Friday, September 30, 2016

Interesting, as they say--novels about the JFK assassination--

Who or what is CSIS? from Wikipedia link--

Full text--transcript copied and pasted from CSIS--Burma & Reform, since inexplicably, there is no sound on the Youtube link--

Center for Strategic and International Studies
Southeast Asia Program
Keynote Address by Ben Rhodes at the “The United St
ates and
Myanmar: Next Steps” Conference
Ben Rhodes,
Assistant to the President and Deputy National Secu
rity Adviser for Strategic
Communications and Speechwriting, Executive Office
of the President
Amy Searight,
Senior Adviser and Director, Southeast Asia Program
Center for Strategic and International Studies
Location: CSIS Headquarters, Washington, D.C.
Time: 9:30 a.m. EDT
Date: Monday, September 12, 2016
Transcript By
Superior Transcriptions LLC
BEN RHODES: Great. Well, thank you, everybody, fo
r being here today. And I know you
have a good day of panel discussions. I’ll just gi
ve you some opening comments on how we’re looking
at the visit from State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi,
who will be arriving in Washington later today.
And I do think it’s sometimes hard to recall just h
ow improbable this is. I was thinking of it
recently when we were in Laos for the U.S.-ASEAN me
eting and the East Asia Summit. And the first
ASEAN meeting we had, in 2009, I recall there was a
n extensive debate over whether we would even
shake hands with the Burmese president. Aung San S
uu Kyi was under house arrest. And so being in
Laos and looking over at the Burmese seat and seein
g it occupied by Aung San Suu Kyi in her capacity
as state counselor I think really speaks to the eno
rmous transformation that has taken place inside of
Myanmar over the course of the last eight years.
Of course, this process is not complete by any meas
ure, and I’ll speak a little bit about that
today as well. But I do think that that perspectiv
e has to bear in our minds as we prepare for what i
s a
truly historic visit.
During her time here, Aung San Suu Kyi will be meet
ing with President Obama tomorrow.
She’ll also be meeting with Vice President Biden at
his residence, a number of Cabinet members, and
of course members of Congress who have been critica
l to our Burma policy for many years, as well as
the business community. And she’s very interested
in trying to promote greater investment in Burma.
You know, I’ll just step back for a moment and put
in perspective some of the changes that have
taken place over the last several years. You know,
we have to recall that Burma is a country where ou
policy was rooted in promoting democracy and human
rights for many decades. And it’s been a shared
goal of every U.S. administration and the Congress,
particularly since the crackdown by the Burmese
military in 1988 and the subsequent refusal to allo
w Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for
Democracy to take power following elections after t
heir overwhelming victory in 1990.
And so, over many years, we had robust sanctions in
place and restrictions on individuals and
entities in Burma to try to bring about change from
the military junta. And for many years, that was
met with resistance.
When we took office in 2009, we initiated a review
of our policy to see if there would be
openings for engagement to try to move things forwa
rd and try to see if we could get further with
engagement than purely through a policy of isolatio
n. Around the same time, the military authorities
who assumed power in 2011 began an initial process
of reform, and they demonstrated some degree of
a commitment to change and they created an opening
for us to begin to ease our own restrictions. And
that led by President Obama announcing in 2011 that
we would be sending Secretary Clinton to visit
for the first time, and ultimately also she then an
nounced that we would be sending an ambassador,
Derek Mitchell, who’s here today, so that we’d begi
n the process of normalizing our diplomatic
Over the course of the next several years, we began
to ease our sanctions. We began to engage
the government. There was a sense of things openin
g up, of political prisoners being released, of the
a desire for there to be greater investment and int
erconnectivity with the global economy. Clearly, t
was something that had been desired by the Burmese
people, by the NLD, by Aung San Suu Kyi, but
also some of the military leadership was clearly in
dicating that they wanted to move in a different
I remember when I visited Burma for the first time
with President Obama. You had a sense of
an overwhelming thirst for this engagement with the
United States. We had never really seen crowds
like that greet a motorcade, even in all the travel
s that President Obama had done around the world.
You know, I think what was most striking to me is w
hen we came in from the airport, at first there
were kind of uniformed schoolchildren greeting us a
nd it felt like, you know, a ceremony arranged by
the government. But then, when we passed through t
hat phalanx of people, suddenly the crowds
swelled to the tens of thousands, in a country wher
e gatherings of people in any – in any number had
previously been restricted. And so you had a sense
of a pent-up desire to engage the world and to tak
the future of the country into the hands of the peo
The next time I visited, Derek was ambassador, and
I don’t think he was sleeping very much
because there was so much to do. There was such a
desire for an engagement with the United States,
and there was also an enormous need for capacity in
the government, in all of the ministries, in terms
how to attract investment, in terms of how to gover
n more effectively. And a lot of the space that we
sought to fill, that I’ll speak about in a moment,
was building up the capacity for there to be a
democratic transition. It’s both an issue of will
on the part of the government; it’s also an issue o
whether or not we can support the capacity-building
necessary to ensure a dividend along with
Now we are at a critical juncture. A lot of our ef
fort went into ensuring that the election that
took place last year was credible and inclusive and
allowed the Burmese people to express their voice.
And ultimately, that is what took place. And, as i
n 1990, you had an overwhelming victory for the
NLD, very much because of the leadership of Aung Sa
n Suu Kyi but also because of a desire for
change in the country. I think at each juncture th
ere as skepticism. Would the election go off well?
Would international monitors be able to participate
? Would there be broad access to the polls across
the country? And that was the case. And then ther
e was, I think, a question about whether or not the
would be a peaceful transition of power, and whethe
r or not the military would respect the result of t
election. And, indeed, they did, in part because o
f outreach from the NLD, in part because there was
sincere commitment to a democratic transition from
President Thein Sein and some of the military
Again, that’s not to say that the process is by any
means complete. But, of course, we had the
first peaceful transition of power with the inaugur
ation earlier this year of President Htin Kyaw as t
first elected civilian president in more than 50 ye
ars. And then, of course, Aung San Suu Kyi, as the
leader of the NLD, assumed the position of state co
unselor, and it’s in that capacity that she’s visit
the United States.
To put this in perspective, there are now over 100
former political prisoners serving as
parliamentarians in the Union Parliament. We conti
nue to engage not just the leadership and Aung San
Suu Kyi, but parliamentarians and ministries, so th
at we’re most effective in building the capacity th
at I
spoke about.
The new government has released another 63 politica
l prisoners. They’ve dropped charges
against almost 200 individuals who were facing conv
iction on political grounds.

