but it managed to stay the axe by winning awards for its Saffron Revolution coverage, and thus throwing monk activist U Gambira to the dogs.

He was surrounded and arrested by signals located through his cell phone as "correspondents" tried to contact him for interviews, even after the crackdown when he was on the run.

He should have chucked the cell phone and fled to the Thai border, instead of keeping it and going back to Pakokku.

His entire family was arrested to get him to give himself in.

An ASS-B correspondent, no longer there, told me in 2007 shortly after the arrest, that the last time they called U Gambira, the MI (mlilitary intelligence) answered the phone and said, "We now have him under custody" and put the phone down.

I think this should remain on the consciences of ASS-B forever, as U Gambira is still suffering from brain damage due to the beatings.

And there are other things too, such as the death of a stringer in Burma in a motor-cycle accident.

This is all in contrast to my dear friend who is not rich, was suffering from kidney disease and finally had a transplant, and yet did activism for U Gambira's behalf from overseas, even sent someone to go and interview him on his release.

kmk
6-28-2014



Thursday, June 26, 2014

Message for me from New York Times bestselling author Debbi Mack--

Message from New York Times bestselling author Debbi Mack--

"Congrats, Kyi."

Debbi first introduced me to this publishing model and shared much advice, including a review of my novel Wolf, with me.

She inspired me to write through everything, including physical challenges.

Thank you, Debbi.

You are a shining example to me.

Kyi May Kaung
6-26-2014


My review of Tristine Rainer's Your Life as Story--

My review of Tristine Rainer's Your Life as Story, just left on Amazon site.

More than a how-to book, that will cause you to look deep within yourself.

I first read Rainer's book when I was starting to write an autobiographical novel, then called Portfolios of Hot Air, about my hard time in the international broadcasting arena and the Burmese exile community overseas.  I found a few chapters too painful after I had written them, to continue, and so went on and wrote what I called then Burmese Rebel, which became my novel Wolf, soon to be published.
I really thank the leader of our small writing group for recommending Your Life as Story, and have re-read it more than once.
I still don't think I can write a straight memoir, but I do think Rainer's book will help you resolve what may be holding you up.  In my case it was what happened around the time of early adolescence to me, and my father's death.  Rainer emphasizes by drawing fearlessly from examples in her own life, how to face your own demons.  Right up there with John Gardner, in my opinion and a Bible to keep, for writers.

KMKaung
6-26-2014

KMKaung--my official website, with new banner for my novel Wolf--cover

http://www.kmkaung.com/books.html

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Timur Ruby--

Timur Ruby, that belonged to Mughul emperors, inscribed with their names on the ruby itself, in Persian, I am sure.

"Given" by East India Co. to Queen Victoria (with the whole of India of course)--and now among the Queen E II's jewels--

http://www.royalcollection.org.uk/eGallery/object.asp?object=100017&row=0
That's why I hate jewels.

Come with a lot of blood from the get go, to get them out of the ground, and end with a lot of blood.

My former spouse "loved" Marie Antoinette's flawless diamond ear-rings, with her till she mounted the guillotine,

but I hate that sort of thing.  It is now in the Smithsonian Natural History Museum on the Mall, in Washington DC.

Still, may write a novel of one of the most famous gemstones.

Everyone should see the movie Blood Diamonds, with Leonardo Decaprio (sp?)

KMKaung
6-26-2014


Friday, June 20, 2014

Congratulatory message from Moethee Zun--Burmese 1988 student leader--

Congratulatory message from Moethee Zun 1988 Burmese student leader--

"Sayama!  You really did it.  You wrote and published all your books.  I am so happy for you."

About 2 days ago.
6-20-2014
Facebook.

