Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Burma Military Regime Aimed to End Gambling in Society

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Banyar Kong Janoi

The Burmese regimes slogan is "the land of gold" it implies that no one is struggling in Burma.

The military-government controls every aspect of people’s lives in the country.

All major enterprises are state-own. To do business in Burma you need to have connects to the ruling generals.

The State also tries to control freedom of expression and social morals.

Last month, the regime began a crack down on gambling.

From inside Burma King Kong Janoi reports.

People are crowed in a coffee shop watching the Thai Stock market on satellite TV.

Their interest is not in the performance of the stock market, but in the random, final two digits of the share price.

It’s called to two digits lottery and the winner numbers are calculated in the last minute before the stock market closes. This happens twice a day.

Among them is 30 year old Nai Shwe Htay.

"The reason why I gamble is I am not happy with my low income. I am impatient and want a big amount of money at once. I want to get married soon and I need money for my wedding. Also if I get a large amount of money I can start my own business.”

Each month he gambles 24 US dollars in the hope of winning about 1000 US dollar but so far he has never won.

Gambling is epidemic among Burma's poor, people from the villagers travel to cities just to gamble.

Some go to the temple asking the monk what number will come up next.

If they run out of money the gamble their house, land and businesses.

Layi Mon has watched her neighbors ruined by gambling.

"She ended up committing suicide after she lost everything through gambling and couldn’t pay her debts. And another one her life was destroyed. She had to sell all properties in order to pay off her debt. Now she runs a small roadside shop selling food to survive.”

To address the problem the Burmese military has launched a crack-down on gambling.

The gambling law of 1986 aims to improve Burmese society.

Police have been told to arrest people found gambling. The maximum sentence is two years in Jail.

A public information campaign is also running. There are billboards and signs across the country saying ‘Work with us to wipe out gambling’.

But gambler Non Tama says the authorities and particularly the police are part of the problem.

"They always claim when they arrest people for gambling that they are doing their duty and helping society but in fact they are just looking for money. You can easily bribe them and get off all charges. It’s no big deal. So gambling is actually on the increase.”

Asia Calling tried to get a response from the Burmese police about these allegations.

We rang seven different police stations from the headquarters to local posts and no one was willing to talk.

In 2007 Transparency International named Burma as one of the most corrupted countries in the world.

Due to corruption and mismanagement of the country’s economy unemployment is very high.

The average annual income is less than 400 US dollars.

Hundreds of Thousands of people leave the country every year in order to find jobs in neighbor countries like Thailand.

In coffee shop in the Karen State, unemployed men are trying to guess the next number.

They write down digits and try to logically work it out.

Gambler Nai Mon says the government needs to address the root causes of the gambling problem.

"If people had jobs they wouldn’t gamble so much. I would be busy with my job and wouldn’t have time to gamble. If the government wants to stop the practice they need to improve the economy and focus on creating jobs and spreading the wealth around and improving the living standards of the general population.”

The Burmese military government decline to talk to Asia Calling.

However a lawyer who wants to be unnamed from Burma says this is the law that is good for society.

"When the people gamble, it can destroy public morality because after they lost every thing, they could become thieves and robbers so this law have to introduce to society."

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Burma’s Armed Ethnic Groups to Step up Resistance

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Burma's armed ethnic groups and ceasefire groups are vowing to unite to fight against government forces in the lead up to next year’s election.

According to Burma’s new constitution, all ceasefire groups must operate under the command of the military government.

However, most ceasefire groups have rejected the offer to work as government border patrol units and say they will maintain their army to protect their own people.

As Banyar Kong Janoi reports The New Mon State party and other ethnic groups say they will not accept any policy that doesn’t benefit their people.

Mon villagers dressed in their ethnic colors of red and white gather to celebrate their 62nd revolutionary day.

People sing the Mon National song.

This is the anniversary of the Mon uprising for self-determination against the Burmese government.

Mi Layi Mon says the dream of an independent Mon state is being kept alive by her generation.

“The rights of our people are in the hands of our youth because the youth play a very important role and they are very active in the political movement. So in the future the youth like us will promote ideology and education and we will get what we want."

The New Mon State Party fought an armed struggle for independence against the Burmese junta for over five decades.

But in 1995 it accepted a ceasefire agreement offered by the military regime.

Mon Sone, a resident in Karen State, says signing the ceasefire agreement was the right thing to do at the time.

"We do not blame the NMSP for signing that deal because war is not going to achieve our goal. Fighting will only destroy our people and send us further into poverty. During the conflict years we couldn’t maintain our culture, language or religion because we were on the run all the time. So the idea is we that we would try to achieve our political goals through negotiation.”

But he says the military regime has not kept up their side of the deal.

Now under the country’s new constitution the military regime is demanding all ceasefire groups must operate under the command of the military government.

They want the Mon armed wing to act as a border patrol. Mon Sone says they will never do this.

"The New Mon State Party has been fighting for the rights of the Mon people for long time. We honour and respect what they have done but if they accept the juntas offer and start working for them their honour will disappear right a way. So we very proud that they rejected this offer.”

One of ceasefire group, the Kachin Independence Organization, is preparing to fight if the junta puts pressure on them to become a border guard force.

But the New Mon State Party says they are committed to resolving the stand-off in a peaceful way.

Nai Hong Sa Boung Khine is a NMSP spokesperson.

"For us, we will still maintain ceasefire agreement but if the regime demand more pressure more on us we will have to consider in another way. So far, we would love to solve it politically through negotiation not by fighting with armed.”

The government is by stepping up confrontation against opposition groups.

The government's latest offensive against the Karen National Union, which began in June, has resulted in nearly 5000 Karen fleeing across the border into Thailand.

