Monday, September 22

Translations & Dictionaries

I finally have managed to put together some free time Saturday and this Lord's Day. Friday evening Louis Zung Hlei Thang came by the hotel and we discussed two projects in which he would like to have me involved with him. The first is a Falam to English dictionary. He has a 10,000 word wordlist and he wants to have someone fund him to write a dictionary (lexicon) based upon those 10,000 words. I cannot honestly say I am interested in the project. He would be willing to work on the project for a year for $50 per month. Of course I'm not sure what we would have at the end of a year. His second project is a little more interesting to me, but I just don't think we'll be able to work out the details. His brother owns a reasonably well-done translation of the Bible into Falam. But it still contains many typoes, spelling inconsistencies, and the like. It needs a lot of work. His brother wants me to place money on the table and hope everything works out well. I'm more inclined simply to purchase the translation at its present state and get a lot of people working on it at once. I have heard that the TBS has now decided to work with BI on a Falam New Testament. That is strictly the "word on the street" in Yangon and I have not attempted to confirm it.

Native and Traditional Program at the Karaweiq

Matthew and I went to the Karaweiq restaurant on Friday night. It seems like everytime we come to Yangon, the price at the Karaweiq goes up by about 500 to 1,000 Kyats. This year the price was 5,000 Kys for the evening. It is a buffet style eatery with Burmese and Indian food, local desserts, etc. In addition, there is a floor show that features local and traditional dancing, juggling, and puppetry. The program begins with a drum and kazoo band and then features several "national" acts (Burmese, Chin, Shan, Karen, etc.). The soup was spicy, the vegetables pickled, and the noodles fried in sesame oil. I've seen the floor show, but Matthew enjoyed himself. What the performers lack in talent, they more than make up for in intensity and enthusiasm.

Shopping at the Bogyoke Ze

Matthew and I went shopping on Saturday morning. I picked up some Burmese dress shirts (legadhos). We also bought some "knick-knacks" for taking home as souvenirs. While we were walking about, we received help from 10 year old "Henry" and an older gentleman we called "Red Tooth Fred." The red teeth come from chewing a concoction that the Burmese call "kunya," which starts as a betelnut, and then they add whatever they like, including garlic and other "spices." It has the effect of turning their teeth and lips red from the betelnut and causing their breath to smell quite bad -- from the various spices. Fred was actually pretty helpful. When we wanted to know where something was (Bogyoke Ze is large, covering about four by four city blocks), Red Tooth Fred was generally standing within ten steps or so of us. He did not make a nuisance of himself, but apparently made a business of helping tourists find things. When we finally left the market, we tipped him and he seemed very thankful for the small amount we gave him. Henry was not quite so helpful and was something of a nuisance, but he sold Matt some postcards and then couldn't quite deal with the fact that he made his only sale early. He continued to try to sell us anything he could think of. He would go away and then return with something new in his hands. He did have the effect of keeping all the other urchins away. He yelled at them in Burmese (probably something along the lines of "work your own side of the street") and they generally faded away.

Lord's Day at Ebenezer Church & Home for the Aged

On the Lord's Day I preached from 1 Samuel 14 (again). This time I preached to a very small church -- a house-church really -- that also doubles as a home for the aged. The woman who owns the house calls it "Ebenezer." It does not say "church, nursing home" or anything else. Just Ebenezer House. The pastor's name is Bawi Hlei Thang (Boy Lhay Tong). Three or five of the folks in the church are very elderly women. One of the ladies who works there is named Betty Smith (her real name, she says). Her grandfather or great grandfather was a British officer back in colonial days and English is her "native language." She is much more proficient at Burmese, however. She is neither Burmese nor Chin. The ancestry that is not English is Karen (accent on the second syllable). The worship service was in Burmese and Siang Hope translated for me. Ebenezer house is located in North Dagon (cheap rents and very far from the hotel - even farther from downtown). I think the services are generally even smaller than they were this morning, but some of the ERS (Evangelical Reformed Seminary) students came to hear preaching in English.

A Word About the Confusion

Apparently not all my blogs are making the trip from Yangon through the FPCR server to the blogspot. I apologize, and whatever entries do not make it into the blog, I am keeping all the entries on the HD of the laptop and will upload them when I arrive back in Dallas in 3 1/2 weeks time. If my counting is correct, the trip is half over as of today. Still lots of work to be done, though.


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