Saturday, April 28, 2012

Trishaws in Burma

ဆိုက်ကား [sʰaiʔ ká]  is Burmese word for trishaw. It's derived from the English word "sidecar." Pronunciation is the same as English except that we don't pronounce /d/ in "side" and /r/ in "car."

It's a cheap and common mode of transportation.

The following two pictures are from flickr.

Myanmar (Burma) 2006 (Photo by akimowitsch)

Road to Mt Kyaiktiyo, Myanmar (Photo by Arnis Dzedins)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Mergui Archipelago in Burma

I read a New York Times article about the islands and beaches in Southern Burma.
As Myanmar opens up to the world, the Mergui Archipelago, as it is known, could become the next frontier for Asian tourism.

Mergui Archipelago (69) (Photo by Jannik Pedersen)

But for now, here is the reality:
The few dozen tourists who visit the area each month are closely monitored. Eight copies of their passports are made and distributed to various elements of the authorities, including the military intelligence service and the Special Branch of the police, two bodies that during the rule of the military junta were tasked with tracking down enemies of the state.

They are hopeful:
Local residents in Kawthaung, a short ferry ride from Thailand, say they believe the tourism industry will inevitably grow if Myanmar continues opening up. But it will be several years before the government and the military let down their guard, they say.

There are some signs, literally, that that is already happening.

Newly erected signboards in Kawthaung, where security is more relaxed, have replaced the old messages exhorting Burmese to be patriotic and wary of foreign influences.

The new signs, written in Burmese and English, say, "Warmly Welcome and Take Care of Tourists."

Read the whole article at the New York Times.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A tumblr page for Burmese proverbs

Heritage LIVE! (Photo by acharbin)

Fifty viss is a blog I read regularly. He is trying to compile a site on Burmese proverbs. It is going to be useful for people wanting to look up proverbs if their Burmese is limited. I wish him good luck in this endeavor.
His quotes:

In Burmese, zagabon, or proverb, literally a "word picture."
Raised in a Burmese-speaking household, I’ve encountered a wealth of proverbs and sayings. This is just my humble attempt to document these aphorisms.

Friday, April 20, 2012

What a sunny and beautiful day!

Sunny Days (Photo by Jectre)

I have always wanted to write about English expressions associated with weather such as "What a sunny day!" When I learned English poems in high school, the expression "What a sunny day!" never touched me much. I was like, "What? It's sunny, so what?"

Happy New Year (Photo by A2ZMpls)

When I left Burma and arrived in Indiana, I knew the true meaning of the expression during my first winter. It was snowing and cloudy all day for a few days. The temperature was nearly zero (Fahrenheit). It was so depressing and very gloomy for many days. When the sun came out after gloomy days like those, I suddenly said, "What a sunny and beautiful day!"

Being in Burma and the sun being out pretty much most of the time all year except for a few raining days, I took it for granted that it was really beautiful when the sun is shinning. The expression "What a sunny day!" never hit my heart.

Now, being in the mid-west for a long time, I appreciate sunny days very much and getting used to saying, "What a sunny and beautiful day!" :)

Thursday, April 05, 2012

BA from Rangoon University

I know many Burmese students don't care for a bachelor degree from Rangoon University in the present day. They are all flocking to study in neighboring Thailand or Singapore polytechnics.

But let's rewind back a few decades and look at what Rangoon University alumni from those decades are like today. Here is an economics professor from Columbia University with a BA from Rangoon University.

Professor Ronald Findlay from Columbia University:

Professor Findlay holds a BA from Rangoon University in Burma (1954). In 1960 he earned a PhD from MIT. At Rangoon University, he was appointed a tutor in economics (1954-57), a lecturer in economics (1960-66), and a research professor of economics (1966-68).

And there is another world-famous professor Hla Myint, who is noted for development economics. He taught at Rangoon University and later at the London School of Economics.

Professor Hla Myint, Professor of Economics.

Professor Hla Myint, 1985

Professor Hla Myint teaching at the London School of Economics.

Professor Hla Myint and class, 1964