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Myanmar - different reality

The outside world makes the mistake of assuming that the junta is amenable to negotiation on what we regard as common values: democracy, respect for human rights, protection from the arbitrary exercise of power. This is simply not the case.




Ne Win, Burma's dictator from 1962 to 1988, had blind faith in '9' as his lucky number... The hardline suppression of the latest protests began on the same date as the 1988 crackdown, with the added bonus of a third '9': 18/9/2007 (2+7= 9).

It is unlikely that UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari's programme included consultations with the junta's astrologers, and yet these are the people who hold the key to the leader's strategy. (Article by Tom White, "UK's cultural attaché in Burma during the 1988 protests")


Frightening, but it makes sense to me. Something I realised, is that the army in Burma has been in power since 1962 - forty-five years. This means that by now the army has become a generational inheritance - those in the army now were most likely born with their father planning on them following in his path. In Burma, the army also controls much of the economy so it's a viable career that combines political and financial security.

So by now, there are the basics of a caste: hereditary social and economic position, likelihood of in-marrying (I'm guessing), and an ideology to support it (by all accounts, a mishmash of nationalism and pseudo-feudalism). Also, apparently there was a tradition of "pagoda slaves" in Burma and Thailand. This could perhaps give the army an ideological basis for their use of forced labour which is apparently quite common.



in the final stages of the 41-day uprising in 1988, democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi privately admitted that a split in the army seemed the only remaining hope of overthrowing the dictatorship.


Also, very interesting to read, is this eyewitness account by "A Buddhism student" (BBC). Some quotes:

Those who took part were from the younger generation of monks, who hadn't experienced the events of 1988 and thought that they couldn't be attacked.

The older monks were too frightened and hesitant. Those who had responsible positions in the monastery were particularly against anybody taking part in protests.

They issued orders to other monks not to take part. They were saying 'don't do anything, if you leave, you will be disassociated'.

The middle-level monks were sandwiched between the senior monks and the young ones. Many sneaked in and out.




The whole thing started as a religious movement. It was not an organised democratic movement and there was no intention whatsoever for it to be turned into one. Monks were adamant about it.

They knew that there is no point in asking the generals for freedom. They knew that they don't have guns and can't beat the army. All they wanted to do was show the world what their situation is and that they are prepared to die.

They were very hopeful about the UN envoy coming to Burma. But they were quite surprised to hear that he met Aung San Suu Kyi.

They love and respect her, but they felt that this time it is about them and that the UN envoy should be speaking to them. They felt that it's a distraction from them while they are being shot at and need protection.


This is important I think: the first quote at the top of this post, and the one about the UN meeting Aung San Suu Kyi, point to one thing: the deficiencies of an ethnocentric approach to negotiating with the Burmese regime. I wonder if the UN envoy actually tried to meet the monks; maybe he did. Maybe the regime allow him to see Aung San Suu Kyi because ultimately they know that she has less power than the monks.

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RK Boo on :

Haha. Well, I hope she becomes President, just because she's a woman. Not a good reason, I know...but I'm not interested in following American politics. :-P

This is in response to your latest post...no matter how many times I entered the code, your blog refuses to publish my comment. :S

Anyways, looks like you'll be hearing my recital of my 'Adam, Eve or Me' poem at the WWRP Book Launch. I'll be bringing my boyfriend too. So you can meet him and see if he rings any bells. :-D

julian on :

Finally discovered why my own blog wasn't allowing me to post comments...

Well, I think that unfortunately American politics affects us all, so one can't really ignore them.

Will see you then, I am also the official photographer in theory...

Anonymous on :

:-( :-D :-P ;-) 8-) :-( :-O :-) :'(

g on :

Comment by andy fong — March 1, 2010 @ 7:28 PM | Reply
2.
We always recieved news messages from Myanmar people, they are complainted about committees of temple and please see at below.
Thanks
Dear Sir and Madam,
We are Myanmar group in Malaysia; we lived in Malaysia over decade and always went to one of temple in Taman Desa Jaya, Kepong, Kuala Lumpur and we were very sad and regreting with the committees of temple because they are using our monks in wrong conception of Buddhist teaching or Buddhist rules. We came to temple to help our monks and respected of our religion.
That temple is president of name:*Edit:name removed*, that our monks said and he is invited our monks from Myanmar to in charge of that temple but without pay anything to our monks, added he and his not respecting of our monks and sometime he ordered of his people to collected item such as paper, mineral water etc. without inform any words to our monks. In our religious believed we can’t take anything of holy place, if we done we are sin.
In pervious, our monk said the committees always asked money from him, when our monks gave RM20,000.00 in cash on 2001 to the committees, then committees keep silent, later committees make problem with our monk again and cancelled of our monk Visa permit to stayed in Malaysia, then our monks(*Edit:name removed*) go to Australia and our monk not come that temple at long time. “*Edit:name removed* gave our monk notebook computer for to cover of that amount of money our monk said”
Many local people around temple said, now no more people come to this temple because committees is always make problem and we are heard from local people said:*Edit:name removed* ordered of his people to*Edit:illegal act removed* of Hindu temple at Taman Daya, Kepong because he needed that place to make his business about many years ago. “Everybody known what he done for Hindu temple at Taman Daya, Kepong”
Last time also he invited police to arrest the monks at holy place(temple) and locked the temple without afraid and shameful of people because he believed committee is big and has more authority, also his son always say to people: this temple is belonging of his father. “This temple donated from public, we are work hard for this temple”
This temple the committees always changed the monks, now they change the new monk to in charge of temple, this new monk also complaint the bad things of committees because committees also wait for donation box only, they without help anything to our monks. And committees controlled of our monks not to talk more or complaint more, our monks lived there as slaver and afraid of committees members.
In new building where remaining of Buddha statue marble; we have renovation of Buddha statue because that Buddha statue is put very low, we lift to highest the committees don’t like and unhappy. In our country, anyone be able to come temple to worship the Buddha but in Malaysia is different temple controlling by committees.
We hope everyone preserve of Buddhist teachings, and please safety of our monks, not see only money as this of temple. When we asked some of our people ( Myanmar) and local people, the committees are very low of idea because is very narrow mind and without education of religions. And committees will not disturbing of our monks, monks are like our father to take care of Buddhism and temple is like our place of resolving of our problem.
Recently, our monk(*Edit:name removed* original from Madalay, Myanmar) has been staying in this temple also unhappy because the committees are not pay anythings to him, he is working in hardly to advise people and we also unhappy and very sad when heard the bad news from our monks. Sometime the committees people came and shouting in the temple without have any reason and done what they need to do, our monk said, the committees of this temple don’t have Buddhist teachings in their mind, may be next time Buddhist can destroy.
From Myanmar Buddhist group in Malaysia but many word complaint by local Buddhist community in Malaysia. If anyone receive of this message(email), please forward or send to your friends to protection Buddhism in Malaysia.

