Posts

Showing posts from 2004

Christmas in Laos

Image
Merry X'mas to you all. We had a Christmas party at the Digital Divide Data Laos office.

Well, my Christmas this year was untypical. I worked during the day since Christmas was not an official holiday in Laos. Unfortunately, because of multinational businesses' taking advantage of law in countries like Laos, they have to work on Saturdays, meaning Christmas was a working day. :-)

However, we had a nice little Christmas party after work.

Well, the weather here is, of course, not snowing. A perfect Fall day, you would say, if you are from the Mid-west of America.

Even though most people in the office are Buddhists, they celebrated Christmas for fun :-) Here is a picture of a Buddhist shrine with Santa.




Tourism

This is the article I read today. Something to think about Burma. In
"Mystique outweighs morality for Myanmar tourists",
the author mentioned the desire of many tourists who want to visit Burma
instead of sanctions and political problems. A good remark by a Swiss
backpacker:

“If you start thinking about not coming here because of the government, you will have to start thinking about whether to go to China, Laos, Tibet, or even the United States,” said Swiss backpacker Marcel Schonenberger.
http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle.asp?xfile=data/todaysfeatures/2004/December/todaysfeatures_December45.xml&section=todaysfeatures

I read this article about Burmese economy.

Dinner at DDD, Vientiane

Image
Here is a picture of us eating dinner at the Digital Divide Data Laos office. It's much fun to learn about Laos and the culture and the people :-)

People in the picture: (Left - right) Lwin Moe, Moukda, Phonekham, Teuanchit, Somkhith, Keo.




ALOHA 18

ALOHA 18 (December 10, 2004)

I got to Vientiane, Laos today

Bangkok City

Image
I left for Bangkok today. I was picked up at the airport by Uncle Tun Thein, Uncle Soe Myint and Ko Zaw Zaw.



The Bridge on the River Kwai





Mon dress at the museum of Mon Studies Center




Lwin Moe with a Karen family at a village near Thai-Burma border


Three pagodas on Thai-Burma border





Htay Kywe

Image
Ko Htay Kywe (ဌေးကြွယ်) and me. The picture was taken this morning. Ko Htay Kywe spent about 14 years in prison for his political involvment in 1988 student movement.

Anonymization

I have been using www.anonymization.net to read news and go to banned sites.


Passport application

I finally got my passport today. What a long and depressing headache to go through! I applied for it on October 5. I even wrote some experiences in my ALOHA.


Cute Burmese kids playing!

Image

Misc.

Image
I was trying to register with some free web hosting services. After a lot of "DansGuardian - Access Denied" messages, I was successfully able to register at a few sites. However, when I tried to log into one of the services, I found my access completely denied because the server was using port 445 to listen to my log-in attempt. My proxy server from BaganNet didn't allow any traffic to non-standard (non-8080/80) ports. It was a bummer.


This morning, I went to Kan Daw Gyi Park in Rangoon (Yangon) because BARS computer science students had a retreat to welcome freshmen. Here are some pictures.

The Sign said "10,000 Kyats Fine for Trashing"


A Beautiful Scene in Kan Daw Gyi Park



Conversation with a taxi driver

The taxi driver on my way home from University Avenue told me how people
were upset with the recent political changes and how many people had real
difficulties making ends meet these days. I paid him Kyats 1,800 for the trip.
It's 9 % of my monthly salary at the Myanmar Institute of Theology. Guess how
much I make a month :-) :-)

Passport

Recent changes in Burmese politics cause delays in my passport application process. The power struggle between the generals reminds me of the days of the Burmese dynasty. It's like killing each other to get the throne. Unfortunately, those who suffer are people like us, the powerless and the poor.

I am hoping to get my passport soon. My consultant job in Laos is impatiently waiting for me.

ALOHA 17

ALOHA 17 (October 29, 2004)

Check this news out

http://www.bagan.net.mm/mynnews/new_detail.asp?news_no=2109
I have learned that the officials who worked for the government a few years ago in that area are now millionaires, getting a lot of bribes from traders both from Burma and Thailand.

