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Showing posts from 2011

Quotes from a gangster

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I am quoting this from an episode of Prime Suspect.Image via Wikipedia
"This is America, right? People say now how we should all just love each other the same? But underneath, they're all still feeling the same old hate. Black, White, Jew, Asian, Greek, whatever. But for a true gangster, none of that matters. In business, if you can make a buck with or from them, you don't give a damn who they look like or who they pray to. To us, this city's one big gorgeous mosaic of crime."



December Sentimentality

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For those who miss home in Burma:


Borderless Economics

I came across a fascinating interview with Robert Guest, the Economist's business editor and author of "Borderless Economics: Chinese Sea Turtles, Indian Fridges and the New Fruits of Global Capitalism". He discussed why immigrants liked America and how Chinese and Nigerian diaspora did business across the globe. He also mentioned how difficult it was for a Japanese housewife to sponsor a foreign nanny whereas a night club owner could easily bring in an "entertainer in a short skirt" to come work in his night club. I thought it was a very great interview.

အတောင်ပံများသို့

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This is a good song with powerful lyrics in Burmese. It is dedicated to Min Ko Naing and other activists.



George Orwell's poem

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Image by druidabruxux via Flickr When I was young and had no sense In far-off Mandalay I lost my heart to a Burmese girl As lovely as the day.
Her skin was gold, her hair was jet, Her teeth were ivory; I said, "for twenty silver pieces, Maiden, sleep with me".
She looked at me, so pure, so sad, The loveliest thing alive, And in her lisping, virgin voice, Stood out for twenty-five.
-George Orwell


Buddhism in Burma - History, Politics and Culture

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This is a clip about Burma from YouTube. It's a bit outdated. But it gave you an insight about the past.






Thinking of Burma

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I was thinking about two events in Burma that had changed many lives for ever. One was the mass demonstration in 1988 and the other was a smaller-scale student demonstration in 1996.
I was in seventh grade when Burmese people took to the streets to demonstrate against then government in 1988. I fortunately lost only one year of middle school because the government shut down all schools in the country only for one year. However, when primary through high schools were reopened in 1989, universities were not. Many university students never graduated (because they left for the Thai-Burma and Burma-India borders to fight against the government or left Burma to work abroad). Many graduated long after they started college when the military government reopened the universities a few years later. 
The second time when university students took to the streets in Rangoon (Yangon), it was December in 1996. I was a second year student in medical school in North Okkalapa. The military government shut …

I don't want to talk about it

I was bored one weekend. I recorded Rod Stewart's "I don't want to talk about it" with Ko Nyi Pu Lay. It's just for fun. I didn't have any good recording equipment. I just used my cheap microphone and edited it with Audacity software. Here it is.

Life is like six billion people playing chess against each other

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Image via Wikipedia I have been thinking about the complexity of life. Assume that we have six billion people on earth. Let's also assume that each of us is interacting with every other person on earth. Each of us will be interacting with (6 billion - 1) people. Life would be as if six billion people are playing chess against each other. This is a combination problem in Math. Using the formula for combination, the total number of games going on with the above assumptions would be:  factorial(6 billion) / factorial(2) * factorial(6 billion - 2)
Why did I say, "Life is like six billion people playing chess against each other"? In the game of chess, you have to think ahead of what your opponent will do. And his move affects your decision to make your next move. It's very similar to life, where we are making decisions daily and those decisions are influenced by various factors including what other people act or move for their benefits.
Of course, this is a simplification, co…

Sunday

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Image via Wikipedia It's still cold outside---about 7 degrees Celsius. In American speech, it's about 44 degrees Fahrenheit. It's windy. The cold wind can be felt in our faces as a touch of icy hands. 
Yet, it is relatively warm compared to a month or so ago when the temperature was below freezing point and there were snow storms. At least, the sun was trying to come out from behind the clouds.
We--my roommate and I--took a short road trip to Detroit. It was quiet on the highway, Interstate 96, unlike weekdays. After driving for about  half an hour, we got off the Interstate and arrived in a quiet Sterling Heights neighborhood. 
We drove through the neighborhood to cross into Troy. We stopped by an Asian market. The pungent smell of preserved Asian food greeted us (even from the parking lot). We saw some middle-Eastern-look-like men in the neighborhood. The place was filled with strange and exotic ethnic smells---of food and different perfumes not widely used in mainstream Ame…

Hacker group from Rangoon (Yangon), Burma

From NetworkWorld:The hacker group that exposed holes in McAfee's website knows it's breaking U.S. law, but vows to continue exposing vulnerabilities, especially on security vendor websites.
"We do understand performing security testings without authorization is illegal under U.S. law," stated YGN Ethical Hacker Group, when contacted by Network World via e-mail. The outfit's own website describes YGN as a "small group of young but mature people" based in the country of Myanmar (Burma) who started working together about three years ago. Based on its website advertising, the group, which seeks to emphasize its goals are "ethical," appears to offer vulnerability-testing services while also working on security testing tools.

