Monday, March 13, 2017

Literary Award Ceremony 2017

(On 18th February 2017, I was attending the Tun Foundation Literary Award Ceremony.)

The 11th Tun Foundation literary award ceremony was held on 18th February 2017 at the Myanmar Banks Association in Yankin Township, Yangon, Burma. Among those winning books, my book ‘A Memory of My Grandparents’ was awarded as biographic literary genre.

(Writers and scholars were celebrated for their achievements.)

The Tun Foundation was a private organization, donating various programming including the Literary Awards. The chairman was U Thein Tun who was the founder of the Tun Foundation Committee. The Literary Awards Programs were established since 2006. My translated book, Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland was my first winning book for the Children Literary Genre in 2008. So, ‘A Memory of My Grandparents’ was my second time winning the literature award.

(I accepted the award on behalf of my family.)

This year, there were 15 books awards and four best manuscript awards from the committee of Tun Flundation literature lovers. On the 18th February of 2017, the awarding ceremony was held at the Myanmar Banks Association in Yankin Township, Yangon, Burma. Writers and scholars were celebrated for their achievements at the ceremony.

(At the front of the winning book covers board, I felt... miss you all, my dear loved ones.)

Without the help and encouragement of my parents, and my twin brother, I believe this book would never come out. Without the old memories of my grandparents, I could not do such a great work finished successfully. I missed them too.

(Junior Win's A Memory of My Grandparents)

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Harvest Festival in February

Harvest festival now comes in Tapoutwe (February), the eleventh month of the Burmese calendar. Burmese people planned to make Htamene (Glutinous rice) before the Taboutwe season. Several ingredients such as glutinous rice, coconut slices, sesame seeds, peanuts, generous amount of cooking oil would be needed for making Htamene. My grandparents organized Htamene party (harvest festival) from 1983 to 1996 in our garden. It was a long time ago, but I still remembered and missed them so much.

 (Generous amount of cooking oil are prepared.)

Htamene party is either celebrated in community or in the family and friends. Before the Harvest festival, people prepared the ingredients, and hired professional team. It was a hard work to do. Although we could not do Htamene party since our grandparents passed away, we did not miss Htamene food. Our friends or our neighbors shared their Htamene with a small portion to us if they make that delicious food at their house. It was a Burmese custom. One can share their traditional food to friends if they are making it at their place, or at their office.

 (People organized Htamene making at the Shwedagon Pagoda.)

 (The team work. The ground was full of ingredients, and the giant pots.)

Htamene professional teams might be very busy in the Tapoutwe season. Sometimes, people organized Htamene (Harvest festival) at the pagodas. They collect donations from one who wants some share of Htamene. We can donate to the people who organized Htamene making, and then we would have some amount of portion after they finished. They hired professional team, and had Htamene made. In the early morning of the day before the full moon day of Taboutwe, they started their work. After the busy time between the early morning and the noon, Htamenes were ready to be served. 

 (Coconut slices are prepared.)

In the early morning, people went to the pagoda, and waited the time when Htamene was done. The giant pots of Htamene were one by one finished. So, our turn now comes. People can take their share of Htamene at the pagoda ground where Htamene was made. 

(People came and wait at the pagoda ground to have their share.)

Every year, we donated to Shwedagon Pagoda in the Taboutwe season. The organizer returned to us half amount of Htamene from our donation. So, we have some amount of Htamene. The other half of our donation was offered at the Shweedagon Pagoda. So, we gained Kuthow (benefit) in the Tapoutwe season as offering our share at the pagoda. We can distribute our share again to our neighbors and friends.

 (The giant pot of Htamene is busy right now.)

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Memorial of Burmese Poet - U Tin Moe

On the 1st January of 2017, the ten-year memorial of the Burmese poet U Tin Moe, was held in Rangoon, Burma.

(U Tin Moe (1933-2007))

He was one of famous poets in Burma especially in his writing on poems for children. His poem, ‘A girl with a red umbrella’ in Myanmar was a long-time-remembered poem in our young memories.

('A Country Girl with a Red Umbrella' by Tin Moe.)

He visited our house very often to meet our grandparents. I still remember he was kind and always smiling. A cigar he always smoking later became the symbol of his figure. His poem, ‘Guest’ in Burmese was very popular among his fans.

(One of Htamene (Harvest) Festivals at our house, U Tin Moe with cigar looking at my grandma khin Myo Chit who was talking with Maung Thar Noe - writer.)

In the 1988 demonstration in Burma, his life changed. He stood by the side of students, and people. He wrote poems to encourage them. Because of his chosen right, he was imprisoned for 4 years in 1991. At that time, his poems, even his name was banned in the magazines, newspapers, etc. After he was released, he was afraid to be imprisoned again. He heavily decided to leave Burma, and stayed at United State. At that hard time, not alone he, many students, and some Burmese people left Burma for their safety.