My query letter to a bookstore in Asia--

I am a well-known Burmese-born writer, now residing in the USA.  I have won several awards, including being a Pew Finalist twice in Literature and my play Shaman, about a hpii dancer, was praised by renowned playwright Edward Albee.  I am currently converting it into a novel.  I have also won a Fulbright and a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Award.
Of my stories listed below, (cut and pasted into this email) Rider of Crocodiles is about a Thai man who was not killed but taken to Ava in 1767, based on a real story.  Dancing like a Peacock and Koel Bird are about immigrants on the Burma-Thai border.  All my books will appeal to a young adult audience which is internationally oriented.
You may order my books here on Amazon if you are interested in having them in your stores.
I have been to the main store and bought many books there,
Sincerely,
Kyi May Kaung 
 
Links to my recent publications of novellas and short stories.
1. No Crib for a Bed and Other Stories, Kindle Edition
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JW2ZD40
No Crib for a Bed, print edition
https://www.createspace.com/4768879?ref=1147694&utm_id=6026
2. The Lovers, print edition
https://www.createspace.com/4767856?ref=1147694&utm_id=6026
The Lovers, Kindle edition
http://www.amazon.com/The-Lovers-Novellas-K-M-Kaung-Kaung-ebook/dp/B00JX8NZRU
3. Black Rice, print edition
https://www.createspace.com/4232789?ref=1147694&utm_id=6026
Black Rice, Kindle Edition
http://www.amazon.com/Black-Rice-Novella-K-Kaung/dp/0615797520
4. Dancing like a Peacock and Koel Bird
My two stories, Dancing like a Peacock and Koel Bird are also available on Create Space, print edition. Published by Words Sounds and Images--
A seven year old girl is sent off across the border to earn a living and send money home to Burma. A computer expert finds--

https://www.createspace.com/pub/simplesitesearch.search.do?sitesearch_query=K+Kaung+dancing+like+a+peacock&sitesearch_type=STORE

My short story collection-

Dancing like a Peacock & Koel Bird, also includes Little Transparent Fetus Buddha.

Print (soft cover) + Kindle editions

http://www.amazon.com/Dancing-Peacock-Bird-Border-Stories-ebook/dp/B00JWZSL3C
5.  FGM—Kindle edition
FGM: A Story about the Mutilation of Women.
Dr. Aset, a trained gynecologist with several post graduate American degrees, lets herself be drawn into an inappropriate
relationship.

My novella FGM is now available on Kindle--http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KJ3FUOE

there is also a print edition on the CreateSpace/Amazon store.

https://www.createspace.com/4738586
6.  The Rider of Crocodiles
print edition
Kindle edition
--








If you like LinkedIn, I am here--

If you like LinkedIn I am here--

https://www.linkedin.com/pub/kyi-may-kaung/7/720/26b

But I find it cumbersome to use.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Final proofs of my full length novel Wolf arrives--

The final cover of my novel Wolf, about a fictional 1988 student leader and the women in his life--
The final cover wrap and the formatted interior for the print version arrived today from my book packagers.

It is looking very good, all 21 reviews are in the first pages, and it's the best unbirthday present anyone could ever have.

Thank you, V and J and BH. Great job, great job.

This cover is "the Asia market version"--the western market version is even more classy and is the one I will use first. Because right now I am focusing on this side of the world, as per my blog hits stats.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

What I believe--

What I believe--how it should be done--Wild River Review of me by Wendy Steginsky--

http://www.wildriverreview.com/4/profile_kaung.php

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Grave diggers--Burma Mining Report by Roger Moody

Gravedigger--Burma Mining Report by Roger Moody--only came on by accident while looking for iron ore in Burma/SE Asia for my novel.

http://www.miningwatch.ca/sites/www.miningwatch.ca/files/Grave_Diggers_0.pdf

To see how swords could be made in Burma.

i.e. swords of quality.  For the Black Prince.

