Kyaw Swa Win: Marigolds from Burmese Gods to All

marigolds from burmese gods to allWe thought Taksin was wrong to be convinced by General Than Shwe whom he had a half day meeting with, visiting Yangon. I wonder how Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is doing. My poem for her birthday was brought by Su Su Lwin’s husband who will visit Daw Suu, who has no women’s rights or civil liberty as she also has stomach illnesses as she nears 60s, spending nearly last 20 years in Burma, fighting for the nation’s civil liberty. Collective human feelings and loneliness or dramatic pathos caused by mimesis in modern Southeast Asia. I wrote to friends and the internet costs 30 baht per hour with gleeful kids jossticking away on the games like Boy and Tan. O pop culture O knights of democratia…my Burmese princess Hlaing Hteik Khaun Tin who waited long for the prince to come, writing letters in ancient Burma; that seems like what Burma went through was the conflict of pro-west school of thought and pro-Burmese school, where the military was responsible for overseeing the country’s development if not international isolation. Thailand in 2006 thrived so colourfully as the goodhearted King Bhumibol and democratic institutions offer opportunity for all, though there too is corruption here.

George W Bush wants Aung San Suu Kyi to be free, so why is Taksin reluctant to help free her. Business interests? Why a heart is not respected in governance for most progressive citizenry may not want to be governed. In Victorian Aristocracy, a governess instructs children and care maternally. Governors of America leads the nation. Anything is possible where clouds collide with doves, angels and cosmic winds…stars spangled and cars block mindlessly this empty stage, graceful and chimerical like William Thackery’s Vanity Fair.

Nearby Suchat is surfing the web; Pern and Udom are chatting and Acharn Nuan went to the Rotary Club. Burma, unlike Thailand, does not have the Internet or the Rotary Club. I have talked to Dinesh and it seems we will be able to visit South Asia, if the Pakistan education Fair works out? Raj came to express his interest to study. Mom is in Burma as I miss her and will write to her. Communication is love, so is international relations and co-operation for Myanmar with its prestigious cultural values. The junta is worried that we, Burma will be colonized by the West as England colonized Burma from 1885 till 1948 but the British were in Burma since early 1800s. The British did not do much, only one university founded, but scar Burma’s international image to date.

Dynasties end and dawn’s promises are nothing if we are mindless, heartless. Whilst our busy lives may forsake us we are dreams, flowers and wishes that see unlimited connections in people, who are mobile, senseful and full of potential. In 1959, Nepal’s King Mahendra issued a new constitution, and the first democratic elections were held. Declaring parliamentary democracy a failure 18 months later, the King dismissed the government and promulgated a new constitution. King Birendra acceded his father later and was more open to democracy than his father and restored it after a referendum in 1990, till he and the queen were assassinated by conspiratorial murderers at the beginning of the 21 st century. Quarrels between various political parties and social problems caused a Maoist rebellion which escalated into civil war which had a relationship with the launch of the Communist Party of Nepal in 1996.

Will it work in Burma, a classical society with political complications, often due to the modern-educated intelligentsia and the majority agricultural and rural folks? Is there a hope in reviving values, happiness and expectations of the rural, tribal and ethnic villages, as there are no systems or individuals to unite? Will a mixed-gender parliamentary meeting like the one held in Baghdad in 2005, albeit amid the motor shells and gunfires outside, solve the Burmese politics, one shudders to think.

I have talked to a young Japanese civil servant who complained that Japanese democracy is taking a long time to reach a consensus, as there are conflicting interests and diversity today. He seemed exasperated. And Lampung, Phayamengrai, Hua Hin, Rangoon ..these lands and people beckon as paths to a collective legacy of the earth than they welcome conflicts and wars, financed by greed markets.

A dream came amid the flu I am fighting. On Apr 17, 2005 Shan exiled leaders in Canada declared independence of the Shan Pye to which the junta and NLD criticized. SSA continued to war with the sinonized Wa army, backed by the Burmese generals like Khin Nyunt. In my dream, sick of being a poet, I think of capitalist route to get rich by selling real estate. Both Thailand and China have property boom 2005, where most western agents like Richard Ellis came in to shake the Asian market flow. Central World Plaza is gigantic and billions worth. We sell mentality, lifestyle and heritage; the question is the right to live/buy/trade with less.

We’ve lost personal touch and care as well. I love my mother who is in Rangoon but I didn’t even get to call her during Thingyan festival. I will go see her in May along with my ageing princess aunts…If I go after payday I can bring 40000 baht, 900000 kyat almost.. Burmese are terribly poor, because the current government is greedy and unable to practice humanizing economics. I love both mom and dad. Don’t be a jerk and be humble. I called her on Apr 27 a day after her birthday, the day organizers of World Congress on Power of Languages convene at Stamford. All well I did lots of copying and shared ideas as odd Thai flowed into my ears as Loy went back to KL. Mom is ok –go fetch her.