E-passports

I checked this web site for e-passports in Burma. The only problem is that it's not ready for ordinary citizens like us, yet :-)

http://www.passport.gov.mm


The first BARS graduation

Image
Today is the first BARS Graduation. Here is the program sheet in PDF format.

With some of my students






Photo Session before BARS graduation

Image
Photo Session before BARS graduation today. All students and faculty are showing off their caps and gowns.

BARS Business students being happy one day before graduation


BARS students, Zambar, Ja Seng Nai and Steven (from left to right)


Bob Winter (English professor) and Lwin Moe



Dial-up Account Termination

Today is my last day with my lovely ISP, www.bagan.net.mm My dial-up account will be cancelled starting from tomorrow. I am hoping to go to Laos as soon as I get my passport.
A good informational website about Burma
http://www.mchronicle.com.mm

Old Floppies Thrown Away

I threw away all the floppies from my old days at Purdue. I can't believe things have changed so fast. I don't use floppies much these days anymore. I use thumb drive mostly.
Bands Back Burma Activist Suu Kyi
This is from BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/3679512.stm

The First BARS Baccalaureate Service

Image
The very first BARS baccalaureate service was today at the Thamaing Karen Baptist Church at David Shwe Nu street. The graduating seniors from BARS program were very happy and their parents smiling. Tony Hayes had words of encouragement for all the seniors. His speech was very encouraging and touching for all of us, not only the seniors.

BARS graduating seniors in front of MIT
From left to right: Moonlight (Lone Lone) and Eh Dah Wah are Sgaw Karens. San Mwe Kan and Nyein Nwe are Shan girls. Sha Mwe Hla is a Po Karen.



Consultant Job in Laos

Image
I just want to let you know that I got the IT consultant job in Laos. I will start getting ready, applying passport and everything. I will have to be in Laos by mid-October.

I will start to breathe the air of freedom again. For about six months, of course.

Gmail banned in Burma
I just found out that www.gmail.com was banned in Burma two days after I got the account. Gmail is a free web mail in beta testing stage from www.google.com, the best search engine I ever used. Only a beta tester can sign up for the account. The public can't get an account from gmail yet. But my lovely ISP, BaganNet, banned the site two days after I got the account. Well, can't wait to get out and surf the web freely without any "access denied" message. I love Burma and BARS, but I want to feel what it is like to be free again, at least for 6 months. :-)

Access Denied Message from my lovely ISP



This is the news I read from the Irrawaddy.

http://www.irrawaddy.org/aviewer.asp?a=3937&z=24
Burmese Military Officers Depart for Russia
By Kyaw Zwa Moe and Nandar Chann
September 14, 2004
About 400 young military officers from Burma left for Russia early Tuesday morning for military and computer training, said a relative of one of the officers who left today.
Two Russian aircraft carrying hundreds of lieutenants left the Mandalay International Airport at about 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. today, said the relative in Mandalay.
The officers, selected from across the country, left for the Mandalay airport on Monday afternoon from Maymyo, 42 miles (68 km) north of Mandalay, the relative said by telephone. Maymyo, renamed Pyin Oo Lwin by the junta, is home to military training centers such as the Defense Service Academy and Defense Service Technology Academy, or DSTA. It is also reportedly the site of a new Russian-built ordnance factory, near the DSTA, although the Russian Ambassador to Rangoon, Oleg Kabarov, flatly denied the allegation in …

ALOHA 16

ALOHA 16 (September 3, 2004)

I read this news today.

Burmese Factory Workers Suffer Food Poisoning
http://www.irrawaddy.org/aviewer.asp?a=3871&z=24
Check this out if you want to know how much phones we have in Burma.
Burma Aims to Triple Number of Phones by 2006
http://www.irrawaddy.org/aviewer.asp?a=3868&z=24

Today is my birthday. I am 28 today. Wow, I am getting old :-) :-)

Love gifts

One of the nice things about working at the Myanmar Institute of Theology (MIT) is occasional gifts from friends outside and inside Burma. An anonymous friend donated a gift of 25,000 Kyats (US$ 25) to all the staff a few months ago. It really helped.

