robertogreco + myanmar   13

M.I.A. Talks 'Maya,' Sri Lanka, and Political Pop - The Atlantic
"Kornhaber: This is what your documentary is in large part about—your career-long attempt to get the world to care about Sri Lanka. Do you think the film will receive a different response than, say, you did in 2009, when you were protested and dismissed while trying to bring attention to the shelling of Tamil civilians?

Arulpragasam: When I was met with pushback back then, it was by people who had optimism toward state oppression. [They believed] that there would be an effort to change. But after 10 years of waiting for justice, Tamils not being heard, the [increasing] militarization in Sri Lanka, and the country being billions of dollars in debt to China, hopefully people are understanding and won’t see me as a flippant pop star who is using this for fame.

A million diasporic Tamil people abroad were silenced when the war ended. They were called terrorists. They were told not to be proud of who they are and their flag. After 10 years of waiting, there’s been no progress in the Sri Lankan state getting rid of extremism on their side. Extreme Buddhist chauvinism and fascism is inciting hateful actions toward not just Tamils but Muslims, as well. We’ve seen Sri Lanka’s template spread like cancer to other countries, like Burma. You’ve had the Killing Fields documentary that’s come out. Hopefully these all add to people making the right decision on Sri Lanka.

Kornhaber: If people are fans of yours, is it their responsibility to be with you on these issues—to be paying attention and to be vocal on Sri Lanka?

Arulpragasam: I’ve never asked them to be with me before, but I think I do need them to be with me now. Because especially in America, you can’t discuss the concept of activism, standing up against Donald Trump, standing up against a right-wing government, females standing up against sexual violence, or racism, genocide—you can’t stand up against any of these things if you don’t stand up for somebody else going through the same thing. We live in a global community now. The days of hypocrisy and seeing your problems in isolation are over.

The struggles of the Tamil people connect with the struggles of the spirit of people across the world fighting state oppression. If you are a Tamil, you can relate to what’s going on in the African American community in America. You can relate to what’s happening in Yemen. You can relate to what’s happening to the Rohingya dissidents. It’s very difficult to talk about immigration or refugee problems without discussing how people get made to fall into those categories and what makes them refugees.

Kornhaber: When the documentary first premiered, you said you were surprised it didn’t focus more on your music. Did that reaction stem from a general feeling that people think of you more in terms of politics than art?

Arulpragasam: It’s very difficult to separate the two. It’s a luxury not to be political in your work. If I lived in the land of marshmallows with unicorns flying around, that is what my art would be about. But unfortunately, what I know is what I know. And that’s what I make work about. As the only [mainstream] Tamil musician who made it to the West ever, it was not an option to remove that. I just happened to have people who loved me and people who hated me for it. The whole idea is to encourage discussion and give people something they might not get from anybody else.

Kornhaber: But when you watch the documentary, do you come to feel like the twists and turns of your career stemmed more from your musical choices or more from controversies outside of music? After the success of “Paper Planes,” you made Maya, which was a gonzo, challenging album. But its reception coincided with backlash over a brutal music video and a New York Times profile.

Arulpragasam: It was about all of it. Up to that point, I had a very romantic idea about the West and America and creativity and the internet. I didn’t just pick up a guitar and make acoustic music. I brought you an entire brand-new genre. I brought so much to the table that didn’t exist before, and that has inspired what you’ve seen for the last 15 years in the mainstream. They made millions out of my experiences—how I traveled, how I met people, how I was the outcast that had to fight the boring system. I fed this society. I fed the West.

And when it came to the crunch, the West chose to back the oppressors. They backed a genocide. They chose to back the [state] that bombed [hundreds of thousands of] people on a strip of beach. The UN said, Yeah, there’s war crimes, but they couldn’t really penetrate into changing the Sri Lanka government. Everybody was like, Oh look, it’s great they’ve defeated terrorism. It was heartbreaking to see that the survival of the fittest, survival of the richest, survival of the biggest guns is what people want. To me, that’s way more violent than what the Tamil side was accused of.

