Since I arrived in Yangon on Aug. 24, we’ve now gone through September and arrived at my birthday month. Let me be a cliche here: how fast time flies! I wonder where September went sometimes, until I go through my photo album for the month. My footsteps stretched from Bagan in the dry zone north of Yangon, to the Delta Area in Southern Myanmar. I had mirror selfie of just myself taken when I arrived at the airport, and another one just two weekends ago with a dozen new friends I made in a new city. My facial expressions range from smirks to laughs, plus what I know the many undocumented tears away from the camera.
I take it back. I’ve had another eventful and challenging month. No time’s wasted here.
Some Things I’m Reading
- Let’s start with RBG, shall we? The opinion piece written by the Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg for the NYT, headlined “Advice for Living,” started off talking about women’s right and filled with self-mockery type of humor, is the best thing I could ask for as a kickoff to my birthday month.
- RBG, in her piece, praised her lifelong spouse. Yet another NYT piece in the Modern Love column titled “What is a Man For?” could not have taken on a more different tone. Which do I prefer? Neither and both.
- Yangon expats used to be civil – what happened? A piece in The Myanmar Times that I’m remaining doubtful, but began to see traces of evidence for.
- For the time being, I’m avoiding pushing political coverage. I’m sure we all get enough of it without me trying. But I can’t avoid social justice altogether. Here’s one of my favorites: Fresh off the Boat actor Constance Wu, talking about confronting racism in Hollywood. And she’s not alone, as this woman took action against Hollywood’s “whitewashing” of Asian characters.
- Along the social justice topic, this is not something new I learned, but something I will keep pushing until we see significant improvement. The WashPost headline tells it all: “The world is getting better at paid maternity leave. The U.S. is not.“
- Going back to August, one of the international stars coming out of Rio was, unexpectedly, Chinese bronze-medalist and swimmer Fu Yuanhui. Her comment on period affecting performance, though scarcely reported by the Chinese media, is what I consider one of the most groundbreaking actions in educating a country on women’s health and women’s rights when its formal education in the area severely lacks behind. (The Guardian “thoughtfully” explained “Why Chinese women don’t use tampons“)
- Last but not least, a short fiction story I enjoyed recently: “Gender Studies” by Curtis Sittenfeld, The New Yorker.
- A book I am currently reading is “Finding George Orwell in Burma” by Emma Larkin. Larkin writes gracefully on scene settings, which I often find incredibly beautiful and extremely informative navigating this new culture I previously knew little about.
Some things I’m watching
- I made sure I wrapped “Strangers Things” before I left for Myanmar. Nothing to add there: all the good things you’ve heard about the show are well deserved. Naturally, the talented kids in this show just stole my heart (sorry you have to endure some shushing at the beginning of the video).
- This guy and his grandma
PIC of the Week
Shoutouts of the Week
- I’m actually obsessed with researching makeup. Not that I have the fund to afford most of the stuff I read/watched, I enjoy knowing what I’m paying for and what I’m putting on my face. But this foundation is a purchase on a whim. I was leaving Denver and my foundation was running out. When I was in Target doing some last minute shopping, I bought the Maybelline Dream Velvet Foundation without knowing much about the product. It turned out being one of the best foundations, if not the best, I’ve ever used. It’s almost a perfect color match (I have medium skin tone and color 20, Ivory Classic, matches well), has a creamy texture, easy to spread over and great coverage and doesn’t look cakey.
- While in Bagan, I visited a social enterprise, MBoutik, in Nyaung U. It’s ran by and for a group of Burmese women, who handcraft traditional Burmese clothing, accessories and some household products. I bought myself a dress with 15,000 kyat (a little over $10).
- My homie and bigger sis Sintia Radu came on top in April at the schoolwide app development contest with her team, who developed an Apple Watch transcription app called “Recordly.” If you ever had to transcribe interviews, you know how much time and “life” it’d save you to have a good auto-transcribing device. They’ve recently selected one of the 12 women-led startups in the nation to join the third WiSTEM cohort in Chicago. I witnessed their steps through the competition at Mizzou and extremely glad they are recognized at a bigger platform now.
- YOU, for reading this. You all deserve the loudest shoutout from me. MUAW.