Monday, March 30, 2009

More exotic dresses from Burma

Exotic dresses from Burma, originally uploaded by lwinmoe.

Exotic dresses from Burma

Exotic dresses from Burma, originally uploaded by lwinmoe.

The shop owner from Chatuchak market

She sells all sorts of exotic ethnic dresses from Burma at Chatuchak weekend market in Bangkok.

Fai Thor Fan
Phijittra Photha
Jatujak Weekend market
Section 25, Room 229

80-year old Karen dress

80-year old Karen dress, originally uploaded by lwinmoe.

I went to Chatuchak weekend market a while ago. I found a shop where they sell items from Burma.

There was an 80-year old Karen dress (the red one in the picture). The price was 5,000 Bahts (1 U.S. dollar = 35 Bahts)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Linguistics studies

I have been accepted by the Indiana University in Bloomington at their linguistics department. I will be focusing on computational linguistics.

Hopefully, I will get a visa to the U.S. and will be able to go there in August.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Eating out in Yangon

golden-happy-hot-pot-receipt, originally uploaded by lwinmoe.

The picture is the receipt for six of us from ရွှေကောင်း (Shwe Kaung) hot pot restaurant. You can see a glimpse of what it is like to eat out at a high-end restaurant in Yangon. Note that the exchange rate is about 1,000 Kyats to a dollar.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Quotes of the day

From "Thai Bloggers Face Jail Without Bail for Discussing Monarchy":
"In the past, people fled to the jungle to share their political beliefs," Suwicha said, referring to a Communist insurgency in the 1970s that was suppressed by the [Thai] government. "Now we have Web sites. If they want to stop it, they must stop the technology itself."

စမူဆာနဲ့ကြံရည် (samoosa and sugar cane juice)

Samoosa and sugar cane juice in Rangoon.

ဗူးသီးကြော် (gourd fritter)

Gourd fritters in Rangoon.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Mon monk

Mon monk, originally uploaded by lwinmoe.

We were looking at the dictionary of Modern Spoken Mon by Harry Shorto.

New hosting platform

I just upgraded my hosting platform to Movable Type software. I apologize if you receive some old posts in your feed reader because of the upgrade.

I think this new platform will make my life a lot easier to manage posts. I will be able to focus more on content than fixing technical issues.

I am still missing some old posts from 1998 to 2003. And I also lost tagging information in the conversion process. The categories are wrong and some photo links are broken, too.

I will fix those later. Please bear with me for the moment. :)

By the way, I no longer have RSS feed. The atom feed is here.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Burma trip

The flight attendant announced that the plane would land at the Yangon International Airport in a few minutes. I gathered all my documents (passport, arrival card, etc.), got my backpacks and got ready. I was excited. I hadn't been home for about three years.

The flight attendant then announced that the time difference between Bangkok and Yangon was 30 minutes. She gently reminded us to change our watches to local time which was 30 minutes behind Bangkok. One western expat living in Bangkok joked that it was more like 30 years difference instead of 30 minutes.

Yangon indeed was almost like 30 years behind Bangkok. Crumbling taxis, polluted air, pot-holed road, no electricity and noisy generator's sounds downtown all reminded us of the current situation in Burma.

Yangon International Airport was renovated and since had become modern. I heard that the electricity went out occasionally, though. We didn't need airport shuttles like in the old days. We could walk directly through the boarding tube into the airport. It was great.

After coming down with the elevator (which actually worked by the way), I went past the immigration. While waiting in the immigration line, I overheard immigration officers cursing to each other. I ignored them and went on to the counter. An immigration officer stamped my passport with an entry stamp.

Passing immigration counters, picking up luggage was easy enough since ours was the only flight and there were not many passengers on board.

Coming out of the airport, my friend, Saw Aye Min, and I had to find a taxi. We got one with Kyats 4,000 to go to Insein, which was not too far from the airport. It was about 20 minute-drive.

There were boys trying to offer their services to carry our luggage to the taxi. They were so pervasive. It was a turn-off for many foreigners. But it was a normal scene for us. An American friend of mine once said, "Don't be put off by this. After passing this experience, Burma is such a wonderful place full of wonderful people."

I said above that Yangon was like 30 years behind Bangkok. Yet, I had to admit that Burma was probably ahead of Thailand in some aspects. One thing I had to acknowledge was there were many cheap tuitions in Burma for everything from English speaking to LCCI exams (for those of you who are not familiar with LCCI, it stands for London Chamber of Commerce and Industry certificates). These standardized exams were popular with Burmese kids because they could help them find jobs outside of Burma. They could become exam guides if they scored very high. A few years ago, one of the Burmese kids got the highest score in the world.

The following morning, I went to the highway bus terminal to buy a ticket to go back to Mudon. In Bangkok, I would go to the bus terminal a few hours in advance on the night I would travel and the ticket would still be available.  Here I was not sure of that. So I had to go in the morning to book my ticket to leave the following day.

yangon bus
Bus in Rangoon (Image by woowoowoo via Flickr)
Mudon, by the way, was a small town in Southern Burma near Mawlamyine (Moulmein). I grew up there and went to school there. My family still lived there.
Limestone landscape, Mon State, Burma.
Mon State (Image via Wikipedia)

Mudon trip was nice. I was able to see beautiful sceneries along the way since I took day-bus instead of the night one. Burma's villages were still beautiful.

Highways were definitely better than before. But it was nothing compared to highway systems even in our neighboring countries such as Thailand or Malaysia. We definitely needed to upgrade our infrastructure.

That reminded me to talk about electricity. There was electricity only one day during the whole week I was there and it was from midnight till five in the morning. People got up to pump water and recharge their batteries.

Batteries and inverters (to convert direct current from batteries to alternating current) were ubiquitous. And so were generators. If alternative energies were to be tested, Burma would be a great field for the experiments. One of the doctors in my hometown used solar panels for her house's energy needs.

In general, the trip was fun because I got to meet my family. I went back to Bangkok after spending a week in Burma.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Hosting problems

I was having some hosting problems the last few weeks. Now it has all been
worked out. I will post some entries later. See you soon.