I’m like a dinosaur when it comes to using technology and multimedia platforms. This is worsened by the fact that my country in Southeast Asia has been isolated from the modern world for over six decades.
I grew up in the state of Karen in eastern Myanmar. There was no electricity in my hometown, so I would do my homework by candlelight or lamplight. Sometimes, my family couldn’t afford to buy candles, so I would have to finish my homework before the sun set.
Poverty, human rights abuses, death, life threatening incidents and the danger of land mines are all common occurrences in my hometown. The decade-long civil war between the Burmese government and the Karen National Union, one of the world’s longest rebellions, has contributed to these conditions. The two groups have been fighting each other since Myanmar gained independence from Britain in 1948.
One of the first technological problems I encountered was applying for a U.S. visa online. At first, I complained that applying online felt like dealing with robots. But, the more I learned about the system, the more I began to see that it was safer and faster.
It was important that I had a fast internet connection when I filled out the visa, otherwise the application can be lost after 30 minutes of inactivity. The application was over 20 pages long, and asked about my background, education and family.
The first time I applied for my U.S. visa, my internet was down. I ran, carrying my laptop, to a good hotel where I got internet connection. I often forgot my Apple ID password because of the crazy requirements. It was difficult to remember and include capital and lowercase letters, as well as symbols and numbers.
When I started studying multimedia and at Missouri School of Journalism in late March, I had problems several times when installing the applications. We were given iPads and asked to download applications. I was upset when I failed, but happy when I succeeded.
Since moving to L.A in early April to work with the Jewish Journal, I have found my new technology skills to be very useful. I have had to learn how to get around in a big city that I have never been to before. Google Maps is essential to my way of life in this new city.
I have tried to think like an American and travel independently. Despite getting lost several times, I know that I can always find my way again with Google Maps. Since I am from a small village, adjusting to the size of L.A. has been challenging. But on my second day, I went to a movie, and by my third, I used the metro bus to get to work.
Everything is possible when you believe and confident in yourself as Napoleon Bonaparte said, “The word impossible is not in my dictionary.”