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.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

1978 Opium War in Golden Triangle (1)

(Concise translation of Chapter-1 from Thaung Wai Oo’s “My Opium Operations”.)

Thaung Wai Oo's My Opium Operations.

Before I continued on to write about my personal involvements in the 1978 army operations against opium–trafficking ethnic insurgent armies in Shan State I would like to explain a bit about the long history of opium.

Opium (Bain in Burmese) originally was not the product of Burma nor the infamous word a Burmese word. Opium reached Burma via sea routes across India and also land routes across China from the Europe and the Mediterranean regions and the Asia Minor.

Opium was originally called Ee-Phon in its native regions and E-pha-na in Pali language the ancient and the religious language of Indian Sub-continent. Later in India it is called Ah-Phain or Phain and it became Bain in Mon-Burmese language.

Inlay Lake Burning - Part 2

(This translated extract is from CPB Bo Khin Nyo’s Autobiography.)

CPB's Bo Khin Nyo.
While our unit was having a good rest in the Nyaung Shwe area we had a serious discussion about last battle and our future attack plans. Every one was eager and excited after the success in that Bluchaung ambush and looking forward to another go at the enemy.

So we started looking for an opportunity at another place like the Inlay fishermen looking for fish at new places. And we quickly found it in the Inpawkhone Village. The village of Inpawkhone with about 500 households was one of the most significant villages on Inlay Lake.

Many families there were rich since the whole village was involved in the cottage industry producing textiles from silk fabric. Families with money had invested in establishing small weaving looms powered by 20-25 hp diesel-electric-generators. The poor families without capital had to work as hired weavers and laborers for the rich families.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Holocaust and Marrickville Council's Burma-Boycott

Anti-Fiona (Marrickville Mayor) Mural in Sydney. (SMH)

It was last year December when I shockingly discovered that the Marrickville Council -The local Government of Marrickville Municipality in Sydney- has been running a successful campaign against my former country Burma.

And I heard it straight from the horse's mouth. I had in my cab one tall, middle-aged, bespectacled woman who introduced herself as the councilor from Marrickville Council. She wanted me to drive her to the Council’s offices in Petersham just off Parramatta Road. And on the way she found out I was a Burmese and proudly told me about her Council’s ongoing Burma-Boycott campaign.

I knew it is very fashionable for the western democracies to impose brutal sanctions on Burma, but the Marrickville Council? I couldn’t believe my ears that one of the most multi-racial municipalities here in Sydney the immigrant city of Australia has imposed the symbolic sanctions against poor and destitute Burma. I didn’t even know they could do that.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tin Than Oo's Battles - Episode 3 (Final)

(Concise translation of Chapter 7 from Late Tin Than Oo’s Autobiographical Novel.)

By the Chinese borderline in Kachin State (1979)

Burmese Army Northern Command.
My company had repaired and rebuilt the captured enemy camp and garrisoned as our frontline defensive position by the Chinese border. By then the fleeing enemy also had repositioned on the ranges right on the border line and started shelling us with their heavy weapons. But we couldn’t return their fire as our shells could easily land into the Chinese territory.

Between our outpost at the border and the Battalion Forward Command Base at Htawgaw was at least one full day walking distance. The Battalion Forward Command Base was more than three full day walking distance from the Northern Command’s Tactical Command Base in Chibwe. The vehicular road from Waimaw across the Irrawaddy from Myitkyinar ended at Chibwe and all the supplies mainly food ration and ammunition were to be transported by the civilian porters.

Getting civilian porters was not an easy task in that remote region of Northern Burma. CPB had forcefully relocated many villages into their so-called liberated area and the villagers were forced to grow crops there for the Communist troops. All other villages left couldn’t stay anymore between the two warring sides and fled to Myitkyinar, Waingmaw, and Warshaung areas.

Friday, August 5, 2011

KIA Ambush on Tarpein(1) Staff Vehicle?

Ambushed SUV and Bodies on Road.
In the bright daylight on August 2 a group of six civilian employees and their two police men escort travelling together in a lone Chinese SUV on the road between Tarpein and Momauk in the Kachin State was brutally ambushed by a group of armed-men from KIA (Kachin Independence Army).

Six men were killed at the spot and one man died later of his fatal wounds and only one man has survived the well-planned ambush on the innocent civilian employees working for Chinese built/operated Tarpein(1) Hydro-Electric Power Plant in Burma.

Brutal ambush was a definite success but the KIA HQ didn't like what one of its blood-thirsty field units had  thoughtlessly and brutally executed. So the witty KIA Propaganda Unit immediately released a cover-up version of the killings to the world via BBC in London.

The following was a direct translation of what BBC (British Broadcasting Services) broadcasted as part of Burmese News Program on August 3 and also posted on its website.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

China, Burma, and the Kokang War (2009) Video

Dr. Martin W. Lewis of Stanford University.
Dr. Martin W. Lewis is lecturer in international history and interim director of the program in International Relations at Stanford University. He graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a degree in Environmental Studies in 1979, and received a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in geography in 1987.

His dissertation, and first book, examined the interplay among economic development, environmental degradation, and cultural change in the highlands of northern Luzon in the Philippines. Subsequently, he turned his attention to issues of global geography, writing (with Karen Wigen) The Myth of Continents: A Critique of Metageography (University of California Press, 1997).