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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

My Life Will Go On (2)

 (Portrait of me in 1984, by Paw Oo Thet (Artist).)
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                  Now I started to write my school life, I was feeling opening my mind in specific. I recalled that I always did not have good marks in the examination. I should be regretted for my parents for could not show my best performance in the examination not only in mathematics, but also in all other subjects. I felt thankful to my parents for they never blamed me for my stupidity in the examination through my school life. Although I was working hard in my homework, or studied regularly, I could never reach the good mark. My twin brother was different. He was smarter, and more intelligent. I did not understand why I was so stupid although we were born as twins. Let it be, that might lead my life to play something an important role one day.


(We were twins, but he was smarter.) (Illstr; by Maung Yit - my twin brother.)

Important and Unimportant

     There’s a great difference of opinion between me and others on what is considered to be important. That is a factor which will play an important part in my academic life as well as my literary life. All my life the clash of opinions between me and those around me is predominant especially on what is considered to be important or not important. One may ask: what’s so important about thinking something to be important or not? There it is you see?

(''Some of the jury wrote it down `important,' and some `unimportant.'  ...'')
(Artist; John Tenniel at Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll.)

        I always met the different points of views of me and the people around were always evident. Whenever I believed such things were important, they never thought that such things were as important as I believed. Whenever I thought such things were useless and unimportant, they considered such things were important and necessary for their life.

        I first noticed this clash of opinions when I was in the 5th standard. What happened was this: The teacher asked me a question, but before I could give the answer, someone in front gave the correct answer. It was not so loud, but both the teacher and I and my friends around me could hear it. So I answered nothing. I thought that if I answered, the teacher would think that I was simply repeating what I just heard. The teacher asked again. Still, I answered nothing. At that time I was blamed by my friends around me after the teacher left. I willingly accepted the teacher’s opinion that I was a stupid girl rather than one who copied the answer from others. When my friends said, ‘Did you hear the answer told by your friend in front of you?’, I answered, ‘Why not? That’s why I did not want to repeat it.’ All my friends did not understand me. They believed that answering correctly and getting a good impression of the teacher to be more important although the answer came from another.  

('Unimportant, Of course, I meant' The king hastily said.)
(Photo credit; https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/90/d3/1d/90d31df3a02cfec64f4098cfd5f8a3c3.jpg)


             Well, the time passed by. My opinions never change. Only the time and the place have changed. I met the same situation when I sat viva examination as a Master student in the University. This time, I would never happen to be blamed again by people around me. I made this stumbling block into stepping stone.


Sunday, June 18, 2017

My Life Will Go On (1)

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Introduction


(My Life Will Go On, by Junior Win)

         I began to write in 1996, because I had no other work to do. Even until I spent 3 or 4 years of my writer’s life, I still was thinking I would quit this life if I found a better job. I was not sure for my career as a writer stayed for my whole life. I try to find the opportunities to get other work that would fit me. But those experiences were hard that gave me to write more and more. After my grandma passed away in 1999, I firstly realized that only to write still remained in my life.

Here, from this section, the reader will find my life as a writer;

Beggars Cannot Be Choosers (Brief Story of My Life.)


     When I was a child, I did not envy my grandma, Khin Myo Chit (writer of Colourful Burma, Anawrahta of Burma, etc) however I saw her books were well-known among Burmese readers, and received the International interest. Moreover, when I was at school, I did not want to say my grandma was a writer among my friends. I thought writer's work was not a nice job. I would rather say she was a housewife than a writer.

 (khin Myo Chit (1915-1999)

        My ambition was to be a teacher like my grandpa, and my father. Grandpa taught English, and my father Mathematician. When I reached the University as a mathematics major student, I thought I would one day become a tutor in the University. The education system at that time around 1995, one had to pass the entrance examination if he or she wanted to be a tutor in the University. All the questions in the entrance examination were useless, and unimportant, because I did not find a single one that was useful in mathematics. Although I failed the entrance examination 3 times, I still did not give up. 

 
 (My grandpa, U Khin Maung Latt (1915-1996)

      Fortunately, the education system was changed in around 1998. The entrance tutor examination system was no more. One could apply part-time tutor directly if he or she had obtained the B.Sc (honors) degree. At that time, I had already obtained the B.Sc (honors) degree, and was attending the master classes to get the M.Sc degree. Then, I became a part-time tutor at the University. It seemed that I became a tutor one day if nothing disturbed my ambition.

        After months, we heard the announcement. There all the part-time tutor would meet an interview to be a permanent tutor. I met an interview like everybody else. It sounds smooth! All the candidates were waiting the result for a year. Later the result was out. All the part-time tutors passed the interview Except me! All my friends became tutors. But none of my friends came and comforted me. My fortune did not give a chance to become a tutor in the University. My life for more than 10 years in the University with the hope of tutor was now like a fool’s paradise. 

     

Thursday, June 15, 2017

History Recall


'Our histories are never dead to us, because we have never forgotten them.'