The conflict between the Burmese government and the KNU, which has stretched over 60 years, is thought to be one of the world's longest running.

Mahn Nyien Maung is a central committee member of Karen National Union armed force.

"If the regime is committed to building peace to avoid civil war them we will go into negotiations with them. But they are not thinking about returning Burma to the democratic path or about the rights of ethnic groups they are only thinking about how long they will be in power for.”

The military government is promising that elections will take place next year. If they go ahead they will be the first democratic vote since 1990.

Aung San Suu Kyi won that election but was never allowed to rule. The extension of her house arrest this month means she will be unable to contest next year’s vote.

Political science student Chan Jit in the Mon state says there are two ways to change in Burma a people’s uprising for a slow transitional change.

"For instance, say, if American stops its sanctions and begins doing Business with Burmese people and Burmese government and then the middle class would become larger by then. This evolution would mean the military has to give up their power slowly.”

Monday, August 17, 2009

Angry and Sadness in Burma After Aung San Suu Kyi Verdict

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Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi was sentenced this week to an additional 18 months under house arrest.

She was charged with breaching the terms of her house arrest by harboring an American tourist who swam across a lake bordering her villa and entered her heavily guarded property uninvited.

In the Mon State, people are watching exiled television to get the news about the trial and are upset and frustrated.

Our correspondent Banyor Kong Janoi reports from Mon State.

In a coffee shop in Mon State people are discussing the Suu Kyi verdict.

A man who drives a motorcycle found out the news while watching exiled television the Democratic Voice of Burma in a secret place.

Some people try to silence him. It is risky to talk about political issues in public.

While others like Nai Oo join in the debate saying the regime is creating enemies of the people.

We go to a safe place so he can talk more.

“Now we can see in every coffee shop people are discussing Daw Suu Kyi trial. We are very angry with the regime because they never do anything good for the country. Their cruelty has gone too far it’s time to begin repairing our nation.”

Nai Oo says nobody gets a fair trial in Burma.

“It is really strange with the Suu Kyi trial because in my opinion she is nice person, we accept her as our leader. She did not do any bad things. It just that they want to remove her from the 2010 election.”

Indeed the ruling means that she will not be able to take part in junta’s planned elections next year.

They will be the first vote since 1990, when her party won overwhelmingly but was never allowed to take power.

Community leader in the Mon State Nai Lawi says the military regime is very worried Suu Kyi will win again.

“At the moment, they are afraid of her being an obstacle for their election if she free. They will release Daw Aung San Suu Kyi if when she can do no harm to them when they can control the country as they wish and they can generate their military rule forever.”

Her conviction and continued detention were condemned by world leaders and sparked demonstrations in cities from London to Japan.

The European Union is preparing new sanctions and a group of Nobel laureates, including the Dalai Lama has called on the UN Security Council to take strong action against the country.

But Community leader Nai Lawi is not convinced this will affect the junta.

“They will not listen to anyone when it comes to releasing Daw Suu and other political prisoners. They will not care if the International community does not recognize their election, they don't care; they will do whatever they want.”

New Mon State party spokesperson Hong Sa Boung Khine says Suu Kyi must be released in order to solve the political dead-lock in the country.

“She has one of most important the political roles to play in Burma. Without her we can’t move forward.”

Back in the coffee shop Nai Oo says the people will stage another uprising against the military soon.

"If the military regime can’t solve our economic and political problems there will be another revolution again but I don’t know when and how. But at that time, we need to be ready to achieve our goal."

Monday, June 29, 2009

New Military Offensive Creates More Misery for Burma’s Karen People

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We go now to the Thai Burma border, where thousands of Burmese, ethnic Karen people have fled to recent weeks, following an escalation of fighting between Karen rebels the Burmese army and their former allies the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army.

Rebels claim that this latest offensive is aimed at wiping out any opposition ahead of the so-called multi-party elections scheduled for 2010.

About 4,000 refugees, mostly women and children have arrived since the offensive began in the first week of June.

They have brought little with them except stories of trauma and suffering and fears for those left behind, which they shared with our reporter Kong Janoi.
It is the wet season in Mae On Son, a terrible time to be living in temporary shelters.

A sick child is crying. A thin plastic sheet is the only protection for this medical clinic. There is only one health work to care for the sick. Nan Hti arrived recently after the fight reached her village.

“After we heard gun fire, we all ran from our village, we could not take anything with us. I was struggling to run because I had five children with me. One child from our group died on the way while because of malaria.”

The refugees are taking shelter in a new camp about one hundred kilometers north of Mae Sot, a border town where around 100 hundred thousand other Karen refugees have settled.

It’s a thirty-minute hike up the mountain to reach the new camp.

Gun-fire from clashes between Burmese troops and Karen rebels can be heard in the distance.

The Burmese troops began this latest offensive against the Karen National Union rebels in early June after the rebel’s resisted attempts by the Junta, who is allied with the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) to establish a border force.

The rebels earlier rejected a ceasefire offer from the junta and the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army, which demanded that the groups unite under one banner to establish a ‘Border Guard’ force.

The rebels say they would lose their army if they accepted the junta’s offer. They believe that their intention is to wipe out all opposition ahead of the promised multi-party elections scheduled for 2010.

Naw Paw Gay from the Karen Information Center says the Burmese troops and DKBA want to rid the area of Karen rebels troops in order to make border guard troop after coming election.

“This offensive against the Karen rebels KNU is amid to clear KNU from this area. As the junta constitution, in coming 2010 election, there were no aim groups in Burma so the groups can co-operate with junta as border guard otherwise the Burmese troops will fight them to end of their enemies. DKBA accepted junta policy as border guard so they have been collaborating with Burmese troop an offensive KNU."

