Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Rambo Maung Maung Khin's Fighting-Peacock (1)

(Maung Maung Khin originally was a student warrior from the Battalion-701 of notorious ABSDF-North and he acted in 2008 Sylvester Stallone’s overly-exaggerated anti-Burmese movie Rambo-4 as ridiculously-sadist Burmese-Army's Colonel Tint. This post is the translation of his article from KOZAN Blog.) 


Date was 8 August 1992. The fourth anniversary of 8-8-88 Uprising. Place was Pajau Headquarters of Students Army (Northern) in Liseng Hills on Chinese border. We were inside the Mother-Peacock Hall for the anniversary celebrations.  

(Translator’s notes: It was just 5 months after all the brutal tortures and murders of about 100 fellow students at the same camp.)

I was silently squatting in a back corner of the hall when the MC called out to stand up for our Fighting-peacock Flag as the guests from all revolutionary organizations were once seated inside the hall.

“A-Ten-Hut, All salute the Battle-Figthting-Peacock Flag of All Burma Students’ Democratic Front!” Commanded the MC.

“All salute the martyred heroes fallen in battles!” Yelled out loud again the MC.

Once I heard the Commands my sleepy mind was suddenly excited and as usual my dreamy thoughts were flying away again like a paper kite. To far faraway places.

All eating out of same plate

Dawn was breaking around me and little birds were singing in the jungle as if they were ready and full of energy to face the new day. Exhaustion from the trip last night I fell asleep on the jungle ground but the orchestra of birds had woken me up.

Rice hangaw, spent cartridges, & a student's dictionary.
When I opened my eyes I saw not just the birds in the trees of evergreen forest but my comrades moving about too. Right in the line of my eyes was a young man who was piling the cooked rice out of hangaws on a 3 foot square ground sheet spread neatly on a pile of fallen leaves.

I didn’t even know how and when they managed to cook hangaws-full of steamed-rice. So I asked, “Ah-nge-lay when did you cook the rice?” and Comrade Ah-nge-lay replied, “I got up at 4 and started cooking. If I cook in daylight enemy could see the smoke.” Immediately after replying me he carried the empty hangaws down to the nearby creek to wash.

Soon he came back up with water-filled hangaws and called his squad and me to eat. I quickly washed my face and joined them at the rice-circle. Two dishes in the hangaw lids wre right in the middle. Fried Hinbyin-leafes and Hinbyin-leaf soup. Hinbyin is the wild jungle-vegi which grows only in the Kachin Land.

Their squad had only 6 men and they put aside some rice and dishes for the lone sentry. I and the 5 of them ate the rest with gusto. The dishes had a few little creek-shrimps and the wholesome sweetness from both shrimps and the Hinbyin leaves made us eat hungrily.

Since we were eating out of the same pile of rice from common sheet all the liquid from our hands and mouths were basically everywhere.  Forget about disgusting double dips or even multiple dips as we could not really disgust each other. We were blood brothers fighting against the military government ruling our country illegally.

Within five minutes the mountain of rice in the middle was gone. After the meal everyone packed their gears and then rolled a smoke with our ration tobacco powder and newspaper sheet. And everyone lay down on the ground leaning on the backpack and smoked.

While smoking I was thinking about how much we’d been suffering in this jungle. For our armed revolution we had to abandon first our families, then our classrooms, our parents, our lovers, and the civilization, so that we could fight the malaria and starvation and sickness and enemy soldiers.

All for to free our people from under the brutal yoke of this long-running military dictatorship.

When my smoke was almost at its end a man came up, saluted me, and reported that the General Secretary Comrade Myo Win wanted to see me right now. So I stood up and went and saw Comrade Myo Win at the other end of our makeshift jungle camp.

He took my M-20 pistol away and gave me an M-22 rifle as the replacement. After that he said, “We are to continue our journey for a meeting. Fucking Army’s gone nasty again. Not only are they not transferring the power to the election winners (ASSK’s NLD Party) they are now arresting the elected representatives. Some of the representatives have taken to the jungle and now joining us. We are to meet with them to figure out what we are to do in the future.”

Then he did something I couldn’t understand there immediately. He looked down at his own hands, then slowly said after a heavy sigh, “My hands are stained with much blood. Only you guys are to continue on leading this organization!” I waited there expecting further words from him. But not a single word came out and so I came back to my place seriously confused.

(Translator’s Notes: Myo Win the principal villain in the slaughtering of his own comrades might then be remorsefully feeling guilty of the murders he committed just 5 months ago. He himself beheaded the ABSDF North Chairman Htun Aung Kyaw and 14 other students including a girl student on February 12 the celebrated Union Day of Burma. Later he basically killed himself - a suicide by the enemy fire - by madly charging at the enemy machine-guns guarding an army camp.)

My lucky day?

11 year-old ABSDF Boy Soldier. (From Painful Paulie)
I’d stayed at that jungle camp for about a week more. Next day after my arrival there Comrade Myo Win (The General Secretary of ABSDF North) went down to Namma. While I was waiting for him to return I had a near-death encounter I could never be able to forget.

On my third day there I volunteered to help the men to bring in the rice already bought from the nearby village. Rice in the camp was getting low. So we went and on the way back to the camp we ran into U Set Aung our local organizer (Salan-kabar). He was coming back up from Nammar and with him were bottles and bottles of Maxi-kyoe (Local fruit wine) for us in the camp.