In the gym, I had about 6 sets of workout. I met an angel in the city whose mythical beauty captured my heart and eyes. A drummer, cat-feeding old lady, water seller, body builders.. orange Nok Yungs are in bloom. Seasons change. Warm milk. Sidewalk meals and birds flew like carefree airplanes. Old bicycles and friendship where boundries of race, class and language are broken. How can a civilization be conserved? A nation saved? A nation reinvented with the contribution and will of people. Love encircled. If Sun Yet Sen enjoined leaders to show the importance of politics over money, Taiwan opposition leader’s visit to Hu Jing tao is remarkable. A child follows the hippie musician as new kids are born into this world, overheated, overpolluted, overconsuming toxins.

Sure amid the wars in Burma, the old statesmen of the orient survive (in) the west, the humanity on the email as if we are left alone with technology often expensive, often imported from corporations in the affluent west.

The university President called me into his office, to discuss the outstanding payable to Schiller University. He left the contract at home. I drafted the letter for him. Hung-over from DJ Station and strip dance, beyond Beyonce… anew, avant garde soaked in words; I am a victim of words, thoughts and humanity. Worlds apart when we are ourselves…employers think they gave us more jobs, but we know it is more work on our body, healthcare. Labour politics are unfair for capitalists, as socialists may love people like Diana. Poor people in countries like Burma have problems amid the conflicts and wars. I saw a youth on soi 23 picking up a magazine and having lunch alone. Me too. Is humanity endangered by humanity? Noam Chomsky wrote that rights are won, not granted. Is democracy futile if Wolfie and Powell and Rice have arrogant democracy attitudes-due to economic superpowers that be. Ideas free, people and labour not, our differentiated personalities, insanity, smiles….eccentricity or desires of glamour. I reject what I don’t need. Analyze as Beckett said. Pain of humanity and underprivileged folks that a dramatist sees when dawn rains on him. I wrote back to Chulalongkorn University and tried to write to Thai ambassadors abroad. Letters of outreach with a cause to affirm mind’s free will to educate subconsciously and consciously.

I chatted with the Cheng Kum lady who sells Mohinga talking nonstop; food is heaven and energy as love is as well. She sells food cheaply for all. I called dad, Eak, Gerard, Karen amid mobile problem…I was robbed by two Tae Kuan Do type guys–the hurt is not a hurt unless you love the poor, for love is fleeting always.

I feel a bit mundane..worried for action and mystery. Pink panthers are out, seeing hybrid flowers which bloom amid globalization of freedom, for nature is goddesses gift of liberty to us all, meek and mighty alike. I see what was hidden, outcast, I rub and felt the skin of sculptures we call existence, the arguable taxi-ride and its gentle driver who rents the cab for 500 baht and goes home to children with 300; he sends his kids to temple school. Rain magically.

Politically correct or risqué in this economie du march’e while the French say no to EU constitution–why not. No is as intimate to yes as butterfly to sunshine. I know I am not a part of lovers coupled or the beachwalkers. Still hurt, doubtful of the city around me, I expect little but cling onto things loyally as old trees, streets and majesty of orientalism, kudos to Edward Said, seem gone, ignored and forgotten. I bought drinks for hip hop boys, shirts for college, dinner and offered English lessons—expecting not to be sanctified. Schools are too expensive in Thailand. In Burma, kids can’t even attend primary school now. Well, be strong, be aware, I keep telling myself and my love, I should tell you the same.

One remembers peoples praying at pagodas in Burma, and to monks and to animist nats, spirit gods and goddesses. Now it is also a good time for the divine to intervene in the international affairs of Burma for the benefit of common citizens.

About Kyaw Swa Win
I am a Burmese poet and dramatist who is working as an English teacher at Potisarn Pittayakorn School in Thailand. From 1999-2006 I served as an English lecturer at Stamford International University, Thailand. I graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1996 and worked at the Dramatists Play Service in New York briefly.

3 Comments on Kyaw Swa Win: Marigolds from Burmese Gods to All

  1. I really enjoyed the style of this piece from Kyaw Swa Win. Not only is it evocative to both those who have visited Burma and those who have not, but it is written with a fluidity that manages at once to both paint a picture and raise some sincere questions for the future.

    A really great submission, thank you.

  2. love this- went to Burma last year, will never forget the people there. Nice post.

  3. Hey Kyaw,

    is that you? Are you still in Thailand?
    If so, maybe I can visit you in July!

    Write back when you can,
    and I’ll tell you much more.


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