Su Myat Maung Maung

Blog Posts by CUNY Peer Leaders

Revisions, reviews and revamping

Posted by Su Myat Maung Maung on

Wow, it’s my first time blogging in 2021! A lot has taken place in my life since the time I posted something on our blog. Personal and otherwise. As my title suggests, I’ve reviewed what I want my project to look like at least a handful of times. I’ve created a podcast with my friend Nick and we are indefinitely taking a hiatus as of now. We might pick it back up later HOWEVER, it looks like it’s going to be only after the presentation in May. We’re just not in the right place in life right now where we can give mental or creative energy to it. THAT BEING SAID! I still have LOTS of ideas for the project that I want to launch for this year. Please be patient with me! My plate is full with school, work and world events in general. I truly appreciate my parents, friends, teachers and the coordinators of the CUNY Peer Leader project of their patience, support and understanding.

My project is going to be centered around documenting the world through my eyes from sketches, photos, screenshots, and paintings – mixed media that I will be presenting as a Powerpoint in May. It will largely center around the military coup in my home country of Myanmar. We are going through the worst political event in our history in decades. The military is now in charge, once again, and declared a year-long state of emergency since February 1st. The military government is responsible for numerous human rights violations, including murder, rape and uprooting the Rohingya people along the border between Myanmar and Bangladesh. This was in 2016. Nothing has occurred to hold them accountable so far; nothing that really made much of a difference. The democratic party won by a landslide in 2015 and the military reluctantly withdrew its power to wreak havoc on the Rohingya. The leaders of the military knew this horrendous act would ruin the reputation of Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD). The international community then condemned Suu Kyi for denying that the military ever committing genocide. She cannot publicly announce anything as the military has the means and power to cause a million more deaths and destruction. People from other countries do not understand that the military formed its own totalitarian government since the death of Suu Kyi’s father, General Aung San. The general is known as the “Father of Burma”, who won independence for Myanmar from the British. The people are technically without a military or police that is willing to sacrifice and protect them. Burmese citizens are not allowed to carry firearms. How can we protect ourselves? The NLD cannot protect us either, they are without a military. Instead of providing substantial aid, the United Nations revoked Suu Kyi’s Nobel Prize and international organizations withdrew her human rights awards. I find it immensely frustrating with the world leaders; there is so much happening behind the scenes politically and economically that is causing more and more deaths in Myanmar.

What’s happening right now

With the police, the military is marching on the streets of my hometown, Yangon, shooting down peaceful and unarmed protestors. There has been 16 deaths (possibly more). I would like to take this space to honor those who died violently in the last month.

Feb 8, ’21: A man named KoKo Oo (AKA Ko Na’ Pwar) was run over by a car and killed on the spot in Mandalay. (+1)
Feb 15, ’21: A boy named Nay Nay Win Htet was brutally beaten while he was on the night patrol. He died a day later. (+1)
Feb 16, ’21: A military jeep ran over a boy named Salai Khwar Kone from the Chin tribe after being released from jail because he participated in the Civil Disobedience Movement. He didn’t survive the accident. (+1)
Feb 17, ’21: Two children died in a fire intentionally caused by the military at a refugee camp in Hpa-An, Kayin State. (+2)
Feb 19, ’21: A young woman named Mya Thwet Thwet Khine got shot in the head by police officer KoKo Lwin in Nay Pyi Taw. She suffered from left brain dead and her family decided to pull the plug on her on Feb 19, 2021. (+1)
Feb 20, ’21: Seven young men were fatally shot during the crackdown in Mandalay. (+7)
Feb 20, ’21: A defenseless neighborhood watch member was ambushed and fatally shot in the head in Shwe Pyi Thar, Yangon. (+1)
Feb 20, ’21: Two male adults were run over by a car and killed in Inn Sein, Yangon. (+2)

For Burmese people who are living abroad such as I, all we can do is raise awareness through protesting, posting on social media and fear for our loved ones still in Myanmar. I wish more than ever that I can stand alongside my fellow Burmese people right now in this historic event that is going to change our futures forever. This is all I can do and I wish I could do so much more.

A crowd of people standing in the Downtown area in Yangon protesting against the military junta that has taken over the country. The stupa of the Sule Pagoda can be seen standing in the distance.

Credit goes to ‘Myanmar Now’ on Facebook.

