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Monday, November 14, 2016

The Medicine Night’




(The silver super moon we saw last night on the full moon day of Tahsaungtaing.)

Families in Burma gathered in front of their door, all together looked at the full moon in the dark sky, waiting the time as the astrologer said, holding a small plate of something like green salad. When the time came, they grabbed their spoon, and took a spoonful of that green salad, and had a good taste, and still looking at the moon.

My dear reader, don’t be puzzled. If you knew today is the full moon day of Tahsaungtaing, is the day all the stars are surely seen in the sky, moreover if you are familiar with Burmese custom, you would not be surprised to hear such performance.

Yes, on the day of full moon day of Tanhsaungtaing, no star can be hidden. It means that what we eat in this night, good for our health even the water you drink turn to an effective medicine. In the Burmese way, especially to have more effective medicine, we must eat ‘Mei Za Li buds’ (natural buds from plant) (Cassia Siamea) by the instruction of the astrologer for what time we will have to eat. This year 2016, on the 14th of November, on the full moon day (the time super moon appeared), we would have to eat ‘Mei Za Li’ at 8:46:37 PM by the instruction of the astrologer.


(Preparing Mei Za Li salad before the time comes.)


The original ‘Mei Za Li’ taste was very bitter. So we mixed with lime, onion, salt, sugar, sesame oil and other materials to have a good taste. We believed that it would be good for our health for the coming year. We have to buy this thing as quickly as possible in the market because it could be out of sold on this very day. Some said that if we cut off the leaves of the ‘Me za Li’ at the time as the astrological says, and kept them, and ate tomorrow or at the day appropriate, they were still effective and could use as medicines.



Unfortunately, I caught cold, and have been sick before the full moon day. I could not go to the market and buy Mei Za Li buds. Fortunately, Mei Za Li tree grow in our garden, but the tree was cut off few weeks ago. Luckily, we have young leaves that grew beautifully at the tree. We could cut the young leaves, and make salad, and ate under the super moon in the dark night, and wished I would be in good health soon.


I feel better after eating the Mei Za Li leaves salad. See! I gained my strength back, and can write this post, and update it!




(Mei Za Li leaves salad, not bad!)

Sunday, October 23, 2016

They Died with Their Boots On!

They Died with Their Boots On!

On the 15th October of 2016, the boat carrying about 300 passengers on board (the boat pecked over the legal limit), sank on 5:00 AM at Chindwon River in Burma. It was happened 10 days ago. On that day it was estimated that mostly university students, school teachers, workers, and doctors on the ferry.




(Alarmed to see such unsafe transportation for the people coastline.)

A report said that boat accidents are common in Burma. But people living along the nation’s coastline used to go by heavy ferry along with the system of poor maintained transport, and overcrowded vessel. They risked their life as soldiers at war. A total of 154 people were recused alive after the ferry disaster. Found 30 dead bodies by the rescuers. Sad to hear the tragic news told by the survivors lost their loved ones in the ferry crackdown.

After the dreadful accident the death toll reached 100 so far, still missing bodies remained. Family still waits along the Chindwon River whether their loved ones would be found in the strong river flow. People at coastline used such unsafe transportation although they felt it was a dangerous driving. Now they met a tragic disaster, and died with their boots on.

Friday, August 26, 2016

A Letter To My Grandmother; You Will Never Know What We Have Lost








A Letter To My Grandmother; You Will Never Know What We Have Lost







(Grandma titled, ‘Will you ever know what you have lost?’ at the Working People’s Daily newspaper in the July of 1975 about the earthquake that destroyed the old pagodas of Pagan.)












My grandma, Khin Myo Chit – writer of Colourful Burma- wrote ‘Will you ever know what you have lost?’ at the Working People’s Daily newspaper in the July of 1975 about the severe earthquake that destroyed many of the old pagodas of Pagan. In the article, she lettered to her grandchildren that she was so unhappy for hearing the news of the earthquake strike at Pagan where she was dreaming of taking her twins-grandchildren to enjoy the historical place of Pagan.






The earthquake so happened at the evening of 6:35 PM on the 7th May of 1975. She always said to me that her great grandfather, great scholar, and archaeologist, taught her to love Pagan. Because of his teaching, and explanation of archaeological discoveries of old Pagan, she could later write a historical novel ‘Anawrahta of Burma’ (King Among Men) – history of the old Pagan King. I read many times the book, and was thinking that one day I would be there and see the remarkable places that my grandma had high-lighted in the book.






But I visited at the first time to Pagan after my grandma passed away. At that time, I listed the names of the historical places, and pagodas that I was planning to go. I believed my grandma saw me from heaven, and would accompany the visit with me.




