Friday, January 30, 2015

Monday, January 26, 2015

No snow in our area--

Not that much snow--and it was fairly warm, and so did not accumulate.
But in afternoon, had to be careful of ice walking home.
Eyes dilated by eye specialist and only now coming back to normal, but everything more or less holding steady.
NJ and NY have declared snow emergencies, I saw on the TV at the Chinese shop--but wherever it went, the snow was not dumped in our area.


Monday, January 19, 2015

Red poppy who sings like an angel--

One of the best treats of my life has been music.

From the old His Masters Voice record playing Elizabeth Schuman singing Ave Maria, to my time in the USA, where I have seen too few operas, only Orfeo (Orpheus), Hansel and Gretal by Englebert Humperdink (the original musician, not the later eponymous singer)

and The Magic Flute at the Univ of Boulder, CO, where my dear friend who had known Langston Hughes invited me.

And I was so rude to hurry off as soon as intermission not yet over as I could not miss Oh Isis and Osiris, that beautiful aria/prayer.

I looked for 2015 New Year's Eve concert with Vienna Philharmonic, but the commentary was in German and I preferred English, so--
This one is fantastico, with Herbert von Karajan and his idiosyncratic conducting style, Kathleen Battle looking like a red poppy who sings like an angel, and the Lippizaners.

I've seen the Disney movie featuring the Lippizaner Spanish Riding School--and saw them live in Las Vegas --poor hot overworked horses, when my marriage was falling apart and I was hot and unhappy too.

It comes about 15 minutes into the Youtube.

I liked the entire program and the commentary by Walter Cronkite is also great.

Kyi May Kaung1-19-2015

New Years concert Vienna

Kathleen Battle with Herbert von Karajan--

Sewing problem for today resolved

The sewing problem for today resolved.

The last 3 to 4 to 10 years, my 25 year old sewing machine sometimes skips stitches, or does not make good seams, or the lower thread gets all tangled up.

I know this is because the tension of the top thread and the bottom are difft, and sometimes the top thread breaks often.

It maybe bc I use difft threads on the top and the bottom.

Long ago, my mother taught me how to adjust this tension on her old hand treadle sewing machine, but I never learned and am careless.

I sew in batches of 3-4 to ten items at a time.

Now I have trouble threading needles.

For a while I thought wistfully of how my 15 year old self used to thread needles for Aunty, sewing stacks of shirts for Uncle, 20 at a time too.

Then suddenly I thought, I can still thread hand needles, so I unscrewed the machine needle and put in the biggest needle I had.

It was not very big.  Later maybe I will get a self threading needle, but the ones I was shown at Michael's did not really work, so I bought  a big long darning needle and big thread instead.

Now I realized it's also bc of the angle and the sewing machine light having burned out, that I can't locate the eye of the needle.

I cant even wing it.

So I unscrewed it, held it up and threaded it, then carefully screwed it back in, making sure to keep the flat side away from me all the time.

This fixed it and I sewed and sewed beautiful white seams, all the stitches small and regular.

So now I don't need to re-thread the needle until the bottom thread runs out and needs rewinding

then I got the brilliant idea, I don't need to pull the thread out of the needle to rewind--

from now on I will always buy thread in the right colors in right gauge 2 bobbins at a time

e.g 8 white
8 black
6 pink and so on.

So I tried the new way, and it worked, but I still accidentally pulled the top thread out of the needle.

So in 8 hours I had to thread the needle twice.

This needs to be avoided.

Still, it is better than before, and I made a lovely vest to wear at cherry blossom time.

It has big flowers on a white linen ground, and I now finished it and am putting in pockets.

It looks a bit like Amal Cloony's white coat.

I realize most of my clothes were chosen or bought for me in Bkk by my flawless taste aunt and niece --Wow--thank you.

30-50 years later, and the fabrics are still lovely.

So happily I ran the sewing machine and made an infernal racket.

Let the neighbors complain if they wish.

They never have.

One liked my Beatles Yellow Submarine CD a lot.

Last night I listened to parts of The Magic Flute.

Tonight I will listen to Kyrie Elieson.

