Rise in crimes in Yangon

Lately, I have been noticing many stories of crimes and attempted crimes happening around Yangon on Facebook and although not all of them are being reported by local media, these crimes seemed to coincide with the release of prisoners on the presidential amnesty. The authorities may try to deny it, but they can’t deny the fact that two police officers were stabbed to death by a man they were trying to capture. It turned out that the man was recently released from prison with the presidential amnesty. Continue reading


Gender discrimination in Myanmar

While Emma Watson gave a moving speech last week to end gender equality, the authorities in Myanmar are planning to prohibit selling alcohol to women in alcohol-free zones in Yangon and Mandalay, according to Mizzima. Continue reading

Bad But Good

Inspired by the title of Miss A’s first single, I started to get ideas about people who seem bad but actually good inside. The song, “Bad Girl, Good Girl” describes a girl who dislike being discriminated based on her outside appearance.

That reminds me of “An Evening with the Cursers”, a short story written by Jue. In this story, a married couple went to see a football match one evening. The wife was quite annoyed at a group of men sitting near them because they kept swearing at the football players and she couldn’t stand their insolent manners. As she was leaving the stadium, she took a quick look at them and judged quickly that they are of a lower working class. She was quite pleased to be away from their presence, but to her dismay, they waited at the same bus stop with the couple and also got on the same bus. The couple were able to get seats on the bus while the men had to stand. The whole time the bus was moving, their voices were the loudest in the bus and the wife was blaming herself being stingy to take a taxi. After a while, the bus stopped suddenly and the conductor asked the passengers to help push the bus to start the engine. The insolent men along with other men who were standing got off the bus to help push the car. She wanted her husband to go out and help, but he didn’t even seem to interested. She later found out that he didn’t get up in fear of losing his seat. She was extremely ashamed of herself, her husband, and all the men who were sitting on the bus while those men who she had looked down were willing to help and didn’t even blame the selfish men sitting on the bus. At the end of the story, she tried to assure herself that if the situation was reverse, maybe they might not be willing to help, but it’s really difficult to predict of course.

So, just because they appear to be ill-mannered does not mean that they are bad people. So, how about those people who appear to be good on the outside, but don’t have good characters on the inside. Let’s just say A is a multimillionaire tycoon who has donated millions to needy places, but he does backdoor handling such as bribery, etc to get special favors and business deals. In such case, should we consider A as a bad person? If so, how about all the good deeds that he has done? Do they account for nothing at all?

How to Discourage Corruption

In this week’s English issue of Myanmar Times news journal, there is an article about how Cambodia should learn from Singapore to fight corruption. Cambodia will be receiving $1.1 million dollars from international donors and the author is worried that most of them will be lost to corruption. So, he suggested Cambodia to emulate Singapore and bring corruption under state control. He described his experience in Singapore when he tried to hook up his phone line. He was told that it would take three weeks before his line could be activated, but it could be done in 24 hours if he pays a $35 express service fee. He described the process as ‘institutionalized corruption’.

It got me thinking. Could this ‘institutionalized corruption’ work here in Myanmar also? By bring the practice under official administration, will it really fight corruption here? Would increasing the salaries of ministers and senior civil servants make them become not tempted by illegal backhanders? No, I don’t think so. I know talking about this issue is a no-ending situation, but still I wanted to express my thoughts after reading the article.

If you want to read the full article, pls wait a few days (or a week) before it’s posted in the official website. It’s in Volume 27, No. 528.

Schools & Tuition

Tuition….I don’t get them. Why is this trend of attending tuition popular in Myanmar? We have learned in school a proverb that say if you attend school regularly, you won’t have any problem with your studies (ေက်ာင္းမွန္မွန္တက္၊ စာမခက္) If a student attends regularly, why should he/she have to attend tuition where the same teachers from their school teaches them over again. Some say that they attend tuition because they get spots, which means that you get exam tips from the teachers. I’ve also heard stories about how teachers prefer those who attend their tuition over those who don’t attend them.

If parrot studying long paragraphs without fully understanding the meaning isn’t enough, the students hardly get free times aside from their studies. They go to school in the morning and then to their tuition in the afternoons or evenings. Then, they have to study at night. During the weekends, they have to attend their tuition again. Some of the students also attend English weekend classes where they are taught English, Math, Science, Computer, etc. If they attend the English class in the morning, they have to attend Myanmar tuition class in the evenings, and vice versa. I know ‘cuz I taught both morning and afternoon English classes where students rush from one tuition to another. They usually begged me not to give them too much homework or too much to study ‘cuz they have too much to handle. Okay, maybe some were just being lazy, but even so, I pitied them.

So, some of the students who get rare free times spend them playing computer games, going online, etc. They rarely read books for pleasure these days aside from comics and maybe a few reads those translated novels of Goosebumps and Mr. Midnight. However, students from private schools read more books than those from government schools.

