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Word Count: 650
Then you are ruthless my Vietnamese friend exclaimed to my confession of being Burmese illiterateSurely there was nothing malevolent about a lack of proficiency in writing ones mother tongue At my confused look she repeated Root-lessThere was an unmistakably defensive edge to my voice when I pointed out that I had plenty of connections to Myanmar My family awaited back home I had a culture a religion and years of childhood memories I could still speak and read Burmese I was definitely not rootlessStill her comment had stung At age fourteen I stepped foot into Singapore a scholarship acceptance letter in hand and hopes of a better education in a first-world country Yet I was not quite prepared for the role of being the only country representative the sole target of inquires like Do you have internet back home or a more solemnly phrased How is the situation like in Myanmar as if the question would offendTo the former I replied an affirmative though I did remark on the absence of McDonalds MRTs subways and Starbucks The latter was more difficult to answerIt is ironic that I have learned more about my country from my time abroad As much as my precisionist nature is to blame for my tendency to check Wikipedia at the slightest uncertainty I was learning at the same time I answered my friends queries I developed a habit of reading Myanmar news me who did not once glance at the local newspaper back home opting for BBC or CNN to find a window to the outside world Now I was outside looking back in hanging onto every word about my countrys path to reform Articles cautioned an uncertain future ahead and revisited the events of the past decade I read it all words of these events from outsiders eyesI was there when the monks started marching I told my roommates Not in person but I heard the rumors caught glimpses on
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