(I visited the place where the statue of the royal horse of King Anawrahta (Pagan King) stayed at Shwe Zee Gon Pagoda.)







(All the souvenirs that I met at Pagan, I still remembered and missed them.)






I learnt from the natives that some remarkable places had been destroyed and lost. They showed me some old pagodas that had been destroyed, and some notable pieces that were lost, and some historical fragments that were no more. Here, I whispered; ‘Grandma…. You will never know what we have lost? Not because of the earthquake of 1975, but because of human destruction.’






Now I heard the news of the earthquake that destroyed many of the old pagodas of Pagan at 5:05PM of 24th August of 2016. I wondered what my grandma would write if she heard the news of the earthquake.

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Adventure of My Book Reading - I Am Reading Encyclopedia


A Present from My Grandmother When I was 10





(The old copy of The Modern Encyclopedia for Children.)






The old edition of The Modern Encyclopedia for Children (1966) that our grandmother (Khin Myo Chit – writer of Colourful Burma, etc) gave to her twins grandchildren when they were 10. Her own handwriting on the first page brought me back to the memory of our childhood. The book was a huge book, and it seemed difficult for ten-year-old children. But at that time the twins could read this book by the help of their grandparents, and their parents. They taught us how to read the dictionary of Encyclopedia. Our granny showed the pictures inside of the book, and explained everything what we asked. It was a long time ago. We are only 10 when our granny gave this old edition of The Modern Encyclopedia for Children. We kept this book at our library not only as a memory of my grandmother, but also it still needs for the learner.













(It was a huge book, but very interesting to read.)








(Pictures inside still attract me.)





We also have The New Universal Encyclopedia (1950?) in ten volumes from our grandparents. Although those ten volumes were in the old edition, they were very useful until now. When I grew older, I was hungry for new Updated Encyclopedia series. But my parents could not buy them, because they were too expensive for us.









(The old copy of The New Universal Encyclopedia that I have been learning since my childhood.)










In 1980, we received Practical Knowledge For All in 6 volumes from our grandfather (grandpa from my mother’s side). He gave us his books unwillingly, because he valued them very much, and he also wanted to share other grandchildren. I remembered my father begged him to give us his books. Finally, grandpa decided to give us. At that time, my parents also needed them too, because they were writing articles about Science, History, Geography, etc in some magazines in Burma. They received good ideas from those books. There was thousands of information about Agriculture, Art, Politics, etc with various subjects as Mathematics, Biology, History, etc and also with different languages and so on with colorful pictures, and photos.







(Grandpa’s memory. We still use them with great pleasure.)






In 1988, we had a chance to browse books at The International School situated at Insein Road, Kamayut, Rangoon, Burma. Yearly, they sold not only old books, but also other things at reduced prices to public. There my parents found The Home Library Encyclopedia in Ten Volumes of 1970. But one of the volumes, volume 4 – Masterpieces Of The Arts was missing. We were beggars cannot be choosers. Although we wanted to buy the complete set of it, we had no other choice. We hoped we would find the missing volume at the bookshops one day. But it was not easy to find it until then.


















(One volume is missing. But all the rest fulfilled our needs of knowledge for many years.)






Whenever we went to the bookshops, and saw Encyclopedia in 23 or 24 volumes, I wished I would buy and keep at our library one day. We could not buy the Encyclopedia until my mother’s friend sold her complete set of old Encyclopedia Britannica (1976) in 23 volumes at the cheaper price to us in 1999. She was a well-educated person. She wanted to sell her Encyclopedia Britannica to a true booklover. For 23 volumes, we had to pay the price of only one. Imagine! How happy we are at that moment!





(The complete set of Encyclopedia Britannica that we keep as our own.)










Since our childhood, we always heard our grandparents talked of rare edition of Encyclopedias, and of ancient poets and their lives. They valued books, and our parents too invested in books for the library. I always was buying books whatever money I earned from my royalty however our country is in the state of poor in books.






Epilogue






I am thinking about the updated Encyclopedia (2015 or 2016) in complete volumes that I still want to buy and keep at our library. I wish I could do one day.


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Seasonal Flower in Rainy Season


(Wa-zou-ban flowers in rainy season. Very rare to see Purple colored Wahso in Rangoon.)
Especially flowering in the rainy season, Wa-zou-ban (herbaceous plants) are sold every corner of the market. People love to buy them, and offered at their household shrines. Its color was mixed with white and orange. It looks like a bell, and hung beautifully by its pattern. Bearing purple blossoms was a rare to see in Rangoon, we can call it ‘country Wa-zou-ban’.


