burma

Is the Opposition in Myanmar Getting Old?

Two things I know about sanctions: states find ways to avoid them; and, unintended consequences abound, usually inflicted upon the innocent people in whose name sanctions are devised. So, now Aung San Suu Kyi has called for continued sanctions against Myanmar’s new government.


Detroit Diary September 19

 Upon ending The Diaries back in 2005. I embarked on an elementary student-teaching experience at an American military base in Okinawa, Japan. Here I was teamed up with an angry and obese Catholic woman who immediately informed me that men should not be allowed to teach in elementary schools, and so I should remain three feet away from the children at all times. Then she introduced me to her teacher’s assistant, a young army brat, assigned by my mentor to the name Chocolate Swirl. Needless to say this young lady was, like my own children, an incredibly beautiful and highly intelligent, mutt.


Myanmar Kisses Beijing’s Ring

Zin Linn argues that “To people of Burma, China is not only a great impediment to their freedom but also a neo-colonialist under an alliance mask.

Senior Gen. Than Shwe in the midst of swelling international pressure and ahead of the 7-November elections arrived in China on 7 September for a five-day state visit. Analysts said Burma is trying to get support politically from China as it has been planning for its first election in two decades. International observers have criticized the election as a charade as it does not include key opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

(…)


Soi Min Part 3

The Karen clans, Soi Min tells me, fare the worst of all the clans in Burma. Some of Battle Creek’s refugees are Karen. Typically they have almost no education, and they’ve seen unspeakable atrocities. Yet they’re kind, polite and hungry for education.

Having so much experience with well-adjusted Korean ESL students, I tend to approach my Burmese students with the same level of animation that Koreans have. So I’ve walked towards new Karen students ready to shake their hands and pat them on the shoulder.

But when a Karen sees you approach in this way, he has this look about him, this posture that says that maybe you’d better slow down and back up a foot or two. Keep in mind most of these refugees are about five-foot tall. It doesn’t matter. You can sense that it’s best to tread lightly.


Soi Min Part 2

I asked Soi Min where he was stationed, “Mizoram, Bangladesh and Chin State in Northern Burma.”

I asked what he ate, “Bamboo shoots and snails,” he smiled, like a fox, swallowing a mouthful of buttered yam. I asked about rice, “We carried only rice and matches. Sometimes only matches.”

He said that that the Mizoram, clans from Northeast India, supplied (and supply) medicine and beans. Sometimes his unit and other rebel units cultivated gourd and corn in the jungle. During seasonal Spring and Harvest they bought pigs and feasted with villagers. During monsoon they hid in bamboo thickets so thick that nobody bothered them except leaches and mosquitoes.

I told him that I know all about Himalayan leaches! How they stick like the worst kind of booger! Like sticky white rice, only sucking your blood at a magnificent rate, all brown and hard and swollen on the main vein of your thigh.


Soi Min from Mizoram Part 1

I am unemployed, broke, in debt and dependent on my parents. I can’t to receive unemployment benefits for another six months. I have the flu, asthma, possibly a hernia –  and no Medicaid. I ’m not speaking to my brother, and don’t want to speak to my mother. Right now I am hiding in my parent’s basement hoping to get some time to myself. Man I could cry you a river all night if you wanted me to.

But instead I will tell you that this was the best Thanksgiving since my Benjamin was born!

What happened was that I started volunteering to teach English to Burmese refugees this year.

Soi (pronounced Soy) Min, his wife Sui (pronounced Swee), and their daughter May O Wee are Burmese refugees from Delhi. They’ve been in Battle Creek only months. They live on refugee status and cannot work until they have their green cards. They have no transportation, and only a few Burmese friends. So they’re isolated, confused and depressed.


The trouble with "Asian Pride"

Asian Americans, as a whole, are an exemplary example to all Americans. By every measure --education, income, productivity and a lower rate of typical social ills, they are by far the most accomplished of the American census' muddled concept of what constitutes an ethnic group.Consider this: Fifty percent of Asian Americans over 25-years-old have a college degree --drubbing second ranked,

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