Sunday, August 31, 2014

Important to study other countries --

It is important to read about other similar countries, the PRC, the USSR, even N. Korea, to understand Burma/myanmar.

If you think you can understand Burma only by looking at Burma, then you are a fool.

This is the one great failing of area studies as opposed to systems studies.

And "advice" from you will never make the god forsaken place "work"--

you will only be an apologist for the status quo and a run around person, trying to tie all those disjointed bizarre things together--

in many cases they have no logic except to increase the power and holdings of the ruling class, and if you say "elite" another time, I will vomit.

They are not "elite"--they just happen to have power because as Mao said, "Power comes from the barrel of a gun."

k
9-1-2014

PS--I am proud that under the curriculum designed by Dr Aye Hlaing, Dr Findlay and others, often under stress or duress, at the Inst. of Ecos 1962-1982 (I don't know about the years when I was not there)

courses on the PRC, Indian Eco. Planning, and the Soviet Union were taught--and I taught these courses after my mentors left.

I even remember talking about collectivization, famine, and even about Isreali kibbutzim (military/collective farms)--

I am not proud of "the Burmese mind"--it is often mired in minutia, the micro-economic, personality instead of policy driven, and a nasty grandstanding and own trumpet blowing--esp. among historians. 

It makes no sense to study history just to write historiography and present kings as ideals.

If they were, they would not have been colonized--think about Siam/Thailand.

Taksin (not the modern Taksin) made a great decision when he moved the capital from Ayuthia to Thonburi opposite the present Bangkok, after the last siege of Ayuthia by the Burmese (Hsinbyushin) in 1767.

In contrast, Burma remained inward looking and later landlocked.

You can believe what you want, this is what I see.

For instance, Genghis was successful for 3 generations because he was always incorporating elements that he conquered, such as siege warfare, or the Chinese administrative system.

kmk
9-1-2014

Robert Conquest--The Great Terror--Stalin's Purges

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Conquest

Refugee stories from me--K.M.Kaung



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

I chose the right book--Frank Dickotter's Mao's Great Famine--

I chose the right book--

I chose it as I saw it in a bookstore--

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mao%27s_Great_Famine

Friday, August 29, 2014

Late August reading from me--Black Rice--

Late August reading from me--
you, or all your children and grandchildren have bought their textbooks and gone back to school--
It's time to get serious as summer ends and fall begins--

what better way than to read my Black Rice--

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.
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

Ran by Akiro Kurasawa--

Great movies--Ran by Akiro Kurasawa

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ran_%28film%29

Satyajit Ray's The Apu Trilogy--

Another very famous movie trilogy, The Apu Trilogy.

I heard about it by reading Time Magazine in Burma in the 70s--and oddly enough, with this too, I have seen 2 out of 3, also at the Bourse in Philadelphia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Apu_Trilogy

They are beautiful and very moving--such as the lotus leaves flapping in the wind--the "wet sari" scene that leads to a totally unpredictable outcome--

the two newly weds with their clothes tied together in bed.

The split scenes with the old lady who is always moving in and out, with her rolled up mat, and her running commentary and complaints on life.

Her relatives are almost as poor as she is, but they accept her constant comings and goings with great equanimity.

Come to think of it, U Myo Nyunt and Khin Pwint Oo "Kauk Saik Ma" you will probably like these movies as they show rural life.

KMKaung
8-29-2014

Movies--The Three Colors Trilogy

The famous Three Colors Trilogy--films-Red, White and Blue.

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Three_Colors_trilogy

I have seen 2 of the 3--at the Bourse in Philadelphia in 90s.

They are very good--everyone should see it.

White, in its story, illustrates how musicians compose a symphony, and the other one is about a man turned inwards who comes back to life because a woman tells him to stop eavesdropping on other people.

Unforgettable movies, like the Apu Trilogy.
The famous Three Colors Trilogy--films-Red, White and Blue.

I have seen 2 of the 3--at the Bourse in Philadelphia in 90s.