Cappuccino break at Starbucks

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Image via Wikipedia I went to Starbucks for a break from work with my friends, Matt and Danniella. I had cappuccino. We sat down and chatted for about 15 minutes. Danniella had to go to work to her other job. So Matt and I decided to go back to work. 
On our way out, there was an accident at the traffic light. A lady was standing outside her car. She wasn't obviously in the accident. But there was a spare tire from one of the cars involved in the accident, which rolled out onto the street and got stuck between her wheel and front fender. She was just standing outside without anybody helping her. We asked if she needed help.
We parked at a nearby parking lot. We walked back to her. She told us that her husband would not be able to come to help her for at least half an hour. We decided to help her.
Matt and I jacked up the car. It took us about 15 minutes. It was cold outside even though it was sunny. Finally, we were able to remove the tire from the place where it got stuck. 
I was glad…

Libya and me

The political situation in Libya is having an effect on my life. Gas prices are getting higher recently. I am trying to reduce my driving. :) 

Lashio Thein Aung

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Lashio Thein Aung was a famous singer in Burma. "Lashio" in his name is a town in northern Shan state in Burma. He is now living in the US.

I didn't realize that his Chinese was so good. Here is one of his Chinese songs:



Egypt or Burma?

I thought the following comment regarding Egypt by Thomas Freidman was interesting: "Indeed, there is a powerful sense of theft here, that this regime and its cronies not only stole wealth, but they stole something so much more precious: the future of an entire generation of Egyptians, whom they refused to empower or offer any inspiring vision worthy of this great civilization."

Snow, snow and more snow

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Image by WELS.net via Flickr I am becoming a fan of weather.com web site. I check the web site everyday just to see if there will be snow or not. I always hope that there won't be when I drive to work in the mornings and back to home in the evenings.

I almost slid twice on the road this morning on the way to work from my apartment. I was driving only at 40 miles an hour. When I hit the brake, I almost lost control of the car because the road was very slippery. Fortunately, I was able to regain control and didn't slide into anything. 
I saw two cars slide into the road side. I also saw one truck almost losing control and sliding into the snow pile on the side of the road.

I am looking forward to spring already.

Ann Arbor

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Image by aaronx via Flickr I have moved to South Lyon, which is about 15 miles north of Ann Arbor in Michigan. It is a small town with the population of about 10,000 according to 2,000 census.

Moving to a new place is not always fun. I have to memorize new roads and adapt to new environments. 
My first day to work was stressful to drive from South Lyon to my office in Ypsilanti. It is about 13 miles drive. The drive is not that bad in good weather. The problem is on snow days when the roads are slippery and wet.
It is also very depressing to be in the Midwestern United States in this gloomy weather with snow storms. It's snowing as of writing this. I now understand the real meaning behind the expression, "sunny and beautiful". Coming from Burma, where "sunny" is not exactly equal to "amazing" or "beautiful", I am just starting to realize how beautiful sunny days are. For me, a sunny day in Burma is just a normal day. On the other side of th…

Aung San Suu Kyi's message (Davos, January 28, 2011)

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Aung San Suu Kyi sent a message to the World Economic Forum in Davos. Excerpts:

I would like to request those who have invested or who are thinking of investing in Burma to put a premium on respect for the law, on environmental and social factors, on the rights of workers, on job creation and on the promotion of technological skills.

Such an approach would not only be in line with a global sense of responsibility, it would lead in the long run to greater benefits for all concerned. I look forward to the day when there will be a political and social environment that is favourable to a wide range of investments in Burma. We are certainly in need of innovation and diversification if our country is to fulfil the aspirations of its people and catch up with the rest of the world.

I would like to appeal to all those present at this gathering to use their particular opportunities and skills as far as possible to promote national reconciliation, genuine democratization, human development and econ…

A new chapter

I was busy trying to graduate and wasting time on Facebook during the last few months. To quote Ma K, going to Facebook is like going to a bazaar. I would add a bazaar in Burma to her metaphor :). We gossip and check what other people are up to. I was just busy checking other people's statuses on Facebook. Other than that, I was crazy with projects and final exams so that I could graduate in December with my M.A. in Linguistics. 
After my graduation, which I didn't attend, in December, I took a trip out west to Arizona. I had some photos on Facebook if you are my friends on Facebook. 
Well, that explains my silence here on this blog. Now that I am back in Fort Wayne, Indiana, I feel like I need to catch up with writing instead of wasting time on Facebook. 
Let me update what's going on with me. I will start a new job in Ann Arbor at Linguist List. I am excited and looking forward to it. This will be a new chapter in my life. I will be programming in linguistics domain. I stil…