(Wa-zou-bans are popular and have best attraction in the market place.)
            Wa-zou-bans are easy to plant in the garden. Its stem can be grown naturally in the soil. We can plant again and again their stems, and it will grow, and increase in the next rainy season, or sometimes it quickly blossoms if it gets water enough.

 (Easy to grow in the garden.)





Thursday, May 12, 2016

No Rain, but Padauk Blooms in Summer

(With my donation, added the Padauks (Gun-kino flowers).)


Rain often comes on April, and it makes Padauk (Gun-kino flowers) buds to bloom for welcoming the water festival. People always hope to see the shower before the Thingyan (water festival). If the rain does not come, people created ‘fake rain’ to the Padauk tree as they climbed to the tree, and watered the buds at the top of the tree. Then buds come to bloom in the next morning.

The 2016 summer was so hot, and the ultraviolet index reached to 11 in all the afternoon in Rangoon. People were very tired in this summer. We saw Padauk buds on the top of the tree, but they would never bloom if no rain. We were sorry to see them to be faded away sooner or later if rain would not come.

On the 1st May of 2016, I went to the Sunlun monastery to donate for my grandma’s 101 birthday. On the road to Sunlun monastery, I saw Padauk flowers at the market place. I was so surprised to see the beautiful yellow flowers, and I suddenly went to the seller how it comes. I knew that there was no rain yesterday. I thought they created ‘fake rain’ for having flowers. The seller said Padauk blooms today, because of the hottest sun. She added that how could they risk their life climbing to the tree and watered the buds under this hottest weather. Yes, quite reasonable! But I did not believe at first, because I thought they did not want to say what they really do. They knew the customers preferred natural blooming. So, I did not argue, and bought the flowers.

When I came home, I planned to go and see my neighbor’s Padauk tree and its buds. I knew that they had no time to water the tree in this weather. Surprisingly, I saw beautiful yellow Padauk flowers bloomed at the top of the tree. I asked my neighbor whether they watered the buds. They said no, and they also were surprised to see those beautiful flowers bloomed in the hot weather. Padauk bloomed again on 11th May in Rangoon at some area. People loved to see them, and our heart fresh and happy because their smells so sweet and alive.

Epilogue

The beautiful Padauks were seasonal flowers and it welcomed Burmese New Year. By our old belief, it never bloomed if no rain. Now it changed. Although the rain did not come, it could bloom if the sun was too hot.






Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Burmese New Year Passing with No Padauk




Burmese New Year Passing with No Padauk


(Padauk buds were hoping to meet the shower of the rain.)

This year 2016, 13th April was the welcoming day of the water festival, and after 4 days of watering, 17th April was the Burmese New Year. I arranged flowers and leaves for the day of the Thingyan (water) festival, to welcoming Thargarmin (King of the celestials) at the Atar Pot (Thingyan Pot).


(A seller sold flowers and leaves of welcoming Burmese New Year.)

I set in front of the house at the suitable place to welcom Thargarmin.



(I put the pot in front my house.)

Although the Padauk (Gun-kino flowers) (yellow flowers especially bloom on Thingyan month, welcoming Burmese New Year) did not bloom this year, their buds were seen hoping to meet the rain. The sun was too hot to go outside, but people enjoyed water festival at every roads, and streets. However the warning of ultraviolet rays, and its UV index was too high for Rangoon people, water festival went on successfully.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Three Generations of Monkhood

Three Generations of Monkhood

 (Three photos as above - Grandpa, middle - my father, and below - my twin brother, three generations of monkhood.)

(The above photo from my grandmother's old album.)

Novitiation is of vital importance in a Buddhist family. My grandpa, U Khin Maung Latt who was born in 1915, was novitaited at the age of 8 in 1923. Grandma, Khin Myo Chit showed me the photo of grandpa’s novitiation, proudly said that how important the Buddhist way in a Buddhist family.

Grandma showed me the next photo of her nine-year-old son (my father) who was going to receive the heritage the Buddha had given to his own son to thousand five hundred years ago. My grandparents were giving their son up into the holy order of the Yellow Robe.

No man’s life is considered fulfilled unless he is novitiated as my grandma always mentioned in her writing, my twin brother was novitiated when he came to 9 years old at the Sunlun Meditation Monastery under the guidance of Sunlun Sayadaw U Vinaya. His head was shaved and wore yellow robe carried his black alms bowl and kept Sabbath.

During their monkhood, a week or 2 weeks, spent their days in meditation and the study of the Buddhist scriptures.