Blog Posts by CUNY Peer Leaders

Democracy – doing it the old-fashioned way

Posted by Su Myat Maung Maung on

Democracy is a government in which the people rule the people. In the US, the population votes on the representatives – ones who represent the respective group of peoples. In the modern world, it is an outdated system in which people, corrupted from years of greed and envy, has found numerous loopholes to pass as “democracy”. We, as a people, need to find a better way to govern ourselves or find a new system to put in place for the better future. Maybe democracy isn’t enough anymore. Democracy represents everyone, and I mean, EVERYONE. That includes the Nazi sympathizers, the Trumpsters and the Flat Earthers. In a perfect “democracy”, we need to listen to them as much as they listen to us. Obviously, that’s not the most attractive option.

However, there is a reason why Trump was elected as the president. It’s the same reason why Biden was elected president back in November. It’s not just the majority. It’s the “majority” that is the loudest that wins. When the “bad side” wins one, the “good side” wins the next. Is the “bad side” the Communists? Or, are the people who represents the “system” makes it the “bad side”? Look at the eternal race between the Democrats and the Republicans here in America. There are other political parties such as the Green Party, the Libertarians, and such. Why don’t we pay attention to those parties? What attracts us to the Democracy, as a party? Is it ingrained in our minds as the right thing to accept mindlessly? Are we socially conditioned to think democracy is our ONLY living standard? Maybe we should let the Green Party win for once. MAYBE, it would do us some good to consider something else i.e. the environment, as more important than us, the humans. If we stopped fighting amongst ourselves for a minute and focus on improving our Earth who gives us life, we could just achieve world peace. Just for a bit. Then, that will get old, and we’d find something else to fight over. All in all, democracy is a tad bit old-fashioned. That, I think we can all agree. It’s just not working anymore. Too many people are on this earth, all with their own differing opinions. I think it’s time for us to find a new way of governing that would represent ALL OF US – every single person in America, and the world.

Blog Posts by CUNY Peer Leaders

Trying Out New Things Is Good For The Soul

Posted by Su Myat Maung Maung on

For my project for the Peer Leader program, I chose to start a podcast with my very good friend Nick. I could not have chosen a better co-host! We reconnected after so much time and we hit it right where we left off. The first episode’s topic was (I’m not going to lie) a bit heavy – death and immortality. This pretty much sums up all my friendships; I can never be close friends with someone I can’t have conversations such as these. Philosophical debates are the road to my soul. I think about the meaning of my life often. Things are busier than ever and I haven’t had the time to have existential crises as of late. The past few months has been incredibly intense. Two people who I once called friends turned out to be complete nightmares. A relative passed away from complications of cancer. My current apartment is a total disaster. Everything keeps piling on top of each other. I’m completely burnt out and the only thing that keeps me going is the prospect that the situation will improve in the future. I have had so many rock bottoms for the past 25 years of my life, I treat them with the same attitude as going to the supermarket to pick up some groceries.

Anyways, here is the link to my new podcast ‘Anything in Between’ coming out with new episodes on every Friday! This is the pilot episode and it is ROUGH, phew! I would love it if you listened to it and leave feedback in the comments. We went into the recording totally unprepared – I woke up from a nap right before recording, we had no formal introduction and WE DIDN’T DECIDE ON A NAME! We needed to go straight into it to fully experience what we lacked and needed. Trigger warning though – we do brush up on the topic of suicide at the very end. As a suicide survivor, my views on it are from my experience in the past. I’m not at risk any longer, but I do consider it in a way that most people might think is vulgar or provocative. That being said, ENJOY THE MADNESS!!!

Blog Posts by CUNY Peer Leaders

The Equitable Community

Posted by Su Myat Maung Maung on

I can’t lie that I don’t know the first steps toward advocating our education to be more equitable. I can only point out the weaknesses in the school system, much like anybody else. We can examine the government to see how it affects each branch (one that usually leads to another) that is under it. We can very much look at education, much like other sectors of our society, to analyze the weaknesses in our government. We have a flawed education system that is reflected from our flawed government. Capitalism seeps into every aspect of our lives, in each industry. Sadly, education is considered as an industry in the United States. Education cannot be equitable when a government treats it as a money-making venture. We need legislators to see it as a human right – as important as food, clean water, shelter, and healthcare. Knowledge is a tool to achieve a higher standard of living, not just for the individual but for the community as well.

Professor Carla Shedd in the “Change Series: Making Education More Equitable”, stated students (K-12) depend on schools for food, escaping from an abusive home or the streets. Not every student has a stable internet connection or access to a computer. Not every student lives in the right environment to attend classes. How can students learn while dealing with these external factors? We can observe the influenza pandemic from 1918 to 1919 in the US. Most K-12 public schools were closed late, usually in the second wave of the pandemic. According to Health Affairs, contagious diseases affecting children ending up with school dismissals occurred at multiple points throughout US history. Moreover, they were a reaction to the community’s outrage – not as a preventative public health measure.

