drink water from Ayeyarwaddy River together (December 14, 2003)
My wife is expecting our first baby boy in April next year, 2004. She
is now in her 5 months pregnancy. As her OG doctor has advised she has
to do some exercises and walk at least 30 minutes everyday. So she walks
everyday for 30 min near our home. At the beginning, she used to walk
a few blocks away from home, which is in a quiet and nice surrounding,
back and fort to meet the target.
One Saturday morning when I had day off from my job, I walked with her
in the same routine. But when we reached end of the road from where she
used to turn back, we decided continue walking into a look-alike park.
After passing a few tall trees and children play ground, wow! We found
out that there is a beautiful small lake and a walking path circled the
lake. We saw a few elders and families with children walking and playing
around the lake. My wife finally found the best place for everyday walking.
It is just about 10 to 15 minutes walk to the park from our home. We’ve
been living at this place for almost two years and didn’t know there
is a beautiful park and lake. How strange! We didn’t have enough
time to explore our neighbor. No one did tell us about the lake. Some
thoughts suddenly popped up in my head. There are problems faced by our
Burmese people who immigrate to the States. We lack resources to access
basic needs when we get here: jobs, education, health care, immigration
services, and housing. I have seen Chinese, Philippines, Vietnams, Latinos,
and Europeans immigrants supporting non-profit organizations and services,
but never heard a Burmese organization or services which can help our
Some might say helps will never come to you unless you find it yourself.
A friend told me that one must be an active person not to be a passive
person in the US in order to get something done. That is very true. But
for those who lack education and language skill, it is very hard to survive
in the melting pot. They need help not from others but from our own people.
I know there are many Burmese families who are doing extremely well in
the States. But sometimes I feel that our Burmese people are jealous and
fighting each other. We are a little nervous to see others doing well
or better than us. Some people have the information and resources but
hardly let other people know. They don’t share the resources unless
you are a member of their inner circle. The outsiders who don’t
have much net working or friends or relatives usually end up with misery.
I guess that our typical attitude is part of the reasons that our country
is still in so called third world countries. Another interesting thing
is that some people who now have resources and information in fact once
had a hard time to get them. So they learnt it from a hard way, and they
don’t want to let others get it easily. Isn’t it strange?
Thinking back to the time when I was in my hometown, Myitkyina, those
people from small towns and rural areas really like dummies. They know
very little about many things. We didn’t hear about TOEFL or DV
lottery at all while people in the capital, Yangon were applying DV forms
and taking TOEFL test to come to the US.
I still remember the first time before I visited Thailand in 1991; I came
down to Yangon for preparing travel documents. At that time, I didn’t
know what was “visa” or what was “passport”. I
could not visualize what they were. It took me some time to understand
what a person needs for visiting a foreign country. After understanding
what was “passport” and knowing I needed one, the story about
applying for my passport was more horrible. Let me just cut short and
What I want to point out in this article is that information is very important,
and we are living in information age. People will be left behind due to
the lack of information and knowledge. For people living in the States,
it is very easy to get all kinds of information. All you need is just
a few clicks on your computer. But for our friends, brothers and sisters
who are in Burma, especially in remote areas without access to all necessary
information and knowledge, they are just like seven blinds who tried to
know what an elephant looks like in a Burmese story.
So open up your mind, share your love, and help each other. Fortune makes
us close together that become the people of Burma, so it doesn’t
matter to share the water of Ayeyarwaddy River together.