Mispelled criticism on Lipton Tea and the Lady by dictator's grandson--

Lipton Tea is NOT CHEAP with reference to Burmese per capita income and so many sics from the little  puff ball.

I was trying to find out what food was served at the US Asean up to 25,000 USD per plate dinner recently.

If anyone knows, post me a comment.


Ed Ruscha and Text--

My articles from Asian Correspondent 2012, including one advising against premature lifting of sanctions--

Presdt Obama pledges to lift sanctions--from New York Times--2 weeks ago--

Quote of the Day--from Macbeth--sound and fury--signifying nothing--

"Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." Macbeth Quote (Act V, Scene V).  
Illustration--Shasha or Kill Kill, the battle cry of the Boxers in China--Copyright Kyi May Kaung.  Acrylic on paper.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's US visit--Ben Rhodes and Serge Pun at CSIS/DC--

I think the US Govt is determined to mark Burma as a success in its foreign policy during the Obama administration.

Note:  They are all saying the em word now, incld the White House and Daw Suu.

But only time will tell, is it real or is it, as Daw Suu herself said in DC recently, just a facade???


Arctic dinosaurs--from PBS--

From White House site--Daw Aung San Suu Kyi--

from 2012--Aung San Suu Kyi interview with Christiane Amanpour, CNN--on sanctions

Pricey dinner tickets when Daw Suu in DC--

Interview of Jack Myint a k a Hla Phone Myint of US-Asean Council--

Mitch McConnell welcomes Burma's Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to the US Senate--

National Park Scandals--just when I thought these parks are wonderful--

Kate and William snubbed by ethnic Canadian--

Buy our book--essays about the Institute of Economics, Rangoon, from the days when it was Great--

Portrait bust of Dr. Aye Hlaing, our Mentor and Founder, first Rector of the Institute of Economics, Rangoon, Burma.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

59 National Parks of USA

Sequoa National Park


National Parks of N America

Utah National Parks

Global warming clues--

Back to veloco rapters (spelling?) dinosaurs

from Ivan Watson CNN--Who is Aung San Suu Kyi?

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi at the White House with President Obama--

Monday, September 26, 2016

Daw Suu at Asia Society on the same day! Very impressive--with Kevin Rudd

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's UN General Assemby speach 9-21-2016

presented in global terms without naming names, she said however "Rakhine" and the em word.

I personally find nothing objectionable in it and was disgusted to see the "real" em thugs at the beginning and end.

Why can't we dump those 5? men in the Hudson River.

