Monday, February 23, 2015

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Excerpt from my novella Home is Where?

Excerpt from my novella Home is Where?

"She wrapped them up in plain white paper for me, stapled all three cones together, and I went home, feeling very rich with my three bunches of flowers."


Excerpt from my upcoming novella Housewarming--

Excerpt from my upcoming novella Housewarming.

"At the Newseum, they were showing continuous scenes from the Inauguration on a big screen that covered one entire wall. 
George W. Bush’s  smile alone was about 5 feet wide. 
Little boys about Kurt’s age, dressed as nineteenth century newsboys were shouting “Extra!  Extra!” and handing out broadsheets in the lobby.  I recorded the little boys’ cries and interviewed some people, including a woman from Kenya, about the Inauguration and their thoughts on democracy.  There was an exhibition of very moving Pulitzer Prize winning photographs.  One showed an execution in Iran, another in Cambodia under Pol Pot.  Another unforgettable photograph was that of the anguished parents of a toddler who had just disappeared into the sea."

Copyright KMKaung

Blog post--Korean grocer

Flash fiction by KMKaung.

Snowing outside at least for last 2 hours.
Some of flakes were dancing as they came down,
falling steadily and heavily.
Cannot grocery shop again, but bought some items from convenience store downstairs.
Dish-washing liquid, cashew nuts, potato chips, coconut water.

Chatted with Korean shop owner.

Me:  How is your Diabetes?
He:  Umm
Me:  I like your shop.  You have everything.
He:  A little of everything.  (To maintenance people) Shall I move some things for you?
Me:  How often do you shop?
He:  Umm, not so often now.  I used to go 3 times a week.  Now about once a week.
We are not as busy as people think.
Me:  Where do you store it?  At home?
He:  No here, (points to store room at back).
Me:  Well, at least you are still here.

(I think of Korean couple at the food court where I used to eat sushi.  Once the lady asked me to sign a letter recommending her shop--she was about to lose it, and I did draft and sign a letter for her. 

Once she was rolling sushi and her pretty attendant dabbed her forehead with a piece of tissue.  But--on one day when she was not there, I saw her husband flirting with the girl.  Shortly after they lost their space and went somewhere.  But they were a nice couple.  When they saw me crossing the street, they would blare the horn of their  white SUV.  I even gave her some foundation makeup that I was unable to use, and that was almost new.  I can't use that kind of makeup that comes in a bottle and covers all my pores, because it makes me very hot and I get a headache.)

Me:  (To shopkeeper downstairs) Are you eating less noodles and rice?

He:  Asian, what do you think?  (He shakes his head, shows me how much he eats, in a big bowl.)

Me:  No, no.  (Leaving with 4 items)--You are still very young, take good care of yourself.

Young man grins at me.


Links to my stories published in 2014--reposting on request

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

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Review of KMKaung's novella 53 Red Roses by Kauk Site Ma

Book review of KMKaung's novella 53 Red Roses by Kauk Site Ma.

“Fifty Three Red Roses” is one of the novellas of Dr. Kaung, which I loved reading.

I find many interesting things in this story, such as the way the author portrays the different points of view of the man and the woman vividly.

She has described beautifully a married woman's life (Donna is the wife of an American diplomat).   Mrs. Woods has to sacrifice her own time for her other half, and to endure her life to fit her husband's career… ”days she ended up cooking what Bob likes…”--”Bob had been incredibly insensitive to give her a fur coat…” 

So that is what Donna had to accept, the gift her husband bought for her, though it is not what she enjoys.

…but a year after formal separation Donna can enjoy her life without restraint.

Dr Kaung also touches on a “spirit” if NOT “the evil spirit”...that are known to be homeless, whirling round “the Wheel of Samsara”.

Even up to now (in Burma), many people still believe that when a person dies his/her spirit dwells for seven days in and around the house,  haunting their familiar haunts, so that monks have to chant a “Kammavacca” or a Buddhist Prayer Script at the death of a human being.

“Kammavacca” is a Buddhist Prayer Manuscript made from various types of materials (but the scripts made from palm leaves are most common) containing pages or leaves on which words in the Pali Language are inscribed.

Kauk Site Ma
February 18, 2015.

