Announcement - Bamarlay's Diary

I am moving my blog to Myanmar Man's Diary.It has already passed the beta testing stage and now up and running. Please visit my new blog. For Myatthura.Blogspot.com, I will be updating it with the excerpt from my new posts in Myanmar Man's Diary. Another blog I was invited to contribute to is Today in Myanmar, a website about Myanmar culture, custom, information, travel advice, life and anything about Myanmar. You can also visit the new blog. So far, I am the only one who regularly contribute to this blog while other friends are still writing their articles. Thank you for your support.

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Monday, March 31, 2008

Popular Myanmar Online Journal

This is the online version of Myanmar Popular weekly journal. You can read about latest news on Myanmar movies, music, movies stars, actors, actresses, singers and entertainment community. You can also read the online version of Yati Magazine. The online version is not as complete as the print version but at least you can read some news on Myanmar entertainment community. Read it at Myanmar Popular Journal.

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Tip on going into town from the airport

If you are a foreigner, and coming to Burma for the first time, you will found yourself in a completely different world. And the first daunting task would be to go to your hotel.
If you have already arranged with your travel agent to pick you up at the airport, everything would be OK. But if not, you will have to hire a taxi. There is no airport bus service running from the airport so the only way yo can go to your hotel is by a taxi. And this might be more complex than you think. The taxis in Myanmar are not metered, and the fare is not fixed. So you have to bargain with the taxi drivers at the airport. They will tell you that this is a fixed price, but it is not true. The taxi fare from airport is always more expensive, but you can always bargain. If you are not carrying many things, you can walk out of the airport compound (which indeed is a very small compound) and hail a taxi on the road. Only a few taxis come this way but most of the time, you will be able to get a taxi, cheaper than the one from the airport. Good luck with your travel.

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

I put a search box

I put a google search box at my blog. From now on, visitors can search my blog for the articles and words. I have already written more than a hundred articles now, so it is difficult for the visitors to search a specific article. A search box will make it easier for the visitors to search my site.

Microsoft Office Live - what is it?

A few weeks ago, I sign up for Microsoft office live. I thought it was something like Google docs or Zoho where users can create and edit office documents like words, excels and power point. I was wrong. All Office Live let me do is to store my office documents online and share with other. That is still OK although I have not many people to share my documents. However, a few days later, Microsoft started sending promotional mails into my gmail account. It send almost every day, sometimes more than a mail a day. That is too much. I never read them, and I have to tell my gmail that they are spams. It sucks. Never register for Live if you don't have any thing to do with file sharing. (And with Live, you can share only the Microsoft Office documents, not other documents).

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

A complete U Boat information

Here is a great site for those who love U-Boats, those fearsome German submarines which gain popularity as well as notoriety during the World War 2. U Boats always fascinate those young boys in their child hood. When they become adults, most of them, like me, still have affection to these U Boats. This is the site for those people. Find out everything, anything, you ever want to know about U Boats.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Chin Head Basket


Have you ever heard about head basket? Well, we have in Chin Hills. Lets call it Chin head basket. It is a kind of basket that you carry by hanging around your head with a string. You don't carry it by hand. The basket is quite a large one, big enough to carry a 5 gallon water container. And people, even young women and children, carry them by a string hung over their head. It is a tiring thing to do so. I once tried to carry one with some weight in it but couldn't carry more than a few minutes. For the Chin people, they have been carrying a big load since they were young so seem no problem carrying a heavy head basket over their head.

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Connecting two computers using USB bridge cable

If you ever wonder whether you could connect two computers using a USB cable, the answer is yes. But have you ever tried to connect two computers using a USB cable, or tried to find a correct USB cable to connect two computers?

To connect two computers using a USB cable, you will need a special USB cable called USB bridge. It is a USB to USB cable with a hub in between. It is not expensive and can be bought from any computer store. But setting up it is a bit tricky as you need to install a software before you connect the cable to the computers. And the software need to be installed on each computer you intend to use. After correctly installing the software, there is no problem connecting two computers. Just connect the two computers using the USB bridge, open the software on both computers and drag and drop the files and folders from one computer to another.

You can find out about how to set up the USB bridge to connect two computers using USB port see at www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/248.

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How to go to Mindat?


If you are interested in going to Mindat, here is a guide. You cannot go there direct from Yangon. First, go to Pakokku, a big city on the west bank of Irrawaddy (Ayarwaddy). To go to Pakokku, you have two options. One is the direct bus trip to Pakokku from Yangon. The buses are quite old and slow, and carry a lot of goods and cargo. I recommend the second option which is to take a bus to Pagan (Bagan) and from there, cross the Irrawaddy. The bus to Bagan leaves around 3 PM from Yangon, and arrives there around 5 AM the next morning. You can take a ship from Bagan to Pakokku. This ship travels between Bagan and Mandalay, but you can drop in Pakokku. The trip will take around one and half hour. Alternatively, if you are more adventurous, you can take a ferry boat to Pakokku. From the boat pier, you can take a tricycle or a horse cart to Mindat bus station. The station is called "Mindat Gyar Sakhan", meaning "In between camp". From there, you take a bus to Mindat. It is actually a Jeep that carries people and goods from Pakokku to Mindat. The road is not bad for Burmese standards, but quite rough compared to other roads in neighboring Asian countries. The trip from Pakokku to Mindat usually takes around 6 to 8 hours although it is only 96 miles. If you use your own car, it will take around 4 to 5 hours, depending on the condition of the car as well as the weather. On the way, you will have to pass Pauk Town and Kyauktu Town. Only around 10 miles near Mindat is mountain road. The road trip is generally safe so you don't need to be worry to much.

