A Poem for Burma (with an Update)

This morning, self watching CNN: At a press conference, Burma’s ex- Prime Minister is appealing for more aid.

But this morning brought the news that the current leaders of (so-called) Myanmar have refused to allow in USAID workers, with resulting widespread confusion and dismay.

Yesterday, self’s friend Kyi sent her this poem. It is by Ko Ko Thett, who was born in Rangoon in 1972. His studies at Rangoon Institute of Technology were cut short following his involvement in the December 1996 student uprising. He left Burma after a spell of detention in July 1997. In Bangkok, he worked for Burma Programme at the Jesuit Refugee Service-Asia Pacific until his resettlement in Finland in December 2000. As an independent researcher, Ko Ko Thett has taught, written, and commented extensively on Burma since 1999. As of 2008, he is reading peace and conflict studies at the University of Helsinki, while keeping his dream of return alive.

Nargis Cyclone

The storm struck at dawn.
Blow, blew, blown!
I was thrown into a space unknown.
As I float, my body begins to bloat.
Am I swimming among a million corpses?
A million of my compatriots?
I hear women wailing on the shore.
Is it the muted weep of dying children
I’ve never heard before?

Ko Ko Thett
8.5.2008

* * * *

In other news today, 10 May 2008, the ruling junta in “Myanmar” has stooped to a new low: Myanmar’s military regime distributed international aid Saturday but plastered the boxes with the names of top generals.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

A Request From Son

(Gone: “Summer: Roli-Roti Chicken and Stanford CoHo”)

Self was in the parking lot of Trader Joe’s when she got a call from son. Since son never asks for anything, not one thing, the minute she heard his request, self said, “I’ll do it.”

The request was simple: son is participating in The American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. And he wanted self to tell people about it.

Who knows? Perhaps a friend of his has cancer. Or perhaps he is doing this out of simple altruism (Self thinks this the more likely explanation). The last time she and son were in Bacolod, in 2006, he gave his Jollibee lunch to a kargador — a porter. A fellow traveler then turned to self and inquired, with raised eyebrow, “American?” — Ha ha ha ha ha!

Here’s more about the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life:

Can you believe that more than 1.3 million new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in the United States this year? Those are staggering statistics, but there is hope. Each of us can do something to save lives and help those already fighting this disease. That’s why I’ve decided to take action against cancer by supporting the American Cancer Society Relay For Life® event right here in my community.

Relay For Life is an overnight event that brings our community together to help support the American Cancer Society and its lifesaving mission to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. The Society works hard every day to prevent cancer and save lives by supporting groundbreaking research, affecting public policies that protect us from cancer, and educating people on how to prevent or detect cancer early. The Society helps people with cancer right here in our own community. And our efforts at Relay For Life can help the American Cancer Society to keep working toward a cancer-free future.

I want to invite you to show your support in the ongoing fight against cancer by joining us for this year’s event. Please click on the link below for more information, including details on the inspirational Survivors’ Lap and the moving Luminaria Ceremony. We hope to see you there! If you can’t join us, will you please visit the site and make a donation to support our efforts? Either way, you will make a real difference in the lives of people facing cancer and in the lives of the people who love them. Thank you!

For state fundraising notices and the American Cancer Society’s Privacy Policy, please paste this link into your browser: http://www.cancer.org/docroot/SU/su_0.asp

Click here for son’s personal Relay for Life page.
Click here for the team page to Committed for a Cure.

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