Do you think I’m going to make a celebratory album after that and give them the same thing I gave them before? Absolutely not. Because you literally are dealing with a separation. It was a divorce. I’m not looking for acceptance. I’m looking to say, as a society, you should make the right decisions.

Kornhaber: As you look around at pop music and hip-hop in the West these days, do you feel influential?

Arulpragasam: Yeah. I think the fact that your charts have been filled with Diplo songs for the last five years is something I did. People being activists overnight is something I did. Where you have mainstream artists—who encouraged girls shaking booties in front of mirrors and singing into hairbrushes for 10 years—turn their fan base into politicized beings, that’s my influence, but without substance. It wasn’t easy to speak up for all of these things back in 2009. I didn’t get invited to the White House. I wasn’t given a Grammy, and I wasn’t celebrated for speaking out.

Kornhaber: Do you want to talk about any specific examples of political pop that rub you the wrong way?

Arulpragasam: I encourage people becoming politicized. And women being more empowered. But the idea of female empowerment in America excludes the women who are exposed to the heavily militarized Sri Lankan state, who are raping and murdering. Sri Lankan women are not invited to that conversation about feminism and uprising and empowerment, because that conversation is being held in America. When will these women get brought to the table to join in that conversation? How do we open up that discussion so it doesn’t only include shiny Hollywood girls?

Kornhaber: Do you worry it’s going to be even harder to get Westerners to care about these issues when all eyes are on the crises in America under Trump?

Arulpragasam: They need to understand the root of Donald Trump: not being conscious of your effect on the world, and not being conscious that you have been living the good life the last 20 years and that the wars across the world have helped the American economy. Greed is what put Donald Trump there. The obsession with our celebrity culture is what put Donald Trump there. All of these things are what we champion in the mainstream—through movies, through music, through the news.

Everyone has to be more conscious of what we support. You don’t like refugees; you don’t like immigrants? Well, stop creating them!

Kornhaber: Do you take inspiration from any figures in musical history who’ve changed public opinion with their work?

Arulpragasam: Back in the day, I romanticized American artists who worked together through music to change the culture to oppose the Vietnam War. I don’t think that’s happened since. It’d be a beautiful thing if that could happen again, to where citizens are that empowered and artists encourage change. But that’s real change, where you can actually stop people from dying and not look after the interests of just America.

Now [the U.S. government is] talking about getting rid of the International Criminal Court. And that’s what [the international community] told the Tamils was the solution: Don’t worry. Just lose, just die, and then spend 10 years trying to get somebody convicted in the criminal court. Then, boom, out of nowhere Trump comes in and says, That thing is bullshit. So we’re left with nothing. This is why Americans and my fans need to know that everything is connected.

Kornhaber: The documentary is such a personal story, delving into your life and your family. Is that personal approach the best way to get people to care about big issues?

Arulpragasam: What happened to [the] Tamils is a collective experience. It’s not just an individual experience. But right now, discussing individual experiences has become trendy in America. So even when documenting human-rights violations by the Sri Lankan government, we had to reduce it to talking about it on a personal level: [This person] from this little village was raped by the Sri Lankan government and here’s her particular story. You have to isolate the experience in order to communicate to the West, because, at the moment, that’s how they’re engaged in the rest of the world. Whether you’re a girl from Saudi Arabia who can drive, a girl from Pakistan who’s wanting to wear a short dress on Instagram, a trans girl in New York, or a woman who’s pro-abortion in South America, you cannot be a movement. You have to reduce it to personal stories."
mia  srilanka  activism  feminism  race  resistance  protest  solidarity  2018  yemen  burma  fascism  isolationism  myanmar  rohingya  oppression  genocide  storytelling  us 
october 2018 by robertogreco
Ephemeral Urbanism: Cities in Constant Flux - YouTube
urbanism  urban  cities  ephemerality  ephemeral  2016  rahulmehrotra  felipevera  henrynbauer  cristianpinoanguita  religion  celebration  transaction  trade  economics  informal  formal  thailand  indi  us  dominicanrepublic  cochella  burningman  fikaburn  southafrica  naturaldisaters  refugees  climatechange  mozambique  haiti  myanmar  landscape  naturalresources  extraction  mining  chile  indonesia  military  afghanistan  refuge  jordan  tanzania  turkey  greece  macedonia  openness  rigidity  urbandesign  urbanplanning  planning  adhoc  slums  saudiarabia  hajj  perú  iraq  flexibility  unfinished  completeness  sustainability  ecology  mobility 
october 2017 by robertogreco
This Is What Happens When Millions Of People Suddenly Get The Internet - BuzzFeed News
"Less than 1% of Myanmar had internet access until 2014. Now the country is getting online at an astonishing rate — but so is fake news and anti-Muslim sentiment. Sheera Frenkel finds out what happens when everyone you know joins Facebook at the same time."