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Mindat - a Southern Chin Town


If you ever want to visit Chin Hills, Mindat is the most convenient and easiest to reach town in Chin Hills. Situated in Southern part of Chin Hills, Mindat is a small but peaceful, beautiful and tranquil town. With a total population of nearly 10,000 people, it is considered a sizable town in Chin Hills. The town is built along the top of a mountain range that runs east and west. So practically, Mindat is a long line of houses built along the main road with some small side roads fanning out here and there.

Situated at 4,860 feet above the sea level, it is cool in summer and very cold in winter. And a lot of rain falls during the rainy season. The best season to visit Mindat is during summer where the weather is cool but not cold, and the roads are dry.

As soon as you reach Mindat, you will notice immediately how beautiful the town is. Tall pine trees line the approaching road while distant mountains shadows the town. It is a scenery that will definitely impress the first time visitors. Then you see the small, beautiful wooden houses with scenic backdrop along the main road. Curious faces of locals will pop through the windows of these houses while the smiling faces of their children will follow you. Welcome to Mindat.

You can see many aspect of Chin life in Mindat. Local people still wear Chin dress and carry Chin buskets and knives while some men carry locally made shot guns on the streets of Mindat. Many women dress beautiful Chin necklaces while some old women still wear enormous Chin traditional earrings. Many people carry woods or rice in Chin head baskets, the one that they carry with a string hung over their head. If you are lucky, you can even observe a Chin wedding or funeral rite. You can also observe the way they make famous Chin Khaung (Chin Beer).

Walk around the town along the small dart roads the run around the road. There are many Chin traditional huts that were built of pine wood and roofed with thatch. See the way real Chin village people live and work over the harsh terrains of Chin land.


If you are a Buddhist, go and visit the Taung Pu Lu (Taungpulu) Buddhist monastery in Mindat. The head abbot is the famous Ashin Pyinnyar Thiri. You can make donation for the monastic school for the local poor children opened at the monastery and operated by the abbot. These children really need your help.

If your guide can arrange for you to stay in a Chin village for a night, ask him. If he cannot, you can still take a walk to a near by village. One thing to be careful is that this area is a malaria area so take a malaria precaution and prophylaxis.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Burglish

Everybody knows that typing Burmese (Myanmar) is a difficult job. You cannot deny it. It takes a lot of practice and patience to be able to type in Myanmar quickly and efficiently. Moreover, you also have the frustration of having to familiarize yourself with a different keyboard layout whenever you change the font system. Many Burmese people out there cannot type Burmese well. Most of us even don't know how to type in Myanmar. That is how we have developed Burglish. This is a writing system where user use the English alphabets to spell Burmese words. You cannot get the correct pronunciation although you get as close to the correct sound as possible. Although this system is far from perfect, at least you have a basic communicability on the internet. It allows Burmese chatters to use Burmese in online communications.

Now, here comes a big improvement. Some Burmese computer genius invented a system of converting these Burglish words into a meaningful Myanmar words using real Myanmar alphabets. That may be a small step for these people but actually a big leap for the Burmese online netizens. You can check it out the Burglish online. Alternatively, you can download Burglish too and use it off line on your computer. You can also see the development of Burglish at their Burglish blog.

By the way, if you are interested in other Myanmar (Burmese) language projects, check out at Myanmar Language Technology Portal (MMLT).

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Monday, March 10, 2008

A Myanmar Blogging guide by Nyi Lynn Seck

Here is the much awaited pdf book from Nyi Lynn Seck. The book is about "How to make Myanmar Blog?" It is weitten in Myanmar, with detailed explanation in every step involved. He explained the steps involved in setting up and blog in Blooger, setting up to use Myanmar (Burmese) fonts, and posting. This is a must book for all Myanmar bloggers, whether you are a new comer or an experienced blogger. You can download this pdf book here at How to make Myanmar Blog?

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Finally, I have to remove my shout box

I put a shout box I got free from an online web site a few weeks ago. I believed that having a shout box will give my visitors an easy way to voice their views on my blog. Most of the people who posted in my shout box wrote nice comments. However, a few people wrote quite offensive comments which, I believe, is not appropriate for my visitors to read. They included use of some very rude and offensive words and phrases. That is totally unacceptable. Finally, I decided that it is time for me to remove the shout box. Sorry for that. If you have any comment on my blog, just drop it in my comment box in my blog.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Memorial stones from Chin Hills


If you travel in Chin Hills, you will see many stone slabs erected on the side of the road. They are all written in Chin language so you won't know what the meaning is. They are actually the memorial stones erected in the memory of the deceased. Usually, they give a brief description of the person who passed away, with achievements while they were alive. They include the awards, possessions, wives and children, animals killed, enemies killed in battles, positions held in the government service, etc. Usually, these memorials are erected by the children of the deceased. There usually is a grand feast to those who come the the stone erection ceremony. It is indeed an expensive ceremony with many cows and pigs killed to serve the guests. Although the expense is quite huge, this is considered a great honor to the deceased and the family so the family will try their best to continue this honorable tradition.

