In October 2005, self and a bunch of other Southeast Asian writers were flown to Berlin to give a reading at the House of World Culture as part of a conference called “Sending Signals.” Musicians, writers, film-makers, and visual artists from Burma, Viet Nam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines were gathered in a hotel at the edge of the Tiergarten. That was also where self met the writers Linh Dinh and Rattawut Lapcharoensap, and where she met a poet from Burma, Kyi May Kaung.
All these years later, self still keeps in touch with Kyi.
Self once saw an Escalade in the Costco parking lot with the license plate “Myanmar.” She couldn’t believe it and rushed home to call Kyi.
Her somewhat acerbic response: “If the license plate was Myanmar then I am 100% sure the car belonged to a member of the ruling party. They’re the only ones who refer to Burma as Myanmar.”
That was a moment.
In December last year, self asked Kyi if it would be OK to post some of her poetry in this blog. Kyi sent over six poems. Self doesn’t know why it took her three whole months to get one of Kyi’s poems posted but here, at last, is one:
Travel warning for Burma — some places may be closed. Ethnic cleansing going on — in 1962 they called it “cleaning the Augean stables.”
Actually, that wasn’t poetry. That came from one of Kyi’s tweets.
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.