julian on :

I edited your comment due to potentially libelous statements.

All the best with solving your problems.

g on :

2.Ven. Phra Piya Thammo,

Rumah Pangsa

Blk A-7-9- Jln Padang Tembak,

11400 Pulau Pinang,

Malaysia


Dear Devotees,


Before I commence of my letter-writing toward. All of you, I would like to inform all of you that I am not satisfy with the lawyer, Dato YIP KUM FOOK due to his bad inspirit impressions because he sent an inspector to come to our Buddhist Temple to arrest me without any good reason, moreover, the lawyer, YIP KUM FOOK is not satisfy with Chief monk.


When the Chief monk had me to go to his Temple already and he went away and left me alone to take care until Chief monk come back to the Temple first and he also told me not to leave the Temple if any committees or the chairman want to chase me out, you don’t leave the Temple at all understand? Then I said, alright? To the chief monk! On the second Day, YIP KUM FOOK came to our Temple and talk to me. He tired to make some inquiry from me and he asked me, where I come from? I told him that I came from Penang.


Then, I told to the lawyer (YIP KUM FOOK) that the chief monk came to Penang and fetch me and invited me to accompany him to go to his temple in K.L. I am not aware that YIP KUM FOOK is not in a good terms with the chief monk, chief monk already in this way, YIP KUM FOOK try to create trouble with me unnecessary. That is why, the lawyer want to chase me out of the Temple. Then I asked the lawyer, why you want to chase me out of the temple? Moreover, the Temple is not belonging to you, UNDERSATAND? Then, I asked him, who are you? I don’t know you at all, you have no right to chase me or control me at all, UNDERSTAND? You are just like a layman only. Do you know the regulations that any the chairman or committee cannot control the monks and the Nuns at all, also UNDERSTAND?


I scolded him like that. Then the lawyer (YIP KUM FOOK) is not satisfy with me and he told me that he will called the police to come to the Temple and arrest me. I told him to go ahead and called the police to come and arrest me. I won’t run away, I said to him like that. I have done nothing wrong toward you, why you want to arrest me? He said, he doesn’t like me to stay here. I asked him, why? Again. After this he got very angry with me, then he phoned up to the police and the police came to the Temple and told me to leave the Temple.


I told to the inspector of the again, 1 am sorry, I won’t leave the Temple because the chief monk had instructed me not to leave the Temple without his consent, UNDERSTAND? Then the inspector told me to leave, again. I told him I cannot leave the Temple because the Chief Monk hasn’t come back yet. This time, the inspector got very angry with me and he took out his handcuff and try to threaten me, then I immediately show off my hands for him to lock me up but he scare, then again, the inspector told me leave the Temple again but I still don’t want to leave the Temple.


Then I phoned up to the chief monk again and I told him that the inspector insisted want to arrest me, you better come back to settle the case for me. After this incident, Chief Monk came back to the Temple and take me to go to another temple and stay their. That’s all about this incidents! Last of all, I would like to inform all of you, that no committees or the chairman can control all the monks and Nuns at all also UNDERSTAND? “They are higher than the King,” also! So how can the laymen, the committees and the chairman to control them: – EVEN THE KING ALSO RESPECTED THE MONKS AND NUNS. Why the chairman doesn’t respect the monks and nuns? They will carry the sins later on, UNDERSTAND?


Yours in Dhamma


Ven. Phra Piya Thammo

julian on :

I deleted your other comment as it was a repetition of the one above, and leave this one as it seems to contain non-defamatory material.

I hope you are able to solve your problems, but please note that this blog is not an appropriate place to air your misgivings. May I suggest that you start your own blog? It is easy to do, and gives you complete control over what you want to say.

You can start a blog here: https://www.blogger.com/start

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