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Community Event: Burmese New Year snd Water Festival

Burmese New Year and Water Festival:

The social event to commemorate Burmese New Year & Water Festival has been successfully held on the 17 April 2011, last Sunday, at Bonython Park in Adelaide. Traditionally, this is an event annually celebrated in Burma irrespective of race, religion and individual customs. Normally the event was based on Buddhist calendar and religious background but it became a social function as the way most people celebrated Christmas all over the world irrespective of race, religion and individual customs.
We have celebrated to observe the tradition in the event to which about 100 Burmese people, who are living in Adelaide and a number of Burmese students who have been studying in university courses in Adelaide on student visas, have attended. The participants who have attended include Ms Lily Yang, a lecturer, Department of Interpreting and Translating, Adelaide TAFE, and a polyglot, who speaks Mandarin, Cantonese, Burmese and English, and Dr Latt Latt Aung, a psychiatrist consultant, Department of Psychiatry, Royal Adelaide Hospital.
The event has been well received by the participants with traditional foods, dishes and thingyan music. The participants have refreshed the memories and traditions that they enjoyed so much back in Burma prior to migration to Australia. A special thingyan song composed by Myo Ma Nyein has made the most refreshing memory of all in the event. Special thanks to all participants who put all the efforts to bring foods and traditional atmospheres. As throwing water to each other is not practicable a little splash from a water gun to reflect the tradition has been done. This event has been organized and celebrated annually in Adelaide since 2007.
We will do it again next year. Cheers!

My contribution to AUSIT, Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators

Advance notice of workshop:
Bookkeeping Basics
for Interpreters and Translators
Date: Thursday, 14 April 2011, 6.00 to 8.30pm
Opening at 6pm for registration, and getting to know each other around some refreshments, start of the workshop at 6.30pm
Venue: TAFE SA, 120 Currie Street, Adelaide
Room N223
(come up the stairs in the atrium or the lift to 2nd floor; it is just near the landing)
Presenter: Tony Latt
Cost: AUSIT/ASLIA members $15  - non-members $20  - students $15
AUSIT members: Attendance at this seminar is worth 10 PD points (Logbook, section 5.1).
Tony is a NAATI accredited interpreter and translator of the Burmese language. Currently he is one of the leading contract interpreters with the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS). In addition, Tony holds a Diploma of Business and an Advanced Diploma of Accounting from TAFE, and a Graduate Certificate of Professional Accounting from Southern Queensland University.
Tony has offered to share his knowledge of accounting as it relates to the interpreting and translating industry with fellow interpreters and translators. There will be exercises and the opportunity to ask questions.
If you have an issue you would like Tony to address, please send your comments and questions in advance to Adele Anderson at adeleanderson@aapt.net.au by 6 April 2011.
Please RSVP by COB 8 April 2011

My contribution to AUSIT, Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators
Hello all participants,
Thank you for coming to my presentation last night, which was my first experience in a class room in front of the participants. I thought that my presentation has run not as much worst as I have expected prior to the workshop. I have tried my best to present as clear as I could when explaining about the concept of bookkeeping. Normally it took at least one semester to learn bookkeeping at TAFE. Two hour time frame is not enough for the whole concepts. I have designed especially for translators a very brief module which comprised every single concept of bookkeeping. You know, for the first time in front of participants, there might have been some negative impacts on the presentation due to my lack of experience in teaching. However, I thank you for your patience during the 2 hour session and appreciate those who have already given positive feedback.
I would like you to give your feedback again by clicking the comments button because your comments would make my website very attractive and my business potential may become viable.  Even negative feedback would be much appreciated. Thank you.

The following is an extract from AUSIT Newsletter, IN TOUCH -Volume 19, number 2-Winter 2011.

Epic Stories of Gautama Buddha's Previous lives.