To help there cause the Karen Information Center is distributing a video recording of fighting on the frontline.

Mahn Nyien Maung a Central committee member of the rebel group says they will fight until the end. He is wants all the people of Burma to rise up against military rule.

"As everybody knows the military government in Burma has done nothing to promote the transition to democracy and they offer no ethnic rights. They even kill our respected, innocent monks so they definitely don’t care about the people. All ethnic groups and civilians should unite. We should not be divided even though our enemy uses game amongst us and we should fight together to end military brutal rule and for democracy and ethnic rights in Burma.”

The KNU has been fighting for greater autonomy from Myanmar's central government for more than 60 years.

In a separate statement the Karen Women Organization (KWO) said two young Karen women were raped and murdered last week by Burmese soldiers.

Burmese soldiers captured the two women, aged 17 and 18, after their husbands fled into the jungle. One of them was pregnant whilst the other was a mother of a six-month old baby.

Karen Women’s Organisation secretary Dah Eh Kler says ASEAN countries should do more to help her people.

“We appeal to the international communities to put pressure on the junta over this latest offensive. Some countries may say it is a domestic problem but it is spreading to all our neighbor countries. Burma is an ASEAN member and ASEAN has a responsibility concerning human right abuses and escalating wars.”

The junta is reported to have assembled more troops in the region in recent days. The rebels are reported to have withdrawn from some strongholds after suffering heavy causalities.

Meanwhile more and more people are arriving at Mae On Son camp. More than 4,000 have come so far.

This is in addition to the 100,000 sheltering in camps to the south and nearly half a million, according to aid agencies, who are displaced inside eastern Burma.

Thai authorities and other aid agencies are struggling to provide essential aid.

Nan Hti doesn't know what to do next.

“We are just sitting here and thinking. If there is peace in my village I will go back. We love our home and we want to stay there. We left our farms and struggles there. We cannot run from the war anymore. It is too hard. We just want peace to last forever.”

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Burmese Refugees Celebrate Birthday of Imprisoned Suu Kyi

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Burmese democracy hero Daw Aung San Suu Kyi turned 64 last Friday the 19th of June.

But there were unlikely to be celebrations at the notorious Insein prison, in the Burmese capital Yangon, where Suu Kyi remains imprisoned.

She is on trial for charges of violating the terms of her house arrest by harboring an American who swam uninvited to her lakeside home last month.

The trial is widely viewed as an excuse to keep her locked up until elections, scheduled for next year are held. U.N. human-rights investigators have condemned her arrest, labeling it a "flagrant" rights violation.

In Mae Sot, on the Thai Burma border, thousands of Burmese refugees honored Suu Kyi’s struggle with celebrations and ceremonies marking her birthday.

Asia Calling reporter Kong Janoi was there for the celebrations and filed this report.

Hundreds of Burmese refugees joined celebrations for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s 64th birthday in Mae Sot.

In music and dance and with words of praise they honored her efforts to achieve democracy in their homeland.

U Zaw Wot is convinced that only she can end the military junta’s rule.

“Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is the only current leader in Burma who is known as a political and moral force. She is respected by many and I think only she can deliver democracy for the Burmese and also solve ethnic issues.”

But others are more cautious.

U Kyaw Han, a former chairman of the All Student Rakhine Congress says Ms Suu Kyi is certainly a democracy hero but she may not be able to resolve Burma’s ethnic divisions. He believes ethnic people need to stand up for themselves.

“We have to separate the two sides of Suu Kyi’s leadership. She is perfect to lead Burma’s democracy movement, but I don't think she will be able to represent the interests of all ethnics groups in Burma.”

Nan Dah Eh Kler, a secretary of Karen Women Organization says it is too soon to know what Ms Suu Kyi can do for Karen people.

“It is hard to say whether Ms Suu Kyi represents the Karen people because she has not met Karen civilians or had discussions with them about their problems. But as we observed in her speechs in the past, she did mention ethnic problems. We have to wait and see if she can solve these when the time comes.”

Regardless of Ms Suu Kyi’s track record on issues of ethnic divide it is clear that, for Burmese women in particular, she is a potent symbol of their struggle for human rights.

Nan Dah says her organization is using the day of her birth, to mark the struggles of all women in Burma.

“All along the border, we are participating with people and other civil society organizations in the campaign for Ms Suu Kyi’s release. There is no justice at all in her arrest. It shows that in Burma, women do not have protection and always become victims. We can not image how women are abused in the rural areas and war zones in Burma.”

In Mae Sot, women planted trees and released birds to mark the passing of her 64th year and hopes for her speedy release from prison.

Their condemnation is an echo of the outrage and concern expressed by leaders and human rights groups across the world.

Tin Tin Aung from the Women’s League of Burma says if the military junta is sincere in its commitment to a so called roadmap for democracy, it must free Ms Suu Kyi.

“Without the release Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, there will be no inclusive political process and there will be no peaceful transition and no reconciliation and also no lauching of peace and democracy in Burma. So it is important to call international communities to demand for release Aung San Suu Kyi also all political prisoners, to start a dialogue process, review this 2008 constitution and condemn and denounce coming the 2010 elections.”

Sunday, May 10, 2009

After the Deluge: Burmese Remember Nargis One Year On

May 9th, 2009 by Kong Janoi

Asia Calling

Nearly one year after cyclone Nargis struck Burma’s Irrawaddy Delta, killing more than a hundred thousand people, many are still without basic necessities such as drinking water.

The United Nations says small gains have been made but the country and its people are still in desperate need of foreign assistance.

In Bangkok our reporter Kong Janoi spoke with aid groups still working in the Delta and produced this report.

Members of Bangkok’s Burmese community gathered in the Thai capital to mark the one year anniversary of the cyclone which swept across Burma’s Irrawaddy Delta on May the 2nd last year, killing more than 130,000 people.