If you think these tuition only exist for government schools, think again. They also exist in private schools. Students attending private schools in the morning have to attend tuition in the evenings. Some of these tuition are to help them with their learning while some are to be their study guide and help them with their homework (like me). Some private schools don’t allow their teachers to give tuition to students from their school since they don’t want the teachers to be giving special favors to their students. Even so, the teachers can give tuition to other students from other private schools.

Although I don’t remember much, I didn’t actually have to attend tuition when I was young. I remember going over to a house after school, but all I remember was reading comic books and eating roasted corns. At that time, I thought I was sent there ‘cuz my cousin didn’t want to baby-sit me. Even so, I didn’t stay there for long. I remember going to school at noon and then coming back home at 5 p.m. Sometimes, I didn’t even go home right away and went instead to the bus stop to wait for my mother’s return, especially if I want to tattletale about my cousin. Then, of course, going abroad changed my life completely. I did my homework regularly, studied a little and managed to get good grades in school. I started hating studying Myanmar school subjects because I have no one to teach me and I have to study all those notes my cousin had written without understanding the full meaning. My mother tried her best to teach us mathematics, but even so I sucked at it.

I had my first taste of tuition when I came back to Yangon. It was a tuition with about eight students where the girls disliked me and my sister, and the guys were the only person we can talk to. However, our strict uncle and his family thought we were too close to the guys so they hired a study guide for us and that was goodbye to the tuition. Not that I missed those girls, they really got on my nerves, but I missed being around with people my age. I spent days after days, memorizing all those notes which I have no clues of the actual meaning. And so I passed the exam, thanks to my study guide and those teachers who graded my exam papers and felt sorry for the pathetic girl.

Anyway, to get back to the point, aside from having a study guide for three months, I have never had any real tuition until I started 2nd year in UDE, but don’t get me started about it. I am still pissed off about it every time I read in those scholarships which require excellent academic records.

Again, back to the topic, I don’t understand why my two students who attend a prestige government school and also attend tuition with the same teachers from school couldn’t tell the difference between am/is/are and do/does when doing fill-in-the-blank exercises. Aren’t those the very foundation of English grammar? They, 6th grade and 8th grade students, can’t differentiate between them. I don’t know what they are taught at school especially in English. They lack knowledge about many things including things about our country. If they, the government school students, are like this, just think how much it’s worse for the students from private schools. They know more about the world than their own country.

Some Funny Definitions

I got these from an email. So funny lol

School: A place where Papa pays and Son plays.

Life Insurance: A contract that keeps you poor all your life so that you can die Rich.

Nurse: A person who wakes u up to give you sleeping pills.

Boss: Someone who is early when you are late and late when you are early.

Criminal: A guy no different from the rest….except that he got caught.

Classic: Books, which people praise, but do not read.

Marriage: It’s an agreement in which a man loses his bachelor degree and a woman gains her masters.

Tears: The hydraulic force by which masculine willpower is defeated by feminine waterpower.

Lecture: An art of transferring information from the notes of the Lecturer to the notes of the students without passing through “the minds of either”

reminds me of my distant education life

Conference: The confusion of one man multiplied by the number present.

Compromise: The art of dividing a cake in such a way that everybody believes he got the biggest piece.

Dictionary: A place where success comes before work.

Conference Room: A place where everybody talks, nobody listens and everybody disagrees later on.

Father: A banker provided by nature.

Politician: One who shakes your hand before elections and your Confidence after.

Doctor: A person who kills your ills by pills, and kills you by bills.

Smile: A curve that can set a lot of things straight.

Office: A place where you can relax after your strenuous home life.

Yawn: The only time some married men ever get to open their mouth.

Etc.: A sign to make others believe that you know more than you actually do.

Committee: Individuals who can do nothing individually and sit to decide that nothing can be done together.

Experience: The name men give to their mistakes.

Atom Bomb: An invention to end all inventions.

Philosopher: A fool who torments himself during life, to be wise after death


Sometimes people waste their money eating out, shopping, etc but when they are asked to donate money or give money to beggars, they rarely do that. I don’t mean you have to hand out money to every beggars you see on the street but it makes me feel angry sometimes to see people handing out 20, 50 or 100 kyats to old people. and they are the ones who don’t mind wasting money for fun but they can’t even spare some little money to donate.

I’m not trying to point my fingers at anyone ‘cuz sometimes I am included also. I don’t mind spending money on buying dvds but I don’t always donate my money. I only pick old people and some monks and nuns to donate my money. I have always been wanting to donate my money to an orphanage for my birthday but I never got the chance to do that as I always spend my money on treating my friends instead. It’s an obligation that I can’t avoid. I don’t like being given present only when I treat them ‘cuz I feel as if they are only giving them ‘cuz I treated them. That is why I tried to hand out my gifts exactly on their birthdays even when they aren’t prepared to treat me ‘cuz I only want to make them happy and I don’t want to expect anything from them. It’s their own choice to treat me or not.