Links where you may buy my novellas (print editions) Band of Flesh and 53 Red Roses--

Here are the links where you may buy my 2 novellas--Band of Flesh and 53 Red Roses.

These links are for the print editions worldwide.

The e-edition is on Kindle.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Quote of the day--from Mark Twain--Those Extraordinary Twins

Quote of the Day--Incomparable Mark Twain--from his story (don't know yet if it is long or short, copyright expired, on Guttenberg Project)--Those Extraordinary Twins, based on a set of real life twins --fiction.

"The new lodger, rather shoutingly dressed but looking superbly handsome, stepped with courtly carnage into the trim little breakfast-room and put out all his cordial arms at once, like one of those pocket-knives with a multiplicity of blades, and shook hands with the whole family simultaneously."

Just lovely, love it.


Monday, February 09, 2015

How about KMKaung's short story Band of Flesh--as the ultimate Valentine's Day gift--for the thinking man and woman

How about?  Band of Flesh and 53 Red Roses--
As the ultimate Valentines Day gift--for the thinking man and woman.

Sorry, it is not a children's book.

What does Love or Attachment really mean?

Who really loves Ying in the story--the medical doctors?  The Frog?  The parents?  The other relatives who live off the Twins.

Find the answer--

Book review of KM Kaung's Band of Flesh by Kauk Site Ma--

Informal book review of KM Kaung's story Band of Flesh from Kauk Site Ma--link to buy the book is below--


'First of all, I love the story chosen with a name “A Band of Flesh”. 

I had read about these conjoined [Siamese] twins born to parents in about the early 1950s. I think it appeared in one of those old newspapers, which I saw in my father's wooden chest. 

Honestly, I forgot the names but they were quite famous as the first Siamese Twins in the world. I think one had 10 children, and another a dozen kids???

Wonderful, how they could  live as able-bodied human beings.

I see, it is a real suffering, that happens from the accident of birth … where the babies are connected to a single umbilical cord (sic)  (In the womb?).

They do not have privacy to bathe, eat, excrete…everything, and even when they get married (in some cases they are one male and the other female).

If I were they I would have felt like Ying.

Question is should they be separated to survive?

A fundamental problem I think is that most parents may not agree to separate their twins.
They may feel differently in ways than we thought. Then, from human rights view… those human-beings - is it right to refuse such kind of separating? Or is it to accept it as a good medical treatment?

(Editor--in some cases they cannot be separated.)

What about killing? (Euthanasia)

Doctors have to take oath that they should not take life (of babies in the womb)…….

(Editor--In USA abortions on request are legal)

Another thing flashes in my mind, thinking what if one of those twins died of say disease? Normally another would have died of fright or like what you have said about Yang and Ying in your story. This is natural because the survived twin (s/he) is attached to another dead twin. It’s so complicated…and hard to say when their connection is complex and would they have survived from being parted or not? 

There were a few cases (such as Ma Nan Soe and Ma Nan San in Burma) and many around the world today where (only) one can survive after separation.

It's an unhappy ending..  where the thin one tried  to escape her suffering  by taking pills that put her and her family into trouble. Buddhists believe the one should not commit suicide..because that person will suffer the same committing suicide for 500 times, and so one goes for 500 endless lives (a hpan nga-yar, nga gabar in Burmese)...endless life of Samsara.

So killing oneself is the same as killing another living being.

Nice reading.

Kauk Site Ma

Editor--lightly edited for grammar only.

Don't just meditate--

I hate to say this but please

don't just meditate
don't just read poetry
don't just read non-fiction
don't never read anything political

don't never read any journals in Burmese--
don't only paint

don't only cook
don't only meditate

I know when I lived in Burma--
I only read the occasional political thriller
I could borrow from somebody
who had got it from a foreigner
who left it behind

and I only watched cartoons and spaghetti westerns on TV bc that was all that em tv broadcast

but now it is the age of the Internet

and if you don't watch the news
and you don't read fiction
to activate your imagination

one day a bomb might explode under you
literally and figuratively

you might be beheaded or kidnapped.