They are very good--everyone should see it.

White, in its story, illustrates how musicians compose a symphony, and the other one is about a man turned inwards who comes back to life because a woman tells him to stop eavesdropping on other people.

Unforgettable movies, like the Apu Trilogy.

KMKaung
8-29-2014

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

San San Tin memoirs--

http://www.amazon.com/No-Time-Dreams-Living-Military/dp/0742557030

I recommend it highly, also for anything, buying a used copy is best as hard cover tends to be exp.

That is what I do.

Sign petition to stop ethnic cleansing in Burma--

Sign petition to end ethnic cleansing of Rohingya in Burma--

http://endgenocide.org/actions/protect-the-rohingya/

You do not need to use your real name and address--pl consider signing it.

If 4-5 people could spearhead talks to stop dolphins dying in tuna nets (see essay by David Quammen)--

we should do better for human beings.

k

Thursday, August 21, 2014

My Amazon review on book about JFK assassination found helpful--

My review found helpful by an Amazon customer who bought this book, which was about 20 years in the writing and argues an alternative theory about the JFK assassination, including that the President's brain and bullet in it was removed before burial, and it is still missing.

http://www.amazon.com/review/R1WMMG740SI38E/ref=cm_cr_notf_fhv_prd

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Flash fiction for today--Ah, they said to the young girl--by KMKaung

Flash fiction for today--

Ah, they said to the young girl
your genitals will cause you to feel too much desire
no matter that we were all born and conceived
through a woman's lower parts and a man's penetration.
Let's sew you shut.
And they used a kitchen knife and some thorns and no anesthetic, as they had never heard of such things as germs and thought death and disease were caused by evil spirits.
After they'd sewn her female parts shut with only a small hole left for her menstrual blood every month
they said--
Now--a long neck will make you look more elegant
so let's stretch your neck, one copper coil a year so your neck seems to be longer.
You won't be able to drink without a straw and if your neck itches, too bad, just pass a string in behind the coils and clean your neck that way.  You also won't be able to look down.
They didn't know and maybe they don't know now
it's not the neck that lengthens
it's the chest that is pushed down (proved by National Geographic x-rays) and causes all sorts of health problems.
Then they said, but it's an old Chinese practice, let's bind your feet, and it will hurt when we break your bones, and your broken feet will stink
and you won't be able to walk except with an umbrella
even when it is not raining, and you can never open your umbrella and hold it over your head.
because you need it as a walking stick--

but you know what, we have heard (hearsay posing as "culture") your bound lily feet will tilt your pelvis at an angle
and make it more pleasurable for your husband
if he can cut his way in past the scar tissue, that is--

and now, let's work on your face with plastic surgery
and let's pull two molars to make your cheeks more sunken

and let's put bags of silicone in
so your breasts look like balloons with edges like circular dinner plates

but you still need to starve to be

rail thin.

Male castration was just as bad.

Why don't we just obliterate this thing called

"culture"

and "Culturally-sanctioned"

Why don't we have a Campaign?

KMKaung
8-19-2014

Well, contacted UNICEF about my novella FGM on Female Genital Mutilation--

Well, I have left a message on the UNICEF contact us form, about my novella FGM about Female Genital Mutilation, which they could use in workshops or as informational material.

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
KMKaung
8-19-2014

My novella The Lovers--if you are in Australia

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

Aug. reading from me--to chill you for good--



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

Monday, August 18, 2014

August reading from me The Lovers--How did that Chilean ballerina do in Philadelphia, USA.