KMKaung
6-17-2014

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Prologue--from K.M.Kaung's Narasuan: The Black Prince of Siam



It is so very great a Pleasure to meet you.
My name is Narasuan. 
In Thailand I am known as the Black Prince, after my childhood name, Pra Ong Dam or Naret or Nares.
I am the Father of the Thai nation—Thailand—as it is known today.
I was born in Phitsanulok in Central Siam. 
There’s a great modern university named after me in Phitsanulok, which the Burmese cannot pronounce and call “Peikthalauk.”
Curiously, my history and the history of Thailand are not the main foci of Narasuan University. 
We look forward, not backward.
Instead, it is known for its medical school and science departments, and has many schools, including a graduate school and a school of social sciences and the humanities.[i] 
The University was renamed in 1990 on the 400th anniversary of my ascension to the Ayuthia throne in 1590. 
Point out to me any known world-class university in Burma, named after any Burmese king. 
If you are successful you can chop off my head.
That alone should tell you who was the winner in this historic rivalry, even though Ayuthia suffered more invasions from the Burma side after my times and my Victory. 
It was finally sacked and destroyed by Hsinbyushin in 1765-67. 
Hsinbyushin, whose name meant “The Royal Owner of the White Elephants” hurriedly retreated to Ava as Manchu Bannermen defeated his forces at Gothteik Gorge[ii] near Lashio on the Burma-China border, and were close to the then capital of Ava or Inwa, when Hsunbyushin arrived back home and managed to rally his forces enough to drive back the Chinese.[iii]  Previously, he thought the trouble with the Machus was a border skirmish, so he thought he’d come to whack us in Ayuthia hundreds of miles away to the Southeast of Ava.
Our people of Ayuthia would probably have suffered more had he tarried in the environs of Ayuthia longer. 
Fortunately, he had to leave in a hurry, but by then Ayuthia was already torched and destroyed. 
We Tai underwent a period of torment and unrest, until General Pra Taksin set up a new capital city near the sea, in Thonburi, on the opposite bank of the Chao Phra River from what is now Bangkok.
For your comparison purposes, in 1776 the American Revolution took place; Thomas Paine wrote Common Sense and Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations[iv].
But all that’s another story.
*
I am also the Patron Saint of the Thai Army.
Kyi May Kaung, who is co-writing this book, came to see Narasuan University and a Burmese professor there in 2010 with a Phitsanulok native, Dr. Suri. 
She came by my statue in the main plaza on its shining white marble plinth, surrounded by rows of green topiary bushes at waist height, clipped to resemble elephants.
In the still bright sun of November, under a sky that Dr.  Kaung would call “Prussian Blue, with some water mixed in” and puffy white clouds, my statue of dark bronze depicts me seated, looking down, pouring the Water of Allegiance from a small bronze ewer onto the soil to signify my final break with Burma and Hongsawadi. 
By doing so, I called the Earth to witness our Independence.
I was thirty years old.[v] 
I was in Kreng or Gyaing (in Burmese) on the Burma-Siam Border.
This was my first and last clean break with Burma.
                                                         *
At age nine, I was taken as a hostage prisoner-prince to Hangsawadi or Hanthawaddy[vi], in Burma:  The City of the Hongsa or Hintha, the mandarin duck.  Now it is a secondary town or city in Burma, with nothing special about it except the small statues of the two mandarin ducks on the top of a small hill, the highest point there—the ancient reclining Buddha image—the Shwemawdaw Pagoda which was already an old pagoda when I got there—and  a portion of the pagoda which fell off during the big earthquake of 1917[vii].   
People go there now mainly because it is only about forty miles north of Rangoon by motor car, and can be done as a day trip.  It’s convenient for tourists, but even then unreachable in the days of the twenty four hour visa immediately after General Ne Win’s coup in 1962.
Later, the one week visa gave farang tourists a bit more time.
It is hard to conceive that in the mid-sixteenth century, Hongsawadi was a world capital and spoken of glowingly even by a Venetian jeweler, Gaspero Balbi,[viii]who happened to fetch up while I was there.[ix]  He came in his stiff brocade topcoat and breeches into the king’s audience hall, but the guards made him take off his tooled leather shoes with their stacked wooden heels and pointed toes.  During the time he lived there, he shed his heavy layered clothing—doublets, breeches and vests, and furs, and got attuned to silk and cotton top-shirts and jackets more suited to the tropical heat. 
I often saw him bustling about the palace, stroking his short dark beard and his bald head, carrying gems and jewelry in his hidden pockets and in a small black velvet bag with a worn thin pile with a drawstring top, that he always carried with him looped around his left hand. 
I suspected he sold muskets and arquebuses and even cannon in secret to the Hongsawadi king.
When he wasn’t trading and wheeling and dealing, Balbi sat on the stoop of one of the gilded, open pavilions and told us children in the court of the wonders he encountered on his way to Hanthawaddy. 
One of them was the Elephanta Caves in India with the Buddhist frescoes on the walls.  The other was the frightening tidal bore at the mouth of the Sittang River, which I was yet to encounter. 
The only thing wrong with sitting in the elegant teak pavilions of Hongsawadi, was that even with all this gilt and gold, sometimes when the breeze was blowing towards you, you could smell the cesspits and the stench stuck in your throat, especially in the heat of March and in April, during the new year that we Tai call songkran and the Burmese call thingyan.
No wonder we need to throw water on each other during this Water Festival to wash all the Dirt away.
In the twenty first century, the Burmese military regime is trying to bring back the glamour of dusty little Pegu (the common name of Hongsawadi) by reconstructing the palace, Kabawzathadi, they call it, of my captor, the so-called Universal Monarch Bayinnaung.
But it’s still a Fake because they know nothing so far of what the old palace which was burned down looked like.  All they have left in their chronicles is that it was built in 1553 south of the Shwemawdaw Pagoda, and had seventy six rooms or pavilions.[x]