(The poster illustrates U Tin Moe and his famous poem 'The Guest'.)

(The poem he wrote to Moemaka Online Media he used to write while he was staying in US, and his signature on 14th October 2006.)

He wrote articles, and poems on abroad longing his motherland. He wanted to return home and die at his land. From his writings, we knew how he missed his country. When my grandfather passed away, he wrote a poem for him, and sent to us.

He hoped he would come back one day and give respect to Shwedagon Pagoda, and meet his long-time-no-see friends. But he passed away on January 22, 2007 in Los Angeles, California at the age of 73. His family kept his remains, hoped to bring to Burma one day to fulfill their father’s long-wishes.

(His home-sweet-home, and his remains now arrived safely on the 28th December 2016.)

(His funeral held on 29th December 2017 at the graveyard, Rangoon, Burma.)

On the 1st January of 2017, the ten-year memorial of Burmese poet U Tin Moe, was held at Royal Rose Garden, in Rangoon, Burma.

(I was attending his memorial at Royal Rose Garden on 1st january 2017.)

(His friends, and his admirers attended the memorial of U Tin Moe held on 1st January 2017.)

(His comrades, friends, and family gave a talk how they missed their old friend at the memorial.)

(His fans at his memorial.)

Not only his families, but also his friends and his fans missed him, and remembered him as long-time poet of all time.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Book Review – ‘Quest for Peace’ by Khin Myo Chit


The collection of Khin Myo Chit’s articles from The Working People’s Daily newspaper in 1964 was now published from Parami publication. This is the first time publication in book form, of one of Khin Myo Chit’s masterpieces. Buddhist’s way of life, memoirs on Sunlun method of meditation, her life story in literary and in wartime, her social life included in this book, and it seemed become her own autobiography.

There were 49 articles appeared, and her son, Dr.Khin Maung Win wrote the Preface for the book. It said that before the title ‘Quest for Peace’ was decided, there have been many titles. Her two admirers U Win Pe (Mya Zin), and Mrs Godwine argued between the two titles called ‘Many a House of life Hath Me’ and ‘House of Life’. But they thought those two titles should need explaination. So the simple title, ‘Quest for Peace’ was finally chosen, and the autobiography was serialized in the daily newspaper The Working People’s Daily in 1964.

Here is the link ; 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Pre-Centeniel Anniversary of University of Rangoon

(My heart leaps when I saw Convocation Hall. It looks gloomy, and told me old memories.)

Pre-Centeniel Anniversary of Rangoon University – 96th Anniversary of Rangoon Arts and Science University (RASU) - was held from 6st to 9th December of 2016, in four years' time. Books sales were opening for 4 days in the Campus. Bookshops were under the temporary roofs at nearby and around the lawns of the remarkable places such as Thit-Poke-Pin (Tetrameles nudiflora), Arts and Science Assemblies, Recreation Centre (RC), and Library, etc.

(Bookshops, caricature, discount books-sale, and University canteen.))

People came and enjoyed wondering around there. Bookshops, photos-exhibition, caricatures, and old-books-sales were seen interestingly attract to the visitors. People by coincident met their old friends in the campus, and had a never-ending talk. I believed University of Rangoon meant to every one.

(Precious books, and documents. Among them I saw my grandma's book 'Burmese Scenes and Sketches.')

(Inside the library, displayed memorials, and people copied it.)

Inside the library, annual University magazines, photos, old manuscripts and handwriting were orderly displayed on the table or at the bookshelves. People were excited to see them. Some copied it, and could take photos freely.

(Htein Win - Photographer, and his historical records of students' actions during in December 1974.)

I met one of well-known photographers Htein Win (photo) at the corner. He showed me the book, which was a collection of his photos of U Thant’s funeral (1974), taken 40 years ago while he was witnessing the ceremony in the December 1974. (U Thant – former secretary general of the United Nation from 1961 to 71). He kept his photos for more than 30 years, and now put out to public.

(Famous cartoonist U Phay Thein's daughter, Now she run her father's publication house.)

I also met a daughter of famous cartoonist U Phay Thein. She established her father’s publication, and published her father’s comic books. Children especially loved them very much. I admired the family of U Phay Thein. They were honest, and simple. My grandparents, and U Phay Thein family were closed friends. I was happy to meet her in the University as a well-known publisher, and a writer as well.

After hours wondering around, and having lunch, meeting my old friends, I lastly looked at the back side of the bookshops still remained busy. Hope to see again, farewell!

(What a nice view of bookshops stayed in peace!)

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

A Glimpse to the Noble Myanmar Literary Festival 2017

   (Noble-Myanmar Literary Festival board was standing outside the theatre.)

Today, I was at the National Theatre to wonder around the Noble Myanmar Literary Festival 2017. It was held for 3 days, 22nd to 24th January.
 (The roof for booksales was cool and comfortable.)