We were widely unprepared for a pandemic. That much is obvious. The CUNY system was one of the few institutions that took immediate action to convert classes virtually. Board members focused on the safety of students and faculty. The lockdown occurred in March, which would be in the middle of the Spring semester for college students in the U.S. The administration of CUNY institutions opened its virtual doors to continue providing an education for its students. However, the much-needed facilities and resources are not available at this moment. Few countries spends money and time bracing for a worldwide pandemic. However, disaster can strike anytime and anywhere. We can then observe how each country handled the outbreak and the deficiencies in our systems. 

A government that represses its people to gain more knowledge is corrupt. It wants to keep people from learning that things can be better, that there is always a possibility for a brighter future. If we have leaders who stop its people from entering that future, the people will revolt and the system will inevitably collapse on itself. One of the great quotes from Paul Kriwaczek perfectly summarizes this notion from his book ‘Babylon: Mesopotamia and the Birth of Civilization’ “Assyria soon discovered a painful truth: empires are like Ponzi schemes: financial frauds in which previous investors are paid returns out of new investors’ deposits. The costs of holding imperial territory can only be underwritten by loot and tribute extracted by constant new conquests; empires must continue to expand if they are not to collapse.” We, as the human race, has never changed – the way we think, live and feel – the things we involve with just changed. We can observe past civilizations to learn from our past mistakes. But, we don’t.


Davidson, Cathy N., et al. CHANGE: Making Education More Equitable 2020. Facebook, 30 Sept. 2020, 7:30 p.m., Accessed 30 September 2020.

Kriwaczek, Paul. Babylon: Mesopotamia and the Birth of Civilization. Atlantic Books, 2010.

Stern, Alexandra M., et al. ”Closing The Schools: Lessons From The 1919-19 U.S. Influenza Pandemic.” Health Affairs, vol. 28, no. supplement 1. Web Exclusives,

Blog Posts by CUNY Peer Leaders

Sleep is not only for the weak

Posted by Su Myat Maung Maung on

Once again, another month has come and gone. September seems like it lasted for 4 days. Somehow, we as the entire human race, managed to be productive under the pressure of a life-threatening virus. I had a thought the other day that this year will be a major point in history. It’s so hard to imagine that this moment in time would be immortalized in a textbook. You get caught up in your own personal life and it’s hard to imagine that you’re a part of a collective experience that is important enough to make it into the books.

It was a slow start to the semester. I spent the entire summer and half of the last semester burnt out from the past two years of tumultuous events furling out one after another. I moved to Brooklyn, NY in August of last year from Boston, MA. I lived about a year in Boston working for my OPT (just international student things). I hated living there. I wished I never moved there in the first place. I wish I didn’t do a lot of things. But now, I’m in NY and I wish I can live here forever.

Currently, I’m living with two other international students from Honduras and Mauritius. We moved into an apartment together in Bedstuy back in April. We had to strategically move out from our previous apartments. I was living in this toxic environment with three other people I knew nothing about before I moved in. When moving from Boston to New York, I had to find a place fast with a help of a friend. I would check Facebook groups to find a place and he would check it out for me. As an international student, it was hard to find a place that didn’t require a credit score or a guarantor. I was desperate and quickly signed the lease so it was one less thing to worry about. I’m so grateful to have found my friends who have similar interests, values and lifestyles.

I spent much of the lockdown rediscovering sides of myself that I forgot over the years. I spent more time talking on the phone with my family and friends. I watched documentaries about serial killers, read manga, watched anime and researching about the occult (tarot cards, astrology, witchcraft, esoteric practices, etc.). I thought about projects that I want to work on this semester, not for academic purposes but for fun. One of my biggest weaknesses is that ideas stay ideas in my head. My perfectionist tendencies make it difficult for them to come to fruition. I’d tell myself, I should just start thinking less and doing more. Easier said than done. Luckily, this Peer Leader program is what I needed to start on my projects. Some ideas I had were a YouTube channel where I’d play out lore, myths and legends in different cultures using handmade puppets, conducting social experiments with dating apps and talk about the findings on a podcast (with the help of my friends), and vlogging about different things people can do in quarantine. All in all, I entered the semester with exciting new prospects and I am determined to do what I set out to do.

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