I had about 100 Kyats in my wallet a few days ago. Paul Aita walked into the computer lab where I was working. He had an envelope. Written on it was:

To: Lwin Moe
From: Gail & Paul Aita on behalf of American Baptist Women
Inside the envelope was 22,000 kyats (US$ 22). It was the right time I needed some money. It is still the middle of the month and my paycheck won't come until the end of the month. I am still surviving with that 22,000 kyats so far :-) :-) probably until the end of the month :-) Thanks to the Aitas and the American Baptist Women.
Anyways, MIT is really thriving with the staff who are overworked and underpaid. It's really amazing how people can work so hard just in faith. Occasional gifts really makes a d…

ALOHA 15

ALOHA 15 (August 17, 2004)

A Great Poet and Scholar, Min Thu Wun, Died

Min Thu Wun died yesterday on Sunday. Here is his obituary from the Irrawaddy. Min Thu Wun is a legend in Burma’s literary circles. He is a great poet and scholar. He graduated from Oxford University.


Mandalay

Image
The following picture was taken in Mandalay on July 30, 3:44 PM Burmese Standard Time. That's a university building on the water due to the recent flood. Photos by Wo Le.


This is a picture of an old Lisu lady from Mogok in the northern Burma. Mogok is the city of gem mines. It is also called the land of rubies. Lisu is hill-tribe people who live in Burma, China and Thailand.


The following is a beautiful scene of Mandalay. The moat surrounding the Mandalay Palace.



My Sermon

I had to preach at the chapel service at the Myanmar Institute of Theology today.

Here is the note I wrote for it.
Accidents in Life It was raining heavily outside. I was on a bus on the way back home from downtown. When I got off the bus, it was still raining and I didn't have my umbrella with me. I thought "Well, I should wait at the teashop for the rain to stop." I went into a teashop near the bus stop. Sitting in the teashop, I finally had a chance to do some thinking.

First of all, it was by chance that the rain started right after I got off the bus. It wasn't planned either that I would go into the teashop to get shelter from the rain. It was just a coincidence.

Accidents happen all the time in our lives. I had a car accident. Accidents happened and we broke our legs while playing football, right? Coincidence is just like events that happen at the same time by accident. Even in history, a lot of great things have come out because of accidents. Alexander Fleming…

Today is my youngest brother's birthday

ALOHA 14

ALOHA 14 (July 27, 2004)

MIT

If you think that I am the only one being overloaded at the Myanmar Institute of Theology, I suggest you have a look at this article by Paul and Gail Aita.
http://www.abc-usa.org/inmissn/wint01/wint01e.htm
Here is the descriptionof their second trip to Burma.
http://www.abc-usa.org/inmissn/2003_6/2003_6_myanmar.pdf

Indonesian Embassy Being Bugged

I was reading the news about the Indonesian Embassy being bugged by the Burmese military.

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=1530&ncid=731&e=7&u=/afp/20040713/wl_asia_afp/indonesia_myanmar

I was wondering if all of my e-mails were stored and checked. :-) :-)


Web server down

Image
It seems a while I have a chance to update my diary. My webserver http://dmw.mine.nu is down and I couldn't find out a reason yet. I contacted my another friend in Germany who said he could help. Now my site is up again on another address.

A lot has happened recently. I have been giving speeches on Information Technology and education at several places in Mon State.

I also met a Swedish pastor whose group helped the Myanmar Institute of Theology buy some new computers for the library use. They also helped many other projects here in Burma. I have been extremely busy buying, maintaining those computers and giving speeches at several places. I enjoy I have a chance to change many lives.

