It’s Raining

The ominous sky this afternoon did not feel so great.

Not that there is any logical, scientific and rational link between today’s melancholic cityscape and anyone’s day.  Or the earthquake news in San Francisco or the deadly blast at Siam in Bangkok for that matter, but today is simply not the kind of day I can hope to expect any good news.

This drizzly weather reminds me of one of the many poems read, back when I had plenty time in Falam, Chin State.

With lots of life changes packed in a few weeks’ time, I sure do hope I can rely on the sensibility behind each step taken along the way, quite unlike a strut along feeble pavement coverings of Yangon – leading one straight into the city’s sewage – especially during monsoon months.

Pedastrians, beware.

Flimsy pavements of Yangon

It’s Raining in Love
Richard Brautigan, 1969 

I don’t know what it is,
but I distrust myself
when I start to like a girl
a lot.

It makes me nervous.
I don’t say the right things
or perhaps I start
to examine,
what I am saying.

If I say, “Do you think it’s going to rain?”
and she says, “I don’t know,”
I start thinking: Does she really like me?

In other words
I get a little creepy.

A friend of mine once said,
“It’s twenty times better to be friends
with someone
than it is to be in love with them.”

I think he’s right and besides,
it’s raining somewhere, programming flowers
and keeping snails happy.
That’s all taken care of.

if a girl likes me a lot
and starts getting real nervous
and suddenly begins asking me funny questions
and looks sad if I give the wrong answers
and she says things like,
“Do you think it’s going to rain?”
and I say, “It beats me,”
and she says, “Oh,”
and looks a little sad
at the clear blue California sky,
I think: Thank God, it’s you, baby, this time
instead of me.

Today in Myanmar’s history 

A recent sign at a tea shop in downtown Falam, Chin State, forbidding patrons from discussing politics within the premise…and an excellent yet natural facial expression of this person in a blue sweater

This is the kind of morning you will remember.

Countdown: three more months till elections in Myanmar.  Today’s headlines will sell papers for weeks to come, and books for years to come, with repercussions in our lives, direct or otherwise.  Already, this has impacted my life by forcing me to fly out to another town in short notice for a meeting and cancelling a dinner, which is now five plus weeks outstanding.

But of course this is nothing compared to the degree of political, social and economical implications caused by the forced departure of the Speaker of the House, of the incumbent party.  Seen as a punishment of defying party lines and being too chummy with the opposition leader, the ousting of U Thura Shwe Mann is significant, not only because of its happenstance – we all know there will be news before the election – but also because of the way in which he is forced to leave, complete with colorful images of security forces surrounding a building and all.

The way people talk about this news … sudden whispers, shut doors …reminds me of another event eleven years ago – the fall of Myanmar’s Military Intelligence, headed by all powerful U Khin Nyunt, some of whose close advisors just recently came out of their scattered prisons as recent as nine months ago.

This morning shows who’s in charge, who has power and how far Myanmar has and has not gotten.  

At the end of a day like this, confusion and uncertainty cloud people’s minds. Are foreigners getting deported?  What’s going to happen?  Will we go back in time?  

One wonders.

Chin mountains like to move

Update: This post was written some time back when I was in Falam, Chin State in early August and in fact, I had thought that it was posted successfully.  It turns out my 3G phone Internet did not actually do the trick.  Eventually posted with success a few weeks after.  For better pictures taken with a real camera and a more complete story, please read my friend Griffin’s post at Chinland Herald website here.

As of this morning, Chin State has been declared a state of emergency.

One slight problem.  I happen to be here, enjoying my break from work as well as volunteering part of my time here at Chin Institute of Social Science.

Everywhere I go, they all say that I have come to their town at the roughest time possible.  A cyclone happened to touch us very tangentially.  Five houses in Falam had been evacuated, which is impressive compared with 1,000 in Hakha.

All imported goods and several staples come to Falam through Kalaymyo, which is now completely flooded.  The main airport is located at the center of Kalaymyo, with airlines landing there daily till 15th of this month.  I was told that if I could make it to the airport in one piece, they would do anything to get me on a flight.  Rumor has it our president is visiting Kalaymyo this afternoon.

Another slight problem.  The only outlet from Falam is a bridge, which is rumored to be temporarily closed off due to strong currents which supposedly cracked its foundations.  Charcoal and rice prices have hiked up, and lines were spotted outside of grocery stores in downtown Falam.

This morning, I took a ride in a loop around Falam.  This is the same mountain where Falam is located.  Here is what happens when the earth shakes and stirs a little, like how we sometimes do in sleep.  Landslides are beautifully destructive, disorienting things.

Mountains do move.

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This is where roads end.

Kalay-Falam Road on 4 August 2015

Kalay-Falam Road on 4 August 2015

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