"YANGON, Myanmar — The internet brought Donald Trump to Myanmar. Or, at least that’s how Shar Ya Wai first remembers hearing about the Republican president-elect.

“One day, nobody knew him. Then, everyone did. That’s what the internet is. It takes people who say crazy things and makes them famous,” the 19-year-old student said.

Like most people in this country of 50 million, which only recently opened up to the outside world, Shar Ya Wai is new to the internet. And on this day, she had walked purposefully into a phone shop in central Yangon to buy her first smartphone, a simple model by China’s Huawei that is popular among her friends. “Today I’ll buy this phone,” she said. “I guess I’ll find out how crazy [the internet] really is.”

It’s not that she’d never seen the internet before. She’d tried to stalk ex-boyfriends through a friend’s Facebook page and caught glimpses of the latest Thai pop bands on her uncle’s old tablet, which he bought secondhand a year ago. But her forays into the internet have been brief and largely left her perplexed. Here was a public space where everyone seemed to have so much to say, but it was disorganized, bombastic, overwhelming. It felt like the polar opposite of the quiet, sheltered life she’d lived until recently.

“My father is a measured person. He speaks carefully and always wanted us to speak carefully too,” she said, smoothing down her waist-length black hair, betraying her nerves. “I’m more energetic, like my mom. We speak a lot more, but it is nothing like what I see on the internet.”

It was her father who wanted her to put off buying a phone until she was old enough to “use it safely,” though she wasn’t really sure what that meant. She thought he might be referring to the men who post crass and vulgar photos online. Or he might be worried about the various scammers who are increasingly targeting the nascent internet in Myanmar. She wasn’t sure because no one had ever told her how to stay safe online — what to do, or say, or write.

Still, on this day in mid-July, Shar Ya Wai pushed herself out of a crowded store in central Yangon, holding the cellophane-wrapped cell phone as though it were an injured bird. Her fingers cradled the top and felt for the button that would turn it on, but then hesitated.

“Maybe I should wait until later. I should wait until I’m with my family,” she said, and then admitted, “I’m scared.”

She has reason to be afraid. For nearly five decades, Myanmar lived under military dictatorships that suppressed all forms of dissent and limited free speech, leading to US and European sanctions that largely cut off the country from the rest of the world. That changed in 2011, when the military junta was officially dissolved and a nominally civilian government was established. In 2015, in the first national election since the military eased its hold, Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy Party was voted into power. Of the changes to hit the largely Buddhist country since then, few have been as drastic — and as rapid — as the sudden arrival of the internet to the general public. It revolutionized everything, from how people interact with one another to how they get their news, once the exclusive purview of hyper-regulated state-sanctioned media."
myanmar  mobileonly  mobile  phones  internet  sheerafrenkel  technology  news  media  online  facebook  smartphones  viber  socialmedia 
december 2016 by robertogreco
Proximity Designs :: Proximity Home Page
"New solutions to ancient problems

Proximity Designs is an award-winning, social enterprise based in Yangon, Myanmar. We design and deliver affordable, income-boosting products and services that complement the entrepreneurial spirit of rural families.