Epic stories of Gautama Buddha's previous lives
Story of Temi, the Speechless Prince
Adapted and translated from Burmese written by Min Yu Wai.
Once upon a time there was a kingdom of Baranares and king Katiikrit reined the kingdom.  The king had many consorts. The chief queen was Sandradevi.
Even though the king had many consorts, none of them could bear a son. The chief queen Sandradevi was the only one who gave birth to a son. The king loved his son very much.
"Ask for a wish that you want for your son," the king told the chief queen.
"I shall seek the wish that you bestowed when our son has grown up," the chief queen replied.
The king named his son Temiya. When Temiya reached one month of age the king put him on his lap and ruled administration of justice. Rulings included one thousand lashes to a thief with a spiked cane; one to be imprisoned with an iron fetter on his ankle; one to be lanced to death; and another one to be tortured and skewered to death.
When prince Temiya heard the rulings he was frightened very much. Prince Temiya was once a king in the kingdom of Baranares in his previous life.  After reining 20 years he died. After he died he ended up in tormented hell and suffered for eighty thousand years.  Prince Temiya recollected all these experiences by way of telepathy and became afraid to rule as a king once again.
At that instant, the white umbrella angel, who had been a mother to prince Temi in one of his previous lives, became aware of his worries.  The angel advised him to pretend to be a deaf mute if he did not want to become a king. He did so according to the angel's advice.
When the king came to the knowledge of his son's muteness, he consulted with his ministers and began testing his son with various techniques. At the age of one year he was tested with snack.  At the age of two, he was tested with fruit; at three with dolls; at four with rice and curry; at five with dangerous fire; at six with an elephant; at seven with a snake; at eight with the introduction of special events and festivals; at nine with a bogus attempt to assault him with a dagger; at ten with blowing a shell-whistle  to his ear to see his muteness; at eleven with playing a drum on his ear; at twelve with the flame of scented oil to see whether he was attracted to it; at thirteen with applying honey on his body and letting mosquitoes to bite his flesh; at fourteen with applying urine and fæces  on his body to let him get dirty; at fifteen with burning coals on his body to let him feel hot; and at sixteen with beautiful girls to seduce him.
Although various techniques were used to test him, the prince did not respond or show fear. He was not interested or attracted to it instead he kept on pretending to be a deaf mute.
Therefore, the Brahmins, who had been giving advice to the king, suggested, " It is not appropriate to let him live. He should be buried alive in a cemetery otherwise it is likely that the king will lose his life and luxurious throne."
The king accepted the advice given by the Brahmins and planned to kill the prince. In that instant, chief queen Sandradevi asked the king, " Your majesty, now grant me the wish that you bestowed when the prince was born."
"Get what you wish," the king replied.
"Give my son the throne," the chief queen demanded.
"He is not worthy of the throne so the plan is to kill him," the king replied.
The chief queen continued to insist so at last the king said, "OK, he is allowed to be a king for only seven days and then he will be killed."
Once the permission was granted the chief queen formally supervised the coronation of their son with five elements of royal decorations. Then the chief queen said to the prince, "My beloved son, I have been worrying for sixteen years. I am aware that my beloved son is not a deaf mute. Stop pretending, please."
The prince pitied his mother but he did not want to break his commitment, so he kept up his silence.
On the sixth day of his coronation the king summoned the royal coach driver. When the royal coach driver came the king ordered, "Take my son prince Temi in the royal coach, depart from the rear gate and bury him alive in a cemetery."
The next day, on the seventh day of the coronation, the royal coach driver carried prince Temi and put him in the royal coach. The chief queen was heartbroken and drummed her fists on her chest and lamented, then fell to the ground of the palace.
When the coach driver reached the forest, assuming that it could be a cemetery, he stopped the coach in order to bury the prince. The coach driver took all the clothes off the prince. Then he started to dig a ditch.
While he was digging the prince put his clothes back on. He walked a little to test his mobility then approached the coach driver.
"Who gave you the order to dig this ditch and what are you going to do with it?" he said.
"The son of my lord is a deaf mute and needs to be buried so I am digging," the coach driver, very busy with his digging, replied without looking up.
"Dear coach driver, I am not a deaf mute. You would commit an unconscionable act if you bury me," the prince said.
When the coach driver heard what the prince was saying he looked up from his digging and was amazed.
"Who are you?" the coach driver asked.
"I am no other but the son of King Katiikarit. You live your life by depending on my father, who is your benefactor. You would be committing heinous act against your benefactor if you kill his son," the prince said.
Then prince Temi preached that thy should not commit misdemeanor against colleagues, thy should not commit misdemeanor against benefactors and thy should not commit unlawful acts.
At that, the coach driver kowtowed to prince Temi and begged him to come back to the palace along with him.
The prince declined.  "His majesty my father, her highness my mother and the public have already discarded me. I would make myself a hermit and stay right here."
The coach driver went back to the palace and told everything to the king and the queen. The king and the queen, very delighted at the news, planned a trip to meet their son.
In the mean time, prince Temi made himself a hermit and concentrated on religious meditation in a hermitage.
Soon afterward the king and the queen arrived with their entourage to the hermitage. When they saw their son, who had been content with consuming boiled leaves, lying on a bed made with leaves and concentrating on religious meditation, they felt both sadness and happiness at the same time.
"Prince, you are still young. Enjoy the luxurious kinghood and when you get older then go and make yourself a hermit," the king said to the son.
"Your majesty, not only the aged can experience death but also the young ones can experience death," prince Temi replied.
After listening to the religious sermons of prince Temi the king, the queen and the whole entourage got insight into it and converted themselves into hermits as well.
Epilogue:         Prince Temi was claimed the avatar of Gautama Buddha in one      of his previous 547 lives.
I hereby acknowledge the writer Min Yu Wai for his great work. Thank you.