So Please--


Sunday, February 08, 2015

Excerpt from my novella Home is Where? Coming soon on Amazon--

Opening of my novella Home is Where--partly based on my "spinster aunt" Daw Lay or Aunty Flo--

"Home is Where?
I always thought that I knew exactly where home was, but now in America I am not so sure. 
In Burma I had a home. 
It wasn’t big. 
It wasn’t grand, but it was mine. 
A woman without a husband, back there I could still live in a small place, on a patch of land, still my own. 
True, now my nephew in the army will have taken it all, but that is guilt he has to live with, not me.
I got my house and my land in Burma quite legitimately. 
My aunt left the property to me—My spinster aunt who in the colonial days had been engaged to her dear one for seventeen years, then married one year, then divorced, in the old days when divorce was unheard of. 
Even now it’s heard of only now and then, and the woman is always wrong. 
I suppose Aunty Florence was more sympathetic to my plight than anybody else, even my parents.
I had several defects as potential marriage material. 
I am thin and tall, bony. 
I have no flesh, the folks in Burma say, for a man to warm himself on on cold nights." 

Coming soon--

Copyright KM Kaung--

Open to book signings-- for my Band of Flesh and 53 Red Roses--

I have a limited number of review copies of my stories, Band of Flesh and 53 Red Roses--

the "price" will be a review of the stories, written by you, to be posted to the Amazon site.
The print edition will be out around Feb 17th.

I am also open to book readings in the Greater DC Area--or anywhere else, provided I get some help with transport and room and board--

I now have 7 titles of novellas and short story collections which are--

1.  Black Rice​
2. Band of Flesh and 53 Red Roses--
3.  FGM
4. Dancing like a Peacock/Koel Bird--
5.  Rider of Crocodiles--
6.  No Crib for a Bed & Other Stories--
7.  The Lovers--

Message me if you wish to host a book signing at your home or other local meeting place--

I am an experienced and very engaging speaker who has worked in international broadcasting & has done dozens of presentations internationally.


My short stories Band of Flesh and 53 Red Roses are now available on Kindle--at link below--

Original illustration for my short story Band of Flesh--

Original illustration for my short story Band of Flesh by Tom Curry as it appeared in 1997 Philadelphia Inquirer Sunday Magazine--edited by Avery Rome--

My first money from publishing--not strictly correct--earned my first K40 when I was thirteen with a short story (translation of Min Shin's story) in The Guardian (Rangoon).

I did not use this illustration in my present publication as the other story 53 Red Roses, has to be "taken care of too" on the cover, so I chose an abstract, and I could not locate Curry to ask permission.

Anyway, I love his illustration and should probably frame it.


Friday, February 06, 2015

back cover blurb for my upcoming book--Band of Flesh and 53 Red Roses--

Blurb from back cover of my short stories--Band of Flesh and 53 Red Roses--

Dr. K.M. Kaung was finishing her dissertation on totalitarian systems when she read about the hostage crisis in Lebanon at that time, and wrote Band of Flesh, about Ying, one half of 2 conjoined twins who yearns desperately to be free.
Donna Lee Woods has been going along with her US diplomat husband to many countries, until he gives her 53 red roses, and suddenly, she cannot take it any more.
Explore here with Ms. Kaung the quiet desperation of many human lives that are outwardly content and comfortable, till they reach the breaking point.

I have uploaded the files and the book is under review at Amazon.

This time the Kindle edition and the paper edition have different covers, but they are both good- looking, and I made them myself on line.


Opening of Kyi May Kaung's short story--53 Red Roses, coming soon on Amazon--

Opening of my novella--53 Red Roses--soon to be published--

Donna Lee Woods pushed her brown hair off her face and sighed. 
Her mirror had always told her she was plain. 
It was Valentine’s Day and her fifty third birthday combined, and she was sure as usual her husband Bob would forget both. 
He was getting very absent minded, especially with the short term memory, and she was hardly any better. 
After twenty eight years of marriage, they had grown used to each other. 
She had given up a lot, including a career as a linguist and her great love of travel and languages, because Bob just said once, “I’d like to see you when I come home from work in the evenings.” 
This was when she was taking French courses at the Alliance Fran├žaise in Rangoon, where Bob had been posted with the American Embassy in the late fifties. 
She tagged along where her husband was posted, but they weren’t the places she would have gone if she were going alone. 
Alone, she might have chosen to walk across Afghanistan and Inner Mongolia in the 15th century emperor Babur’s footsteps, or gone to Angkor Wat in Cambodia and started researching Khmer Rouge survivor stories, but she was just an embassy wife, following where her spouse was posted. 
Most of the time she hated it. 

