by Ma Chinthe




The room is not tiny,

I would say it is big enough for staying alone.

The light is not dim either,

I would say it is pretty bright.


I am not a miserable person sitting alone under the dim light of a tiny room.


The shop is in West 40 St,

So, keep walking to kill my feet!

Is that one I am looking for?

Not yet, I am still lost.


The glittering stones in downtown,

People cradle them and skim the price

“So pretty! Please take it!”


Someone called me through the opening of the curtain,

“Come in, just for a moment”

It is dizzying to see the intentionally revealing flesh.


Although first I thought the smell of salt air would sooth my tiredness,

I am missing the Bay of Bengal much more now

Place your hands here and lift your face this way

In an instance, lights leak through with sizzling sounds.


“You been here long enough?”

“Oh, you are still young”

After people persuaded me with these words, nothing returns.


And how about the kisses?

They are mixed with the smell of Black

And only bitter kisses could I find, I guess.


It is not an age-old wine that I am craving,

But just a mouthful of homemade strong tea.


Is it something to see enviously by others for you? 

To walk down into the subway with high heels and a cream puffed face.


When I say..


I feel bad for you

See you tomorrow”


The room is not tiny.

The light is not that dim either.


Ma Chinthe


This text is part of မိုးသောက် — a series of posts edited by Nathalie Johnston and arranged by Myanmar Art Resource Center and Archive (MARCA).
မိုးသောက် or ‘moethauk’ literally translates to ‘drink of rain’ but is used in the Burmese language to refer to the early morning or dawn. The participating scholars in this section of the blog are from Myanmar and chose this name to reference a new beginning, starting over in the wake of the damage caused by Covid-19 and the recent military coup in Myanmar.
Click here to read this text in Burmese.

Ma Chinthe (or Miss Lion) is the pen name of Chu May Paing, a decolonial feminist in progress, an anthropologist in training, and a writer. Although she has been writing (but never published) poems, short stories, and novelas in Burmese since high school, Chu debuted her creative writing journey with her short story “Pyitinehtaung” in Burmese, published bilingually on Aruna Blog post Feb-2021 military coup in Myanmar. Born and raised in Yangon, Myanmar and recently becoming an American citizen, Chu likes to engage with the concepts of temporal positionalities, intense feelings, and shifting materialities. Weaving ethnographic storytelling into her research with Burmese communities, Chu’s scholarly writings on the issues of feelings, resistance, and identity have appeared in The New Ethnographer, American Ethnologist, Society for Linguistic Anthropology among others.