This song was composed in its wake; it describes the powerful storm and the death and destruction it caused.

For two days Nargis battered the Irrawaddy. What the gusts of wind didn’t destroy was swept away by a massive tidal surge. Residents in the fertile rice-growing region, already among the poorest in the world, could do little to escape. Some 2.4 million were left homeless, their crops and animals destroyed.

Now one year on, some survivors say they are struggling to find the bare necessities. A Ryee Mya lost her husband in the disaster.

Tens of thousands of fishermen lost boats and nets in the disaster.

Ba Twe was one of them. He still can’t work because his boat and net have yet to be replaced.

“We don’t have any work to do now. We have no fishing nets. Nobody has been able to go back to work yet. In this village there are about 30 households, all of them have been unable to rebuild their houses. The plastic covering my hut, I won it in a lottery. I am lucky. They don’t have enough plastic for everyone so they have to distribute it by a lottery system.”

Farmers lost their rice crops and vast stretches of land were left unusable after being contaminated with sea-water. Many have been unable to pay back loans or find the funds to purchase new seeds, water buffaloes and equipment to plant crops.

U Poe Hla says he is still waiting for assistance promised by the government.

“We are all farmers here, we don’t have any supplies or money for farming. We need machines, gasoline or cows to grow rice. The government said they will provide us with credit but still we have not received it yet.”

The United Nations says some gains have been made. Almost all the children separated from their parents or orphaned have been reunited with their families or placed with new carers.

But more than half a million people are without adequate shelter, a big concern as the country approaches another monsoon season. And 350,000 people are still receiving food assistance.

Andrew Kirkwood is the director of Save the Children Fund in Burma. He says his organization is working overtime to provide drinking water for people in the Delta region.

“Save the children imported 10 machines to make water from out of salt water, plus three additional water treatment plants, those machine are working 24 hours a day. We are putting water into boat with big rubber platter and distributing water on a daily basis for 660,000 people in the delta. The amount water we are distributing about three liter per person, per day. It is the absolute minimum needed for survival.”

In the weeks after the disaster, the Burmese military government was condemned by the international community for its refusal to let foreign assistance into the country. Eventually some foreign workers were given access and many still remain there.

Frank Smithius is the Director of Medecins Sans Frontieres in Burma. He says foreign aids workers still face restrictions.

“It is not better than it was before Nargis, but it is also not worse than before Nargis. In Myanmar there are a numerous aresa that are not accessible for foreign organizations.”

What all aid agencies will say is that Burma is in desperate need of foreign donations. They point to the fact that donors have given 315 million dollars in aid - less than half of what the United Nations requested. By contrast the international community donated 12 billion dollars after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, which killed more than 200,000 people.

NGO’s say ongoing sanctions against the military junta often discourage people from donating to funds to assist Burma. The country receives just two dollars-eighty in foreign per head of population each year. Next door, the people of Laos receive 49 dollars per head.

Frank Smithius says the international community needs to change its attitude towards Burma.

“The whole country has been ignored and that’s very unfortunate. In other third-world countries there is a lot of international aid, not in Myanmar. Nargis might have been positive trigger to change that for the future, I really hope so because the needs in the whole country are enormous and there are tens of thousands of people dying each year of diseases that are very easy to treat and I don’t think there is a good excuse for that.“

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Back From the Brink: Thai Protests End, For Now

Asia Calling

April 18th, 2009 by King Kong Janoi Print This Post/Page

Thailand_Thaksin_web.JPGAfter three weeks of protests, supporters of Thailand’s exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, known as the Red-Shirts, grew increasingly restless this week, embarking on what they described as the final stage of their revolution; attempting to force the resignation of current Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his government.

After storming a hotel in the resort town of Pattaya and forcing the cancellation of the ASEAN summit it seemed that Thailand was once again on the verge of the chaos caused by the opposition Yellow-Shirts who took siege of Bangkok’s International Airport late last year.

Two protestors are reported to have died in clashes with police and the military but in less than 48 hours the action forced the protesters to back down and return to their villages…for now.

The latest episode has left many wondering how Thailand can break the cycle of political unrest that has gripped the nation for more than two years and continues to damage its already fragile economy.

Asia Calling’s Kong Janoi filed an update from the capital Bangkok.

Tears and disappointment filled Ratchadamnoen Nok Avenue on Tuesday as thousands of frustrated Red-Shirts packed up their belongings, abandoning what was supposed to have been their “final stand” at Government House.

After two days of escalating street battles, the protesters woke on Tuesday morning to find the military had surrounded their main camp in Bangkok.

United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) core leader Waeng Tojitrak says they negotiated a peaceful exit with the military.

“When we heard there was violence and some deaths and third parties accusing the red-shirts of being violent we decided to negotiate with the soldiers to send our supporters home safely. We will take some time out to refresh our strategy. The fight for democracy in Thailand will never end until Thailand becomes a free and fair democracy.”

Dr Tosaporn Sererak a former MP and Red-Shirt supporter warned the crisis wasn’t over.

“It is not over. They will continue their fight, there are still a lot of demonstrations at the small point at Snam Laung and every where. We have to fight in the street by the people and parliament. We don’t have a true democracy.”

The latest stand-off is yet another blow to Thailand’s economy, which is already feeling the effects of the global financial crisis.

The University of Thailand’s Chamber of Commerce, Economic and Business Forecasting Center estimates that the Thai will shrink by more than 5 or 6 percent this year, particularly if the political fighting continues.

Dr Paul Tanongpo is an economics professor at Rangsit University in Bangkok. He says Thailand will suffer longer from the crisis because of the protests.

