Saturday, January 21, 2012

President Thein Sein's Interview Full Script?

On 3 pm 17 January 2012 Burma’s President Thein Sein officially received the team of journalists led by Senior-Editor Elizabeth Graham Weymouth from the Washington Post. The meeting was reported in the Burmese Government mouthpiece Myanmah Ahlin on January 18.

Then on January 19 the Washington Post released and published the meeting script as a scoop as the first ever interview with a foreign journalist for a Burmese president for at least last 50 years. And the shit immediately hit the fan in Nay-pyi-daw for a very obvious reason.

At first Burmese leadership or the President himself and his minders - like any democratic politician anywhere else the so-called Burmese semi-democratic politicians are having their own minders too – didn’t know what to do. So they waited and waited for two whole days.

Meanwhile the responses both from the public and the foreign media have generally been overwhelmingly good. Even the infamous Donor-Stooge Irrawaddy concluded Thein Sein as politically savvy in handling the interview so well.

“In the interview, published in The Washington Post on Friday, Thein Sein proved to be a skilful politician, diplomat and negotiator, as he repeatedly pressed the main talking points he wanted to communicate to his international audience and deftly sidestepped issues that are problematic for his government,” Was what Irrawaddy grudgingly reported on 20 January on its WWW site.

So the President’s minders decided to release the original interview script to the Burmese public. And they did release the Burmese version in the Myanmah Ahlin on today, 21 January 2012. 

Following is my direct translation of that Burmese version of the very first Presidential interview with a foreign media organization. Not the slightly-misleading excerpt intentionally released by the great Washington Post.
Naypyidaw, January 20

Presidnet Thein Sein at UNGA.
President of the Republic of Union of Myanmar U Thein Sein had received at 3 pm on January 17 the Senior Editor Ms. Elizabeth Graham Weymouth and her team from The Washington Post Newspaper at the Grand Guest Hall of the Presidential House in Naypyidaw and also answered their questions during the open discussion.

Together with the President the meeting was also attended by U Wunna Maung Lwin the Union Minister for Foreign Affairs, U Kyaw San the Union Minster for Information and Cultural Affairs, and U Aung Kyi the Union Minister for Labor Affairs.

Following is the full original script of questions from the Washington Post and the return answers by the President.

President: Welcome to Myanmar. Washington Post is a great influential newspaper. This is the very first time receiving a foreign media as the president. Here with me are the Foreign Minister, the Information Minister, and the Labor Minister. I’m meeting you not just as a media person but also as a guest visiting to our country.

Post: I always ask many questions in my interviews. Especially now I am expecting to be able to ask mainly on the matters of reform you have been implementing as the leading figure.      

(To be continued…..)