Bik­ers con­vene in Man­dalay to show off their rides

The Myanmar Times - - The Pulse - KYAW KO KO

CRUIS­ERS, chop­pers, rac­ers, penny-far­things. Street bikes, road bikes, dirt bikes, and would it be cheat­ing if we snuck in an elec­tric bike? Hun­dreds of ve­loci­pedes of ev­ery de­scrip­tion were on show this week at the Man­dalay Cus­tom Bike ex­hi­bi­tion. De­mand is so great that this is al­ready the sec­ond time this year the event has taken place, with a huge in­crease in the num­ber of items on show.

To put it sim­ply: Man­dalay re­ally likes bikes.

From old to new and even re­con­structed vin­tage mod­els, all types were dis­played on Oc­to­ber 21. Ac­cord­ing to or­gan­iser Ko Aung Win Tun, the own­ers all did their own repairs and restora­tion work.

“Any­one who wants to buy a mo­tor­bike can see what’s avail­able on the in­ter­net. What we have on show here is the re­sult of in­di­vid­ual de­sign and cre­ation,” he said, adding, “At our first show­ing in April, we could muster only 100 machines. To­day we have nearly 300.”

Lovers of the two-wheeled ex­pe­ri­ence have been or­gan­is­ing this ex­hi­bi­tion since 2010. In the spirit of con­stant im­prove­ment, par­tic­i­pants have rein­vented their own con­cep­tion of the mo­tor­bike. They came from Taung­gyi and from Mawlamyine, from Mo­gok and My­itky­ina to vie for the prizes for best cre­ation and for slow-rid­ing.

One rider from Mawlamyine, Mon State, said, “Rein­vent­ing the mo­tor­bike is not a sim­ple mat­ter. It means long dis­cus­sions with ex­perts in the work­shop. We have to pon­der over the ma­te­ri­als, and go out and buy them. Now that the ex­hi­bi­tion is on, we can all look at each oth­ers’ cre­ations.”

– Trans­la­tion by Khine Thazin Han A TALE of mur­der and class war­fare in the Scottish High­lands by a lit­tle­known nov­el­ist is one of the favourites to win this year’s Booker Prize for lit­er­a­ture to­mor­row.

His Bloody Project, the sec­ond novel by Scottish au­thor Graeme Macrae Bur­net, has been out­selling the other five nom­i­nees, leav­ing its small Glas­gow-based pub­lisher strug­gling to meet de­mand.

“One of the great side ef­fects of be­ing short­listed for the Man Booker Prize is the in­ter­est that it has cre­ated abroad,” Bur­net told AFP in an in­ter­view be­fore the cer­e­mony for the pres­ti­gious English-lan­guage lit­er­ary award.

His novel tells the gritty story of a young and poor ten­ant farmer who mur­ders the vil­lage ad­min­is­tra­tor and his fam­ily.

The so­cial hi­er­ar­chy of 19th­cen­tury ru­ral Scot­land – dom­i­nated by aris­to­cratic landown­ers – is a key fea­ture of the book.

But its roots stretch far from the small com­mu­nity of Cul­duie where the novel is set.

“The ini­tial idea, which has been in my head for 30 years, came from the case of Pierre Riviere, a French peas­ant in the early 19th cen­tury who killed three mem­bers of his own fam­ily and then wrote a rather elo­quent ac­count of what he had done,” said Bur­net.

“I was just to­tally fas­ci­nated by that,” he said.

In a year where the jury spurned big-name nov­el­ists, the book­mak­ers’ two other favourites are South African­born Bri­ton Deb­o­rah Levy’s Hot Milk and Madeleine Thien’s Do Not Say We Have Noth­ing.

Hot Milk is a tale of a tor­tur­ous re­la­tion­ship be­tween a mother and daugh­ter set in a Span­ish vil­lage, while Cana­dian Thien’s book is based around a world of clas­si­cal mu­sic and si­lence in revo­lu­tion­ary China.

Among the other short­listed nov­els is Paul Beatty’s The Sell­out, a satir­i­cal novel set in a fic­tional neigh­bour­hood of his na­tive Los An­ge­les, which ex­plores racial equal­ity and the civil rights move­ment.

US first-time au­thor Ottessa Mosh­fegh’s Eileen is a por­trait of a dis­turbed young woman and Cana­dian-born Bri­ton David Sza­lay’s All That Man Is was de­scribed by judge Jon Day as “a post-Brexit novel for our times”.

Pre­vi­ous win­ners of the prize in­clude Sal­man Rushdie for Mid­night’s Chil­dren and Michael On­daatje for The English Pa­tient.

Bur­net said he was un­daunted by the lime­light and cu­ri­ous to see how the novel would res­onate with dif­fer­ent au­di­ences in­ter­na­tion­ally.

He said a Chi­nese jour­nal­ist had told him that the book’s “op­pres­sive at­mos­phere” re­minded her of Mao’s China and the con­di­tion of Chi­nese peas­ants.

“That sort of Kafkaesque no­tion of the ar­bi­trary use of power and reg­u­la­tions has ac­tu­ally fil­tered very much into His Bloody Project,” said Bur­net, who lived in Kafka’s na­tive Prague for a while.

The novel also has more than a touch of Bel­gian in­flu­ence through Bur­net’s de­vo­tion to the work of pro­lific crime writer Ge­orges Si­menon.

“The book is now go­ing out into the world, but when you’re writ­ing the book you have no thought of that and I don’t think you should have any thought of that,” he said.

“All you’re try­ing to do is cre­ate your char­ac­ters in the most vivid, au­then­tic way pos­si­ble.”

The an­nual Booker Prize is one of the most high-pro­file awards in English-lan­guage lit­er­a­ture.

The win­ner re­ceives £50,000 (US$61,000) and the award all but guar­an­tees an up­surge in book sales and world­wide read­er­ship. –

The Man­dalay Cus­tom Bike ex­hi­bi­tion held its sec­ond it­er­a­tion in Man­dalay, show­cas­ing nearly 300 bikes from around the coun­try.

Pho­tos: Kyaw Ko Ko

Rid­ers came from as far away as Mawlamyine and My­itky­ina.

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