Monthly Archives: August 2010



The Burmese army opens fire on angry protesters and kills estimated three to six thousands. This incident has achieved sad fame as “8888”. A cryptic buzzword, made by insiders, limited to insiders.


This has happened today exactly twenty-two years ago. Quite a part of a human life.


I perceive the public interest sparked by this anniversary as close to zero. Something has happened somewhere. Most evidence consists of voices, traumatized survivors obsessed by their memories. Yet no tangible status of reality granted by Western society. Complacency at its worst. Something horrible has happened and people say: “aha”.

The massacre on 8/8/1988 in Burma.

The Slovak TV station TA3 has reported about the anniversary. In the Czech or Slovak speaking world there seem to be no other mentions.

After all these years, you still hardly find any images or films about the massacre. Those that I have seen are naturally terrible enough.

Somewhere I heard that these images are shut away for political reasons, using the pretext of copyrights.

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Burmese dictionary hits the 0.5m mark and counting

Our Burmese-English online dictionary has finally made it: The counter shows 505,309 search queries.

This little tool has started years ago as a spreadsheet table with English and Burmese vocabulary, followed by a transmutation into a searchable database with a frontend on the Web.

In terms of visitors, this might be the most successful output I’ve ever produced during my work for Burma. In terms of financial support, it happens to be the biggest failure. Foundations are pertinaciously reluctant to chip in for operation. I assume they don’t consider it attractive to fund the maintenance of something that already has been established with volunteering manpower. Where there is volunteers, there you see sponsors sneaking out, saving their money for well-established NGOs, guaranteed to be streamlined, low-risk, polished and presentable. “You wanna work for free? So go ahead and work full-time. Blame yourself!”

I would be glad if I could one day integrate this little gadget into a larger project, perhaps with a focus on particular target groups. But first of all, I have to find the time to update the words and put the software in shape.

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The micro-grants are out. What’s next?

Propagation of campaigns in the non-profit sector is a challenge and certainly a worthwhile experience. Moreover, having at one’s disposal an unimpressive Czech-sized budget for advertising doesn’t make things much easier. Basically, this leaves you with two options: Either you send hordes of indulgent volunteers through the country and let them knock on every door to hand out home-made leaflets. Or you resort – as is so common – to the World Wide Web.

No doubt, this makes perfect sense if you are aiming to promote a campaign that has its backbone on the Net anyway.

The evolution of our ads: a very short history

We decided to target supportive-minded people on Facebook to draw their attention to our micro-grant program. The experiences from Amnesty International ČR were encouraging, and so are now the statistics for our web site. Unlike web banners you can on Facebook quite precisely match the ad to specific countries, language users etc., provided that its users have given all that precious information in their personal profile. Which, I must admit, I haven’t.

This is now how our three ads look, which luckily managed to pull hundreds of new people to our pages. Note the almost invisible fine-tuned evolution! ;-)

Our first ad. And yes: I like it!

Our second ad, the first in English.

Our third ad, again in Czech.

The photographs, just to duly mention the source, were taken from two of the supported health care projects, the Health Care Centre for Burmese Refugees (I suffer with that scared woman in the front whose hand is being pricked) and the Yamuna Clinic where Dr. Tint Swe can be seen puncturing a patient’s thorax (I’m feeling even more sympathy for that brave woman).

I remember the conditions at that clinic in west Delhi – two small rooms, the equipment extremely simple, during the rainy season operations are carried out under the umbrella due to the dripping from the ceiling. Outside, the refugees patiently queue down the staircase and along the little road. It is amazing how much Dr. Tint Swe is still able to do with so few resources, including health education and a blog presenting medical cases and general knowledge relevant to refugees!

Of course, no campaign is feasible without the devoted support of journalists. Rumor has it that charitable topics make it into Czech media even during the silly season. But just to be on the safe side we have decided to arrange a media partner, Radio Wave, not to mention the numerous other outlets who have also provided awesome help.

So much for propagation. But what’s next?

Paralyzed by the statistics of our web pages, I have to shake myself up for the next load of activities, many of which will take place right inside India and need to be arranged right now. More on that later when the time comes. And yes, even though we have to turn our backs for a while on the propagation of the micro-grants program, of course it has not finished yet. As usual in the non-profit sector, word-of-mouth will do its brilliant magic and carry on the news among like-minded supporters.

In only two weeks we have already collected a total amount of  22,000 Czech crowns, which equals approximately €890 or US$1,160. In my humble opinion a terrific start.

Please help us by continuing to spread the word. Thank you!

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What are Czech journalists doing in India?

What are they doing there?

Do they follow Buddha on his path to enlightenment?

Do they seek comfort in the shadows of the fabulous Taj Mahal?

Do they sing the soprano part in the next Bollywood movie?

The answer is here. Thank you for your patience!


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