KM Kyi May Kaung

My Speakermedia profile--Kyi May Kaung (KM Kaung)

Cheer up in New Year by reading something black--

Since New Year is terminally depressing, after all why should things suddenly get upbeat just because it's a new system of counting (this is an idea inserted into our minds by calendar makers)

try reading my noir (as in dark, black) not "nwa"=Burmese for stupid cow

novellas and short stories.

You will see then that however bad you think your life is, it could be much worse, yet somehow the characters prevail--one way or the other--

Here are all the links where you can buy them in Kindle or print format.

I can never say enjoy my work--but it will keep you turning pages--and stuck to your seat.

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 is a full length novel Wolf.

You may find her on her blog

on Facebook

and at Kyi Kaung@kyikaung on Twitter.

Her web site is

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
The Lovers, Kindle edition
At Barnes and Noble--

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.
Black Rice, print edition
Black Rice, Kindle Edition

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--

My short story collection-

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

Print (soft cover) + Kindle editions

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

My novella FGM is now available on Kindle--

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

6.  Dealing with death and old age in the USA as immigrants--
No Crib for a Bed and Other Stories, Kindle Edition
No Crib for a Bed, print edition

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Right man for right job--

From April 2014--

In my opinion, Mr Malinowski is perfect for this post--he has a distinguished record, a humble demeanor, is right man to lead a Human Rights mission to Burma etc. and it is also HIGH TIME

the dialog shifted back from so-called "reforms"
to continuing and even escalating, human rights abuses.

Way to go--


Friday, January 16, 2015

My review of movie--The Imitation Game--

What I did on this relatively warm day of 42 F--
actually it was COLD and I wore my warmest clothing and hat, shoes.

Selma was not screened when I got to the theatre.

So I saw this, which I give 5 out of 5 stars, in the sense that there is no way it can be made better--

I liked the fact that it kept to its 1950s period, no steamy sex scenes at all of either homosexual or heterosexual variety.

About the middle, I thought it might be a mix of Enigma and the first computer Eniac, but it seems not.

There actually was an Alan Turing and it is historical fiction.

Read the wiki above to see how well promoted it has been--in a very thoughtful manner and on the right platforms, with people like Mark Zuckerburg at the initial screening.

I also thought the acting, casting, clothes, scenes, photography, music, all excellent.

Also the writing and narrating and the Movietone clips of Churchill's actual voice.

Both actors who played the young and the adult Turing were excellent.

Because it is historical fiction and we more or less know the Enigma story already, as well as in general about British boarding schools and homosexuality,

there were not many surprises--

The flashbacks were short and tied in seamlessly, e.g. via a knock on the door--

and the music, said to have been written in 3 weeks, lovely, especially when the music kicks in with the beat of the machine "Christopher"

but the detective --it was not clear that it was in the 50s after the end of the War--

--good change in Clarke character aging and fashions changing from 1946-1950.

now after reading the wiki--

I see where some loose ends in the script were left hanging ever so slightly--

1.  cyanide--at start of the story.
2.  apples.

Even just before I read the wiki--I thought Turing must have committed suicide with cyanide, and for someone of his IQ, it would not have been difficult.

The scene near the end when he can no longer do crossword puzzles is excellent.

All shown through his hands in close up.

"Maybe later," (I will do them.)

Wikipedia article says in reality he committed suicide with an apple laced with cyanide.

--I thought Imitation Game was some sort of sci fi, as when I asked the clerk at the register, she pointed to a booklet, and said, "read that"--she did not even get off the phone when selling me my ticket.

I am so glad I went to see it.

Also I am going to watch more movies this Winter, and I am going to look for and read the movie script.

Some of the movies on my list

Best Exotic Marigold Hotel--
Black or White and
'71, about Belfast.

And my new column will be called

Dr. K goes to the movies.

Stay tuned.

Copyright KMKaung

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Kyi May Kaung's review of Rona Pederson's The Burma Spring--

As I just indicated, the PR person at Pegasus Books sent me a review copy of Rona Pederson's The Burma Spring--

In two hours, I have since leafed through it and read some sections which appear interesting to me.

It is quite an impressive listing of facts and interviews and material gleaned from interviews as well as written material, articles and books.

And it told me some things I did not know before, such as the "history" between pro-regime scholar Robert Taylor and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.  I did not expect them to like each other.

I did not like the remarks David Steinberg made about her--in my mind Steinberg isn't even a good scholar and way below the intelligence level of Suu Kyi and most democracy activists.

