Showing posts from July, 2015

လောပန်လောင်း (lǎo bǎn)

♫ ♫ ♪ တကယ်တော့ ဆိုက်ကားသမားများဟာ လောပန်လောင်းတွေပါ။ ♫♫
♫ ♫ ♪ In fact, trishaw drivers are potential lǎo bǎn! ♫♫

Note that the word "lǎo bǎn" in Chinese roughly means "old boss."

The context for the lyrical caption (changing the words "gem miners" to "trishaw drivers" from a famous song in Burma) and the photo was a comment made by the prime minister of Irrawaddy Division in Burma. Here is the original quotes from Myit Makha news article:

"ကျွန်တော်ဆိုက္ကားနင်းရရင် ချမ်းသာအောင်လုပ်နိုင်တယ်။ စီမံခန့်ခွဲတတ်ရမယ်။ စဉ်းစားဆင်ခြင် တတ်ရမယ်။ ဆင်းရဲသားတွေ ချမ်းသာဖို့အတွက် အမြဲတမ်း စဉ်းစားတယ်။ နောက်သက်တမ်းမှာ ကျွန်တော်တို့ရှိချင်မှ ရှိမယ်။ ဒါကအရေးမကြီးပါဘူး။" ဟု ဧရာဝတီတိုင်းဒေသကြီး ဝန်ကြီးချုပ် ဦးသိန်းအောင်ကပြောသည်။

He was saying that he could get rich by working as a trishaw driver. He said you had to know management and had common sense. He probably meant well.

However, Burmese Facebooksphere has been blasting this as a joke because it is inde…

General Aung San and the "frontier areas"

In honor of Martyrs' Day, I was looking for some videos on General Aung San on YouTube and found the following.

.... we want the people of what's called the frontier areas to have the same freedom with us simultaneously and join hands with us.

The phrase "frontier areas", used in the video by General Aung San, got my attention. Chin, Kachin and Shan states were apparently considered frontier then. General Aung San tried very hard so that all the ethnic minorities would be on board with the demand of independence from the British as a Union of Burma, promising federalism. He signed the Panglong agreement with ethnic leaders; Panglong agreement promised "full autonomy in internal administration for the Frontier Areas."

Successive military regimes never honored that. It could have avoided all the tragedies and become a true Union of Burma (or Myanmar). Sadly though, the frontier areas then are still frontier today.

Reminiscent of BARS

The following was adapted from what I have written for Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies 15th Anniversary Magazine.

When I first came to teach at BARS, I was just out of college and a young man full of energy thinking to change the world. I arrived in Myanmar on Dec 11, 2002. On that same day in the afternoon, I went to see the famous Dean of BARS, Saya Paw Lu.

I still remember the first day I went to the office of Saya Paw Lu. I was wearing a pair of short pants made out of Karen longyi sheet because it was so hot outside. I just switched from 0 degrees Fahrenheit in Indiana to 90 degrees in Yangon in a day. I went into the office and introduced myself to Saya Paw Lu. I will never forget the look on Saya's face seeing me in shorts. I guess I didn't look like a teacher, wearing shorts.

I became re-accustomed to the climate and culture in Myanmar and enjoyed the following two years at the Myanmar Institute of Theology (MIT). I became friends with many BARS students, especia…