The Burmese & why I'd like to stay there and teach English

I fall in love with Burma all over again each and every time I browse through the photos. Yes, the landscape is beautiful, but the deal breaker is her people. Always her people. I've never met such a warmhearted bunch who just take the punches thrown their way with such grace. One day, I hope I get the opportunity to stay there (3 or 4 months sound like a good idea) and teach English to kids in the community, to the monks.

While learning English is something we take for granted in this country, I think it would be of great value to a country like Burma. When you have a government that is perennially deaf to your voice/ plight/ desires/ wishes/ needs/ sufferings, etc. etc., getting the attention of the international community is perhaps one way to improve life for your family, your friends, your community. But before you get help, you first have to get heard.

Like any oppressive regime, the junta has made sure to produce only a small group of intelligentsia. When we were there, we were amazed because almost all the college kids we talked to were studying to become engineers and doctors, but so few were studying to become historians, writers or social scientists. According to a Burmese cousin, there's an operating bias in society that "liberal arts are courses for the weak-minded."

Most of the time, we hear about Myanmar when there's news about Aung San Suu Kyi or if a big tragedy has happened. I don't discount that any news about Aung San Suu Kyi is a HUGE DEAL, but I think Burma and the Burmese deserve more. They are a treasure trove of stories, why aren't we more curious?  There has to be more stories about life in Burma told - the small inspiring tales, alongside tragic truths; the quiet everyday life in Myanmar which would clue us in on how they keep it together.

Stories could be game changers; this we know because we have Noli me Tangere and El Filibusterismo.

From my amateur assessment (I'm not any Asian scholar, I was just a tourist), the ordinary citizens we've met are desperate for the world to listen. This is why I wish that more Burmese would learn English. I hope they could have more storytellers. And this is also why instead of asking you to boycott the government, I'd rather that you go there and talk to them.

But that's me. I have lofty dreams of teaching at a Burmese monastery.I daydream that during the short course of my stay, I'd be able to reach out to someone and equip that someone with enough skills to express himself and write a letter that would improve the life of his/ her community. This is really every teacher's dream, no?

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