Thursday, 27 November 2014

Southeast Asia

Obama's Historic Burma Speech Mostly Well Received

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at Rangoon University’s Convocation Hall in Rangoon, Burma, Monday, Nov. 19, 2012.U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at Rangoon University’s Convocation Hall in Rangoon, Burma, Monday, Nov. 19, 2012.
x
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at Rangoon University’s Convocation Hall in Rangoon, Burma, Monday, Nov. 19, 2012.
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at Rangoon University’s Convocation Hall in Rangoon, Burma, Monday, Nov. 19, 2012.
Daniel SchearfVOA News
RANGOON – President Barack Obama's speech at Burma's Rangoon University has been mostly welcomed as inspirational and supportive of political reforms, though some criticized his comments on the country's western Rakhine state as inaccurate.
 
In a speech praised by many of Burma's influential figures for supporting the country's fledgling but dramatic democratic reforms, President Obama congratulated Burma for moving to civilian rule, releasing hundreds of political prisoners and loosening its grip on the media.
 
Obama, who called the United States a partner in Burma's journey to reform, noted that, prisoners of conscience remain jailed within its borders, poverty remains a challenge and ethnic-rebel insurgencies remain unresolved.
 
"It is very encourag[ing] for our people," said Nge Nge Aye Maung, chairwoman of Myanmar Disabled Women's Affairs Association, describing the experience of hearing the speech as brilliant and significant. "I think maybe this old Burma to transfer to a new Burma."
 
The president also urged dignity for the Rohingya, a stateless Muslim minority in Burma's western Rakhine state. Many in Burma consider the Rohingya – a group stripped of citizenship by a 1982 law and often referenced by official media in derogatory terms – illegal migrants from Bangladesh.
 
Clashes this year between Rohingya and Rakhine Buddhists left at least 170 people dead and more than 100,000 homeless, most of them Muslims.

Story continues below
  • US President Barack Obama, right, waves as he embraces Myanmar democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi at her residence in Rangoon, Burma, Nov. 19, 2012.
  • US President Barack Obama watches as Aung San Suu Kyi center greets Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Rangoon, Burma, Nov 19, 2012.
  • US President Barack Obama, left, shakes hands with Burma's President Thein Sein in Rangoon, Burma, Nov 19, 2012.
  • US President Barack Obama is presented with flowers as he and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, arrive at Rangoon International Airport in Burma, Nov 19, 2012.
  • Crowd cheers as US President Barack Obama arrives at opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's home in Rangoon, Burma, Nov 19, 2012.
  • A man holds a sign reading: "Help to bring peace" as people line the street to see U.S. President Barack Obama in Burma, Nov. 19, 2012.
  • US President Barack Obama speaks to reporters as he tours Shwedagon Pagoda with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Rangoon, Burma, Nov 19, 2012.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama tours the Shwedagon Pagoda with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in Rangoon, Burma, Monday, Nov. 19, 2012.
Obama said embracing everyone within Burma's borders is not a weakness, but a strength.
 
"Because he said that to use the diversity to develop a country – it is really encouraging," said Thin Zar Khin Myo Win, a Muslim activist for interfaith peace who said he was moved by President Obama's comments on the value of freedom of speech and worship, and the need to embrace diversity.
 
"This is very, very good points for our people," he said.
 
Rakhine Nationalities Development Party spokesperson Oo Hla Saw described Obama's comments on Rakhine state as inaccurate.
 
"His comments are very far away from the reality of what is happening in Rakhine – historically, economically, politically," he said. "So we are very disappointed for his comments."
 
Burma political analyst Thant Myint-U, an American-born author, scholar and former United Nations diplomat, said despite the sensitivity of the Rohingya issue, it was expected that Obama would address it.
 
“I think it is good that he placed it within the larger context of this country needing to see diversity as a strength, rather than as a weakness," he said. "And I think it was good in a way that he tried to link it back also to the struggles and problems in the history of American democracy as well.”
 
Ko Ko Gyi, a former political prisoner who helped lead the 1988 student democracy uprising, seemed to descibe the speech as both encouraging and sobering.
 
"Only the citizens of the country should find the solution to the conflict," he said. "But it is important to get help and understanding on Burma's reforms from the president of the world's most powerful nation, as well as the international community."
 
The president will depart Rangoon this afternoon to attend a dinner at the East Asia Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
'World’s Best Rice' Title Could Boost Cambodian Rice Exportsi
X
25 November 2014
For the third year in a row, Cambodia’s premier rice has been voted the world’s best at the World Rice Conference. The award, which it shares this year with Thailand, comes at a time when Cambodia is looking at rice exports as a way to increase incomes for its many impoverished subsistence farmers.

English with Mani & Mori

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
All Thumbs (Movie: Minority Report)i
X
24 November 2014
You can say, "I was 'all thumbs' this morning when trying to tie this tie - I kept making mistakes and just couldn't figure a way to pull it together." What does it mean? Watch here.
Video

Video All Thumbs (Movie: Minority Report)

You can say, "I was 'all thumbs' this morning when trying to tie this tie - I kept making mistakes and just couldn't figure a way to pull it together." What does it mean? Watch here.
Video

Video Carry Out (Movie: Jane Eyre)

You can say, "He has many strong qualities as a leader and under his leadership I think he will successfully 'carry out' the new mission and vision for this company." What does it mean? Watch here. For more videos - go to youtube.com/KhmerSpecialEnglish.
Video

Video A Wake Up Call (Movie: Limitless)

You can say, "The visit to the doctor was definitely 'a wake up call' for him. The heavy drinking, smoking, and partying every night needs to stop." What does it mean? For more videos - go to www.youtube.com/KhmerSpecialEnglish. To contact Mani & Mori - write to them at maniandmori@gmail.com.
Video

Video Save Face (Movie: Just Go With It)

You can say, "I can't believe he's not accepting responsibility for his mistakes. To 'save face' he continues to make excuses for himself." What does it mean? Watch here. For more videos - go to youtube.com/KhmerSpecialEnglish. To contact Mani & Mori - write to them at maniandmori@gmail.com.
See more >>>