Here is a picture of me and Owe Kennerberg buying new computers for MIT library. Owe Kennerberg is a senior lecturer in Systematic Theology at the Stockholm School of Theology in Sweden.



Money to buy new computers



I will update more after my dmw.mine.nu server is up. It will be a while. Check my sit…

Bypassing Bagan

Image
Not much electricity lately. BaganNet has allowed its dial-up users the Internet access through tight firewall rules using DansGuardian content filtering software and squid proxy server. Many websites are still banned. http://www.wired.com is one of them. http://mail.yahoo.com, hotmail.com, and almost all free web hosting services. Definitely irrawaddy.org The list goes on.

Still people are figuring out how to bypass the firewall. I have seen local kids going to banned sites using proxy services even at the local Internet cafes.

Free e-mails are banned but kids are figuring out how to use thousands of open free e-mail sites. Such as coolpets.com, centralpets.com, newyork.com, and the list goes on.

Kids are definitely catching up.

Oh, no ssh, ftp access for its dial-up users yet.

The price of the dial-up access has gone down from 48,000 Kyats to 28,000 Kyats.

By the way, famous actor Lwin Moe from Burma has got his website up and running at www.lwinmoe.com Not to be confused with me.

I…

Electricity

While I was writing my diary, the electricity went out. So I was able to finish up to the picture of Taung Gyi. The electricity is not reliable these days. We have electricity every other night. Shortage of energy causes blackouts a lot. I was going to write about a failure of electrical power in my Aloha news, but then I couldn't because I couldn't use my computer without electricity. My school days in the States have spoiled me, and I didn't want to write with pen and paper. Blackout has caused me to update my diary intermittently.

The View from Nam San Yang Church, Northern Burma in Kachin State

Image
It was cloudy outside. We were all sitting inside the Nam San Yang church. The speaker was preaching in a language that I didn't understand. The advantage of being in a worship service where you didn't understand the language was that you can let your mind wander. My mind was wandering, my eyes gazing at the clouds through the window behind the speaker, the mountains murmuring in a language that I could almost understand.

My mind wandered back to the beginning. I didn't want to live in Yangon during summer. I traveled all over Burma during the last two months. Among many trips I took, Nam San Yang trip was very exciting. Here is how it all began. It was back in Rangoon.

People were sleepy in front of the gate of Myanmar Railways. All of them were there to get in line for buying train tickets. It was about 9:00 PM and the night was still young. The ticket wouldn't go on sale until 6:00 AM. Yet people were overzealous. Brang Mai, a student of mine, and I went to a fri…

ALOHA 13

ALOHA 13 (April 28, 2004)

Travelling all over Burma

Image
I have been travelling all over Burma. I will write more about those trips later. I am in Nam Sam Yang, Kachin state

Me at the Mayka-Malika confluence near Myitkyina


Mayka-Malika confluence near Myitkyina



A house in a village near the Mayka-Malika confluence


Lwin Moe walking on the main road in Namsam Yang


Lwin Moe listening to radio in Nam Sam Yang

A kid in Nam Sam Yang




Wahgone Village

Image
The following pictures were from my trip to Wahgone village near Myeik in Southern Burma. Mon Baptist Churches Union had a convention there.

The house we stayed in Wah Gone village



The kid from the family we stayed with.




The kids from the village eating dinner



Toilet in a village: we had to dig our own toilet in Wah Gone village.



Having a bath in the village



Buffalo



Cattle



Christian youths having fun playing games



Excursion around the area




A trip back home

Image
Lwin Moe with a motorbike on Mawlamyine -Thanbyuzayet Highway



The house of Than Byu Zayet Mon Baptist Church's Pastor Aung Gyi; His wife and kid.



Lwin Moe with Mon shirt and Kachin Longyi





BARS students had Jesus Christ Superstar performance at MIT today

Image
Lwin Moe and Naw Kanyaw Paw
Naw Kanyaw Paw is a young, and smart lady who graduated from US like me. She is doing many development projects in Burma now.