Wednesday, August 28, 2013

There Is No Tree

The author Eh Htoo Say on the right, and classmate
K'Baw Wah on the left.
      Two boys sit on a field. One of their names is Jack, and the other is Zoe. They are very poor, but they are satisfied to be farmers. They are very helpful to each other. There is a mountain around them and a hut made by bamboo beside the mountain. There is a tree covering the hut. As Jack and Zoe sit on the field, they are talking about their future. Jack says, "One day if I'm a rich man, I will marry with a nurse. After that, if I had children, I would take them to school. I want them to take book and pencil to earn money to survive. I don't want their lives to be like mine. I want them to get enough affection from me. So i will start to try my best. I won't give up." 
     Zoe said, "I don't want to marry because nowadays most of the girls are not modest, hospitable, and patient. Most girls are only playful and don't take life seriously. 
      "Jack! Do you know what kind of thing I want to do?" I want to be a useful person for everyone who lives all over the world. Not only for people, but also for animals. You know Jack, there are no trees around us, so we must do something. I will plant trees and protect the Earth. My thoughts are not for myself... They are for my generation.
     "Okay! Get married and birth your children, Jack! Then I will teach them how to protect the world." Zoe was exhausted when he thought about that. He shouted and wept.
     When he shouted, he saw there were many birds flying in the sky, trying to find the place to relax. He thought, "I am also like them, there is no situation for me. The birds are looking for the trees to relax in, but there is no tree around us."
     The birds were singing a song...
               Ji... Ji... Ji... 
               Where we have to live
               There is no tree 
               To relax and eat
               We are hopeless and we are weak
               No one can plant the trees
               So we are hungry

Eh Htoo Say is a Karen migrant studying in Thoo Mweh Khee Senior College. She first ran away from home at six years old because although her parents wanted her to stay to work on the farm, she felt she had to follow her dreams, and believed she would need an education to be able to help her people in the ways that she aspired to. She has left her family's Buddhist faith, but remains deeply spiritual. She hopes to return to her village as the first nurse in the area and/or become an activist for the protection of the Earth. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Jesus and Yeshua: An Examination of Cultural Icons

His long, well-conditioned, light-brown hair glistens softly in the sun. His deep blue, penetrating eyes betray his Anglo-Saxon heritage. His well-manicured facial hair parts to reveal a gleaming set of perfectly straight, white teeth. His soft white skin and delicate fingers hint at a life free of manual labor and toil. The long, flowing white robe that wraps around his body must have been recently washed and bleached, as it radiates purity and divine goodness. The child in his lap and the crowds that have gathered around him with admiration and awe written all over their faces communicate that this man must be saying something incredibly important and inspirational.

He teaches such divine truths as "Blessed are those who make lots of money, for God loves money" and "For God so loved the world, he made a special place for you to burn and suffer forever if you don't follow his moral boundaries" as well as "When someone slaps you on the cheek, turn to him the other also; unless your government decides that a group of people is a threat to your country, then go ahead and slaughter them." He is the patron saint of Capitalism... [For more, click here]

----- This article was originally published by The Hampton Institute, and written by Jeriah Bowser.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Quote of the Week

If I have one message to give to the secular American people, it’s that the world is not divided into countries. The world is not divided between East and West. You are American, I am Iranian, we don’t know each other, but we talk together and we understand each other perfectly. The difference between you and your government is much bigger than the difference between you and me. And the difference between me and my government is much bigger than the difference between me and you. And our governments are very much the same.. 
                                  -- Marjane Satrapi

Save the Life of an Eel

In my hunger, i'd temporarily forgotten the number one rule of Mae Sot - don't go out at night on foot. Especially alone. The dogs aren't vegetarians. Unfortunately, it wasn't until after i'd climbed over my first gate and established a firm resolve to get some food, that i remembered this rule.

While eagerly searching for a stick to ward off canines, i was a bit taken aback to instead find a pink, writhing eel lying in the middle of the road. After puzzling for nearly a minute, I moved him on top of a sewer grate where all thirty inches of him wriggled and finally plopped into the rushing water below. I stood up and asked myself if i was the only of my friends to ever have an opportunity to rescue an eel from a city street.

I kept walking, keeping an eye out for carnivorous fiends, when i heard the mystical dong of the Buddhist monastery's morning bell, pulsating through the alleyways. Apparently the Mae Sot dogs enjoyed the sound even more than i did, as within moments, hundreds of eerie howls accompanied the bell. The sounds mingled together to produce a great horror film soundtrack which was kind enough to accompany me as i hurried my pace and kept my head down. I hadn't seen any dogs yet, and i still didn't know what i'd do if i saw them - but the absence of dogs on this street along with the ghostly howling coming from all around me haunted me even more. Are all the dogs finishing up a committee meeting and about to come marching down the street to me en masse?

Without any more mishaps, i arrived at the 7/11 (probably the only recognizable chain in town), where i bought a small sandwich and a strawberry yogurt. I paused to mentally prepare before embarking on my return journey.

As i rounded the first corner, and started walking back down the main street, something in one of the parked cars caught my eye. Was it...? Yes, a human. A crazed madman waiting to attack the first passerby. A murder victim, lying dead in the driver's seat to be found by the police. Wait, no, it was just the seat cover. My eyes and my mind had conspired to deceive me. Although i now knew that it was nothing, my heart had started to thump harder, and my adrenaline was already pumping. And after being jolted in fear, everything starts to seem menacing.

Menacing. Like those two dogs lying in front of Siam Bank ahead, on the right. They were both big and ugly. They hadn't seen me yet, but i was going to have to walk by them - there was no other way around. I kept walking, keeping as silent as possible. Still hadn't seen me. I realized that one was sleeping. The other was scandalously licking himself and thus hadn't seen me yet, but if i walked in front of him, surely he would see me. I held my breath and kept walking, keeping my head down and ducking behind cars when possible. Finally, i looked back and determined that he would no longer see me, i had made it past.

Only a few minutes later, i got back to the guest house where i'm sleeping on the floor of a friend's room for the night. As i didn't have his key, i had to climb the gate to get in - the gate which is right next to the room where the manager is sleeping. I had to climb very quietly. The gate was cleared with relative ease and utmost silence. I entered the room, plopped down on the floor, and judged whether the strawberry yogurt was really worth the effort. It wasn't.

But the adventure was definitely worth the journey.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Beneath the Fiery Sky

From our perch at the top of an elm
Beneath the fiery red sky
The world stirs below
As we sit idly by

Earth rumbles a sigh of relief
Ready once again to trust
We smile knowingly at her
And she, back at us

The heavens flood with bright white light
Around the soaring birds
Our indigenous humanity coerced to return
And we watch
As society burns