Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Dagon Center Shopping Mall

Today, I went to the Dagon Center Shopping Mall to use the Internet. I have
been helping a friend who just got hired as a photographer for AFP news
agency. He doesn’t know much about computers and so I have been helping
him download his digital pictures from his camera and sending them to his boss
in Thailand. This is his probation period and it’s kind of important for
him to become permanent. I am afraid that it is going to have impact on me
because of his involvement in taking political pictures. But if I am of help
to changing somebody’s life because he wanted this job very much, I
think it’s worth helping him. Besides, jobs are scarce here, especially
jobs that pay about $ 300 a month.

At the Internet Café, they took users' fingerprint scans and I don’t understand why. It seemed strange. Burma is a strange place anyways.

Oh, good news is that we now have the rules changed from our ISP, BaganNet. Every dial-up user can access the censored Internet. Free web mail such as Yahoo and Hotmail, free web hosting, political sites and pornography are banned. But the rest are opened now. Burma is changing slowly.

I am so tired helping him all day today and I guess I am going to doze off.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Here is what I wrote for BARS (Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies) Newsletter

The darkness, eerie silence, twinkling stars and cool air on the Lisu Theological Seminary campus in Maymyo (Pyin Oo Lwin) literally took my breath away. It was a night for a lonely soul to let his imagination wander to an unknown world beyond the stars. A tall, unfinished building on the campus sat there like a giant ghost eyeing its little prey on a dark and eerie night.

It was totally different in the living room of the vice-principal’s house. The living room was full. Everybody’s eyes were fixed on a TV screen. Lwin Moe and Saya Waw Lay (M.Th) were sitting in the back row sipping green tea, and relaxing. Dr. Ah Li, the vice-principal, was sitting on the floor, her eyes staring at the screen. The kids were sitting around her, their eyes also on the screen. Some were lying on the floor without blinking their eyes for a second. Everybody was tense and it was at the climax when the disappointment came — the commercial.

We were all watching Jackie Chan’s movie on an Indonesian TV station transmitted through a satellite. It was funny, thrilling and exciting with one exception. The exception was that all the Chinese characters in the movie were speaking Indonesian. People who were watching the movie were Lisus, a Palaung and me, a Mon. None of us understands Indonesian, let alone speak and read it. Yet we were all enjoying the movie, guessing what the characters were saying. It was like 'Chinese characters speaking Indonesian, being watched by Lisu, Palaung and Mon audience.' The communication medium was a satellite above the sky, linking all these people together.

With the advance of technology, the world is getting smaller and smaller. Everybody is talking about 'Globalization' and 'Global village.' Enough of those trash talks and let me get to the point. English, in spite of its weaknesses, has been the de facto International language. Therefore, dear friends from BARS, please master English so the doors will be open, and the windows to tap into the pool of knowledge will become wider.