The Pederson book told me some things about how Mrs Laura Bush and Mrs Clinton became interested in and involved in the Burma issue.

But I do have a problem with the book--it seems to me, other than the positive title that assumed there is such a thing as a Burmese spring, to have no premise, and it just ends like that after 521 pages with no conclusions drawn and no analysis nor projections of what might and could happen, and the prospects for these assumed "reforms."  The reforms are not even described nor evaluated.

So it comes to just a formless recitation of different people's roles--but again US policy as regards Burma is not assessed.

Though laden with quite a bit of information, most of which I had read before, other than Stephen Law's many aliases as enumerated by the US DEA (p. 290)

that section on the corrupt junta and cronies was very depressing.

I have no idea at all on what Pederson thinks of the new post-2011 initiative after Suu Kyi's 2010 release.

In all the book is formless--just events and happenings strung together and narrated.

One thing is certain, she is not a spell-binding writer like Mark Bowden {author of Black Hawk Down, Killing Pablo (Escobar) etc.} who has elevated narrative non-fiction to a high art.

This may sound strange to you, but you should only buy this book as a reference book, not as something that will increase your understanding of Burma.

I intend to use my free copy as a reference for my fiction.

About three stars, out of five--

I don't like it as much as Peter Popham's biography of Daw Suu--I found much I agreed with in Popham's book and he writes better.

This book does not have footnotes nor end notes--

but mainly it has no structure, no premise and no conclusions.

The last 2 pages (p. 520 and 521) indeed are very strange, with a format that goes CLICK, and then another CLICK

to describe activist Zin Mar Aung and the 2007 monks' marches--What are these "clicks"?  I have never seen them in the hundreds of books I have read--

Disclaimer, I never promised the publicist I would write a favorable review, as I did not know beforehand if I would like it or not.

It is a good chronicling, but without analysis--

Too bad.

Kyi May Kaung (Ph.D.)
Burma analyst.


Friday, January 09, 2015

Obituary of my father U Kaung by Prof. U Myo Min --from 1957.

Obituary--from 1957
Sithu U Kaung, late Director of Education by Prof. Myo Min, head of the English Department, Univ of Rangoon.

A great loss to the cause of education in Burma, to Burmese intellectual life, and to the Burma Research Society was caused by the death of U Kaung, Director of Education and Vice President of the Burma Research Society, on 19 Feb. 1957.

U Kaung was born in 1904 and educated in Burma and England.  He entered the Education Service of the Government in 1930, and very rapidly rose to be Inspector of Schools.  When the Asian War came to Burma, he was serving as Chief Education Officer, Shan States.

In 1951 he headed the Directorate of Education.  In 1957 while engaged in official work in Calcutta, U Kaung was killed in a motor accident.  He is survived by Daw Thane (Mrs. U Kaung) a son and two daughters.

U Kaung was one of the most widely experienced educators that Burma had ever had.  He has left his imprint on many aspects of educational and intellectual activity in Burma.  As Secretary to the University Re-organisation Committee in 1946 (after World War II and the Japanese Occupation), he brought out a Comprehensive Report.  As Senior Education Officer in charge of Burma State Scholars in the UK from 1946-49, he guided and assisted many promising young Burmese to lay the foundations of their careers.  He was also at the time on the Burma Currency Board and the Burma currency notes printed and issued at that time bore his signature, so that these currency notes were generally called "Maung Kaung" by the populace.

U Kaung led or served on various official delegations abroad, such as the Burma Delegation to UNESCO in 1948 and 1949 (in Paris?)

He led the Burma Educational Mission to the UK, USA, Canada and Mexico for six months in 1951-52.

He was Director of the UNESCO Seminar for Youth Movements held in Tokyo in 1953.

He was one of the most traveled Burmese.

(edited slightly by KMKaung 1-9-2015, because I find the constant myanmaring of Burma annoying--& also untrue.  Burma was Burma 1948-1962 and this was written by U Myo Min in 1957, so obviously the "me and martians" was put in by the 2004 editor.  Sorry, but my blog is based in USA and it is my father too, and when in doubt, I always err on the side of truth.)


Sithu U Kaung (my father) by Sithu U Cho, 1957.