“Economically Thailand has already been injured by the global financial crisis. The current political instability in the country will continue to further depress economic outlook for the country, the various businesses, particular tourism. Overall the economic outlook for Thailand is not that positive even prior to the political protesta, the government has already suggested new graduates from Thai universities, approximately seven hundred thousand for 2009, will be unemployed. This political turmoil will further depress economically. It will take Thailand another year to recover from the current situation.”

Many Thai’s are weary of the ongoing political turmoil.

In a recent survey by the Assumption University in Bangkok, 74 percent of Thai’s questioned said they are sick of politics.

But many, particularly the poor in rural areas, support the Red-Shirts. Thaksin Shinawatra was popular for lifting rural incomes, cracking down on drugs and paying off the country’s debts to the International Monetary Fund.

Rural dwellers in the North are resentful of perceived elitists in Bangkok; notably the judiciary, the military and the powerful advisers of King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

In Bangkok, papaya salad seller Wasarnee believes the red-shirts were fighting for her rights too.

“The Red shits can not improve the economy but if we can achieve real democracy, we can build a strong economy. The Red shits are fighting for poor people not for themselves. Right now everything is expensive and this government is doing little to help the economy.

The question many are asking now is how long this latest ceasefire will last.

Dr Paul Tanongpo says there is now an established cycle of political unrest in Thailand.

“This type of cycle has become part of Thai political culture. After dissolution of the protests and several days to come, there will be a short period of relative peace but the protests will continue. A part of the protest and catalyst of the protests comes from outside, former Prime Minister Thaksin, so long as he continues to support the problems inside the country there will continue to be protests of this type, even if it leads to the unseating of the current government and the Red side wins the Yellow side will come out and continue the cycle. Thailand will continue to suffer and destroy its own image.”

He says the problems will remain until Thai politicians agree to accept each other and work together.

“The problem of Thailand today is not so much about Red Shirts or Yellow shirts, it has to do with political culture of certain leaders or political partys of Thailand who are not willing to accept the vote of the people, insisting that if even a majority of the vote goes to a certain party, insisting that the party should be dissolved. In Democratic systems, politicians must be able accept and be willing to accept the vote of the people, not to monopolise and look for reason’s to dissolve the government.”

Arrest warrant s have been issued for Thaksin Shinawatra and dozens of other Red-Shirts for their role in inciting the protests.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva says elections will be called once stability has been restored. He also pledged to seek agreement in the government on unspecified political reforms.

Thursday, April 02, 2009


People want to relax when they tired
Our mind get refresh when feel there is nothing dilemma
The mind flooding on the air like the boat in the water

However if you put yourself in the wrong place, you will never get never relax because of the sense and atmosphere.

What will happen if you mind get dark all the time?
What will happen if you soul did not get refresh?
Where is happiness if those are obstacle in your life?

Is it because you or because of me?


ငါမေတြ႕ခ်င္တဲ့သူေတြနဲ႕ ဘယ္ေတာ့မွ မေတြ႕ပါရေစနဲ႕

ငါမျမင္ခ်င္သူေတြနဲ႕လဲ ဘယ္ေတာ့မွ မဆံုပါရေစနဲ႕

ငါမၾကိဳက္တဲ့သူေတြကိုလဲ ဘယ္ေတာ့မွ မၾကည့္ပါရေစနဲ႕

ငါဟာ မျပံဳးတတ္တဲ့ မ်က္ကန္းတစ္ေယာက္ပါပဲ

ဒါေပမယ့္ သူတို႕ရဲ့အလည္မွာ ငါရွိေနဆဲ

ဒါေပမယ့္ ငါသူတို႕နဲ႕ ခပ္ကင္းကင္းေနနုိင္ပါရဲ့

ဒါေပမယ့္ သူတုိ႕ကို ငါျမင္ေနရတုန္းပဲ ္

ငါ့မ်က္လံုးအစံုက ကန္းေနေပမယ့္ ငါ့အေပၚ သူတုိ႕ ျပဳမူ သမ် လုပ္ခဲ့သမ်ေတြကို ျပန္ေတြးတိုင္း ငါ့နာက်င္မူေတြကို ငါ့စိတ္ထဲက ျပန္ျမင္ေယာင္ အမွတ္ရေနတုန္းပဲ

သိပ္မၾကာခင္ကေလးကပဲ ငါ့လက္ကိုင္ဖုန္းေလးကို ေပါက္ခဲြြျပီး ငါ့စိတ္ေတြကို အဆံုးအထိ ေပါက္ကြဲလိုက္ေပမယ့္ သိပ္ေတာ့လည္း မထူးပါဘူး အခုခ်ိန္အထိကိုိ ငါ စိတ္ေတြကို ငါတည္ျငိမ္ေအာင္ မလုပ္နုိင္ေသးဘူး

ညတာေတြကလဲ ရွည္လ်ားလြန္းလိုက္တာမ်ားကြယ္ အိပ္မေပ်ာ္တဲ့ ငါ့အတြက္ ဘာအဓိပါယ္မွာကို မရွိေတာ့ဘူး။

ဘုရားေရ ငါငရဲျပည္ကို ေရာက္ေနရသလိုပါပဲလား လက္ေတြ႕ဘ၀မွာေတာ့ လူေတြဟာ တစ္ခ်ိဳ႕ အခ်ိန္ပိုင္းေတြေလာက္ပဲ ငရဲျပည္က လြတ္ေျမာက္ခြင့္ရမယ္ ထင္ပါရဲ့

ဒီေတာ့ မင္းစိတ္ေတြ ျပန္ျပီး ထူေထာင္နိုင္ဖို႕ မင္းစိ္တ္ကို မင္းကိုယ္တုိင္ပဲ တည္ေဆာက္ရမွာပဲ..