The original palace was built two years before I was born in Phitsanulok. 
I saw and knew what Kanbawzathadi  Palace was like, having lived six long years of my forcibly interrupted childhood there. 
My memories of it are for the most part not happy ones.  
I was plagued throughout by homesickness for Siam and my family—the taste and aromas of my favorite Tai foods, and even the fresh taste of Phitsanulok water.  
Worst was a certain supercilious attitude projected towards me like poisonous arrows of “You are the Conquered.  You are Inferior ,” that was constantly pushed down on me, especially by Bayinnaung’s son, the crown prince Nanda and his son, Minkyi Swa. 
The grandson’s name meant “Great King Shrill” in Burmese. 
It didn’t match for bombast the name of a later king—Minkyee Swa Saw Kè, which meant Great King, Shrill and Can Beat You Exceedingly, but I think it came close.
And if human beings begin in time to match their names, Nanda and Minkyi Swa were living examples of that. 
Even as a child hostage and prisoner of war, or perhaps because of my lowly status there, I saw through both of them. 
I never liked them.
Like the cesspit smells that I had to tolerate, in their presence I held my breath and tried not to breathe. 
                                                           *
Mine is a story of Love and Hate towards Burma, my erstwhile country of forced adoption and imprisonment.
Come with me.  
I will show you how it feels to touch an elephant that you are training for war, to pick men up and throw them to their deaths. 
Come to the smelly elephant kraal with me, to the court in Hongsawadi, to my home town of Phitsanulok and to Ayuthia, the Venice of the East.
Have a taste of this raw crocodile egg yolk dressed with hot chili sauce.[xi]  A bit like a turtle’s egg, is it not?  Grainy and feels as if it will bruise your tongue.  It’s there in that green-grey celadon dish from Sawankhalok. 
That is not a miniature eggplant you are eating. 
It’s a faux aubergine, blown like glass from translucent rice paste, hand-painted with edible fruit and vegetable juices and stuffed with brown bean paste made with cane and toddy sugar, for your dessert. 
Only the Tai royal family may eat such sweets, but for me they are too cloying.  
The Burmese still don’t know how to make them. 
During my Hongsawadi years, my wet nurse Aunty Buffalo made them for me whenever I got dejected.  Her specialities were little custard apples, each with the blue grey white skins with a thousand bumps,  and mangoes.
“Don’t let the Hpamaar princes see them,” she always warned, “eat them quickly.” 
But I carried them around in my shirt pocket until they got sticky and ants came to eat them when I took a nap, climbing up my arms.
Now that too might be considered an auspicious sign.
I must remind Dr. Kyi May[xii] not to forget to write that in.
It wasn’t just the great King Bayinnaung, my captor, my warden, my jailer, my “adoptive grandfather” who was Maung Chatet—he on whom the white ants climbed—when he was young.
Ants also climbed on me—I could call myself  Maung Paywet Saik Tet.
I was never destined to fight the old king on elephant-back, man to man.
But I would in time trounce my two nemeses.


