Saturday, December 25, 2004

Christmas in Laos

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.




Wednesday, December 22, 2004

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



Monday, December 13, 2004

Dinner at DDD, Vientiane

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.




Thursday, December 02, 2004

Bangkok City

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






Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Htay Kywe


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.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

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.


Saturday, November 13, 2004

Misc.

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




Friday, November 12, 2004

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 :-) :-)



Saturday, November 06, 2004

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.

Monday, October 11, 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.



Saturday, October 09, 2004

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


Saturday, October 02, 2004

The first BARS graduation

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

With some of my students






Friday, October 01, 2004

Photo Session before BARS graduation

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




Thursday, September 30, 2004

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



Wednesday, September 29, 2004

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



Sunday, September 26, 2004

The First BARS Baccalaureate Service

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.




Thursday, September 16, 2004

Consultant Job in Laos

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




Tuesday, September 14, 2004

This is the news I read from the Irrawaddy.


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 recent months.


Another resident in Mandalay said that on Monday airport officials told him about the trip.


In 2002, Russia reportedly agreed to sell Burma a nuclear reactor for medical research, providing assistance for its construction and operation. Burma’s military government recruited hundreds of students and sent them to study nuclear engineering and science in Russia. But the program was reportedly abandoned because the junta could no longer afford the costs. The junta denies it plans to develop a nuclear reactor.


The relative in Mandalay said some of the military officers would study computer science in Russia and the others would receive military training.


The relative said that courses for computer students would take three and half years to complete, while military courses, the details of which are unclear, require three years. If the courses are completed successfully, the source added, the officers would be promoted to captain.


The government provided each officer 60,000 kyat (about US $63), one Western-style navy blue suit and a military jacket before the trip, the source said, adding that an unnamed high-ranking military officer briefed the Russian-bound lieutenants in Maymyo before their departure.


The source also said that before the trip, the officers received language training from an unknown number of Russian teachers who have been sent to Maymyo and paid a monthly salary of $1,000. More officers would be sent to Russia in the future, the source added. Other groups of Burmese military officers are still studying in Russia, the source said.


In late 2002, the junta purchased eight MiG-29B-12 air superiority combat aircraft and two dual-seat MiG-29UB trainers from Russia, at a reported cost of about $130 million.



Tuesday, August 31, 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



Wednesday, August 18, 2004

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 difference in their lives, especially those with kids and wife. It is also true in many seminaries and churches in Burma.

Monday, August 16, 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.


Sunday, August 15, 2004

Mandalay

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.




Tuesday, August 10, 2004

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 discovered Penicillin because of an accident.

Besides, think of Isaac Newton. He thought out the law of gravity because an apple fell onto the ground. A cartoon said he was able to figure out the law of gravity because it was an apple that fell on his head. An apple! If it were a fruit from the tree in front of our house that fell on his head, he would be dead before he could write up the law of gravity. You know what that fruit is? It's Durian. It has all the prickly rinds. Therefore, Newton would probably be dead if it were Durian that fell on his head. Anyway, this example taught us a lot.

In addition, accidents, coincidences and small things later tend to become important in our lives. Accidents will happen in our lives. We just can't avoid them. Small things that we wouldn't even notice might have some big impacts on somebody else's lives.

Moreover, I would like to tell you one example. It was six years ago. I was about 20 something at that time. I had to speak at a church in Michigan. It was like a month after I got to the States. I was so scared and nervous. My listening skill was great. But my speaking skill? It was lousy. Even in Burmese, let alone in English. I think I did quite a lousy job that Sunday. But after the service, an old lady came to me and said "Lwin, wonderful, you were doing a great job!" You know how much it had helped me at that time. I was afraid to speak. But after that, I wasn't afraid any more. I spoke again and again and again. I still do a lousy job but I am getting better. J J What I am getting at is that small and kind gesture from the old lady has helped me move on. That's how a small thing has done to somebody's lives in a good and positive way.

However, there can also be negative things. To illustrate that, I would like to tell you another story of my own. I usually walked home after my classes at the Myanmar Institute of Theology. The buses were usually crowded. I chose to walk for exercise and for doing deep thinking while walking. One night, it was really dark because there was no electricity. About half way home, I stepped on a frog and it was dead. I thought to myself. Well, I didn't mean to step on that frog. Yet, it was dead. Was if my fault? Or was it its fault? I don't think it was mine because I didn't mean to kill it and I didn't mean to step on it. I just didn't see it because it was dark. It was just an accident but I killed the frog. It had a big impact on the frog's life.