 (Junior Win's A Memory of My Grandparents. 2015)

I wrote a book ‘A Memory of My Grandparents’ to held the hundredth anniversary of my grandparents in 2015. During my writing, my parents, and my twin brother helped, and encouraged my work to finish the book in time. We altogether searched old photos, and old documents at my grandparents’ cabinets.

I did not want to miss a single fact of the history of my grandparents. I tried my best to dig out their old memories from their olden, (but for me, golden) and I wanted to bring them all to public.

(Grandpa, U Khin Maung Latt - Chief Editor of The WPD newspaper

My grandpa, U Khin Maung Latt worked as a Chief Editor of The Working People’s Daily (WPD) between 1963, and 1968. When I was writing about my grandpa, I searched all the information in grandpa’s desk about The WPD during his days. I found old, and worn-out letters in grandpa’s files. I read one by one, and see that how hard grandpa worked as chief editor. Letters from all over Burma were precious, and priceless. Keeping in a safe file showed that how grandpa valued them.
(Letters to the Chief Editor; U Khin Maung Latt.)

I tried to express grandpa’s work at The WPD as much as I could in my book. Grandma also worked as editor at The WPD with grandpa. I could imagine how hard they two worked, and faced the unfair relation between powerful politicians, and the others. Finally they both decided to quit from their posts, for they did not want to see the government newspaper The WPD was suppressed by the government itself.

Later New Light of Myanmar daily newspaper appeared in the place of The WPD

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Act of Respectful Deed


In our Burmese custom, during the Thadingyut festival, young people brought foods, or cakes or gifts, and they offered in front of their teachers or adults, and paid respect. My grandpa was a teacher, and he received gifts, and respect from his students during the season.

However he accepted gifts from his students, he preferred having being paid respect at not any gifts. His students did not satisfy what their teacher said. They wanted to bring cakes or foods, etc while they were coming to pay respect. (Yes! I agreed! Their cakes were delicious! I did not understand why grandpa did not want to accept gifts.) 


(Young writers, and poets came and paid respect to my grandparents during Thadingyut season.)
                                                                                                                
Not only in the Thadingyut festival, Buddhists liked to pay respect to adults in any time, or in any place. Here, I recalled one of my memories in my younger days;

One of grandpa’s students came and visited to our house. He talked with grandpa, and grandma for an hour. They were happy together chatting each other. Before he left, he said to grandpa that he would have to pay respect next time, because he forgot to bring gifts this time. Grandpa, and grandma altogether replied him that he would not need to wait for next time. Bringing foods, or gifts was not essential in the act of respectful deed. He became realized what it meant, and immediately he paid respect with his hands clasped palm to palm to our grandparents. My grandparents smiled and said ‘well done’ three times. I saw that incident when I was a child, but still remembered until then.

I understand why grandpa said to his student bringing gifts was not always necessary. If one believed that bringing gifts was an essential in the act of respectful deed, one would miss to pay respect to adults.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Sequel; Write What We Like

 (My grandma; Khin Myo Chit (writer).)
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Grandma’s one of her translated works; Dennis Wheatley’s Strange Conflict I read many times with excitement. At that time, I had not read the original yet. I only read grandma’s Burmese translation. 

  
(Grandma's translated novel; Strange Conflict - Dennis Wheatley.)
Grandma introduced the book that she loved detective stories although she could not write herself. Translating their stories meant transforming theirs into hers. I was agreed what she said on her introduction. She translated Dennis Wheatley’s Strange Conflict into Burmese, because she liked detective, and horror story. But she could not create the story herself.

When I read grandma’s translation, I see that her translation was fantastic. Her writing drew her reader from the start to the end. I felt I did not want to read the original. One day, I told what I feel my grandma. She said I should have to read the original, and compare the both.

Then I searched the Dennis Wheatley’s Strange Conflict at our bookshelves. It was difficult to find it easily. Books were kept everywhere. She said it might be very old, and pages worn-out. Luckily, I found it after a month.

 (The cover of that book reminds me our old one. It was credited to http://homeofmetal.com/wp-content/uploads/pre/201201181414148174/201201181414148174.jpg)

Then, I read the original thoroughly, and compared with the grandma’s translation. It’s awesome! Grandma transformed the whole book into hers. But the sense of the original was not disappeared. Her appreciation of the book found in her writing. I also feel that she devoured the original very well, and I see how she loved the book: Strange Conflict.

Grandma was satisfied my impression on it. She said she read all of Dennis Wheatley, and she became aware of writer’s touching, and his style of writings. Later she chose her favorite, and decided to translate it.




Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Sequel; Do What We Like

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(My grandparents - U Khin Maung Latt, and Khin Myo Chit (writer) in 1930?)
My grandparents  always told us about their wartime life, and how they struggled in hard time. I listened what they said to us, but I had no intention to take a note, or kept in my memory. I thought those things were not important to me.
 
When my grandpa passed away, I stayed near grandma most of the time, and read some novels or poems that grandma wanted to hear. Grandma recalled the memory of grandpa when they had a free, and struggled life. At that time, I was starting to write some article at the magazine in Burmese. I had an idea that writing about them in my article seemed interesting. Luckily, I had a chance to ask my grandma in detail, and noted down at my book.

