Thursday, March 29, 2012

First Anglo-Burmese War (1824-1826) – Part 3

(Chapter III of Narrative of The Burmese War by Major John Snodgrass, British Army, the Military Secretary to the Commander of the British expeditionary force and the Assistant Political Agent in Ava.)

That the court of Ava had been for many months preparing for a rupture with the government of India, the tone and conduct of the governors of Arracan and  the provinces lying contiguous to our frontier, and the assemblage of troops in that quarter, afford the strongest evidence; offensive warfare was obviously intended.

But the invasion of their own frontiers, more especially of the distant coasts of Pegu and Tenasserim, seems to have been wholly overlooked in their warlike preparations.

State and Position of the Burmese Forces at the Period of Our Landing

During the preceding cold season, while the British troops occupied the southern parts of the Chittagong district, considerable bodies of Burmese had crossed the Arracan mountains; and although they at that time did not venture to show themselves in force upon our frontier, reports were industriously circulated by them, that, unless our claim upon the island of Shaporee (St. Martin or Shin-ma-phyu Island) was speedily relinquished, an army of thirty thousand men would invade Bengal.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Changes to Myanmar’s Exchange Arrangements

(Myanmar Central Bank’s public announcement on today 28 March 2012.)

The Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) will implement a managed floating exchange rate regime in Myanmar with effect from 1st April 2012. The external value of the national currency, the Myanmar kyat, will from now on be determined by supply and demand conditions in the exchange market.

In line with the new exchange rate regime, Reference Foreign Exchange Rate will be publicized daily by CBM. This arrangement is part of the reform program of the Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar for modernizing the economy.

A key part of this program is to unify the various exchange rates and gradually eliminate restrictions on current international payment and transfers abroad. Replacing the official exchange rate, which has been pegged since 1977 at the level of 8.50847 kyats to SDR, with a market-determined exchange rate is the first step toward unifying the various exchange rates and also allow room for the CBM to influence the market exchange rate.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

In Myanmar, a "sham" parliament stirs to life

(Reuters' Article by Jason Szep from Naypyidaw on Thursday 26 January 2012.)

(Reuters) - In Myanmar's sprawling parliamentary complex, lawmakers flexed their newly democratic muscles on Thursday. Some drafted anti-graft legislation for one of the world's most corrupt nations or clamored for transparency on a typically secret national budget.

Others wanted answers from the government: why are train lines across the country woefully inefficient? Will the government move faster to revamp clearer foreign-exchange rate laws and hold companies to task for shabby infrastructure on state contracts?

Derided as a well-choreographed sham in one of the world's most authoritarian countries when it opened a year ago, Myanmar's parliament began a third session on Thursday with feisty stirrings of democracy, under pressure to accelerate economic and political reforms that could soon convince the West to lift decades-old sanctions.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Rambo Maung Maung Khin’s Fighting Peacock (3)

(Maung Maung Khin originally was a student warrior from the Battalion-701 of notorious ABSDF-North and he acted in 2008 Sylvester Stallone’s overly-exaggerated anti-Burmese movie Rambo-4 as the ridiculously-sadist Burmese-Army-Colonel Tint. This post is the translation of his article from KOZAN Blog.) 

Rambo Stallone killing a Burmese soldier.
The shaken Kachin officer kept on telling me to charge at the enemy atop the hill. Only then I realized that after so many failed bayonet-charges the Kachins were now reluctant to push next charges and so they were now asking us to charge.

No moon in the sky, we were hungry, and the night seemed to be filled with the smell of carbide. Without washing our hands we opened the packed-meals and ate them all. While eating Ba Nyar and I spoke about the coming bayonet-charge.

To charge at the enemy we needed good weapons. But all our good guns were already taken by Myo Win’s squad. If we told that to the Kachins and refused to charge they would definitely think we were yellows. My M1 Carbine had only 40 bullets and it wasn’t good enough to use against the enemy soldiers well-armed with G3 and G4 automatic rifles.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

First Anglo-Burmese War (1824-1826) – Part 2

(Chapter II of Narrative of The Burmese War by Major John Snodgrass, British Army, the Military Secretary to the Commander of the British expeditionary force and the Assistant Political Agent in Ava.)

We had been so much accustomed to hear Rangoon spoken of as a place of great trade and commercial importance, that we could not fail to feel disappointed at its mean and poor appearance.

We had talked of its custom-house, its dockyards, and its harbour, until our imaginations led us to anticipate, if not splendour, at least some visible signs of a flourishing commercial city; but, however humble our expectations might have been, they must have still fallen short of the miserable and desolate picture which the place presented when first occupied by the British troops.

Description of Rangoon

The town, if a vast assemblage of wooden huts may be dignified with that name, is surrounded by a wooden stockade, from sixteen to eighteen feet in height, which effectually shuts out all view of the fine river which runs past it, and gives it a confined and insalubrious appearance.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Burmese Kyats will be floating from April One?