In my opinion, these memorials are the written history of Chin State and Chin people. Before the old and neglected memorials are destroyed, we should do something to protect and restore them, and record the contents of the memorials.

A point to note here is that they are not tomb stones, but the real memorials.

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Sunday, March 02, 2008

Life on Irrawaddy (Ayarwaddy)


If you ever sailed along the great river Irrawaddy, the largest and longest river in Myanmar, you would notice one thing. Life is almost as it was sixty years ago. Old wooden ships still run along the river as it was before the World War II. Workers carry rice sacks over their shoulders, loading and unloading ships docked at the piers. Naked children swim in the muddy river while their mothers bath on the river bank; the same thing that their mothers and grand mothers might have done a century ago. Meanwhile, their fathers row small boats, catching fish along the river. Life was no different from sixty years ago for them.

Irrawaddy, being the longest river in Myanmar, runs through the heart of the country. As most of Burma's ancient cities were built along the river, it was always the life line of the country for more than a thousand years. Although. with the development of modern land transportation, its importance has declined in recent years, Irrawaddy still plays an important role in modern Myanmar (Burma). Thousands of people, if not millions, still depend on the river for their living. Thousands of acres of farms use water from Irrawaddy for firming while people living in cities and towns along the river use its water for domestic use as well as for drinking. And it still plays a major role in transportation of goods among many cities and towns.

I have crossed Irrawaddy many times in a small boat. Every time I crossed, I was fascinated at the vastness and richness of the river. It gave me plenty of opportunity to observe life along the river. While I am writing this article, I believe somewhere along the river Irrawaddy, a child is swimming in the muddy river, completely unaware of the modern marvels that so many of us are enjoying. For those children, life is the same as it was in the time of their fathers, and their grand fathers.

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Have you already finished your lunch?

If you ever have an experience of visiting a Burmese friend's house in Myanmar, you will remember that you had been asked a particular question. "Have you already had your lunch/dinner?" is the question that we Burmese always ask our visitors whenever they happen to visit us at meal time. This is not because we are inquisitive of our visitors. This is a simple gesture of good will. We Burmese believe that it is rude to have your lunch/dinner alone while there is a visitor. We always offer our visitors to join our feast, and we really mean it. Some foreigners might think it is rude to ask somebody whether he already has his meal; one of my foreign friends already asked me this question. The fact is, we Burmese people are always generous to our friends, and really want them to join us at our lunch/dinner. This is more obvious in rural towns and villages, where the host will try his best to make your stay as comfortable as possible. I have been traveling a lot in the rural areas of Myanmar, and many times, I was obliged to stay overnight on the way either because of bad weather or broken bus. I just knocked on a stranger's house in a strangers' village and ask for one night's shelter. I was never turned down. They gladly offered me a clean and nice lodging with nice food, although they have never known me before. This is a true spirit of Myanmar which is starting to be disappearing in the cities.

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Greetings

When you meet a friend in an English speaking country, you say “Hi”, or “How are you?”In Thailand, you say “Sawaddee”. In Myanmar, you usually say either “where are you going?” Quite strange, right?

In Myanmar, we don’t have an informal phrase or expression to be used as a greeting. The famous phrase “Mingalar Bar” is quite formal and nobody use it in the streets. It is only used in formal announcements on the airplanes! And it is not really Burmese. The expression was invented during the colonial period; a rather indirect translation of “Good morning”, “Good afternoon”, “Good evening”, or “Good day”. The closest literal meaning of “Mingalar Bar” is “have good things unto you”.

So next time you meet a Burmese friend in the streets of Yangon, ask “where are you going?” instead. And remember, don’t ask this question to a stranger. This is only for friends.

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Saturday, March 01, 2008

Myanmar Hotel Online Reservation and Booking


For those visitors who are coming to Myanmar and want to book their hotels online, here are some of the travel agents that handle online reservation.

Last Minute Myanmar - An online travel website where you can book your hotel, flight and transportation online. Hotels in their list include those from Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan, Kyaikhtiyo, Inle, Pyinoolwin and Taunggyi.

The Governor's Resident - A luxurious hotel in the heart of Yangon, Myanmar.

Hotel Travel - An international travel site that also accept Myanmar hotel booking and reservation online.

Burma Hotel Guide - Another travel website for hotel booking and reservation in Myanmar.

Burma (Myanmar) Hotels
- A travel website with hotel reservation and booking of hotels in Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan, Inle and many other destinations.

Visit Mekong - A travel website with hotel booking and reservation in Myanmar and other Mekong region.

Myanmar Hotels - Book hotels in Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan and other destinations in Myanmar online.

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