Eventually, accidents will happen in our lives. Those accidents or small things will have impacts on others either in a positive or negative way. The frog that I stepped on was dead even though I didn't mean to kill it. It was just an accident. We won't just know the consequences of an accident because two people can look at the same thing and see it differently. All we can do is pray and hope for the best. Whatever you do, please ...
  1. Do it with love for God.
  2. Do it with love for the people around you
  3. Do it with love for yourself.
In conclusion, please remember accidents will happen. It will lead to positives or negatives. Yet, please do everything in love.

May God bless you all!

Love in Christ, Lwin Moe

Tuesday, July 20, 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 description of their second trip to Burma.


http://www.abc-usa.org/inmissn/2003_6/2003_6_myanmar.pdf



Wednesday, July 14, 2004

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. :-) :-)


Sunday, July 04, 2004

Web server down

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 site later. Bye for now.


Sunday, May 16, 2004

Bypassing Bagan

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 am not an actor. I am not a star and I don't even have my own car :-) Here is an ordianary citizen, me, listening to BBC in Nan Sam Yang village, northern Burma in Kachin State.


Sunday, May 02, 2004

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.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

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




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 friend's house near the train station. We came back at about 11:00 PM to the station. We sat there in front of the gate, feeling sleepy.

They opened the gate at 1:00 AM. People rushed in, pushing each other, some even ignoring their sandals. It was a complete chaos. Almost nobody gave priority to women and children. It was 2:00 AM when we were settled, getting our place in line. We were pretty far back. Being sleepy, I wished traveling in Burma would be a bit more comfortable. A young woman was sitting not very far from us. Her baby was sleeping in her lap. Her eyes were closed, being tired. Her face looked weary. Yet she was there in line to get the tickets she wanted. Finally, we got our tickets at 6:15 AM.

We left Rangoon the following evening. It was a 15-hour train ride to Mandalay. Arriving in Mandalay, we had breakfast. Satisfied because we no longer felt hungry, we had to start working on getting train tickets to Myitkyina. We were able to get 2 tickets from the black market paying 3 times the cost. Still being short of one more ticket, we stood in line to buy the without-seat ticket (ticket you can ride the train, but you are not assigned any seats, so you might have to sit on the floor). It was sold out before our turn. Since we already had gotten two tickets, we decided that our friend would ride the train without any ticket. We took the Myitkyina train for 30 hours. It was about 700 miles from Mandalay to Myitkyina. We spent two nights in Myitkyina to visit some interesting places there. We left for Nam San Yang, a village 40 miles southeast of Myitkyina.

We spent about 10 days in Nan Sam Yang. We taught English to the kids from the village. One truth I have found is that there are kids who want education, but are not fortunate enough to go to cities where good schools are. It would be challenging for an educated person to go live in those places to teach them. I hope there will be more educated people from the region to train them effectively.

The kids sang 'Yehowa hpe kabu gara ai myit hte dawjau nga mu.' They are singing in Kachin that they will serve the Lord. I prayed that one day they will be educated and help develop the area.

Please keep in your prayers those kids from the area and those who are serving there for the development of the area.

KIO (Kachin Independent Organization) female police officer and male soldier in Laiza, Kachin State (Bordertown near China)




Shai Awng Ja playing in the stream




Hydropower in villages




The above picture is the generator run by waterpower to produce 1 KiloWatt electricity. They use hydropower in villages near Bamaw in Kachin State. It was very interesting and self-sufficient.

A Cowboy in Kachin State, Northern Burma




A local kid helping his parents, on the way back home from their farm.

Justice in remote villages

Nan Sam Yang bridge was being repaired. Every car wanting to cross the bridge
had to wait except this one van owned by a military officer.





Other people had to cross this way.





A privately-owned and semi-illegal gasoline station in Burma





Thursday, April 01, 2004

Travelling all over Burma

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




Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Wahgone Village

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





Wednesday, March 17, 2004

A trip back home


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





Friday, March 05, 2004

BARS students had Jesus Christ Superstar performance at MIT today






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.