Grandpa chose his education rather than his work at the government office. When he worked at the Civil Supplied Office, and his salary increased to 500 kyats, he quit from the work for the reason that he did not have much time to study. He wanted to do continuing B.A degree to the end.
 (My grandparents in 1935.)

When he finished his B.A degree in 1947, grandpa joined the English Department of the University of Rangoon, and worked as a tutor. He continued to study his Master degree. Grandma helped grandpa’s study, and they both learnt English literature. But she had no intention to do for her education. Grandma said at that time grandpa studied his degree; she had an idea that she should finish for her B.A degree too.
(Grandpa had two degrees; B.A and M.A)

 (Grandma's B.A certificate.)

Grandpa finally got his M.A degree in 1951, and grandma got her B.A in the same year. Because of their life in wartime, and passing through their poor life, they both obtained their degree after they were married, and had a son. 

 
 (After they both married and had a son, continued their education.)



Saturday, June 3, 2017

Sequel: Grandma Met a Good Teacher at Aye-Yeik-Thar


K (U Khin Zaw) (1905 – 1989)

My grandma – Khin Myo Chit (writer) met U Khin Zaw who was the Director of the Burmese Broadcasting Service (BBS) when she lived at Aye-Yeik-Thar (peaceful villa) in 1950. Aye-Yeik-Thar was a well-known place where writers, poets, journalists, cartoonist, even politicians once lived together.

Here, let me introduce one of Aye-Yeik-Thar friends who became grandma’s best friend, and also her teacher. His name was U Khin Zaw. He was one of famous scholars, and best English writers of Burma. He wrote Burmese Culture: General and particular under the pen name K, and was published by Sarpay Beikman Board, Rangoon in 1981.

Grandma always mentioned his name as her teacher as well as her benefactor. He encouraged her, and also corrected grandma’s writing. Grandma showed her short story in English to K, and asked for checking. She hoped to see his full-correction, and wanted to have her story be more readable, and beautiful. But K only ticked a few marks here and there or gave a few remarks on it. Grandma needed more. She requested him to make more correction. K replied that if she wanted her writing to be her own, she would have to do it herself. 


(U Khin Zaw (K) (left) and my grandparents in 1958.)

            When my grandparents moved to Hleedan house, K  (U Khin Zaw) became interested in grandma’s broadcast scripts. He encouraged grandma to write in English more. Under his guidance, grandma became confident and within a short time her some pieces had been published. 

(K's handwriting, and his signature 'K'.)


(K) U Khin Zaw‘s family, and grandma’s family were closed friends. His wife was a famous announcer Daw Than Hnitt (BBS announcer). I knew very well that couple when I was young. They both were sweet, and kind. My grandparents visited their house frequently. Their house was at Wintermere Cresent, and was big, and large. When we were at 8th standard, we had to sit the final examination at the school near their house. At that time, my grandma, and my mother waited us at their house until we finished the exam. I remembered we sat for 2 subjects in one day; morning and evening. So, during the interval, we went their house, and restd for a while. They welcomed us warmly, and gave us best hospitality.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Generation Desk


When I was a child, I used to see my grandma (Khin Myo Chit - writer) typing or writing at her beautiful desk. The desk was made by wood, well-polished, and it seemed shined through my eyes. I did not know where it came from. It seemed very expensive at that time. My grandma valued the desk so much. I did not want to be a busy writer like her, but I wanted to be a very important person in the family, and wanted to use the desk as she did. 

 

(Grandma sat at the desk, and always busy.)

Grandma showed me a black and white photo one day. We, twins, her beloved grandchildren were seated by her while she was working. I was sitting on her, and pretending to type. My twin brother was on her desk. The typewriter was she always used until she owned an electronic typewriter that her son (our father) bought from England. 

 
(One day, grandma showed me a B/W photo.)

Grandma suffered her arthritic pain since we were young, and she could not type properly by her hands with the old one. That’s why her son bought an electric typewriter when he went to England for his work in 1980. We all were happy to see grandma was typing with a brand new one. It was quicker, and lighter. She did not need to type the keys hard. We always heard the sound of her typing although it was less noisy than the old typewriter. (We still kept the electric typewriter although it was damaged.)

 
(Grandma with her electric typewriter. Grandma's desk was so attractive, and it played a very important role of great writer's life.)
When I was at school, I wanted to do my homework at grandma’ desk. But I noticed grandma was always busy at her desk. I had little chance to sit, and do my homework there. If I had a chance, I ran and sat at the desk. I waited to see her reaction. I had no intention to sit and work like her. Whenever I was doing like that, she said, ‘ Hey! Do you know the responsibility of sitting at my desk! It’s not funny, my dear.’ I did not know how to reply. I thought she did not like what I was doing. But I did not care. I always did whenever the desk was free.


(Whenever I sit at my grandma’s desk, I still hear her voice…..‘…’
I miss you, my dear grandma.)

            Now the desk was going to the family’s hand after my grandma passed away. We all used it together. It was placed at the front room, and all could see it well, and its color still glowing. Her family still used it, and we valued it from the bottom of our heart.