Saturday, December 31, 2011

George Soros in Burma!

American Billionaire George Soros.
Legendary hedge fund manager and the once destroyer of mighty British Pound Mr. George Soros is in Burma!

Instead of destroying the once-useless Burmese Kyat his visit definitely has caused the kyat to roar and I’m making a handsome profit, at least on paper, since I’ve been holding onto my kyats with the knowledge that it will go through roof very soon.

According to Mizzima News Site, George Soros, the founder of the Open Society Foundation, which works to promote democracy, human rights and freedom in the world, visited Inle Lake in Shan State on Wednesday.

He appears to be visiting Burma as an ordinary tourist. Even the Mizzima quoted Win Myint the National Race Affairs Minister from the Shan State Government in saying that they (the Government officials) would meet with Soros only if he invited them.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Reliving 1973 Kachin Christmas Eve in New York City!

New York City's Skyline.
The Big Apple or the New York City is a wholesomely overwhelming town for a simple jungle boy like me. Especially the enormous Romanesque facades of century old skyscrapers. And it hurts my neck so much that I’ve stopped trying to look up at their distinctive tops.

Like many other wide-eyed tourists from the Australian fringe of the mighty empire of USA I ended up wandering on the wide avenues leading to the Times Square brightly lit and filled to the rims by the excited crowd on the Christmas Eve.

I walked and walked and walked aimlessly on the near-zero freezing but still unbelievably crowded Fifth Avenue and ended up, fortunately of course as I wasn’t really looking for it, right in front of a beautifully grand Gothic-revival church. I walked in and realized this is the historic St.Patrick’s Cathedral   and the traditional Midnight Mass was just a few hours away.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

No more 10% Income Tax to the Burmese Embassy?

What a good news?

Now we don't need to pay that compulsory 10% tax to the Burmese Embassy whenever we need something official from our own embassy.

I still remember paying that dreadful 10% whenever I tried to renew my Burmese passport at the Bangkok embassy in Thailand. I've refused to continue paying that stupid tax in Australia since I was paying almost 45% income tax there.

And the unfortunate result is I've lost my Burmese passport along with my Burmese citizenship. But I've still hanged on to my old Burmese passport, of course, expired twenty five years ago.

So I am wondering what is the next step our new, so-called, semi-democratic Government of Burma will take? Will a wholesale general amnesty for all self-exiled Burmese abroad be too difficult legally?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Ma Thein Shin - Chapter Four

(On 6 January 1966 General Ne Win’s Revolutionary Socialist Government stupidly prohibited the civilian populace from transporting, storing, distributing, and trading of 460 basic commodities including the staples such as rice, peanut-oil, and salt. Hta-nyet (jaggery) was one of those restricted commodities and a large scale smuggling trade of Hta-nyet had developed overnight in Middle Burma where most of it is produced.)

Year 1969

As a train clerk I used to do the day-to-day jobs of selling tickets and checking tickets on the train for the passengers and their cargo only. But now I was forced to do the horrible jobs of searching and arresting people and their cargo if they were found transporting the commodities generally prohibited by the military-controlled Socialist government.

I also had to work with many train conductors. Whenever the alcoholic conductors San Yee or Mya Ohn or Chit Swe were on the trains the smell of hard liquor was unavoidable in the Guard Car. Especially the days with Conductor San Yee happily went through real quick.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Burmese Days by Shashi Tharoo

General Than Shwe in India (2010)
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent visit to Myanmar (Burma), noted largely for a memorable photo opportunity with a wan but smiling Aung San Suu Kyi, signaled a significant change in the geopolitics surrounding a land that has faced decades of isolation, sanctions, and widespread condemnation for its human-rights violations.

Twenty-one years ago, after Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) swept a general election, the results were annulled, the party’s leaders and workers were incarcerated or exiled, and two decades of ruthless – and remarkably opaque – military rule followed. This year has witnessed political opening, the release of several prominent political prisoners, and evidence of self-assertion by the nominally civilian government (headed by a former general, Thien Sein). Suu Kyi’s announcement of her intention to contest a by-election to the new parliament offers a glimmer of hope that democrats could use the fledgling political process to create something resembling genuine representative government.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Reinstate Maung Htaw Lay and Maung Khaing Streets!

Hilary Clinton at Shwe Dagaon Pagoda.
In September 1988 just after the bloodiest coup in Burmese history the new military Government led by then-slowly-going-mad General Saw Maung (now deceased) stupidly changed the name of our country to Myanmar from 200-year-old Burma and our people into Myanmarese or something horrible like that from Burmese.

And the brutish, uneducated and unbelievably ignorant General also defiled our Mon ancestors by replacing the names of the two oldest streets in Rangoon from Sitke Maung Htaw Lay and Sitke Maung Khaing to Bo Sun Pet and Bo Ywe, respectively.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Briefing on Hilary Clinton's Meetings in Burma

Hilary Clinton meets the President of Burma
Special Briefing
Senior State Department Official
Rangoon, Burma
December 2, 2011

MODERATOR: We are in Rangoon. The Secretary has had a full day of meetings today with Aung San Suu Kyi, with representatives of civil societies of the ethnic minority groups, and we thought we’d just give you a sense of how some of those went, with [Senior State Department Official], hereafter known as Senior State Department Official.