Superwoman, no? But the truth is that after Ko Tar she’s a breath of fresh air, because she’s so refreshingly human.
Ju: Actually believe it or not, I don’t like Powerpoint. I hate Powerpoint presentations, but I do it in case you don’t hear my English words.
Ju: The little sound of fluttering wings of a dragonfly teaches me to touch it very carefully so as not to hurt it. This too is art.
Ju: I don’t hate men. I like them as friends and as my boyfriends. But I don’t like get married. I don’t want them to be my husbands.
Yet she denies that she’s a feminist.
Julie Tolentino: You write about women, you love women, why don’t you call yourself a feminist?
Ju: I am not as strong as a true feminist. Some time in the past, a young boy was like, “Madam, please sit.” And I took his place happily. So I don’t think I’m a feminist! I took his offer and said, “Thank you very much.”
Julie: It’s okay to be a sitting down feminist!
Ju: Sometimes I think I am too feminist. But sometimes I want to touch Buddha’s toes and his robe by myself. Sometimes I want to touch it. So sometimes I go to see the Trustees’ Committee, and when they are not looking at me I touch it. Just to see. What it feels like when I touch my lord Buddha. Just for a minute. That thin gold leaf.
Ju: I have to tell you about my situation of hardness. I gave a talk at a military event. I was there with another four writers, men. And I didn’t have the right to sit next to my colleagues, because I was a woman.
They said, “Oh Siam Mat, your place is over there.” And I said, “Why can’t I sit with my colleague?”
“Because you are woman.”
It was not a military building. It was a town hall building, and the talk was sponsored by the military.
But everybody was waiting for me to sit. So I gave up. If I didn’t give up, they wouldn’t be able to start the ceremony. So I had to sit with all the wives of the generals.
Ju: I asked one girl, “Do you know why July 19 is Azani Nei (Martyrs’ Day)? She said it was the day the rock singer Azani was born!
And last month I asked a first film student, “You know General Aung San?” “He is the son of Aung San Suu Kyi.”
Oh my god! What’s happened to my country?