ဘာသာျပန္၊ မဆုမြန္

Monday, March 30, 2009

Way of life

Never meet people who I don't want to
Never see people who I don't want to
Never look people who I don't want to
Never smile I am blind

But I am in the middle of them.
But I can avoid them
But I still see them

Even my eyes is blind, my mind is awake it make to think what they did to me.

I can not stand anymore destroy phone nothing different from a few minutes ago.

Night pass long, sleeplessness, nothing mean to me.

Oh hell, some time people suffering hell in the present life.

You have to build your mind up

Friday, March 27, 2009

BRIDGE to better learning

Southeast Asian educators discuss language of instruction in schools
Published: 24/03/2009 at 12:00 AM
Bangkok Post

The popular wooden bridge of the Mon community in Sangkhla Buri, Kanchanaburi province, stands as a symbol of the Mon peoples' aspiration to traverse the way to a better life and at the same time preserve their birthright.

Mon students enjoy their walk to school. PHOTOS COURTESY OF SEAMEO

Considered the longest wooden bridge in Thailand, the Mon Bridge, or Saphan Uttamanuson, is an enduring pathway that provides ease for Mon villagers to travel back and forth between the two ends of the Khao Laem lake as they go about their daily lives.

The same bridge serves about 1,200 Mon children who cross it every day to reach the Wat Wang Wiwekaram School, the only government institution of learning in the village.

Just like many other ethnic and linguistic minority people in Southeast Asia, the Mon often face barriers to quality basic education.

Oftentimes, Mon children have difficulty in schools because the language of instruction is different from what they speak at home.

In an attempt to facilitate teaching and learning among the Mon children, the school introduced the Mon-Thai Bilingual Programme, where the Mon language is used as the language of instruction when teaching younger children.

The approach allows teachers to use the native language of the children to introduce general learning and use it to bridge to the Thai language.

Only a year old, the learning innovation has made a big difference in the performances and attitudes of the children.

Their parents speak of the abundant benefits from the new manner of teaching introduced to their little ones.

Use of mother tongue

Persuaded by the nobility of the initiative, the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organisation (Seameo) Secretariat, which is based in Bangkok, visited the site and captured visual documentation of the school and its community.

The story found its way through the Seameo meeting of senior education officials from the Southeast Asian countries that was held from Feb 24 to 26 in Bangkok. Presented in cooperation with Thailand's Ministry of Education and the Foundation for Applied Linguistics, the implementation strategy and immediate outcomes of the Mon-Thai Bilingual Programme inspired educators from other Southeast Asian countries to adopt and adapt its basic principles to their own academic programmes.

The Mon Bridge or ‘Saphan Uttamanuson’.

Confronted with unique and diverse linguistic situations, Southeast Asian countries speak of the same need to provide access to quality basic education for all, including minority groups and the linguistically disadvantaged.

Country representatives shared good and functioning examples of using the first language or the mother tongue of the learner to connect to the learning of a second or national language. The examples reveal that a strong foundation in the first language and a good bridge to the second language builds successful, lifelong learners in both languages. At the same time, this preserves the people's culture and the language itself.


The meeting identified exemplars and assessed their usability. Among the many good practices shared at the meeting was the use of both Thai and Pattani Malay in teaching and learning in the southern provinces of Thailand, including Songkhla, Pattani, Narathiwat and Satun provinces.

Other good examples included the use of lingua franca, or the commonly spoken language in a region, such as in the Philippines, or the bilingual literacy programme for the Khmou minority in Laos, or the use of the Sudanese language in Indonesian classrooms.

The countries expressed enthusiasm to work further with Seameo in pursuing collaborative projects to implement the good practices shared at the meeting.

Organised by the Seameo Secretariat and with support from the World Bank, the meeting aimed at providing the opportunity to explore how Southeast Asian countries, through appropriate language policies, can achieve Education for All (EFA) by widening access, reducing repetition of grade levels and dropout rates, and improving learning outcomes.

Those who attended the meeting include senior education officials and representatives from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vietnam.

Representatives from several international non-government organisations (NGOs) provided a wider dimension in the discussions at the meeting. The NGOs comprised Care Cambodia, International Cooperation Cambodia, Mahidol University, Save the Children, Unesco Bangkok, Unesco Hanoi, Unicef, the World Bank, Summer Institute of Linguistics (known as SIL) International, Seameo Regional Centre for Educational Innovation and Technology, Seameo Regional Language Centre, and Seameo Regional Centre for Archaeology and Fine Arts.

"This is the very essence of this gathering. We have to showcase good and functioning examples of using the native language of the child at the beginning of schooling to usher him [or her] slowly to learn in a new language. This approach will greatly improve learning," explained Seameo Secretariat director Dr Ahamad bin Sipon.

Just like the expressions of satisfaction from the meeting's participants regarding their newly found knowledge, the voices of the Mon children echo through the village, giving voice to the joy of learning in school. And besides their old but unfailing wooden bridge, the Mon people have found a new bridge that will lead them to wider horizons.

The use of their very own Mon language in school will surely connect the young children to a greater world of learning through the Thai language. It will not only improve the learning outcomes of the Mon children, but will also help to keep the Mon legacy alive.

Abigail Cuales Lanceta is a programme officer in charge of information at the Seameo Secretariat in Bangkok. She has been a teacher and an education programme specialist working on various education development projects in the Philippines' Department of Education. Contact her at abigail@seameo.org .

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Mon kingdoms

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Mon kingdoms ruled large sections of Burma from the 9th to the 11th, the 13th to the 16th, and again in the 18th centuries.

