Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Francis Wade wrote at the Asian Correspondent:
Calls for the Rohingya to be expelled from Burma on the grounds that they are not citizens have been made by the very same people who were allowed to remain in their countries of asylum [US, UK, Canada] for years before citizenship was finally awarded – they assert however that this gesture should not be extended to the Rohingya.

(Photo from flickr.)

If you click on the above photo, you will see what a 19-year-old refugee said:
"I was born in Myanmar, but the Burmese government says I don't belong there. I grew up in Bangladesh, but the Bangladeshi government says I cannot stay there. As a Rohingya, I feel I am caught between a crocodile and a snake."

(Photo from flickr.)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Endangered Languages Project

The Endangered Languages Catalog, the project I am working on as a team member, went live today. It is launched by Google at this URL:

There are a few languages/dialects from Burma that are on the list. Here are some of them: Yaw, Danau, Kado, Hpon, Riang, Tai Loi, Akeu and some Chin languages.

Check the site out.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Aung San Suu Kyi's Nobel Lecture

Burmese harp music is from 3:00 to 8:30 and her lecture is from 9:30 to 37:00 in the following's video.

The full text is available at the Nobel Prize website. I chose some highlights below.

About Sufferings:
"I thought of prisoners and refugees, of migrant workers and victims of human trafficking, of that great mass of the uprooted of the earth who have been torn away from their homes, parted from families and friends [and] forced to live out their lives among strangers who are not always welcoming."

On War:
"A young American fighting with the French Foreign Legion wrote before he was killed in action in 1916 that he would meet his death:  “at some disputed barricade;” “on some scarred slope of battered hill;” “at midnight in some flaming town.” Youth and love and life perishing forever in senseless attempts to capture nameless, unremembered places. And for what? Nearly a century on, we have yet to find a satisfactory answer.

Are we not still guilty, if to a less violent degree, of recklessness, of improvidence with regard to our future and our humanity? War is not the only arena where peace is done to death. Wherever suffering is ignored, there will be the seeds of conflict, for suffering degrades and embitters and enrages."

On Peace:
"Absolute peace in our world is an unattainable goal. But it is one towards which we must continue to journey, our eyes fixed on it as a traveler in a desert fixes his eyes on the one guiding star that will lead him to salvation. Even if we do not achieve perfect peace on earth, because perfect peace is not of this earth, common endeavors to gain peace will unite individuals and nations in trust and friendship and help to make our human community safer and kinder."

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Walls (တံတိုင်း)

I want to share this Burmese song, "Walls", written by Saw Wilfred. The recent clashes between Rohingyas and Arakans made me think about some of the issues addressed in the song---the walls dividing us humans. The post by a Burmese blogger, "Why do you hate Muslims?", also inspired me to share this song.

Listening to the song reminds me that race, skin color, nationalities or religious beliefs are the "walls" dividing us. I also remembered this quote, which I wrote about a while ago.

"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."

Here is the song, "တံတိုင်း."

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Musing from Myanmar with Annie Gaffney

I came across the following posts by an Australian journalist, Annie Gaffney. She is currently in Burma and updating her posts from there. It's fun to read her experiences in Burma.

Here are some quotes from her posts:

The guide book to Myanmar says never initiate any conversation with local people about the political scene in their country right?  Forget about that!  This taxi driver couldn’t wait to share a few home truths with us.  Like:  ten percent of the population have all of the wealth, 90 percent have nothing. 

Apparently what’s happened is that the import duty on cars until this year was about 200 percent.  Now that’s been halved and anyone who bought a car before this year has just lost a bucket-load of money, including our poor taxi driver who paid a small fortune (US$4000) for his broken down old cab which was straight out of the early seventies and sounded like it too!

About eating:
And arrive he does!  High on adrenaline and like us, jumping around with the sheer excitement of being in Myanmar at such a time of dramatic change.   We head out to try our first official taste of Burmese food.  We pick a teahouse around the corner from our hotel that the guidebook recommends.  The cuisine is delicious.  I choose a traditional Burmese chicken curry which is certainly spicy but not hot.  It’s served with strips of shredded flaky pastry on the side, and a small bowl of soup.  While I soak up the sight of locals ambling along on the road outside, men spitting out violent streams of blood-like  Betel juice from their mouths, I realize I’m already enchanted by Myanmar, and there’s more to come.  This afternoon, we’re off to see the famous Shwegadon Paya!

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Solar Water Heaters in Myitkyina

Solar water heaters are not very expensive in Burma. I saw those installed at some of the houses in Myikyina, Kachin State during my last trip to Burma.

Pump in Burma


Photos taken from Nai Aung Gyi.

Friday, June 01, 2012