There has been a problem in our community, probably for half a century. The problem has still remained to be resolved appropriately. The problem is graffiti. Graffiti is defined as spray-painting of words or drawings on a wall or on a visible area in a community for a purpose of displeasing the general public.
Young people, mostly teenagers, are involved in this kind of misdemeanor. The cause of the problem is still unknown. There is no evidence that any researcher has been seriously taking graffiti as a major problem.
Every morning I walk down the street where I live as my routine exercise. I am fully aware that in this local area in South Australia, most non-arterial roads' speed limit is 40 km/h. This morning it has surprisingly come to my notice that the speed limit sign has been changed to 60 km/h. I am wondering how our local council could have changed the road rule overnight without any notice given to the general public. In fact, neither the local council has changed the rule overnight nor any transport authority has anything to do with it, but as a result of graffiti committed by somebody.
As I have seen some graffiti on walls, I thought that the impact of graffiti only affected the owner of the wall and had not much impact on the general public apart from a feeling of discomfort. Now graffiti on speed limit sign is a different case and it certainly will have a greater effect on motorists. Some motorists could have identified that the speed limit sign has been altered by graffiti, but for a few slightly visually impaired drivers it might be a problem especially when a speed camera is in operation nearby. Driving at a speed of 60 km/h in a 40 km/h zone attracts a large amount of fine and probably 2 demerit points. Therefore, graffiti can no longer be ignored in this case and the safety purpose of the road rule in a 40 km/h zone is adversely affected. This could impliedly lead to the issue of public safety and for the innocent drivers a violation of traffic rules.
Is graffiti a behavioral disorder? There is no evidence that any prominent behavioral therapist or psychologist has ever mentioned that graffiti is in association with a human behavioral disorder. In most cases, graffiti is done by young people who could be in their early practice of artistic skills and some of them maybe in their expectation of displeasing general public. There are no resources for them to practice their artistic skills so walls and other public properties have become their targets. This could be normal behavior in terms of patterns of teenagers' conducts such as riding push-bikes and skateboards. It is a very rare case for an adult person to do graffiti.
One local newspaper reported quite some time ago that police surveillance has increased to deter the act of graffiti. Unfortunately, graffiti is still a problem in our community. Police surveillance is not an efficient means to deter people from committing graffiti. Police forces can not be available at all times and in all areas in a community; rather they must have important matters which are most likely to be given priority over graffiti. Therefore, police surveillance has failed to solve the problem of graffiti.
How do we solve the problem of graffiti? There are, in my opinion, a few options which could at least diminish rather than totally wipe-out acts of graffiti among teenagers. The options which I considered appropriate are outlined below:
·         Graffiti awareness program
·         Creation of an alternative which would enable graffiti doers to practice their artistic skills.
Graffiti awareness program
A graffiti awareness program would include an educational program, an awareness program for the general public and lobbying of graffiti as an issue, which would be widely discussed in every local council's meeting. In educational program, students of Middle and High Schools would be encouraged to participate in essay competitions on graffiti. Teachers would be advised to teach the students that graffiti could not produce any benefit but harm to the victims. Schools would be encouraged to have initiation of any activities which would help students in perceiving that graffiti is wrong and that it should not be done.
The awareness program to the general public would include erecting of signs, which say ' graffiti watch' which is similar to the 'neighborhood watch', in visible public areas and encouraging the general public to observe, alert and report if they come across any cases of graffiti.
Graffiti on public properties, walls and speed limit signs directly affects local council offices in their local administrative tasks. So an issue of graffiti should be included in meeting's agenda in every local council. The issue needs wider discussion among councilors and a resolution is required on how to control widespread abuse of graffiti in the local council's jurisdiction.
Creation of alternative
As discussed above, graffiti is not a serious behavioral disorder and it can be controlled with the aid of the educational program and general awareness to the public. On the other hand, it is necessary to provide facilities for the graffiti doers to practice their painting skill. In the early age of skateboarding, children played skateboard in public and private car parks, such as supermarket's car parks and other private properties. We can still see signs, which say ' skateboarding not allowed' in supermarket's car parks. This came to local council's attention and as a result facilities, such as playgrounds for mountain bike and skateboard, were built for the welfare of the children. Now the general public are concerned that proper scrutiny of graffiti has become a requirement in a community. Is it a good idea that local councils are pressured to provide facilities for spray painting such as walls or wall-like boards just next to the skate boarding ground?
For Burmese Translators:
How can we translate 'graffiti' in Burmese, if possible with minimum Burmese words?