The first recorded kingdom that can undisputedly be attributed to the Mon people was Dvaravati, which prospered until around 1000 AD when their capital was sacked by the Khmer Empire and most of the inhabitants fled west to present-day Burma and eventually founded new kingdoms. These, too, eventually came under pressure from new ethnic groups arriving from the north.

About the same period, southward-migrating Burmans took over lands in central Myanmar once dominated by Pyu city-states and the Tai started trickling into South-East Asia. The Burman ( Bamar ) established the kingdom of Bagan. In 1057, Bagan defeated the Mon kingdom, capturing the Mon capital of Thaton and carrying off 30,000 Mon captives to Bagan.

After the fall of Bagan to the invading Mongols in 1287, the Mon, under Wareru an ethnic Tai, regained their independence and captured Martaban and Bago, thus virtually controlling their previously held territory.

A main body of ethnic Shan / Tai migration came in the 13th century after the fall of the Kingdom of Dali to the Mongol Empire and filled the void left by the fall of the Bagan kingdom in northern Burma forming a loose coalition of city-states . These successive waves of Bamar and Tai groups slowly eroded the Mon kingdoms, and the next 200 years witnessed incessant warfare between the Mon and the Burmese, but the Mon managed to retain their independence until 1539. The last independent Mon kingdom fell to the Burmese when Alaungpaya razed Bago in 1757. Many of the Mon were killed, while others fled to Thailand.



[edit] List of Mon monarchs

Mon monarchs ruled lower Burma from 1287 to 1539 with a brief revival during 1550-53.

Mon name Dates BE years Succession Death Burmese Pali Other names
Wareru 1287-96 649 19

Magadu, Wa Roe, Warow, Wariru
Hkun Law 1296-1310 668 4 brother murdered Hkun Law
Saw U 1310-24 672 13 nephew murdered Saw O
Saw Zein 1324-31 685 7 brother murdered

Zein Pun 1331

murderer murdered

Saw E Gan Gaung 1331


Banya E Law 1331-48 692 18 cousin
Binnya E Law

Binnya U 1348-83 710 37 son natural death Binnya U
Rajadhirat 1383-1421 747 39 son accident Razadarit
Binnya Nwe
Banya Dhamraja 1423-26 785 3 son murdered Binnyadammayaza

Binnya Ram I 1426-46 788 20 brother
Binnyaran Ramarajadhirat Binnya Rankit
Banyabarow 1446-50 808 4 nephew
Binnyawaru Jayaddisarajadhirat Banyabarvor,
Banya Ken Dau 1450-53 812 3 cousin

Dhammatrailokyanatha Banya Ken, Binya Keng, Banya Kyan
Mawdaw 1453 815

Baña Thau 1453-1472 815 7
abdicated Shin Sawbu Viharadevi
Dhammacedi 1472-92 822 31 son-in-law natural death Dammazedi Ramadhipati Dhammazedi, Damazedi, Dhammachedi, Dhammaceti
Binnya Ram II 1492-1526 853 35 son
Takayutpi 1526-39 888 14 son
Smim Sawhtut 1550

usurper murdered Smim Sawhtut
Smim Htaw 1551-53
2 usurper executed Smim Htaw

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  • Guillon, Emmanuel (tr. ed. James V. Di Crocco) (1999) The Mons: A civilization of Southeast Asia, Bangkok: The Siam Society.
  • Harvey, G.E. (1925) History of Burma: From the earliest times to 10 March 1824 the beginning of the English conquest, New York: Longmans, Green, and Co.
  • Phayre, Arthur Purves. History of Burma including Burma Proper, Pegu, Taungu,
  • Tenasserim, and Arakan: From the Earliest Time to the End of the First War With British India. London: Trübner & Company. 1883; Reprint: Bibliotheca Orientalism, Bangkok: Orchid Press, 1998.

[edit] Further reading

  • "The Mon-pa Revisited: In Search of Mon." François Pommaret. In: Sacred Spaces and Powerful Places In Tibetan Culture: A Collection of Essays. (1999) Edited by Toni Huber, pp. 52-73. The Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, Dharamsala, H.P., India. ISBN 81-86470-22-0.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Mon People Celebrate Their Culture and Call for Democracy in Burma

February 16th, 2009 by King Kong Janoi Print This Post/Page

Burma_Mon_Day_2__web_.JPGMon people all over the world celebrated their national day this week.

The day is aimed at celebrating the rich Mon culture, something that Mon people living in Burma are unable to do.

On the Thai Burma border where thousands of refugees live, the celebrations were particularly vigorous.

There the youth movement for the creation of a democratic multi-ethnic Burma is thriving.

Our reporter King Kong Janoi travelled to the Thai Burma Border to witness the celebrations and filed this report.

On the Thai Burma border Mon refugees were determined and joyful when celebrating their National Day this week.

Hundreds of Mon, many of them young people, waved flags representing their village or group.

For six decades now ethnic Mon people have been struggling for self-determination in Burma and the right to preserve their rich culture.

The history of their repression dates back more than 200 years. Today they are routinely subjected to torture, imprisonment and rape by the military regime.

Thousands have fled the country to an uneasy existence in Thailand.

Speakers of the Mon language number less than a million but there may be as many as eight million people in the world of Mon descent.

Nai Suthon is the chairman of the Mon United League, established in 1996.

“The objective of Mon National Day is to organize Mon people, to maintain our Mon Culture and custom and to spread the message from one village to another. If we don’t do that we worry that the Mon people will forget and remain silent and eventually the Mon people will disappear.”

Mon dancers entertained the crowds. Such cultural displays are usually banned inside Burma. But the military junta even allowed a small celebration within the country this year.

Nai Suthon says he supports the establishment of a federal democracy in Burma.