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

Burma, crony Tay Za, Air Bagan, Ne Win grandsons--

http://www.irrawaddy.org/business/burmas-tay-za-rethinking-bank-sale-ne-wins-family.html

A proposal for a Burma Currency Board, by Dr. Sean Turnell, Burma Economic Watch

Worth re-reading--Dr. Sean Turnell from 1999--on setting up a Burma Currency Board--full paper is available on line--

A Proposal for a Currency Board in a Democratic Burma

by

Sean Turnell*

August 1999

Abstract

This paper argues that a currency board will provide a newly-democratic Burma with the stable monetary system it will need after decades of currency debasement under military rule. An old idea that has successfully re-emerged in recent years in a number of countries, currency boards are relatively simple and transparent institutions that can provide stability, predictability and credibility to an emerging economy's monetary institutions. Currency boards impose certain constraints on the ability of governments to conduct discretionary economic policies. The advantages they bring in establishing confidence in the currency, however, outweighs such considerations in countries whose greater need is the establishment of the sound foundations of a market economy.



The 'Currency Board' arrangement is a plan desperately needed in a country rebuilding itself, and where there had been a widespread mistrust of government and the banking system.

Peter Nicholl
Governor, Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Introduction

Burma's economy is a disaster. Forty years of inept economic management under military-rule has reduced a once relatively prosperous economy, the ubiquitous 'rice bowl of Asia', into a country that qualifies as 'least developed' by the World Bank. Extreme poverty, endemic corruption, rampant inflation, negligible foreign exchange reserves, large monetised budget deficits, foreign debt arrears and a currency that barely qualifies as a means of exchange - are all features of Burma's economy and symptoms of a country in broader socio-political distress. Burma's economic and social problems are such that in all likelihood they can only be solved with the advent of a new political regime enjoying democratic legitimacy. Even then, however, the task will be extraordinarily difficult. In the development stakes Burma will begin a long way behind, and there are many competitors for the overseas investment and markets that Burma will need to attain any measure of prosperity.

A necessary first step in reforming Burma's economy and, indeed, in providing for healthy democratic structures more generally, will be to establish confidence and stability in the currency. There is, as Keynes observed (1919, p.220), 'no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency'. Burma's military regimes have debauched the currency and they have overturned society. Righting this endemic practice should be a priority for a new and democratic government.

Restoring confidence in Burma's currency and in its monetary and financial system will be greatly aided by the use of a currency board. Relatively simple structures, currency boards can be used in the place of a central bank. Unlike a central bank though, their purpose is narrowly and simply defined to that of being the issuers of currency. What further distinguishes currency boards though, is that they can only issue the domestic currency to the extent that it is backed by a foreign 'anchor' currency, to which the domestic currency is freely convertible at an exchange rate fixed by law. In a pure currency board system the stability of the domestic currency becomes that of the anchor currency.

Currency boards have no control over monetary base, which fluctuates according to the reserves of the anchor currency, and therefore cannot determine a  discretionary  monetary policy. Currency boards cannot allow for the monetisation of government debt either, which puts some constraint on the use of fiscal policy too. In the context of Burma, and given the propensity of the military regimes to resort to money financing, this will be no bad thing and will do much to foster international and local investor confidence. Lender of last resort facilities for the banking system are also problematic in a currency board system, but such arrangements can at least be partially replaced by the opening up of Burma's financial system to foreign institutions and the application of the global Basle Accord. 

One of the most attractive features of a currency board for Burma is that it does not require substantial economic reform before it can provide for a sound and stable currency. This will, in itself, greatly aid the process of achieving these same reforms and for establishing an economy that functions around the rule of law.

The paper will proceed by first examining some recent experiences with currency boards in a number of inflation-prone and transition economies. The remainder of the paper will be spent in examining currency boards themselves, their essential features and their implications for macroeconomic and banking policy. The paper will highlight throughout the specific circumstances of Burma, and the potential benefits a currency board could bring.

