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Press Conference on Burma

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

Tuesday May 27 2008

Dr. Surin Pisuwan, Secretary General, ASEAN, reporting at the Foreign Correspondent’s Club in Bangkok Thailand on the donors’ conference Sunday with Gen. Than Shwe of Myanmar and UN chief Ban Ki Moon in Yangon. The key issue has been the loosening of strict controls on foreign aid workers pressing for unfettered access to the disaster zone. To counter Burmese fears of “hidden agendas” by Western workers, ASEAN has agreed to coordinate all relief efforts.

What has been achieved is far more than what was expected. A new humanitarian “space,” however limited, so that ASEAN with the support of the UN can engage with the Myanmar authorities. That humanitarian space needs political support because in and of itself it cannot be sustained. The secty general of the UN and ASEAN has asked for the full cooperation of the aid community.
[read on]

Hanoi Not Burma

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

Well, I gave up on getting a visa to Burma. “You retired? What was your last job? What organization did you work for?” And he didn’t like my passport. Too many stamps from too many countries. Maybe I am a journalist? “We’ll call you,” he said. Never got a call. So I went back yesterday. “We’ll call you,” he said.

My Thai friend and I are scheduled to fly on the 29th so yesterday, she sweet-talked Air Asia into letting us change our route from Bangkok to Hanoi. That’s the only way to do it in Asia, she says. “I need very much a favor from you,” she said to the customer service rep.

So we have reservations for the 29th through June 1 at the Classic Street Hotel in the Old Quarter Hanoi…my third visit there and very much looking forward to it.

2008 Chef Olympics

Saturday, May 17th, 2008
My son the chef! abp_5253.jpgHere is a picture of me and my chefs!! Josh says: "The two in the grey are myself on the right, chef de cuisine of "One East On Third" Restaurant in the Hilton ... [Continue reading this entry]

“The River of Lost Footsteps”

Friday, May 16th, 2008
The Bangkok Post review says that this timely book by Thant Myint-U, published by Faber and Faber London, rewrites 3,500 years of Burmese history "in order to enrich today's debate on Burma and establish a strong base for future analysis ... [Continue reading this entry]

Morning Chuckles

Thursday, May 15th, 2008
This morning, while reading the Bangkok Post outside a certain BonCafe near my guesthouse in Bangkok, I had to LOL.  Writing about the movie "Iron Man" the Thai reviewer/humorist says "Iron Man saves a bunch of Afghan families...highlights Hollywood's obsession ... [Continue reading this entry]

Now The Junta Makes More Sense

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008
It appears that the cyclone has done the Burmese generals a big favor in their genocide against minorities. The International Herald Tribune reports that the junta is stealing and stockpiling food and supplies...doling it out only to those favored...the Burmese. ... [Continue reading this entry]

Burma Embassy, Cows And A Guesthouse

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008
Bought plane tickets a month ago to go to Burma with a Thai friend. But Air Asia won't let us cancel our tickets without losing the money. So I spent all afternoon in the embassy office with a few others ... [Continue reading this entry]

Ao Nang Beach Krabi Thailand

Monday, May 12th, 2008
Flew back from Kuala Lumpur Malaysia to Krabi yesterday. We are staying in the J Hotel...same one we stayed in last time here...on the top floor with a view of the ocean and karsts for 450 baht...about $14. The karsts are ... [Continue reading this entry]

Are You Malaysian?

Friday, May 9th, 2008
From a revealing blog (The Twisted Stethoscope) by a Malaysian, Jason Leong, who attended medical school in Ireland.
Part I
Here is a list of criteria one must comply with to be truly Malaysian. You may be a Caucasian expat who ... [Continue reading this entry]

Aid To Burma

Friday, May 9th, 2008
The U.N. is reporting as many as 100,000 dead and more missing. International media is reporting that most countries wanting to send aid to Burma, including the U.S., are waiting outside the country in ships, helicopters and planes...waiting for permission ... [Continue reading this entry]

4th Day in Kuala Lumpur

Friday, May 9th, 2008
KL is a big cosmopolitan city vibrant and alive especially late at night. Luk noticed it right away...watching the 20 something girls dressed in the latest Asian fashion. Today she came out of her hotel room sporting a white ... [Continue reading this entry]

Asian Travel Update

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008
Last week Amy, Josh's wife, flew down to Samui from Beijing with a colleague from her international school where they teach history. Four short days but it was a treat to see them!
    Koh Samui to Trang to Krabi
The ... [Continue reading this entry]

Oaxaca’s Radio Wars

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008
Oaxaca's Radio Wars By Charles Mostoller Despite assassinations, community radio is spreading throughout southern Mexico. "Some people think that we are too young to be informed, but what they should know is that we are too young to die." These were the fateful ... [Continue reading this entry]