“We support federalism, if we isolated ourselves it is not good. If we cannot achieve federalism, I think the political crisis in Burma is not possible to be overcome; we have to struggle until what we call self determination.”

The Burmese military leadership have long suppressed minorities in an effort, they say, to build and sustain Burmese nationalism.

Whilst some Mon elders have rallied for the establishment of an independent state, many of today’s youth agree that the unity of Burma is important. A Shan youth, Sai Leik explains.

“We need federalism and democracy at the same time because we are ethnic people in Burma, not equal to mainlanders in central Burma, so we need equal between us. So if they did not consider tripartite, it may difficult to solve ethnic problem in Burma. I mean ethnic is main issue and main concern in Burma because of the country is multi-ethnic country so they must consider ethnic people, ethnic politics.”

Many ethnic groups are demanding a tripartite dialogue with the military regime, to include all democratic and ethnic groups.

But the idea is a long way from being achieved.

The military regime says it is continuing its seven steps road-map to democracy and demands that all ethnic groups lay down their arms. The road-map has been described by critics as a sham.

Most ethnic groups, including the New Mon State party are refusing to participate in the 2010 election.

And there are many Mon youth still fighting for independence.

Mon Youth Nai Chan Jit says democracy without consideration of ethnic diversity is meaningless in Burma.

“This is different religious background, different language, different culture. If you just give them democracy and let speak only Burmese language I pretty much sure, they will fight back again.”

But Chan Jit also says it is impossible for all of Burma’s ethnic peoples to be independent.

“We also need to look at geographical location of the country, the country is between China and India which is very giant and very big so we can not properly survive if only small group like Mon and Shan success and live independently so we have to join together but with some guarantee for their rights this ethnic people only that we can solve the problem. Therefore, most people like federalism.”

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Plight of Rohingya’s in the Spotlight Again

February 7th, 2009 by King Kong Janoi Print This Post/Page

Thai Refugees (web).JPGAs another boatload of Rohingya refugees arrives on the shores of Indonesia, Thailand is once again in the spotlight for its treatment of the stateless Muslim minority group.

Thai security forces stand accused of dumping more than one thousand Rohingya at sea in early January.

About 500 or so have been rescued but hundreds remain missing.

Whilst Indonesia is debating what to do with the 400 or so Rohingya in its care, Thailand continues to defend its actions in the face of growing international condemnation.

King Kong Janoi has the story.

According to Amnesty International thousands of Rohingyas, a Muslim minority group, flee Burma each year. The military regime denies their existence in the country and routinely subjects them to imprisonment and torture.

Benjamin Zawacki is a researcher for Amnesty International’s Southeast Asia Team.

“Well, certainly they’ve suffered human rights abuses on a vast and widespread scale in Myanmar. And again it’s been claimed that they’ve suffered human rights abuses or violations in Thailand as well.”

Many thousands have settled in Bangladesh in recent years. But others attempt a treacherous journey south to Malaysia, often using Thailand as a transit point.

Accusations of mistreatment at the hands of Thai authorities surfaced earlier this month after nearly 650 Rohingya were rescued off India and Indonesia.

Reports suggest that after being detained and beaten, multiple boatloads of about 1,000 Rohingya were towed out to by the Thai navy sea over a month beginning in December. They were deserted without engines and little food or water.
Whilst conceding they towed the Rohingya out to sea Thailand has consistently denied mistreating the Rohingya.

A request to be interviewed for this story was declined by the government.

Somsri Hananuntasuk is with Thai Action Committee for Democracy in Burma. She says the government came to power on a platform of protecting human rights. But their recent actions suggest otherwise.

“I know that the government don’t want to be an enemy with the navy or the police or military because they are like a limb of the government. If they don’t cooperate with the government there will be a problem. Of course the government doesn’t want to undermine their own people but still if you want to build up the new culture of politic and human rights investigation then you have to be more transparent and do things openly. If you need to punish anybody let’s do it from now so that the authorities will learn and will do things carefully in the future.”

Amidst mounting international pressure Thailand granted the United Nations High Commission access to a group of Rohingya teenagers this week. They are part of a larger group of recent arrivals detained in southern Ranong province.

Suggestions by the UNHCR that a temporary refugee camp be established in Ranong prompted fierce protests from locals.

Prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has insisted they are illegal economic migrants who pose a threat to Thai jobs, a suggestion dismissed by labour migration experts.

Somsri says the Thai government could easily accommodate the Rohingyas.

“If the Thai government says this is a big group, I would to say that in fact this is small group compare to Burmese and Cambodian refugees who come to Thailand in the past. We still have capacity to help them. I believe that and I think we should not push them back to the ocean. They don’t their destiny whether they can go back or if they go back, they will face another problem or not it, is very risky for them.”

Not everyone in Thailand feels that the Rohingya people are a threat.

Nok sells fried chicken on the streets of Bangkok.

She feels positive about illegal migrants who enter Thailand.

“Migrant people come to Thailand to work here, but it doesn’t mean that they will take our jobs because they do the jobs that Thai people don’t want to do. For example, they work in construction. I am not able to work on a constructions site. I will sell chicken in my shop. This kind of selling is not allowed for migrant people so they are not going to occupy my job.”

Surapong Kongchantuk is a respected human rights researcher in Bangkok.

He argues that there is wider problem of racism in Thailand that needs to be addressed.

“Among Thai society there is a belief that if you are not pure Thai then you have no right to use the resources in Thailand.”

But despite the hardship of life in a foreign country for Rohingya like Nasin, anything is better than what they leave behind.

“I cannot stay in our country because the government will not grant us citizenship. We cannot travel within our own country. The military take our land and possessions. We cannot get jobs. We cannot go to hospital if we are sick. How can we survive? We must leave and go anywhere we can. And we must always risk our lives.”