We design for impact
Increasing incomes across rural Myanmar

In a country where 70% of the population depends on agriculture, improvements in farming technology and techniques - and the credit to access them - are vital to improving living conditions and ending poverty.

That’s where we come in."

[via: https://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/b:ee54d404226d ]
myanmar  burma  yangon  design  socialimpact  socialenterprise 
december 2015 by robertogreco
Designing for new cellphone users in Burma - Home | Spark with Nora Young | CBC Radio
"Just a few years ago, cellphones were a rarity reserved for the elite in Burma (also known as Myanmar). But now, they've exploded in popularity.

Spark checks in with a design team working on a digital communications tool for rural farmers there. Lauren Serota and Taiei Harimoto talk about how, because so many people in Burma are new to cell technology, they don't have the biases the rest of us have built up about how the technology is "supposed" to work. We also learn about novel uses for cellphones as income generators, and in the recent election.

[via: ". @ProximityDesign design lead Taiei & @studio_d_rad design director @serota in this interview on mobile Myanmar http://www.cbc.ca/1.3338850 "
https://twitter.com/janchip/status/671924902069432320

"Myanmar is leapfrogging: People use Viber for calling and Facebook for messaging with no precedent for telephony. http://cbc.ca/1.3338850 "
https://twitter.com/janchip/status/672662678121353216

"In Myanmar, we don’t need to abide by design patterns that have been set by 30 years of digital technology.” http://cbc.ca/1.3338850 "
https://twitter.com/janchip/status/672662464518049792

"Designing services unencumbered by legacy technologies, such as telephones, banks, stable electricity, y'know that kind of stuff."
https://twitter.com/janchip/status/671925842319179777 ]
mobile  phones  myanmar  burma  2015  cellphones  telephony  leapfrogging  technology  viber  facebook  messaging  voicecalls 
december 2015 by robertogreco
Millions of Facebook users have no idea they’re using the internet - Quartz
"Facebook bosses generally dismiss suggestions that the whole internet.org project might be self-interested. Writing in Time, Lev Grossman was granted access to Mark Zuckerberg when the Facebook CEO went to India to promote internet access. When Grossman asks whether internet.org is self-serving, Zuckerberg allows only that it may, one day, several decades down the line, pay off: “If you do good things for people in the world, then that comes back and you benefit from it over time.”

Dave Wehner, Facebook’s finance chief, is more forthright. “I do think that over the long term, that focusing on helping connect everyone will be a good business opportunity for us.” If Facebook becomes one of the top services in these countries, he explained in a recent earnings call, “then over time we will be compensated for some of the value that we’ve provided.”
That is a fair goal for any profit-seeking company. And besides, isn’t some access better than none at all? John Naughton of the Guardian argues that this is not the case:
This is a pernicious way of framing the argument, and we should resist it. The goal of public policy everywhere should be to increase access to the internet—the whole goddam internet, not some corporate-controlled alcove—for as many people as possible. By condoning zero-rating we will condemn to a lifetime of servitude as one of Master Zuckerberg’s sharecroppers. We can, and should, do better than that.

"Already services are starting to move away from the open web and to Facebook. And it’s happening not just in the poor world, but in poor parts of the developed world, where there also exists a sense among some that using an app isn’t the same as using the internet, which requires a web browser like Safari or Internet Explorer. Salix Homes manages government-owned subsidized housing in some the poorest parts of Salford, a deprived area in the north of England. Salix recently decided to accept complaints and rent payments from its tenants on Facebook."
facebook  internet  culture  mobile  technology  2015  myanmar  burma  indonesia  philippines  thailand  walledgardens  nigeria  internet.org  web  online 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Matupi - Wikipedia
"Matupi (Burmese: မတူပီမြို့) is a town in Chin State in western Burma (Myanmar), in Southeast Asia.