In Memoriam--Sithu U Kaung--by Sithu U Cho--March 1957.

(Note:  Uncle Cho and Aunty Cho, Christians, were my parents very best friends.  Sithu is a honorary title given out by the democratic PM U Nu's administration in the 50s.  It is about #3 in ranking from the top, but one rank higher than Thiripyanchi.
My father received his medal during the award ceremony at the Sattathanga Yana Tin (Sixth? Buddhist Synod)--but we spent most of the time stuck in a traffic jam on Kokine Road, during which my father got car sick and had to open the window to throw up.  U Cho and Aunty Cho like their name "Sweet" were the sweetest persons in the universe.  I just loved them both.  U Cho headed the Fulbright Board in Rangoon.)

In Memoriam, by Sithu U Cho.

The Educational Exchange Newsletter notes with regret the premature passing of a great scholar, educator and public servant, Sithu U Kaung, former Director of Education.

A "meticulous executive" and a brilliant and informed leader, U Kaung served his country as diplomat and chief of several educational missions abroad.  One such assignment took him to America where, in 1952 he served as head of a Burma educational mission, interested in observing school systems, methods of education and textbook printing.  At his death, U Kaung was both Director of Education and Chairman of the newly established Burma Historical Commission, which seeks to record the definitive history of Burma.
A prominent Burmese educator and a life-long friend of U Kaung praises him in these terms:

"U Kaung was a man of wide interests, with a harmonious fusion of the cultures of the East and the West. His high scholastic achievement . varied cultural pursuits, keen interest and participation in sports and games, and a wide circle of friends of all races and creeds, bespoke a rich and well-balanced life.  A man with imagination and initiative, he was one of the principal architects of the Welfare Plan in Education for Burma.  Meticulous in his methods, he expected thoroughness and careful study and presentation of cases from his staff.  He was highly esteemed by all as a chief, an officer and a friend."
Sithu U Cho, Educational Exchange Newsletter, Vol. 1. No. 2, Rangoon, March 1957.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Maori Haka Dancers of the World Unite--A Poem by Kyi May kaung

Maori Haka Dancers of the World Unite.

(mostly in Burmese)

sit pwe ma kyinn pa hmee
htoe say hta pya
sharr htoke pya

let thee let maung tann pyee
myet lone pyuu pya

Sit myay pyin ma yauk hmee

htoe say hta pya

Descendents of Hercules and Vajrapani, the blue skinned warrior, Buddha's Bodyguard with his thunderbolt weapon and his necklace of bleached skulls--

May your tattoed faces and thighs
chests and arms
your stuck out blue tongues
your war chants


the dreams and nightmares
of the evil doers and mongers

May it drive them crazy, causing them to jump to their deaths, commit suicide, be convicted by the International Criminal Court.

(Thanks to Burmese singer Daw Mar Mar Aye, for sharing the video clip)

Kyi May Kaung

Saturday, January 03, 2015

My novel Wolf--out soon--

out soon--
Mothi Awe Goke, student activist, flees the junta's agents on 18th September 1988 when the military government of Burma begins it crackdown, which continues for decades.

For a short time he hides in an outhouse, but comes out on the street that runs past Scott Market.
He is recognized and he runs out onto the main street.
A girl driving a white Mercedes stops and rescues him.
She keeps him hidden in one of her houses for a few days.
But she also wishes to exact a price from him.
When she sends him off on his way, she is pregnant with his child.

Wolf is the story of one man's struggle to be true to himself, his family, his beliefs and his country.
Follow Mothi from the world's capital cities to its slums.
Meet the men, and especially the women in his life.

A stranger girl only four feet tall, who supports him publicly for the first time in his life.

His mother, a member of the old rich.

His father, an army sergeant.

His uncle, a tank corps commander, trained in Fort Knox, Kentucky.

His aunt, a medical doctor.

His uncle Korea.

A famous freedom fighter poet, Naing Win Swe.

And his women, Felicity Harwood, and Thuzar, the mother of his son Jason.

Be repulsed by his brief encounters with the dictator Bright Sun, the communist ideologues Ba Nyein and Chit Hlaing.

Experience the mass shootings of 1962, 1967 and 1988.

Feel the love and betrayals that keep Mothi going till the surprise ending.

KM Kaung

Burl Ives-Ave Maria