Ethical Obligation

Kind of questions on ethical obligation
I would like to put a scenario, in which an ethical obligation arose, for you to discuss and I would like to invite other professionals to participate in this discussion as well. I would be quite grateful for any feedback. A little contribution surely can make much difference to me, thanks.
A scenario is that I was given an audio- tape to transcribe the context of my native language into English. The audio- tape is the recording of a police procedure, in which the police investigated the accused person, who does not speak English so that an interpreter was used in the procedure.
What I found out in the content of the audio-tape amazed me. There were a lot of misinterpretations, most of all, because of misinterpretations the accused person was unfairly disadvantaged in relation to his statutory rights.  The interpreter seemed not to be aware of some legal terms such as ' arrest rights', 'submission of forensic procedure, and so on, as a result the accused person had been locked up in contrary to his legal rights. If the accused person had understood his legal rights, he would have been released on bail outright. I thought that it is a critical error at the cause of interpreter's misinterpretation. Our criminal justice system is based on the notions that " Accused person is presumed to be innocent until his guilt has been proven" and "the burden of proof lies with the prosecution'. At the start of the investigation, every accused person, except otherwise prescribed in any provisions contained in any specific law, shall have a right to be released on bail in accordance with the notions and statutory rights. So, in my scenario the accused person had been suffering irreversible damage. It is not fair.
My questions are:
  1. If I transcribe this audio-tape I would critically damage the competency of the interpreter and probably affect the industry and professional solidarity. Please comment.
  2. What if I would be summoned in a court of law to give testimony in relation to the context of misinterpretations? Please discuss.
  3. In this case do I need to inform my agency, which gave me the translation assignment, of the misinterpretation in order to get the agency to take caution in allocating assignments to qualified interpreter in the future?
  4. Now I am disclosing information, which I should keep private, in this forum. Am I in breach of ethical obligation?

Non-verbal Communication

Non-verbal Communication
Communication Guru said that in communication process it consists of 7% spoken words, 38% of tone of voice and 55% of non-verbal (body language). 
Yes, that's right. I have been taking advantage of the 55% of body language. Most clients I gave my interpreting services came from the refugee background and unfortunately these people couldn't have a chance to have a formal education. Some people of those were born in refugee camp and their communication skills are at lowest level, so that sometime even communicating with the same language they lack understanding to complex nature of the dialogues. When I used body language in addition to verbal interpretation it helps them a lot to understand and on the other hand the body language assured the English speaker that the message is well delivered. 
I recollected a story that I had been told by one of the doctors from Royal Adelaide Hospital, Chest Clinic, while I had been assisting in the process. He said, one remote area in China a farmer was having a meal in his kitchen. A couple of ducks came into the kitchen through a door, which was open. The farmer said, "Get out" pointing his finger to the opening door. At once ducks went out. The doctor told me with a smile on his face that ' wow, animal understands'. I said, yes, it does, it is non-verbal communication. Even if animal understands non-verbal communication human can understand more easily whether they came from refugee background or they have low level of education.  Interpreting is not a big problem if proper body language is used.
Communication has done sometime even if no word is spoken. For example, 'silence denotes admission'.