Matupi is the second capital city, one of the townships of Chin State of West Myanmar, southeast Asia. Matupi, formerly known as Batupuei or Batu Village before it was promoted to the status of township, occupies a large portion of land and includes over 100 major villages in the southern part of Chin State. The name Matupi is directly derived from Batupuei; however, due to misreading of the spellings: Ba into Ma and Puei into Pi in Burmese characters, Matupi appeared to be the widely used name without any historical significance in its terminology. The Matupi (Chin) tribe is one of the biggest tribes among the Kuki-Chin-Mizo. From the very beginning all the Chins including Kuki, Mizo, Zomi, Naga, Laimi, and Asho, Kcho and Khumi had lived on hillsides or riverbanks, constituting villages or groups. Among the villages, Matupi (formerly known as Batu Village) was the biggest and most populous. The British Gazette mentioned that there were over 1,000 living in houses including paddy barns in the village Batupuei between 1900 and 1930. Hakha book recorded that during those days “Matupi” was the biggest and most populous village in the Chin Hills."
chin  burma  myanmar  matupi  mary  zomi  zomia  mizo  kuki 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Respect Myanmar Diversity: Use Unicode Fonts | ISIF Asia
"Burmese is the dominant language of Myanmar, but its had a long and winding journey in the digital realm, and now there is a tension between two competing systems to represent it online.

Unlike Latin script or pictograph scripts like Chinese, Burmese doesn’t use spaces between words and generally doesn’t fit into nice, tidy blocks that are easy for computers to render on a screen.

Almost all languages have fonts that adhere to the Unicode standard for the consistent encoding, representation and handling of text. In Myanmar the development of Unicode compliance had a very slow start, and until recently, there wasn’t a strong Unicode standard.

To help Myanmar enter the digital age, a group of individuals produced the Zawgyi font to represent Burmese script. Most of the tech elite learned to type using Zawgyi, and like the American Qwerty system, the network effects – from keyboards to typing classes – has made Zawgyi the most widely used font. However, its popularity doesn’t mean Zawgyi is the best font to use.

Technologically, Zawgyi is a nightmare for backend software development, as it requires extensive customization to present the font correctly. The font itself also needs to be installed on computers or mobile phones, which can be a technical hurtle for novice users.

But culturally, there is an even greater imperative to use Unicode instead of Zawgyi. Zawgyi is useless for typing other ethnic Myanmar languages that use Burmese script, like Sanksrit, Shan, and Mon. Myanmar already has a rocky history (past and present) with ethnic minorities, and we should not use any digital tool that excludes them or presents a barrier to their digital voice.

Unicode fonts support 11 languages that use the Myanmar script, including Burmese, Pali, Sanskrit, Mon, Shan, Kayah, Rumai Palaung, and four Karen languages. Unicode is now standard on Android devices, which are and will be the most popular way to get online in Myanmar, and over 30% of Myanmar government websites use Unicode.

So it is time for all of us to use Unicode fonts to communicate in Myanmar, so we can truly communicate with everyone."

[via: http://www.ictworks.org/2014/08/20/myanmar-will-be-the-first-smartphone-only-country/#comment-113453 ]
myanmar  unicode  language  languages  wayanvota  burmese  zawgyi  encoding  2014 
september 2014 by robertogreco
A Short Guide to the Internet’s Biggest Enemies | Mediashift | PBS
"Reporters Without Borders (RSF) released its annual “Enemies of the Internet” index last week — a ranking first launched in 2006 intended to track countries that repress online speech, intimidate and arrest bloggers and conduct surveillance of their citizens. Some countries have been mainstays on the annual index, while others have been able to work their way off the list. Two countries particularly deserving of praise in this area are Tunisia and Myanmar (Burma), both of which have stopped censoring the Internet in recent years and are headed in the right direction toward Internet freedom.