Excellent speach by Dr. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi--"are we all going to stagnate in a facade of democracy which is not much better than--

from 2015, keynote address Burmese-American Association, Indianapolis.

retrieved 9-26-2016

Image Daw Aung San Suu Kyi at moment she saw me in audience--2012 frame grab from TV

Stratfor report--US dam safety from 2008--posted with permission

"Another Dam Threat is republished with permission of Stratfor."

Iranian Americans in San Francisco Bay Area--

Hetch Hetchy Valley, Dam and Reservoir--

Indian-Hindu Elephant God--

Good article on Facebooking--

I decided I won't delete and open a new one till I get a literary agent and a breakthrough in my writing career.

I just had a long vacation with folks I got back in touch with again via FB.

But I found many people (on FB) do not check their email inboxes.

And also FB is too dangerous to keep using.

It needs to resolve the cloning and hacking problem.

I only had it for 3 years.

In contrast I have had this blog for more than 10 years.

So maybe--

and as for writing & painting, it has been around forever.

So hooray for old tech.

The advice was--"go back to paper and pencil"

(if you were hacked or cloned)

and so it is and so it will be,


PS--I think FB was "too close" and too much sharing anyway.

Slow food & school food--

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Prayer--

I was in Bakersfield CA very recently, and my friend said on my last evening there--

"Wait for me to finish doing the dishes, and E and I will say a special prayer for you."

She then came to the sofa E holding her family Bible.  It had a red cover.

USP was sitting nearby, and earlier E had crocheted a white beret for me for winter, adding a sun visor at my request.

I said it would be OK if she just read that psalm, number 24 or 25.
 Woman sheds veil--by KMKaung--now in private collection.

She did.

Earlier, as we had been separated by circumstance since about 1990 or 1991, I told her about my epiphany in hospital which happened about 1994.

As I have told her already about that, I think I am now ready to write it as a novel, if I can find a literary agent.

Burma is chugging along one track and does not need me, but I need to write.


US sanctions on Burma endng--but non profits working for human rights not happy.

Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi at UN General Assembly fails to mention Rohingya by name--but--

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Been there, done that--Conservatory of Flowers--San Francisco--

Legendary editor Robert Gotlieb--

Was there, did that--de Young Museum at Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco--

Saw Ed Ruscha show and Minimalism exhibit on textiles

and Andy Goldsworthy split rocks and cracks in paving in the entry courtyard.

All excellent.


Divorce of the decade, if not the century--no more Brangelina--

I have been away--thank you for keeping my page hits up--

over 10,000 blog hits per week from France
over 1300 blog hits yesterday
over 1400 blog hits day before yesterday.

and here is how the NYTs moderates its comments on line.

I am still off Facebook and may never return, however, had much face to face interaction with folks I had come back in touch with through FB.

So I have mixed feelings about FB but I like the time it has freed up.

I can do useful things like real work and sleep.

And my eyes they ache and grow weaker and so I can't go back to FB.


Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Human Rights Watch advises USA keep sanctions on Burma--

She is not "de facto" leader, but nominal facade advisor.

Do not understand remark about "mansions"

and I advised all along to keep the sanctions.

Now people are beginning to realize they have been had yet again.
Comment left on Irrawaddy site.


NOT TO CARE what people think and to be free of the little pricks, is the best Freedom of all--click if you agree--have left Facebook for good--the flack was counter productive and annoying. Here you cannot comment at all, and I cannot respond at all. It is set up that way. Ha ha ha.

Sad clown by KMKaung--copyright.

THIS BLOG IS NOW 10 YEARS OLD! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!-- It has been one helluva journey--

Some of my artistic products and friendships--thank you all.


Dr. Kyi May Kaung's interview of Burmese poet Tin Moe, from 2001--shortly after I was pushed out of that radio station, mainly I think because my programs were so popular inside Burma--

Burma has dropped entirely out of my top rated blogs stats--and it is just as well--as numbers continue to climb--

How to make tiramisu, an Italian dessert--

Review by Kyi May Kaung of Nien Cheng's Life and Death in Shanghai--

Beautifully written account of what really happened.

Nien Cheng arrived in the USA about the same time I did, though she was about the age of my mother.
I came from Burma and was studying, in secret, why socialist or communist systems and central planning fail.  Immediately after 1988, when the Burmese embassy sent agents to check on what my colleague Yasmin (now deceased) and I were studying, I said to the rather stupid man, "development economics."  And I mentioned names he was likely to know already.
In those first years in graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, I was too busy with course work-related reading to do much "outside reading."
But I do remember distinctly reading abridged versions of Nien Cheng's book and Dr. Li Zisui's Life of Chairman Mao as excerpts in Time Magazine.
However, as excerpts they were much less satisfying than the full length books.
When I first got to Washington D.C. to work at a radio station broadcasting to Burma, I walked to Politics and Prose Bookstore and sat at one of the tables downstairs.