 (end abstract)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Food enjoyed since last Monday--

Food enjoyed so far since last Monday--
chicken curry with potatoes
eggplant grilled and made into salad Burmese-style.
paratha made from frozen dough.
Chinese egg custards.
2 different kinds of steak, from lesser known but very good cuts.
soy pork with black mushrooms.
white peaches
watermelon
apples.
assorted Chinese pastries, some made with hot dogs and scallions.
Japanese tea.
chai masala
or masala chai
fried frog legs, maybe kept a year in the freezer, but OK.

what I did not buy:  rocky looking mangosteens at $7.99 for maybe 6 pale looking, small ones.  Did not buy, look like bummers.
Very yellow jack fruit, flash frozen, that looked like plastic.
Anyway, I don't like the soft ain pyaw "home soft" variety that is hard to swallow and makes me gag.

I feel I had enough for a while in Bkk of the crisp variety.

--still to make--stuffed fried taro root.

I made this dim sum years ago in Phila. and I had a moment of panic when I could not find my dim sum cookbook, but then I found it.

All set to go.

My uncle and aunt introduced me to this dim sum in Bkk in 1969, on my way to Poland to study economic planning.

What a life.

KMKaung
8-17-2014

Friday, August 15, 2014

sand tiger shark eats its siblings in the womb!

What it means to be a shark!

I did not know this till last night, when saw it on NatGeo--

the ultimate in sibling rivalry--sand tiger shark embryo eats its siblings in the mother's womb--

amazing footage.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrqgPjZ07Ts
Shark eats siblings in womb!

August reading from me--how did that family get to Burma?



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

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Opening of my short story--Saving the World Bit by Bit--

Opening of my short story, Saving the World Bit by Bit--that I wrote in 2001, work-shopped at Bethesda Writers Center, published in Burmese (I translated it myself)--

Saving the World Bit by Bit.

I remember distinctly it was September 12th, 2001.

Just the day before I was at a middle school in Alabama, promoting education and literacy by reading some of my own poetry to twelve year olds, when my aid whispered in my ear (all captured live on TV) that the first and then the second planes had hit the World Trade Center Towers in New York City.

I managed to keep my jaw clamped tightly shut, even though the photos show me wide-eyed.

I changed my speech at once, looked directly at the camera and addressed the nation.
It wasn’t difficult at all.
Anybody can do it who has any brain at all and who needs to rise to the occasion.
Anyone with a little imagination.

The next eight to ten hours were as you all know, me being flown on Air Force One, or maybe it was my double (I almost said “body double”) from one secure place to another whose locations I cannot tell you.  .  .

Copyright KMKaung
8-5-2014

Monday, August 04, 2014

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Quote of Yesterday--from my father U Kaung--

Quote of Yesterday:

My father as we headed home via Suez in 1949, while everyone else was leaving Burma--first wave.

"Now all the rats are leaving the sinking ship."

I was seven and had never heard this strange word "independence" lutt lat yay

in my life before.

What the hell were they talking about.

Then at tea time on Fytche Road, my aunty began to talk about the Burman soldiers throwing Karen babies into the bomb fires.

Welcome to your ancestral home, Little Girl.

My coz Mongoose and I would go down into the bone kyin (bomb shelter) to see the dog giving birth.

KMKaung
8-3-2014


Rosalind MacLennan review of my novella Black Rice--

http://www.e-bookspdf.org/view/aHR0cDovL3d3dy5rbWthdW5nLmNvbS9maWxlcy9HcmFwaGljcy9Xcml0aW5ncy9CbGFja19SaWNlX3Jldi0yMDEzX2J5X1Jvc2FsaW5kX01jTGVubmFuLnBkZg==/QmxhY2sgUmljZSBCeSBLLiBNLiBLYXVuZw==

Last seige of Ayuthia 1767--rare Burmese ms translated, edited and published--

http://www.e-bookspdf.org/view/aHR0cDovL25zYy5pc2Vhcy5lZHUuc2cvZG9jdW1lbnRzL25zY19sZWN0dXJlX3Nlcmllcy90aGF3X2thdW5nX2xlY3R1cmUucGRm/UmVjb3ZlcmluZyBBIExvc3QgTXlhbm1hciBDb250ZW1wb3JhcnkgQWNjb3VudCBPZiBUaGUgRmFsbA==