Friday, March 20, 2015

Beginning of my Introduction to Let the Shit Fly with the Flowers: A Collection of Essays from the Institute of Economics, Rangoon.

Beginning of my Introduction to Let the Shit Fly with the Flowers:  A Collection of Essays from the Institute of Economics, Rangoon. 

Last year I had the good fortune to publish several novellas and short story collections, some of them set in Burma, some not.
In the euphoria of the moment, feeling I had mastered the supply side of the publication process on line, I offered to publish scholarly or semi-scholarly articles to two groups of people:
1.     A group I will call the Informal Rohingya Scholars Group.
2.     My former colleagues and students from the Institute of Economics, Rangoon, 1950s to about 1980.
The IRSG and our discussions via e-mail are at this point indefinitely stalled, as my co-editor and facilitator’s book proposal on behalf of all members was rejected by an academic press.  But I am proud to say that I did help Columbia University in New York City in Sept 2012 find specialists to speak, at a Rohingya Conference in the very auditorium in which Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was to be interviewed by journalist Ann Curry and few days later, the Low Library.
Five hundred people registered and Nobel Laureate A.K. Sen gave the keynote address.  The University took the word “Rohingya” (a sub-group of Burmese Muslims) entirely out of the title of the presentation, but the specialists all spoke about the Rohingya issue, and I am glad that almost all my suggestions for invitations were acted on, in one case (Dr. Maung Zarni’s), he was flown in from Asia.
Prof. Sen was invited directly by the University and the Convenor, but the rest who constituted about 50% of the panel were those suggested by me.  I only regret that Chris Lewa who has focused on Western Burma deliberately since at least 2001, when I first met her, was unable to come due to her busy schedule.
In my life, I often do or agree to things because I think they will not work out.
Two cases in point were the 1969 scholarship I received to study Economic Planning in Warsaw, Poland, and the scholarship I received twenty years later to study in the USA.
But those are different stories.
But when I put out feelers about an Institute of Economics, Rangoon, alt-memorial edition of essays, it turned out that almost all my friends submitted essays or poems, some 2-3 items each.
So I was stuck, and since I gave me word (through U Hla Hpyu Chit) I have had to go through with it.
It is my pleasure now to say that I am in process of putting together and formatting the final manuscript and so far it is about 50% complete too.


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