It turned out the group at the next table was discussing Life and Death in Shanghai.

My eavesdropping became too obvious, and the women invited me over.

It was a women's bio group.

A few weeks later they invited Nien Cheng to P's house, and I got to meet her!

I distinctly remember what she said, and I wrote a short piece for the radio newsletter.

She told us the exact amount of money she had "in blue chip stocks" when she arrived, and how she had no idea of how she would get any more.

She re-wrote her manuscript 4 times.

She said, "There were so many interrogations,"  (so she had to combine some).

I asked if she would go back to China.

She said, "No.  Maybe if my daughter had lived--"

The regime returned her daughter's clothes, including a barely worn padded jacket.
This book like Dr Li's illustrates so well the violent zig-zagging of Chinese policy, really one man, Mao's whims, and how everyone is warped and suffers as a result.

As I am from Burma, which more or less aped Chinese and Soviet economic policies, it is very easy for me to relate to Nien Cheng's experiences.

I think partly the writing is so economical and precise because she is a trained economist, a graduate of LSE or the London School of Economics.

The other is because she is just a very good writer, able to look at herself and her past objectively and write it as it was.


When I told my economist mentor from Burma, now at Columbia Univ., in about 2001 that I had met Nien Cheng, he asked, "Is she as impressive as people say?"

"Oh, definitely."

I am even more impressed at how she managed her life, after reading Life and Death in Shanghai, unabridged.

I was sad to learn she had passed away, but even when we met she said calmly, "If my (arthritis) gets worse, I will just go to managed care,"
and "I am leaving everything to Sibley Hospital."

For me, Nien Cheng is a great role model.

To survive Maoist China and prison, to leave China and start again at age 70+, to write one book which was a best seller, to be able to live a gracious, generous and good life, all this is admirable.

She died in 2009 of renal failure at her home in D.C., Wikipedia says.

What a great lady and a great life.

Kyi May Kaung--

Kyi May Kaung--9-6-2016

Review by Kyi May Kaung of Bertil Lintner's Outrage--

A classic now, and the only comprehensive and insightful account of the earth-shaking events of Burma March 1988--to 1990 just before the elections.

This book has been on my to-read list for a very long time, but until now, was not easy to obtain.
In about 1991, I saw an edition published in Thailand, at the home of my Karen friend in Princeton, but it was a poor physical production, done on rather cheap paper.

Also, I could only glance at it, as all my friend's many friends were lined up to read it too, and it was starting to fall apart at the spine.

I am so glad I could get the new revised edition now.

It goes blow by blow from the historic brawl in a Rangoon Institute of Technology tea shop to the events of 1988, 89 and up to 1990.

Not only is the detail and the writing good and clear, it also does not forget the wood for the trees.  Lintner never pulls any punches and always lays it out as it is or was.

It puts everything in perspective.

The regime's alternate bungling and brutality, its time honored fall back on the only thing it understands, state sponsored violence.

Its disrespect and underestimation of the Burmese people, its trotting out of one front man puppet after another.

I was not in Burma during this period, and writing my dissertation at the Univ. of Pennsylvania, Bertil Lintner's reports in the Far Eastern Economic Review, Seth Mydans in the New York Times and the BBC broadcasts through NPR, were all I had.

My dissertation was on why totalitarian systems like Burma, China and the USSR/Russia make such an infernal mess.

Reading Outrage recalls many of the events, such as Dr. Maung Maung, ridiculed as "Hpaung gar sar Maung Maung," a king who ruled only one week.

In time I met Bertil Linter as well as Mrs. Lintner (Hseng Noung), and others mentioned in the narrative, such as Htun Aung Gyaw and Moethee Zun.

I believe everything Lintner writes, because it all logically hangs together, and it coincides with everything I heard in those embroiled years and later.

This is truly Bertil Lintner's magnum opus, and I am happy there is at last a Burmese translation.

Lintner's work shows the power and the lasting value of the written word.

Incidentally, that it this book is still in demand and is becoming a classic is shown by the market price of the books.

One volume of Lintner is worth more than 100s of copies of sycophantic writers like Dr. Maung Maung, Htin Aung (he allegedly wrote his history to curry favor with Ne Win so he could return home in his old age) and Thant Myint-U.

--Kudos--I hope you will write of after 1990 including up to now and the facade democracy.

Kyi May Kaung (Ph.D.)

From 2013--at last--Burmese translation of Bertil Lintner's classic Outrage, about 1988 in Burma--

My archive at IISH, Amsterdam--