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March For Freedom- the Myanmar people


I digress again from my usual topics. The biggest news in the region is about the peaceful demonstration by the Myanmars to protect the monks who are protesting against the military junta ruling the country.

I remember reading quite a few years back about this old Myanmar government official who travelled to Singapore and broke down crying when he reached Singapore. The reason for him crying? It was because he saw that Singapore was very developed whereas his country had stagnated. In the 1950s and early 1960s, Burma as Myanmar was then known as, was one of the richest country in Asia (it was also because the rest of the Asia region was mostly struggling at the time).

In 1962, a military government took over the reins of the country and implemented an authoritarian regime which perpetuated 26 years of political repression and presided over the economic decline of the country until in 1988, there was a popular uprising against the military government. The military junta, then known as SLORC, reluctantly organised free elections which to their surprise they lost heavily to a party called the National League for Democracy (NLD) led by this petite maverick called Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

I remembered reading her book 'Freedom From Fear' when I was a student and being very impressed by her courage against people with guns. She has a huge dose of Gandhi's courage and spirit. I thought then that she will be able to led Myanmar to democracy soon. It has become 19 years later but their country is still ruled by the same military junta except the name has changed to an ominous one called SPDC (State Peace and Development Council)- whenever peace is mentioned in the name of a group, they will be involved in anything but.

Meanwhile, Aung San Suu Kyi has been under house arrest since 1989, that is a total of 18 years. She was award a Nobel Peace Prize in 1995 which she did not receive in person. Her husband later fell sick and she could not visit him because if she had left Myanmar (although she may not be given permission to do so by the military junta out of spite), she would never have been allowed back. However, the military junta SPDC termed her a 'national security risk' and thus being under house arrest for so long. She has another 9 years to go before she hits the record of Nelson Mandela. Someone should ask groups like U2 to write a song about her.

China has the biggest influence in Myanmar and if they exert pressure on the military junta, it could force them to give up power back to the people. But the whole world need to coordinate their actions on this and hope that this will cause the leaders in Myanmar to blink. China could offer the leaders something like what the Americans offered Ferdinard Marcos of Philippines- a safe exit.

To the people of Myanmar:

“ Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. ” By Marianne Williamson

To the SPDC: Do you hear the people sing?

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