Showing posts from May, 2008

Stand by themselves

Aung Hla Tun reports for Reuters:

Myanmar's junta lashed out at offers of foreign aid on Thursday, criticizing donors' demands for access to the Irrawaddy delta and saying Cyclone Nargis' 2.4 million victims could "stand by themselves". "The people from Irrawaddy can survive on self-reliance without chocolate bars donated by foreign countries," the Kyemon newspaper said in a Burmese-language editorial.

The Burmese people can always "stand by themselves" according to the junta.
It doesn't matter how poor and helpless they are. The government just does not care.

Too little, too late

First they came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up, because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up, because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up, because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me. by Rev. Martin Niemoller, 1945
Parents Grief Turns to Rage at Chinese Officials From New York Times:
Bereaved parents whose children were crushed to death in their classrooms during the earthquake in Sichuan Province have turned mourning ceremonies into protests in recent days, forcing officials to address growing political repercussions over shoddy construction of public schools.

The crowd grew more agitated. Some parents said local officials had known for years that the school was unsafe but refused to take action. Others recalled that two hours passed before rescue workers showed up; even then, they stopped working at 10 p.m. on the nigh…


Quote of the day

To be very blunt, Asean is really just a club of generally un-enlightened regimes,
headed by autocrats, feudalists, state-paternalists and militarists all sharing
the worst strain of pathetic Asian paternalism.

Zarni, a former Burmese activist who founded the Free Burma Campaign in the US

Diary by Andrew Kirkwood and unsung heroes in Burma

Burma diary - the relief effort
Andrew Kirkwood, Burma director of Save the Children, has been keeping a diary of his life in Rangoon in the days following Cyclone Nargis. It's a good source coming from someone on the ground.

Read his diary here and here.

Burmese people helping each other out

A few days ago, I wrote about DIY, in which I elaborated how we, the Burmese, have learned to struggle through hardships by being creative and innovative. That spirit is seen in the hard work of volunteers in reaching out to the cyclone victims.
From the Irrawaddy:
"Since I don't have the means to provide cash or kind, I contribute labor by
helping distribute relief goods," said Nyi Nyi, a 21-year-old university
student. "Whenever we distribute rice and clothing, I can see the faces of the
cyclone victims light up. It is very rewarding to see them smile."

"They are true humanitarian heroes," said Bridget Gardner, the International
Red Cross representative in Burm…


Photo from LA Times: the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis

LA Times said:
MAKING DO: Using basic hand tools, two men in Yangon, like many Myanmar residents, are performing much of the cleanup work themselves for lack of foreign or domestic assistance.

DIY Way of Life We, the Burmese, are used to solving problems on our own because we all know
our government does not care about us. Almost everything in Burma
is DIY (Do It Yourself), to borrow a geeky terms.

Electricity In our town in Southern Burma, the electricity from the government is not
reliable at all (We honor Thomas Alva Edison every day by staying in the dark)
Guess what the solution of the community is? A well-to-do family would buy a
generator and install power line -- only the home-quality one -- to each house in
the street, who wants the electricity. The family runs the generator, let's say,
from 6:00 PM till 9:00 PM. The family then collects the fees every two weeks,
based on the number of fluorescent lamps you have agr…

Emma Lazarus's The New Colossus

Emma Lazarus (July 22, 1849 - November 19, 1887) was an American poet. She wrote
"The New Colossus" in 1883, that is now engraved on a bronze plaque on a wall in the base
of the Statue of Liberty.

The New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, With conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. "Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Paul Auster wrote that
"Bartholdi's gigantic effigy was originally intended as a monument to the principles of