Copyright Kyi May Kaung​

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Read my novella FGM about Female Genital Mutilation in Ethiopia

.  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.

A Theory or Philosophy of Sewing--by Kyi May Kaung

A Theory or Philosophy of Sewing--recycling and up-cycling clothes (longyis or sarongs into tops/jackets).

How is this possible?

Because the basic design of a longyi or lungi has not changed in about 100-150 years.

It is basically 1 7/8 or 1 3/4 or 2 yards of cloth, sewn now in a tube, but in Upper Burma in my great grandmother's day (so sad, I don't know who they were, nor their names) it was a lined piece of cloth with a white train, about 3/4 yard? and an open (slit) wrap.

I expect it was pinned together with safety pins, or princesses were sewn in.

The safety pins would have been imported, and Burma still does not make safety pins as far as I know.  When I taught at IER, we had rusty pins to pin our papers together.  You could almost get tetanus from the pins.

Anyway, what I am trying to say is if we had not grown bigger or fatter with better food and nutrition and emigration, and if WWII had not seen my maternal grandmother's 100s of longyis looted (I now only have 2 that used to belong to her)

I might have about 500 longyis now.

I don't know how many I had in Burma--never counted--but maybe about one hundred?

In USA I have been recycling them in batches of 2-20 for about 4-5 times now.

The first patch jacket I made was from tops!  that were too small for me.

The first patch dress I made was of 4 woven acheik patterns, turned 8 ways--I made this after my friend Elizabeth Elegbede (still using her Nigerian ex husband's surname, told me to "use the pieces that can't stand much stress on the sleeves" so I did this.  I was inspired by a dress she had, probably from Bangkok.)

Here is the process--

1.  When the fabric/old longyis get to you, sort them out--

--some have frayed and need to be discarded
--some are very low quality and not "Burmese cloth"--neither are they good quality imported fabrics from old days.
--some are stained
--some are not worth saving

recyle these into household linen but not table linen except maybe tablecloths and aprons.

I have made men's longyis into napkins and pillow cases.

--Process or logic of sorting is different from sorting clothes (mostly business suits) bought in USA.  I will give pointers on that later.

--Divide old longyis into two batches--

1.  collectibles that are worth remaking in a different form.
2.  Those that are 2nd grade or 3rd grade.

See which ones can still work as at home yay lair longyis--"after the bath"--I need a lot of at home washable wear as I work at home and spend more time at home.

Last year I even had to buy new longyi cloth from a quilting outlet.  I only like printed cotton.

--Silks--laces--recycle into scarves or accent jackets or accents for jackets or tops.


hand woven--tops

prints and plain--make/use for patches, edgings, interfacings, bindings.

for Chinese frog buttons.

--Sort everything by color and color fastness--CUT all the longyis open and save the seams as string for art projects or to use in the garden.

put color fast ones in washing machine and wash if possible, up to 2 times on warm cycle.

Non-color fast ones & doubtful ones--proceed with caution.

Soak a day or 2, 2-3 times in fresh water, until all the dye comes out more or less clear.

Then dry and iron and you can proceed.

Sort, once again, which fabric you will use with which.

As I like pinks, reds, purples, browns and black, I have no great problem with this--

see how much of each fabric design you have--

then decide what you will make,

cut and sew--

items I have made include

summer shifts
shifts to wear in very hot weather when working in house or coming out of swimming pool, as a cover up.

Tops that go over my head.

Warm weather vests for about 75 F.




Long opera coats

Medium length vest/coats



I used to have to travel a lot and make presentations on Burma--then I would wear my ethnic/unique clothes.

I never make skirts and pants as not worth my time and effort and I only buy off the shelf on sale from good stores.

--so--1.  Sort.
2. get it clean
get the stink out
3. re-cycle and up-cycle to fit new you and new life.

Never unpick an old seam--not worth it, just cut it out, or incorporate into the new design.

Clothes are to cover our nakedness, keep us warm or cool, as the case may be, make us feel confident and warm, and use our memories and past positively.

Copyright KMKaung

Special post--ancient Burmese buddha coming to New York--not to be missed--

Burl Ives-Ave Maria