I’d never tasted that famous wine so I took a cup of it and drank it. I liked it and get one or two more. The wine’s alcohol content was very high and I was nicely drunk and the load of 10 kilos of rice and the rifle on me was becoming quite light and I was feeling weightless like in the Micheal Jackson’s Moonwalk.

Then suddenly I couldn’t find the jungle track leading us to the camp and when I looked around I could find none of our men at both my front and rear. I realized I was on a wrong track and for next hour I tried my best to find the camp. But I couldn’t and finally I stood still wherever I was and fired my rifle into air to let the camp people know that I was hopelessly lost.

About ten minutes later two comrades showed up and led me back into the camp. They were really worried as the camp was basically protected by many mines. So the man who took care of mines went out and checked his mines. What he found was that in my panic I was walking all over the place and tripped and cut many wires.

But for some reason the mines were still intact and the reason he said was a newly-built termite mound which completely covered the main fuse wire and prevented the electricity from flowing into the main detonator switch. When I heard the story I got goose bumps all over my body as I knew I was extremely lucky that day for I was still alive instead of being blown up into pieces.

Three or four days later Comrade Myo Win and three men came back. Next day early morning we left only a squad led by Comrade Htun Lwin in the Myenu Post (name of that jungle camp) and all of us continued our journey. That evening after whole day of walking we reached Hopin Post where we stayed a couple of days.

Fake Guns and Parliamentary Representatives

Hopin, Namma, & Mohnyin on the Myitkyinar Rail line.
At Hopin Post we met U Kyaw Maung the elected parliamentary representative for Mohnyin Constituency (1) and U Kyar Mya the elected parliamentary representative for Mohnyin Constituency (2).

(Translator’s notes: The results from the 1990 General Elections were not accepted by the ruling military junta as the ASSK-led NLD has won most parliamentary seats in the landslide victory. Later the army started arresting the elected representatives and most took to the jungle and ended up with the insurgents on the border.)

Hopin Post was different from the makeshift Myenu Post as it was far from a town and built like a small fortress with many permanent structures. But the Myenu Post has only temporary huts built with ground sheets as the post was so closed to the nearby town.


We didn’t continue our journey next day as we had meetings with two elected parliamentary representatives. Seeing the way Representative Kyar Mya was so excited with a 9mm pistol given by KIA in the belt on his waist one comrade came up and told me a joke.

He asked me, “Boss, have you ever seen a Fake Gun (Ma-pyit Gun)?”
“Nope, but in our Kachin State we have Fake Sword (Ma-khoke Dah) and Fake Spear (Ma-htoe Hlan). Kachins use them as dowry,” replied I.
“If you never seen the Ma-pyit Gun before, look at that,” said he while pointing his finger at the pistol on Kyar Mya’s waist. “That gun wouldn’t fire, it’s just for the holster,” and we all quietly laughed.

What I understood then was they were just joking at him without malice as if needed they were to give their lives in protecting the lives of those two parliamentary representatives.

Next day our group and their NLD group marched out in two separate columns to the KIA’s TOC-4 (Tactical Operations Command) camp. Then was the beginning of tripartite political/military offensives involving us ABSDF, them NLD, and the Kachins KIA all together. And thus the coordinating meeting of three parties at the KIA camp.

But the order direct from our General Secretary Myo Win for us was that only the political commissars and organizers from our ABSDF were to attend the meeting and all our troops were to stay close to the towns.

Teased by Malaria

ABSDF's malaria victims.
We didn’t have too many troops. Only a security squad for General Secretary Myo Win and a squad of new recruits led by Comrades Naing Oo and Khwat Kyi. Since that area didn’t seem to have enemy columns operating we didn’t bring many troops along with us.

But we still faced our permanent enemy the malaria attacking us. The Malaria ruling every region of Burma’s jungles like ancient feudal lords is the life-long enemy of every jungle- dwelling human beings here. Malaria has different strains in different areas and one needs a different immunity to a different strain of Malaria.

I wasn’t a stranger to the malaria strain ruling the train-line areas but I’d been living in the Phar Kant area for over a year then and the strain here became a new again to my body. Now that malaria was teasing us to get inside our bodies.

We didn’t march in rush and we took plenty of rest along the journey so that we wouldn’t be too exhausted and susceptible to the jungle diseases like Malaria. But we still had to take turns doing the night sentry duty and we did lose valuable sleep. If we didn’t sleep well we could get Malaria.

For the armed revolutionaries like us Malaria was not a stranger at all. If we had medicines we used it. If we didn’t have medicines and pills we used the local method called Mackloun-Chit (the natives rigorously scratch the infected one’s body till he or she bleeds with thorns from a native medicinal plant). Too many comrades died of Malaria in the jungle we couldn’t even keep up recording their names. Sick and rest and fight as we kept on fighting the military dictatorship.

After walking for more than two days through the jungle our group had reached an abandoned Kachin farm.

Kachin Farm-flower and Rice-circle

That abandoned-farm was right on the border of Battalion-5’s territory and Battalion-11’s. Moe Hnyin Township was the Battalion-5’s territory while Moe Gaung was the Battalion-11’s. So we were not that far from our destination.

Rambo Maung Maung Khin's Fighting Peacock (2)

                                (Following youtube video is titled "Rambo 4 - Bodycount".)
video