Sunday, June 21, 2009

For all mothers

"အေးမြစမ်းရေ" by Brayton Youth:

A lesson for Burmese from an Iranian woman in her fight to be free

Roger Cohen at the New York Times:

"Can't the United Nations help us?" one woman asked me. I said I doubted that very much. "So," she said, "we are on our own."

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Student Visa

Yesterday, I went in for the visa interview at the U.S. Embassy here in Bangkok for my student visa application. Fortunately--I should say by the grace of God since I am a Christian--my visa application was approved. The embassy mailed my passport back today.

I don't want to get into details about the interview. Please don't ask me why. 

Anyways, I will leave for the U.S. in the beginning of August. I really should be tying up all my loose ends here before then. I am currently working on the Shorto Mon dictionary to be able to put online before I leave. I will try to finish it as soon as possible.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

African National Congress

What I learned today about the African National Congress:

Members of the African National Congress founded the organization as the South African Native National Congress (SANNC) on 8 January 1912. Eight decades later, they achieved their goal of a democratic South Africa.

Friday, June 05, 2009

The two faces of Rangoon

Celeste Chenard's article in Mizzima:

There are still shocking levels of poverty in some of the city's poorer districts, public transport is overcrowded, and for most of the population electricity remains intermittent at best. Infrastructure is in particularly poor shape, with badly decaying buildings, potholed roads and destroyed pavement - as if run over by a bulldozer - common sight.

An elderly, barefoot man with a hollowed chest makes his nightly rounds through the city - literally covering dozens upon dozens of blocks - hawking shrimp crackers he carries in a large plastic tub to those frequenting the open-air teashops. Children, grime from the streets caked to their skin and thankful for even a 10 kyat note, tug at the shirts of people watching movies and videos on television sets placed out on the sidewalks.

At the 50th Street Bar and Grill a group of young Burmese elite on a recent night mixed easily with the local expatriate population, talking of trips abroad and planning the weekend's reverie - in this case a concert by a band from the United States on Friday and poolside barbeque the following day. Priced in dollars, some of the Burmese in attendance that evening spent the equivalent of two percent the estimated average per capita income of their fellow countrymen and women.

I think the author perfectly described recent Rangoon.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Tiananmen Square 20 years on

Bullets Over Beijing by Nicholas D. Kristof.
One stocky rickshaw driver had tears streaming down his cheeks as he drove past me to display a badly wounded student so that I could photograph or recount the incident. That driver perhaps couldn't have defined democracy, but he had risked his life to try to advance it.

Calvin Liu, at 11:03am June 4, commenting on the above article in Facebook
i agree with Sayem Ahmed and Rachel Kim. I'm an American born Chinese, with both parents from China. On the American political spectrum we run liberal, which often implies complaining against the "oppressive" regime of China. But I think that the Chinese are committed to nationalistic progress, and are willing to trade freedoms (as Americans see it) for economic development. You mentioned this, saying that life is better now in China. Someone else, I think, characterized this as a decline in morality. It's a strange progression, but Chinese has risen to first-world economic prosperity but remains at best a second-world country, socially/politically. I think time will lead them to democracy - although who is to say that our own democracy provides a good example for them? Tiananmen square is a tragedy, but it's a tragedy the likes of which would not be repeated now - so at least some progress has been made.