In the former category are some of the world’s worst offenders: Cuba, North Korea, China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Belarus, Bahrain, Turkmenistan, Syria. Nearly every one of these countries has amped up their online repression in recent years, from implementing sophisticated surveillance (Syria) to utilizing targeted surveillance tools (Vietnam) to increasing crackdowns on online speech (Saudi Arabia). These are countries where, despite advocacy efforts by local and international groups, no progress has been made."
reporterswithoutborders  internet  freedom  2014  journalism  information  law  legal  tunisia  myanmar  burma 
march 2014 by robertogreco
The Episcopal Refugee Network of San Diego
[See also:

"Burma Refugees Struggling to Adjust in City Heights"
http://voiceofsandiego.org/2010/03/03/burma-refugees-struggling-to-adjust-in-city-heights/

"Finding Their Way Home: Burmese Refugees Establish a Community Center"
http://www.speakcityheights.org/2012/10/finding-their-way-home-burmese-refugees-establish-a-community-center/

"Burmese Refugees Making Home in San Diego
http://www.kpbs.org/news/2013/nov/06/burmese-refugees-making-san-diego-home/

Karen Organization of San Diego
http://karensandiego.org/ ]

"The Episcopal Refugee Network of San Diego is a non-profit organization that started to help refugees in San Diego County, from many countries of origin. Most of our early clients were from Sudan, but now we also serve many Karen and Karinni refugees from Myanmar (Burma), and Bhutanese and Iraqi refugees."



"The Episcopal Refugee Network provides one-on-one tutoring for 95 young people from Burmese mountain groups. The majority are Karen but we have numbers also from the Karenni, Chin and Shan peoples. This program is offered in an elementary section and a secondary section each week at St. Mark’s Church in City Heights, San Diego. We have a program at St. Alban’s Church Hall in El Cajon City. More volunteer tutors will enable more children to be accepted into the El Cajon program twice a week.

Each week the children learn and practice basic reading and math skills. They also receive enrichment in current events, geography and map skills, research skills, and poetry. Field trips to art, history and science museums, and sporting events enhance their learning experiences. Positive reports from San Diego teachers have let us know we are helping these children."
sandiego  refugees  volunteering  myanmar  iraq  sudan  cityheights  elcajon  openstudioproject  episcopalrefugeenetwork  burma  karen 
june 2013 by robertogreco
Design Observer: writings about design & culture
"This slideshow of photographs from 1989 is dedicated to the people of Burma — as they again confront one of the most brutal regimes in the world."
slideshow  photography  burma  myanmar  history  politics  travel 
september 2007 by robertogreco
Design Observer: writings about design & culture
"This slideshow of photographs from 1989 is dedicated to the people of Burma — as they again confront one of the most brutal regimes in the world."
slideshow  photography  burma  myanmar  history  politics  travel 
september 2007 by robertogreco

related tags

activism  adhoc  afghanistan  burma  burmese  burningman  celebration  cellphones  chile  chin  cities  cityheights  climatechange  cochella  completeness  cristianpinoanguita  culture  design  dominicanrepublic  ecology  economics  elcajon  encoding  ephemeral  ephemerality  episcopalrefugeenetwork  extraction  facebook  fascism  felipevera  feminism  fikaburn  flexibility  formal  freedom  genocide  greece  haiti  hajj  henrynbauer  history  indi  indonesia  informal  information  internet  internet.org  iraq  isolationism  jordan  journalism  karen  kuki  landscape  language  languages  law  leapfrogging  legal  macedonia  mary  matupi  media  messaging  mia  military  mining  mizo  mobile  mobileonly  mobility  mozambique  myanmar  naturaldisaters  naturalresources  news  nigeria  online  openness  openstudioproject  oppression  perú  philippines  phones  photography  planning  politics  protest  race  rahulmehrotra  refuge  refugees  religion  reporterswithoutborders  resistance  rigidity  rohingya  sandiego  saudiarabia  sheerafrenkel  slideshow  slums  smartphoneonly  smartphones  socialenterprise  socialimpact  socialmedia  solidarity  southafrica  srilanka  storytelling  sudan  sustainability  tanzania  technology  telephony  thailand  trade  transaction  travel  tunisia  turkey  unfinished  unicode  urban  urbandesign  urbanism  urbanplanning  us  viber  voicecalls  volunteering  walledgardens  wayanvota  web  yangon  yemen  zawgyi  zomi  zomia 

Copy this bookmark:



description:


tags: