Saturday, December 31, 2011

George Soros in Burma!

American Billionaire George Soros.
Legendary hedge fund manager and the once destroyer of mighty British Pound Mr. George Soros is in Burma!

Instead of destroying the once-useless Burmese Kyat his visit definitely has caused the kyat to roar and I’m making a handsome profit, at least on paper, since I’ve been holding onto my kyats with the knowledge that it will go through roof very soon.

According to Mizzima News Site, George Soros, the founder of the Open Society Foundation, which works to promote democracy, human rights and freedom in the world, visited Inle Lake in Shan State on Wednesday.

He appears to be visiting Burma as an ordinary tourist. Even the Mizzima quoted Win Myint the National Race Affairs Minister from the Shan State Government in saying that they (the Government officials) would meet with Soros only if he invited them.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Reliving 1973 Kachin Christmas Eve in New York City!

New York City's Skyline.
The Big Apple or the New York City is a wholesomely overwhelming town for a simple jungle boy like me. Especially the enormous Romanesque facades of century old skyscrapers. And it hurts my neck so much that I’ve stopped trying to look up at their distinctive tops.

Like many other wide-eyed tourists from the Australian fringe of the mighty empire of USA I ended up wandering on the wide avenues leading to the Times Square brightly lit and filled to the rims by the excited crowd on the Christmas Eve.

I walked and walked and walked aimlessly on the near-zero freezing but still unbelievably crowded Fifth Avenue and ended up, fortunately of course as I wasn’t really looking for it, right in front of a beautifully grand Gothic-revival church. I walked in and realized this is the historic St.Patrick’s Cathedral   and the traditional Midnight Mass was just a few hours away.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

No more 10% Income Tax to the Burmese Embassy?

What a good news?

Now we don't need to pay that compulsory 10% tax to the Burmese Embassy whenever we need something official from our own embassy.

I still remember paying that dreadful 10% whenever I tried to renew my Burmese passport at the Bangkok embassy in Thailand. I've refused to continue paying that stupid tax in Australia since I was paying almost 45% income tax there.

And the unfortunate result is I've lost my Burmese passport along with my Burmese citizenship. But I've still hanged on to my old Burmese passport, of course, expired twenty five years ago.

So I am wondering what is the next step our new, so-called, semi-democratic Government of Burma will take? Will a wholesale general amnesty for all self-exiled Burmese abroad be too difficult legally?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Ma Thein Shin - Chapter Four

(On 6 January 1966 General Ne Win’s Revolutionary Socialist Government stupidly prohibited the civilian populace from transporting, storing, distributing, and trading of 460 basic commodities including the staples such as rice, peanut-oil, and salt. Hta-nyet (jaggery) was one of those restricted commodities and a large scale smuggling trade of Hta-nyet had developed overnight in Middle Burma where most of it is produced.)

Year 1969

As a train clerk I used to do the day-to-day jobs of selling tickets and checking tickets on the train for the passengers and their cargo only. But now I was forced to do the horrible jobs of searching and arresting people and their cargo if they were found transporting the commodities generally prohibited by the military-controlled Socialist government.

I also had to work with many train conductors. Whenever the alcoholic conductors San Yee or Mya Ohn or Chit Swe were on the trains the smell of hard liquor was unavoidable in the Guard Car. Especially the days with Conductor San Yee happily went through real quick.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Burmese Days by Shashi Tharoo

General Than Shwe in India (2010)
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent visit to Myanmar (Burma), noted largely for a memorable photo opportunity with a wan but smiling Aung San Suu Kyi, signaled a significant change in the geopolitics surrounding a land that has faced decades of isolation, sanctions, and widespread condemnation for its human-rights violations.

Twenty-one years ago, after Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) swept a general election, the results were annulled, the party’s leaders and workers were incarcerated or exiled, and two decades of ruthless – and remarkably opaque – military rule followed. This year has witnessed political opening, the release of several prominent political prisoners, and evidence of self-assertion by the nominally civilian government (headed by a former general, Thien Sein). Suu Kyi’s announcement of her intention to contest a by-election to the new parliament offers a glimmer of hope that democrats could use the fledgling political process to create something resembling genuine representative government.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Reinstate Maung Htaw Lay and Maung Khaing Streets!

Hilary Clinton at Shwe Dagaon Pagoda.
In September 1988 just after the bloodiest coup in Burmese history the new military Government led by then-slowly-going-mad General Saw Maung (now deceased) stupidly changed the name of our country to Myanmar from 200-year-old Burma and our people into Myanmarese or something horrible like that from Burmese.

And the brutish, uneducated and unbelievably ignorant General also defiled our Mon ancestors by replacing the names of the two oldest streets in Rangoon from Sitke Maung Htaw Lay and Sitke Maung Khaing to Bo Sun Pet and Bo Ywe, respectively.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Briefing on Hilary Clinton's Meetings in Burma

Hilary Clinton meets the President of Burma
Special Briefing
Senior State Department Official
Rangoon, Burma
December 2, 2011

MODERATOR: We are in Rangoon. The Secretary has had a full day of meetings today with Aung San Suu Kyi, with representatives of civil societies of the ethnic minority groups, and we thought we’d just give you a sense of how some of those went, with [Senior State Department Official], hereafter known as Senior State Department Official.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Burma: Can Daw Suu trust the Army?

(This Gwynne Dyer’s article is from London Free Press Comment Section.)

Daw Suu meets the President.
Burma is the second poorest country in Asia (after North Korea), although fifty years ago it was the second richest. It is the second most repressive dictatorship in Asia, outdone again only by North Korea. It is third from the bottom on Transparency International's list of the world's most corrupt countries. And the credit for all these distinctions goes to the Burmese army, which has ruled the country with an iron hand for the past half-century.

So what should pro-democracy leaders in Burma do when the army shows signs of wanting to make a deal and withdraw from direct control over the country. Do you hold out for more, or do you co-operate with the generals in the hope that they can be persuaded to go further later on?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Dr. Thant Myint Oo's Testimony before US Senate

(This prepared testimony on 30 Sept 2009 was before the US Senate.)

Dr. Thant Myint Oo.
The policies of the United States and other Western governments over the past twenty years towards Burma have failed. They have not been helpful in moving the country towards meaningful democratic change and at the same time have largely neglected the country's multiple ethnic and armed conflicts as well as its pressing humanitarian challenges.

As we move towards a very welcome review and adjustment of American policy, I think it's important to reflect on the history behind today's challenges, appreciate the critical and complex watershed Burma now faces, and try to identify pragmatic ways forward.

War and state-building

There is a myth that Burma emerged from British rule in 1948 as a peaceful democracy with all the attributes necessary for later success, only to fall mysteriously into dictatorship and extreme poverty. Burma in 1948 was actually already at civil war, its economy in ruins. And this civil war has continued until today. It is the longest running set of armed conflicts anywhere in the world, setting the Burmese army against an amazing array of battlefield opponents - from the Mujahedeen along the former East Pakistan/Bangladesh border, to remnants of Chiang Kai-Shek's Nationalist Army, to drug-lords, to Beijing-backed communist rebels, to Christian-led ethnic Karen insurgents in the jungles near Thailand.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Karen Warrior-Mum, now in Australia or United States?

She was once a Karen refugee on Thai Border with Burma. She, her KNLA (Karen National Liberation Army) fighter husband, and their four young children have  already been resettled probably in  either Australia or United States under UN-sponsored generous refugee-settlement-programs.

I just hope she hasn't brought  her extremely-lethal M79 40mm grenade-rocket-launcher along with her. Otherwise those pushy Aussie or aggressive American soccer mums are to watch out on the field at Saturday children soccer matches. Karens naturally do not take shit from no one and they are quite lethal especially the mothers with young kids.

Thousands and thousands of  KNLA fighters are being resettled as  genuine refugees in the developed countries like Australia and United States since mid 1990s.

All these battle-hardened former-guerrilla-turned-refugees from the war-torn countries like Burma and Sri Lanka etc should be forced to join Australian Army reserves or US National Guards so that their  valuable battlefield experiences are fully utilized for the benefits of their new homelands such as Australia and United States.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Islamic Genocide of Native Buddhists in Maungdaw?

(This is direct translation of former Burmese Immigration Officer Maung Maung’s article.)

Last of the Buddhist Arakans of Maungdaw.
This article is mainly for the so-called Burmese human-rights activists now re-settling in a Third Country like USA or Australia or one of rich European countries.

If you are one of those activists who are now wildly hollering on the World Wide Web for the human rights of so-called Rohingyas without really knowing the facts I would like to ask you to take your Rohingyas into your homes.

I am neither a racist nor do I wear the cloak of a democracy/human-rights activist. But if any of you do feel pity for those illegal Bengali Muslims being without their own separate territory you should put them up on your own houses and you will eventually learn about them.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Burmese of Prantalay-12 captured by Somali Pirates

(Some of this post is from Myanmar Times’s article on 11 November 2011.)

Released Burmese Sailors. (Photo Myanmar Times)
Freed 13 Burmese sailors/fishermen working on the Thai PT Interfishery’s fishing boat P.V. Prantalay-12 taken for ransom by Somali Pirates more than a year ago in April last year have been back in Rangoon since First October this year.

“We were forced to stay in pirates’ hands for about one year and three months. Our boat was taken on 18 April 2010 by Somali pirates in the Indian Waters on our way from Ranong in Thailand to Djibouti.

There were 25 Africans in camouflage uniforms on two speed boats when they pointed their heavy-weapons at our boat and stopped us. First we thought they were patrolling soldiers. Only when they were on our boat we knew they were mother-fucking Somalis.

But we couldn’t do anything as they were heavily armed. Three boats from our Company, Boats 11 and 12 and 14, were taken altogether almost at the same time.”

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Rohingyas and Al Qaeda: Islamic Terrorists

ARNO Chairman Nurul Islam (L) and VAHU's Dr. Zaw Oo (R).

Arakan Rohingya National Organization Contacts With Al Qaeda And With Burmese Insurgent Groups On The Thai Border
Cable time
Thu, 10 Oct 2002 05:01 UTC
First published on Thu, 1 Sep 2011 23:24 UTC
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ma Thein Shin - Chapter Three

(On 6 January 1966 General Ne Win’s Revolutionary Council's Socialist Government stupidly prohibited the civilian populace from transporting, storing, distributing, and trading of 460 basic commodities including the staples such as rice, peanut-oil, and salt. Hta-nyet (jaggery) was one of those restricted commodities and a large scale smuggling trade of Hta-nyet had developed overnight in Middle Burma where most of it is produced.)

Year 1968

Next days I would find her at her usual waiting place underneath the big Banyan tree.

She would sit at the seat by U Kaung Zone’s Shop and look out for me as the train came in. Even in the blurry-dawn I could detect the shadows of smiles on her happy round face. But once she was on the train she wouldn’t wait for me at the doorway. Instead she would avoid me by disappearing inside where the passengers were once I came up to her car.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Michael Posner: The Beginning of A Transition in Burma

Michael Posner the Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor is Former President of New York-based Human Rights First. He has a long history of doing good and noble things, according to the, like helping torture victims and refugees and promoting “corporate accountability for working conditions in the apparel industry.”

Posner’s organization works with activists in countries including Guatemala, Russia, Zimbabwe, and Indonesia. He drafted and campaigned for a 1992 US law called the Torture Victim Protection Act, designed to give victims of most serious abuses a remedy in US courts, according to the Human Rights First Web Site.

Michael Posner, the State Department’s top human rights Official, and Derek Mitchell, Washington’s new special envoy for Burma, just wrapped up a trip to Rangoon and Naypyidaw this week. And following is the text of their press conference released by the US State Department at the end of their Burma trip.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Min Aung Hlaing meets Derek Mitchell

(This press release was from The New Light of Myanmar on 4 November 2011.)

Nay Pyi Taw, 3 Nov – Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services General Min Aung Hliang received US Special Representative and Policy Coordinator for Myanmar Mr. Derek Mitchell and party at Zeyathiri Beikman, here, this afternoon.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Ban Ki-moon's Chief-of-Staff Nambiar in Burma

(This 31 October press release is from UN News Centre.)

UNSG's Special Adviser on Myanmar Vijay Nambiar.
31 October 2011 -   A top United Nations official arrived today in Myanmar for a five-day visit during which he will meet with a number of Government officials and other key actors.

The visit by Vijay Nambiar is at the invitation of the Government, according to a statement issued by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesperson.

“The Special Advisor to the Secretary-General for Myanmar, Mr. Vijay Nambiar, arrived today in Myanmar today for a five-day visit at the invitation of the Government. The Special Advisor will hold meetings in Naypyitaw and Yangon with the Government of Myanmar, political parties, civil society organizations and other key interlocutors, in the implementations of the Secretary-General’s good offices mandate.”

IMF Article VIII Mission to Burma

External Relations Department

Press Release
November 1, 2011

Statement at the Conclusion of the Article VIII Mission to Myanmar

The following statement was issued today in Nay Pyi Taw, after the conclusion of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) Article VIII mission to Myanmar:

Monday, October 31, 2011

Harn Yawnghwe's Fruitful Burma Trip?

                                       (This article is from the Shan Herald News Site.)

Harn Yawnghwe and Daughter at Rangoon Airport.
He regarded his 8-day visit to Burma, 20-28 October, as a fruitful eye-opener, said Harn Yawnghwe, director of Brussels-based Euro-Burma Office (EBO) and youngest son of the late first President of Burma who went into exile with his mother in 1963.

The only problem he faced was when he applied for his visa. Despite being invited by three ministers, he was technically still a persona non grata, the embassy told him. It was finally issued, only after he had put down a minister’s name as his guarantor.

If there were any more misgivings, he was discouraged from them when he arrived there.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Rohingyas, Harn Yawnghwe, and Fraudulent Claims?

(Direct translation of Aung Than Oo’s article “Human Rights and Self Interest”.)

EBO-OIC Signing in Saudi Arabia for Rohingya Claims?
The topics I’m going to write about in this article basing on my past experiences and what I could intellectually think of are the dishonest land claims of foreign-born Bengalis illegally entering Burma from the neighboring Bangladesh.

In this article I tried my best to avoid the two common prejudices of race and religion even though my aim is to prolong our race Burmese and our religion Buddhism, and at the same time I am extremely careful not to attack or insult other races and other religions.

Principally I am going to write about the so-called Rohingyas who under the cover of human-rights issues in Burma are recently and presently claiming that they are an authentic ethnic race of Burma while hiding their original Bengali roots, especially now that they are making so much noise and attracting undeserving international attentions and Arab money generously as Muslims.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Tha-din-gyut in Mawgyun & Buddhist Crocodiles

October is the Burmese month of Tha-din-gyut, the seventh month of Burmese Lunar Calendar and the end of Buddhist Lent.

During the month of Tha-din-gyut we Burmese have the Festival of Lights celebrating the return of Lord Buddha from the celestial abode (Heaven) where he had spent the Lent while teaching Dama (Buddhism) to the celestial beings including his mother who was reborn as an angel in the Tar-wa-dein-tha (Another name of Burmese Heaven).

We Buddhist Burmese traditionally have a religious festival for every month of our Lunar Calendar, mostly carried out under the patronage of a temple or pagoda. During the festivals every town and village in the Delta region of lower Burma comes out alive with the burst of colors and celebrations.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Giant Python Killed at Myit-sone Dam Site

(This article is partly from the Kachin News Group Web site.)

In the photo the dead giant snake was being lifted by a backhoe arm at Jum Bum hill in Irrawaddy Myitsone dam site, 27 miles north of Kachin capital Myitkyina, Northern Burma.

Burmese President Thein Sein’s announcement of a halt to construction of the controversial Irrawaddy Myitsone Dam was after the killing of a giant snake by Chinese workers on Sept. 22 at a road construction site at the dam in Kachin State, eyewitnesses said.

The snake was 48.5 feet long and 5 feet in circumference and it was found in a hole on Jum Bum hill while workers were digging, said eye witnesses.

It was killed when workers from the Chinese state-owned China Power Investment Corporation (CPI) struck its head with a backhoe bucket, eyewitnesses said.

CPI workers brought the dead snake to China, according to eye witnesses.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Ma Thein Shin - Chapter Two

(On 6 January 1966 General Ne Win’s Revolutionary Socialist Government stupidly prohibited the civilian populace from transporting, storing, distributing, and trading of 460 basic commodities including the staples such as rice, peanut-oil, and salt. Hta-nyet (jaggery) was one of those restricted commodities and a large scale smuggling trade of Hta-nyet had developed overnight in Middle Burma where most of it is produced.)

Year 1967 

It was dawn and still the thin mist had shrouded the early morning. I was standing at the doorway of a passenger car and looking for Nyo Nyo at her usual waiting place by U Kaung Zon’s Shop as the big train slowly entered Myo-lu-lin Station drowned in the mixture of pale darkness and bright light.

Back then I myself even didn’t notice the strong attachments started forming in my heart. Some days if I didn’t find her in that usual spot underneath the big banyan tree I always felt something missing inside of me.

She also would stand up from the seat underneath the banyan tree and look up at the train as if she was searching for me as the train came. And whenever she saw me her little round face would lighten up as if she was really happy even though she tried to hide that once she noticed I was happily looking at her too.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Yingluck (Yin Hla) Capturing Burmese Hearts and Minds?

(Direct translation of Master Sedo’s Fashion of Thai PM from Moemakha Site.)

I was thinking once Thai PM Daw Yin Hla (Ms Yingluck Shinawat) arrived in Burma as the final leg of her five ASEAN countries Tour I should write about her fashion sense.

(Translator notes: Daw Yin Hla means Lady(Daw) and Classy(Yin) and beautiful(Hla) in Burmese.)

For a man as the leader of a country he doesn’t need to worry too much about what he is wearing. Just a black jacket will do. Though he needs to buy many neckties and keep them in the drawer. But for our Daw Yin Hla she isn’t a man and thus the black jacket alone will not do for her.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Harn Yawnghwe & NCGUB: Ali Baba and Forty Thieves?

(Direct translation of Htun Aung Gyaw’s Ali Baba and Forty Thieves.)

The large-scale embezzlement of donors’ funds by the senior staff of DVB (Democratic Voice of Burma) basically highlighted the fact that a major house-cleaning for our community of Burmese democracy exile activists is urgently needed.

What DVB Board had done (The removal of Executive Director Aye Chan Naing and Deputy Executive Director Khin Maung Win, and the appointment of Harn Yawnghwe as Acting Executive Director) was akin to appointing the great robber Harn Yawnghwe in the place of the petty thief Khin Maung Win so that they will keep on stealing the donor funds off DVB.

This democratic struggle for Burma is quickly becoming a great opportunity to make a lot of money for a select group of Burmese Exiles who have been making a very good living out of our revolution.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

DVB: Another Donor Stooge even Stealing from Donors?

(The September-30 press statement from DVB Board for possible theft of donor funds.)

1. The Management and Board of Directors of the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) have discovered that the leadership of DVB ’Inside Operations’ in Burma may have embezzled in 2010, up to Baht 9 million (1.7 million Norwegian Kroners or approximately 300,000 US Dollars) from funds allocated for journalists and operations inside Burma.

2. Preliminary investigations by the Board show that other DVB journalists working in Burma and elsewhere were not involved.

3. The Executive Director of DVB, Aye Chan Naing, and the Deputy Executive Director, Khin Maung Win, although not involved in the embezzlement, have taken full responsibility. They have stepped down from their management positions to enable external auditors to conduct an impartial investigation.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Ma Thein Shin - Chapter One

(Direct translation of late Naing Win Swe’s novel “Ma Thein Shin Si Pote Pay Bar”.)

Year 1969

It was a foggy winter morning. The big train standing in thick mist seemed to be afraid of leaving the safety of the warm Station. But it had to go. It blew a lot of smoke and reluctantly began the journey. It turned on the front spotlights but the pale beams shorn just a short distance ahead in the fog.

Gradually gaining speed the train appeared to slowly overcome its fears as if its blood were now boiling. Once the dim lights of Taung-dwin-gyi station were well behind it the train squeezed out a long blow of single horn as if it was cheering up itself to travel deep into the foggy darkness ahead.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

US$, Sin$, and Burmese Kyat's History by Zaw Aung

(Direct translation of Zaw Aung’s Article from Moemakha Site.)

In 1990, one American Dollar was 30 kyats, one Singapore Dollar was 45 kyats, an average apartment was 300,000 kyats, a Toyota Hilux pickup truck was 300,000 kyats as well, the telephone connection with a handset was 300,000 kyats too, and a plate of Biriani (Dan-bouk) was just 5 kyats.

In 2007 the year of so-called Saffron Revolution, one American Dollar was 1,350 kyats, one Singapore Dollar was 900 kyats, an average apartment was 30 million kyats, a Toyota Hilux pickup truck was 30 million kyats as well, the telephone connection with a handset was 2.5 million kyats, and a plate of Biriani was 800 kyats.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

To 108 War-region by Comrade Pho Than Gyaung

(Translation of CPB UG’s Pho Than Gyaung’s Article from Maya Magazine.)

Yebaw Pho Than Gyaung with Ludu Daw Ah Mar's Photo.
Since I ran away from home my sole purpose was to take to the jungle as a Communist revolutionary. But even after nearly nine long months in the jungle I was still in the Government-controlled territory.

We were then hiding in a place in Southern Shan State after leaving the Indigo Mountain region. We might have been there at least three or four months. Then one day a young comrade who was on an Underground (UG) duty arrived and told us that we would soon be taken to the Party’s stronghold.

I immediately left our hiding place with others as if my mother had called me to come back home. Me, Taw Win, the UG comrade, and the driver in a Datsun pickup.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Burma's Killer Highways: Sanctions' Assassins?

Damaged Pajero at the scene of accident.
It was on January 22 this year when Dr. Hideki Hasegawa a 40 year old Japanese national and medical professional working for a Japanese Aid Agency was killed on a notorious stretch of Rangoon-Naypyidaw Highway linking the old capital of Burma to the new capital Naypyidaw when his SUV travelling at a high speed overturned.

A Burmese official from the Railways Ministry was killed and another Japanese national was seriously injured also in the accident. Dr. Hasegawa was the driver of the Mitsubishi Pajero SUV the most popular SUV in Burma when the accident happened in the middle of the dark night.

Before that accident, the baby grandson of previous Rangoon Mayor Aung Thein Lin died in May 2010 after his parents’ car overturned on a similar stretch of same concrete highway.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Derek Mitchell's Press Release (14 September 2011)

U . S . E M B A S S Y R A N G O O N
1 1 0 U n i v e r s i t y A v e n u e , K a m a y u t T o w n s h i p , R a n g o o n , B u r m a
 Press Statement
Special Representative and Policy Coordinator for Burma
Ambassador Derek J. Mitchell
September 14, 2011

Minglaba. Good Morning. Let me read a brief prepared statement. I have just completed my first visit to Burma as U.S. Special Representative and Policy Coordinator. I have spent the past five days in intensive consultations with a full spectrum of interlocutors in Nay Pyi Taw and in Rangoon to discuss the situation here and ways in which the United States can support and promote democracy, human rights, development, and national reconciliation in the country in our common interest.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Tin Aung Myint Oo & Second Maing-yang Battle (2)

Young Major Tin Aung Myint Oo, formerly the First Secretary of State Peace and Development Council and now the First Vice President of Union of Burma, was awarded the Thiha-Thura medal, the second highest medal of valor in Burma, in 1989 for his 1988 heroic role as the Deputy Battalion Commander of IB-11 defending the border town of Maing-yang from numerically superior forces of Communist Party of Burma.

(Concise translation of Chapter-2 from Thaung Wai Oo’s “Battles of Maing-yang”.)

Tin Aung Myint Oo.
But the CPB was caught short when the Army took over the Government on September 18, 1988 and brought down the nationwide disturbances under control and rapidly re-established law and order with deadly force. So they began a propaganda war on their radio.

“Democracy is brutally terminated. Pick up any weapon and fight against the military government. Follow the Chairman Mao’s teachings and grab the power by force,” broadcasted constantly by the CPB Radio.

“We shouldn’t be waiting too long. Before too late, with the forces already gathered we must attack a winnable place and take hold of it,” directed Ba Thein Tin to his Communist cadres and officers.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

U Myint's Paper On Kyat Exchange Rate Issue

(Former ESCAP Economist U Myint is now Burmese President’s Chief Economic Adviser.)

National Workshop on Reforms for Economic Development of Myanmar
Myanmar International Convention Centre (MICC)
Naypyitaw, 19-21 August, 2011

Myanmar Kyat Exchange Rate Issue

I. Introduction

President's Chief Economic Adviser U Myint.
1.         There has been a consistent and sharp appreciation of the kyat dollar exchange rate for the past few months. This has caused problems. The extent of the kyat exchange rate appreciation and its impact on costs and returns in some key sectors of the Myanmar economy are presented in a paper prepared by U Set Aung, a member of the President's Economic Advisory Team. These matters are therefore not discussed here. Instead, three issues have been taken up in this paper. They are:

2.         First, to explain why a currency’s exchange rate can rapidly appreciate and how this causes problems;

3.         Second, to suggest measures that are to be undertaken immediately to deal with the kyat exchange rate appreciation problem presently facing Myanmar, in order to restore business and investor confidence in the exchange rate, and to prevent the situation from getting out of hand; and

4.         Third, the current kyat exchange rate problem presents a good opportunity to initiate the process of reform of the exchange rate regime in Myanmar. The objective of the reform is to establish a foreign exchange market in Myanmar that meets international standards and where the exchange rate is relatively stable, is market-determined, and becomes a useful tool of macroeconomic management for the Central Bank of Myanmar. A suggestion on how to start this reform process is briefly presented in this paper.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

U Myint Persuading ASSK To Become A Moderate?

(This is a leaked 2009 cable of Rangoon US Embassy from WIKILEAKS.)


U Myint and ASSK at Recent Government Economic Forum.

Classified By: Economic Officer Marc Porter for Reasons 1.4 (b) & (d)


1.  (C)  U Myint, a prominent Burmese economist, is
cautiously seeking a meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi (ASSK) and
plans to advise she shift her focus from politics to
socio-economic themes.  U Myint sees economic development as
the greatest challenge facing Burma and an issue on which
ASSK can have a beneficial impact without being perceived by
the generals as a threat.  Moreover, U Myint believes that
given the state of the economy and ASSK's lack of experience
running a government, the military will need to retain some
control over society until institutions are rebuilt.  We
comment that in the Burma environment, economic issues are
intensely political.  We also note the military's
unimpressive track record on governance.  End Summary.

Burmese Exiles: Credible Agents for Change in Burma?

(This is a leaked 2009 cable of Bangkok US Embassy from WIKILEAKS.)



Classified By: Ambassador Eric G. John, reason 1.4 (b) and (d).


1. (C) Thailand's Burmese exile community, based in Chiang
Mai and Mae Sot, has undergone drastic changes in recent
years.   Younger members are taking on more grassroots
endeavors aimed at addressing the immediate needs of Burmese
inside Burma and Thailand.  Several prominent exiles have
broken away from traditional political advocacy work and now
focus their energies on crafting grounded, thoughtful
analysis of the current situation in Burma and new options to
facilitate change. The result is that these new leaders often
bump heads with long-standing opposition forces like Maung
Maung and the National Council of the Union of Burma (NCUB),
whose two-plus decade efforts focus on international
lobbying, fund-raising, and drafting position papers of
questionable use, even as they lose touch with the reality of
changing dynamics inside and outside Burma.  At present, it
is unclear whether the principal leaders of the exile
community in Thailand can act as credible agents for change
in Burma.  End Summary.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Tin Aung Myint Oo & Second Maing-yang Battle (1)

Young Major Tin Aung Myint Oo, formerly the First Secretary of State Peace and Development Council and now the First Vice President of Union of Burma, was awarded the Thiha-Thura medal, the second highest medal of valor in Burma, in 1989 for his 1988 heroic role as the Deputy Battalion Commander of IB-11 defending the border town of Maing-yang from numerically superior forces of Communist Party of Burma.

(Concise translation of Chapter-2 from Thaung Wai Oo’s “Battles of Maing-yang”.)

First Vice President Tin Aung Myint Oo.
It was the third week of September 1988, and the place was Maing-shu the little town between   Salween River and Nangh-pan Stream in Southern Shan Sate. I had just become the battalion commander of IB-6 (Infantry Battalion – 6) in July that year. 

Unfortunately the country was in turmoil just after the 8-8-88 Uprising when I got my battalion CO promotion. Even though our battalion then was serving in Maing-shu the Battalion HQ was in Rangoon’s Shwe Pyi Thar.

So we really had to worry for our families back in Rangoon where law and order had completely broken down after the sudden fall of General Ne Win’s BSPP Government and the brutal mob anarchy had been going on for weeks and weeks now.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Wardog Block of Insein Prison (1)

(Direct translation of web article “Wardog Block (a) Hongkong” by Ye Min Tun.)

If I had to write about my life I couldn’t leave out the Wardog Block (Sit-khway Daik) in Insein Prison. Wardog Block is the punishment cells inside the notorious gaol. The prisoners called the notorious block Hongkong. Some even died in Hongkong. 

During the Superintendent Sein Htay’s reign, according to the spoken history of Insein Prison, he himself bashed some inmates to death there.

The Wardog Block was just next to the Special Block where NLD Vice Chairman General Tin Oo, famous student leader Min Ko Naing, and late North Korean Assassin Kang Min-chul were kept. It was on the right side of the roadway to main workshops.

The Wardog compound had its own small gate. Inside, just behind the block of cages for the prison war-dogs and on the left side of the open space for the war-dog training ground, was the ten cells block of punishment jail. So it was called the Wardog Block. The whole Wardog compound was between the main wall and the inner wall of the double-walled Insein Prison on the outskirt of Rangoon.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Major Kyaw San, Dead or Still Alive?

Brigadier Kyaw San.
When I first saw Brigadier-General Kyaw San’s photo on the computer screen a few years back he sort of struck me as a familiar face. He was the infamous Information Minister of Burma. He vaguely reminded me of my dear friend Major Kyaw San who killed himself in 1981 in Rangoon.

Me and that Kyaw San grew up together in one of the two cadet battalions of Burmese Army   in the late sixties. Our battalion in Mingaladon was called Aung San Thuria Hla Thaung and other battalion in Meikhtila was called Yemon. That battalion took in the sons of Non-Commissioned officers from the army and our battalion took in the miscreant sons of commissioned-officers.

Kyaw San was two or three years older than me and he was in a senior class but we were together in a student platoon and so we lived in the same barracks. One thing I still remembered about him was in my year 8 at the age of fourteen I suddenly grew about 4 inches taller but he seemed to be same height as last year. And I found myself a bit taller than him as some boys started teasingly calling him a shorty.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

1978 Opium War in Golden Triangle (2)

(Concise translation of Chapter-2 from Thaung Wai Oo’s “My Opium Operations”.)

The last days of July 1978. I was on my way back to IB-67 in Maing-yae from Ba Htoo Infantry School after attending the 47th Infantry Company Commander Training Class.

I had already served nearly ten years in South Eastern Command (Ya-ta-kha) and during that time I’d been to Ba Htoo Military Town only once. I was then attending the Army Corporal Training School to learn about Infantry-Small-Arms.

I was originally a bad shot back in the OTS (Officer Training School). Thus I was sent to the Small Arms training by my first ever battalion IB-17 in Pharpun. Then was the first time I’d been to Ba Htoo Town.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

President Thein Sein Meets Aung San Su Kyi

According to Burmese Government mouthpiece the Myanmah Ahlin newspaper on August 20 Burma’s President Thein Sein received the opposition leader Aung San Su Kyi at his office in the Presidential residence at 4 pm on August 19.

The paper simply stated that in the meeting the President had frankly and cordially explained ASSK the measures taken by the Union Government for the interests of the Nation.

The paper also wrote that after putting their differences aside President and ASSK had a friendly and open discussion exploring future possibilities and opportunities for mutual cooperation actually benefitting the nation and the people of Burma.