Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Columbia University World Leaders Forum: A Discussion Featuring Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

My favorite is her answer to a Burmese student asking how she could help Burma: "If you really want to come back and help Burma, you must do it with a sense of humility."

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Aung San Suu Kyi's speech at the Asia Society in Washington D.C.

She talked about American missionaries such as Judson and Seagrave (around 20 minutes into the video). She mentioned that schools and colleges founded by their organizations were well-known and were keen on preserving Burmese cultures and dress. One thing that was interesting was her comment about the Burmese dresses American Baptist Mission school girls had to wear during the colonial days in the 30s. After independence, though, she had to wear skirts at her English Methodist school unlike her mother who had to wear Burmese traditional dress.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Burma: now is the time to visit

Quotes from a blog post, Beautiful photos of a tourist in Burma, by "She travels" blog:

"We have been invited to sit down and eat, sit down and drink tea, sit down and chat an endless number of times – and each one of those conversations has made a very lasting impression on me."

"In Bagan we spent an afternoon in a village – no electricity or running water, a mere 10 minute car ride away from the famous temple area and several 4-star hotels. Nevertheless we were welcomed with friendly curiosity and a lot of smiles."

Quoting "From Bagan to Rajasthan" by Nat Friedman:

"In Mandalay I was healthy long enough to take an afternoon Burmese class from the woman who ran our guesthouse. A sophisticated and intelligent older lady, fluent in English and an ex-university lecturer, she told me I was the first guest to ever ask for a lesson and was excited to teach me. She knew all about the evolution of Burmese, its relation to the Sri Lankan Pali, and the origins of its odd, circular script. It was a great afternoon.

I do not have the natural language talents of Stephanie, who speaks five languages fluently, but I am always surprised by how easy it is to learn 20 words in a given language, and how much it changes your experience visiting a country. In the small amount of time I spent learning it, Burmese seemed simple, with no conjugations and few difficult sounds. After a couple of hours I could form simple sentences, and Stephanie and I spent the rest of our trip astonishing the local people with monologues like, “This is my wife. She comes from Germany. I am 33. We are hungry. We go restaurant?” It’s not poetry but I think anyone can get to that point in a couple of hours and it opens so many doors. We did the same thing in Cambodia and it changed everything about our trip, not only there but also in the Mekong delta in Vietnam, where we discovered that nearly everyone we met was of Cambodian descent and spoke Khmer as a first language."