Learning Computer in Burmese for Elders

Double Taxation

Double Taxation: Foreign source Income and Burmese Citizens abroad
 As a general rule, a resident taxpayer has a responsibility to pay tax on worldwide source of income, both domestic and foreign source.  Foreign source income could be employment income, dividends, interests, rents and royalties. Not every foreign source income attracts income tax liability. Employment income is exempt from taxation in most Commonwealth Nations provided that the income is taxed at source country. Employment income includes salaries, wages, commissions, bonuses and allowances.
Even though income that attracts tax liability may have a mechanism to avoid double taxation being imposed by way of tax offset known as Foreign Tax Credit System. These general principles are currently recognized in USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand and a few other Commonwealth Countries.  
Burmese Citizens abroad are liable to pay tax to the respective Burmese Embassy. In Australia, every Burmese citizen who holds Burmese Passport (red color) is liable to pay a fixed tax of AUD$ 60.00 per month disregard of source of income, whether it is employment income or dividend or interest income.
Even if one has no income, liability can not be avoided. What will happen if one does not pay a fixed tax of AUD$ 60.00 per month? One of the consequences is that it is unlikely to have his Passport renewed when renewal is due. In every two or three years, Burmese Passports are due for renewal. When it is due, one has to pay tax irrespective of whether he has income or not plus additional renewal fee of previously AUD$260.00. In that way Burmese citizens abroad are taxed. Majority of Burmese citizens abroad are employment income earners rather than other sources. Most income is taxed at source country; therefore, according to principles adopted by Commonwealth countries, such income is exempt from taxation.
However, Burmese citizens in Australia are forced to pay a fixed tax of AUD$ 60.00 per month. In that way double taxation applies to Burmese citizens abroad except to those in Britain in pursuance of paragraph 2 of Nu-Attlee Agreement.

Panglong Agreement

Panglong Agreement
On this day 12 of February of 64 years ago Panglong Agreement was signed and subsequently the Agreement had become a landmark in Burmese political history. Panglong Agreement was very famous among Burmese and its indigenous peoples due to its impact on independence struggle.
However, apart from its high ranking status in history, we have not been taught about the contents of the Agreement in school. Most people have not had access to its contents. Most politicians, students, scholars and general public have no ideas of what were written in Panglong Agreement. It is a pity on us because its contents had been hidden from public view. Why?
Now, it is show time. Please enjoy reading the original Panglong Agreement. The Agreement was drafted and written by ICS U Tin Htut, brother of Dr. Htin Aung who was a former rector of Rangoon University. Aung San and colleagues were assassinated on the 19 July 1947 before Burma attained independence. U Tin Htut was assassinated after Burma attained independence. After you have completed reading the contents of Panglong Agreement, I would like to advise you to sit on the fence and look at both sides so that you can have a bird's eye view and deliberate what was going on with it. Why the contents had been hidden? Why most people could not have access to it? Individual point of view may be different from each other. My point of view is that it was the instrument for show to both colonists and activists who at the time aimed to achieve and to meet their ends without seriously taking into account for future consequences.
The nature of the instrument was temporary and no longer in force any more, it had long been since in public domain and this is a fair use for the purpose of research and commentary. Therefore, it is believed that copyright has no place for this publication on my blog discussion. I have acknowledged the publisher, her majesty's stationery office, of the book which contains this information and its author, Huge Tinker. Thank you.



Those people who have been working in Australia are aware of superannuation. In accordance with the government legislation, the employer is required an amount equivalent to 9% of the earning of the employee to be credited to the account which is specifically opened for employee's superannuation fund. Employee can also contribute with his own money toward his superannuation and contribute as well on behalf of his partner who has no income or low income. Employee has no right to have access to the fund. The fund
can be accessed lump sum or otherwise be managed in other ways once he attained retirement age.
This kind of fund existed once in Burma. It had been when Burma was under British and under prime minister U Nu government. Under British there had been legislation in relation to this kind of fund. This fund is called provident fund. Provident fund was given a specific term in Burmese as 'fund for old age'. Most people did not remember this glossary of
' fund for old age' because when prime minister U Nu government had gone the providence fund had gone along with it. Some people have no idea of it. I was aware
of this glossary when I attended law school.
This provident fund is relatively similar to superannuation which is currently in force in Australia. Some people did not recollect 'fund for old age' and hence often had mistaken with full service retirement pension. It is not. It is not a salary to be paid during retirement. In Burma, a government worker can get full service retirement pension when he completed 30 years in service. He is entitled to monthly pension (salary) paid by the government for the rest of his life. This salary is called full service retirement pension (salary). It is different from provident fund.
Australian Labour Party had initiated superannuation bill and enacted into a law and superannuation is regarded as a saving which would allow self reliance and security for
the employee when he gets older and unable to work.
The company in which superannuation fund has been opened uses the fund in investments for the benefit of the account holders in various strategies of which the most popular one
is share market. The fund also contributes toward premiums for life insurance, total and permanent disablement and income protection for the beneficiary, the employee.
Superannuation is provident fund, not full service retirement pension.


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