(Translation of Weekly Eleven Media Group’s Article published on 2012 March 14.)

According to the reliable information we’d received, from the experts familiar with the Union Central Bank about the ongoing matter of consolidating and transforming the current various exchange rates into single exchange rate, the official exchange rate for Kyat will be floated as per the prevailing market rate from coming 2012-13 Fiscal Year and the foreign currency expenditures in the Government’s budget and for the various ministries will be converted from Kyat at the fixed rate of 800 Kyats per US$.

“What I know so far is from First April the Kyat will be floated and all Government expenditures will be calculated with 800 Kyats a US Dollar rate. So all the laws and regulations and procedures required are to be done before that date,” said Professor Maw Than the retried rector of Institute of Economics and a member of the advisory committee to the Union Ministry of Commerce and Revenue.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

First Anglo-Burmese War (1824-1826) – Part 1

(Chapter I of Narrative of The Burmese War by Major John Snodgrass, British Army, the Military Secretary to the Commander of the British expeditionary force and the Assistant Political Agent in Ava.)

British Empire's Conquest of Burma.
The unprovoked aggressions of the Burmese Governors of Arracan upon the south-east frontier of Bengal, and the contemptuous silence of the court of Ava to every remonstrance upon the subject, in the beginning of 1824, compelled the Indian government to resort to other measures for obtaining redress, and preventing the future encroachments of a warlike and ambitious neighbour, whose arrogant pretensions and restless character had so frequently interrupted the relations of peace subsisting between the two countries, keeping the frontier provinces in constant dread and danger of invasion.

Early in that year orders were given for the equipment of a force of from five to six thousand men at the presidencies of Fort William and Fort St. George: the two divisions were directed to assemble at Port Cornwallis, in the Great Andaman Island, from which the combined forces, under the command of Major-General Sir Archibald Campbell, were to proceed for the capture of Rangoon, the principal sea-port of the Burmhan empire.

Junction of the combined forces from Bengal and Madras at Port Cornwallis

Between the 12th and 17th of April, the Bengal division, consisting of his majesty’s thirteenth and thirty-eighth regiments and two companies of artillery, were embarked at Calcutta, and the transports immediately proceeded to the place of general rendezvous, which they reached about the end of the month, where a detention of some days took place in consequence of the troops from Madras not having arrived.

Monday, March 12, 2012

When I was a Lousy Millionaire by Htein Lin

(By Artist Htein Lin /Translated By Aye Aye Soe Win & Ohm Mar, LINKER Blog.)

A title like the one that heads up this article is the sort of phrase you pull out of the bag in a debating contest. You then have to fill the allotted time with whatever comes to mind, regardless of whether it is true or not. But what I am going to tell you now is no product of my imagination. It is a tale of when I genuinely was a lousy millionaire.

I imagine that by now you are wondering what I, Artist Htein Lin, might be about to reveal about my life as a lousy millionaire. Perhaps a tale of wealth accrued in a logging deal? A lucky gem strike? Although those of you who know me well are probably already expecting me to recount you a crazy mixed up nonsense tale.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

British Ambassador & Burmese Painter: A love story

Htein Lin & Vicky Bowman at their Big Day (2006).
(Vicky Bowman is former British Ambassador to Burma (2002-2006), and previously Second Secretary at the Embassy (1990-1993). Served six years in Brussels (1996-2002) including three years working for Chris Patten. Studied Burmese at SOAS in 1989-1990 with Anna Allott and U Khin (former BBS Deputy Chairman) who gave her her Sunday-born Burmese name, Ohnmar Khin.

She kept up her Burmese language by contributing to the 2nd and 3rd editions of the Lonely Planet Burmese phrasebook and translating many Burmese short stories and poems including Mya Than Tint's 'Tales Of Ordinary People' published by Orchid Press, Bangkok.
Now back in the UK with the Foreign Office and married to Burmese artist Htein Lin, with baby Aurora aka Ar Youn Lin, born in December 2007 and already a regular British Burma Society meeting attender.)

I’ve been thinking of writing about their (Vicky Bowman and Htein Lin) remarkable love story since a few years ago when I first heard of them. But I hardly knew about them and there was none at all written about them too.

But over the years I found bits and pieces of writings about them especially Htein Lin’s former life as a political prisoner and a victim of ABSDF Northern Army. As his fame grows and he becomes the most famous Burmese Abstract Painter I found more and more.

Monday, March 5, 2012

President Thein Sein’s State of Union Speech (2012)

NAY PYI TAW, 1 March—The following is the official translation of the address delivered by President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar U Thein Sein’s at today’s third regular session of first Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (Union Parliament) in accord with the section 210 of the Constitution in commemoration of the first anniversary of the government’s inauguration.

Esteemed Speaker and representatives of Pyidaungsu Hluttaw,

Under the Section 210 of the Constitution, I am here explaining the policies of the State, accomplishments of the government within a year and future programmes through this Hluttaw for public knowledge.