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Amazon Associate

Burma Brothers Grim

Since July 2015, representing an English language company in Mandalay, he facilitated English and Creativity with Grades 1 & 2 every afternoon at a private school in the rural countryside.

Two Burmese brothers owned the new school with 500 students from G1-11. The Brothers Grim, this ain’t no fairy tale.

The last five months were joyful then…

In the last week of Now I Remember, (seven days past) while Grade 2 was drawing and coloring houses, dragons, dinosaurs, sun, trees, flowers, river, fish, boats, rainbows, people and dreams – pain, suffering and stupidity said hello.

100 Grade 11 male and female students gathered in a semi-circle on the cement patio outside the primary classroom. They faced steps and ornate golden script atop the cheap grandiose building:

 Developing Youth, Character and Future Leaders Through Fear and Intimidation.

A stack of papers with all the names waited on a desk.

Headmaster brother in a white shirt and purple patterned Longyi, held a 4’ bamboo stick.

His voice echoed into hearts and minds - you failed the exam. You will receive your punishment.

Taking a paper from the stack he called out a name. A girl stepped forward, climbing two steps with her back to the crowd.

He measured the bamboo stick against her buttocks, coiled and unleashed the blow. Whack!

Her face stiffened. He coiled. Whack!

A small tear graced her left eye.

She rejoined her classmates.

99 passive students waited to feel sharp stinging lashes.

Primary assistant teachers oscillated between helping students and watching the angry headmaster swing his bamboo stick.

Name after name.

Chattering with friends, children colored a large red heart floating over a blue river.

Brother #2 entered the classroom.

Why is he beating the students, said the foreign teacher?

They failed the exam. Whack!

Parents want us to punish their children. They see we are doing our job. Whack!

It’s part of our culture. Whack!

Maybe we’ll change it in two or three years. Whack!

The foreign teacher and thirty children practiced meditation.

Breathe in and out.

Inhale suffering and exhale love.

Mindful awareness.

Mindful seeing.

Mindful attention.

Mindful presence.

Calm abiding.

He hugged each child. We created a loving environment.

You are a beautiful rainbow and a genius.

I love you.

Our time together is finished.

You are in my heart.

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