Books sales were best view in the campus. However the weather was so hot, the temporary roof for bookshops were cold and comfortable for the visitors. 

 (Cartoon corner)

The cartoons corner, photos corner, and talk corners seemed interesting places to everyone. The weather was so hot. People could not stand long at the cartoon corne. I think it would be more crowded in the evening.

 (Eating place for every visitor.)

The lunch corner was full in the afternoon. The tables and chairs were not enough for everyone. People were queering at the small eatery to buy Burmese cuisine. There were cafeteria, Chinese cuisine shop, and moke-hninn-khar shop (Burmese special soup with fish) at the eating-place. The sun was strongly entering into the place, so we could not eat at the table comfortably.

 (A man with an umbrella, and his musical troop.)

I also saw Hta-me-ne (glutinous rice) at the corner with a man U-Shwe-Yoe dancing, and his troop was entertaining with their musical instrument. A man wore U Shwe Yoe dress with Pathein (Basin) umbrella. It was a Burmese traditional men dress. 

 (They welcomed all to give their precious Burmese food.)

They welcomed all to come and freely take their delicious hta-me-ne food. It was called Dhanna (giving) in the Buddhist way of life. They were very pleased to give their food to every visitor. Hta-me-ne is the seasonal Burmese food. When Ta-Po-Twe (Burmese month for February) comes, Burmese people are participating Hta-me-ne making at the pagoda, or at the streets, or at their houses. Now I saw Hta-me-ne here, a little earlier than its season comes. 
 (A white board showed the program for 3 days schedules.)

 There was a board on which the program was shown who would come and talk. So, people could choose their favorite subject and speaker from the program.

 (National Theatre stood under the hot sun.)

At the end of the red ladder, there would be photos exhibition and talk-shows inside the building.  At night, there were plays and music performances at the theatre.

Book Award Announcement

Tun Foundation established since 2006 in Rangoon, Burma. The Commitee gave awards annually for books published in Burma. Now Tun Foundation  announced the award winning books for 2015 today – 14th January 2017. Among those winning books, Junior Win won awards for the book ‘A Memory of My Grandparents’ in the Biography (English) genre. The book also reminds the 100th Anniversary of my grandparents, U Khin Maung Latt, and Daw Khin Myo Chit. It was held in the 9th May of 2015 at Pyay-Yeik-Tha house, Rangoon. On that day, ‘A Memory of My Grandparents’ books were given as present to all the audiences who attended the 100th Anniversary ceremony. A family of U Khin Maung Latt and Daw Khin Myo Chit sincerely thanks to the Tun Foundation Committee, and will be very proud to receive the award.

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Night She Rest In Peace; Longing for a Burmese Poet – Kyi Aye

(Kyi Aye (13th December 1929 – 2016))

(A photo of Kyi Aye (left), and the sketch of her (right), the artist – unknown)

A very rare woman poet in Burma, Kyi Aye, an old friend of my grandparents, once lived together at Aye-Yeik-Tha in the year around 1950. She was at that time, a Rangoon University student attending a bachelor of arts. She later studied at University of Medicine, and became a doctor. My grandma and she were closed friends. Grandma admired her because of her strong ambition in the education, and her beautiful literary works and her own successful household life with 8 children (including a pair of twins.). Grandma and she discussed about literature for a long time until she left Burma (1970?).

Kyi Aye had been already writing poems and romance since her high school. Her romantic poems were famous for not only her writings, but also for the artistic feelings themselves. While I was reading her poems in my younger days, I thought Omar Khayyam was reborn as our poet, Kyi Aye in Burma. Her famous Myanmar poem, - ‘The Night I Cannot Sleep’ in Burmese, was still the most popular poem. It’s popularity can compare one of the short four verses of Khayyam; ‘A Loaf of Bread,...thou beside me,…’

Her selected words were gentle, simple, and calm. I was proud to say that the beauty of our Burmese poetic languages was found in her writing. Unfortunately, I could not dare to translate her poems into English without destroying her poetic sense, and sensibility. So, let it be. … I would say that we are lucky, because we could taste the new Khayyam’s tongue in the 20th century.

(An old photo of Aye-Yeik-Tha group. My grandparents were standing in the middle, and my father, sitting in front of my grandmother. Kyi Aye stood at the right hand side of my grandmother, Khin Myo Chit – writer of Colourful Burma.)

Kyi Aye passed away in 28th December 2016 at the age of 87. I had never met her in my life before. I only saw her at Aye-Yeik-Tha photos from my grandparents. She looked slim, simple and plain as her poems hold. Her big eyeglasses showed the way of an educated woman. Her Burmese fan must remember her, especially her famous verses, ‘The Night I Cannot Sleep’. I wondered if she was born again as a poet in the next life, I would wish to hear her new poems alive in the 21st century.