                                                          *
Here, meet my dear younger brother Ekathatsarot of the pale skin—The White Prince –my dear elder sister Suphankalya of the golden complexion, also known as The Golden Princess,[xiii] whom Bayinnaung took to wife, not ahrnadè nor embarrassed about his old age, when she was sixteen and he was sixty.   
Meet my mother, the daughter of a queen slain by the Burmese—my father who tried to make the best of a bad situation and ended up derided and hated by both Tai and Burmese.

Come with me, my war elephants are screaming. 
They eat all the time during their waking hours and they want their special treats of three hands-lengths of maroon sugar cane and those little sandalwood bananas called nathapuu.
Come.
Look lively.
I don’t tolerate laggards in my Camp.
                                                                *


[ii] As a teenager, I enjoyed one trip to Gothteik and on to Lashio with my siblings and cousins when I was about 15.  My uncle was then chief engineer at Burma railways and we went in his special coach, which was quite rudimentary in its setup and arrangements.  My young cousin dived between the bunks on each side as the train crossed over the trestle spanning the Gorge.  I was so afraid he would overshoot out of the window and fall over into the about 200 foot deep Gorge.  KMK
[iv] Events in 1776 simultaneous with Burma-Siam Wars.
Accessed 6-9-2012
[v] He may have been either 29 or 30 – see later chapters for the controversy over Narasuan’s birth date due to difficulties in converting the traditional Thai calendar to the modern western one.  For fictional purposes and because it’s a nice round number, I chose thirty.
Called Pegu by the English and now called Bago.
Accessed 6-9-2012
Gaspero Balbi’s account of his trip to the court of Hanthawaddy, School of Oriental and African Studies archive on line.  Accessed 6-9-2012.
[ix] Poetic license on my part.
Accessed 6-9-2012.  I don’t know how accurate this is, but am presenting it as is.  Here is a verbatim quote: 
“According to the record of a minister 'Letwe Bawrahta' the Kanbawzathadi Palace, Bago had a total of 76 apartments and halls.
“The Kanbawzathadi Palace in Bago was found after excavation works that started on 25th April 1990. The excavation found six mounds that revealed the brick foundations and plinths of the palace. There were some teak pillars that have inscriptions on them, were also found in the excavated structures. Some of the structures were rebuilt including the Lion Throne Room and the Bee Throne Room and the Settaw Saung, which is one of the main rooms of the palace,. Work on the Settaw Saung has almost been completed. The main audience hall (the Lion Throne Room) is being rebuilt. A total of 9662 acres of land area has been transferred to the Archaeological Department.
The Kanbawzathadi Palace, Bago was restored completely in mid 2003. The restoration works done included greening and beautifying of the palace area, arranging the statues, statues and paintings, preparations for displaying the Mingala coach drawn by 16 horses at the time of King Bayinnaung's time. When the reconstruction work of the 16th century palace is completed, it will become a major tourist attraction in Bago.”
See also http://www.myanmar-image.com/bago/kanbawza/
For inaccurate and gaudy “restoration” – these web sites say nothing of what happened to the archaeological material found.

[xi] I first encountered this in a novel about Constantine Phaulkon by Axel Aylwen, The Falcon of Siam, The Falcon Press, Thailand, 2004, and have come to love this snack.
[xii] Thai before King Chulalongkorn’s time had only first names.
[xiii] Portuguese visitors to Ayuthia first wrote about the siblings’ skin colors and their nicknames.