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.

But I do not think a prominent figure like Mr. "world-famous" George Soros the hardcore Democrat from liberal New York City the solid constituency of the Secretary of State Hilary Clinton would visit Burma unplanned and uncoordinated. Especially his visit follows the early December visit of Hilary Clinton the first US Secretary of State to visit Burma in over 50 years.

And he has donated through his OSI (Open Society Institute) a cool two million dollars a year to promote democracy in Burma. Some of that money found its way to development projects in Inle Lake and he wanted to see how it’d been spent. So his trip officially was just a family vacation at world-famous Inle Lake.

He arrived in Rangoon by private plane on December 26 and met U Myint the Chief Presidential Economic Adviser on December 27 and now he is staying at a luxury hotel in Inle’s Khaungtaing Village. Inle Lake now is peaceful but just few years ago when the Lake was ruthlessly ruled by the Communists its waters were most dangerous waters of Burma. He will be leaving Burma early January.

George Soros’s Generosity for a good cause

U Myint and President Thein Sein.
In 1993 George Soros founded the U.S.-based Open Society Institute (OSI). Now OSI has branch offices in more than 70 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America that promote human rights, education, health and freedom of press. OSI donates about US$ 2 million a year to promote democracy in Burma, according to the Forbes website.

According to a 2007 cover story on the Forbes website, some 30 per cent of the foundation’s Burma Project money goes to education programs and university scholarships, the rest to grants for mainly opposition groups working on Burmese causes.

One recipient is the Alternate Asean Network on Burma, which regularly issues unbelievably-negative reports on Burma. Other one is the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma, Burma's so-called government-in-exile now defunct, which basically wasted Soros’s money by spending most on themselves personally.

Sometimes the OSI’s Burma Project's support is more administrative than educational, as shown by its work with the National Coalition Government. Elected in 1990 but never installed, the shadow government resides in an office outside Washington, D.C. paid for by Soros. When it comes to policy, however, the project gives little advice, said a spokesperson. Instead it listens to the needs of the self-appointed ministers and makes introductions if they want to create alliances.

No wonder the self-exiled ministers spent Soros’s cash buying houses and condos all over Washington DC.

Another project of OSI was the Computer Network Training Program teaching computer skills and English in the refugee camps on the Thai Border.

As David Mathieson, the Burma consultant for Human Rights Watch who has taught English to refugees in the camps, believes that English proficiency among the refugees is much greater than among the Thai population and thus the capacity building and teaching English and computer skill are priorities in resettling the refugees.  

The sights of battle-hardened Karen refugees straight out of planes and speaking English like Aussies and Yanks and straight away fixing PCs and programming the Servers probably is an unbelievable dream but worth trying if one has a billion dollars to spare.

I also tried hard to find out what OSI projects in Inle are about but I failed.

Anyway everyone in Rangoon now knows that our billionaire George Soros is going to send more of his money to Burma’s way and I honestly believe that there are more than few Burmese organizations looking forward to receiving that hard cold cash in US dollars.

I just hope they spend George Soros's Money well for the long suffering people of Burma!