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- Subject: DISCIPLINED DEMOCRACY.
- From: saw-aung@xxxxxxxx
- Date: Fri, 01 May 1998 23:32:00
Recently SPDC chairman General Than Shwe in his speeches
indicated that the Military will not rule the country for ever. On the
other hand he talked about disciplined democracy on many occasion.
Another system that will keep them in power for ever. I believe he is
trying to copy it from Indonesia and Singapore. Well, let me analyse
Disciplined Democracy and see if it will work for the people of Burma.
There are two opposite phrases in Burmese language. One is "chit-kyauk-yo
they" and the other is "yun-kyauk-moan." Burmese parents used to teach
their children to love, obey and respect their parents and the elders and
in this case they often use the phrase chit-kyauk-yo they. On the other
hand when a person hate another person the phrase yun-kyauk-moan is often
used. Chit-kyauk-yo they means love , fear and respect. Yun-kyauk-moan
means loathe, fear and hate. In both phrases the word fear is used but
has a little different meaning. In the first one you fear only when you
disobey your parents or the elders and do mischievous things and expect
punishment from them. In the latter phrase you fear constantly that you
will be harmed by the person you hate and loathe. As mentioned above, I
believe that SPDC is trying to copy disciplined democracy from Singapore
Government. So I would review few characters of Singapore Government and
compare to that of the Burma Military Regime. 1/ The former prime
minister of Singapore Lee Kwan Yu is highly educated but the former head
of State General Ne win is not. And still the ruling body of the
Singapore Government is well educated while most of the Burma Military
rulers are not. 2/ Singapore Government encourage education for its
citizens and even invite and hire academics and scientists while Burma
Military Junta close schools and universities for fear of students
unrest. 3/During four decade the tiny Island nation has prospered so much
that it now has accumulated cash reserve about 70 billion dollars while
Burma military Regime has only few hundred million dollars cash reserve.
I remember clearly before the military took over daily news papers
printed how much the Government had cash reserve in the bank. At that
time the cash reserve was 90-100 kadei.(1 kadei=10 millions.) After the
Military took over news paper no longer printed foreign exchange reserve.
The Military kept itself isolated from the world community and no body
know where the cash go.
4/ Singapore has a system that monitor and punish corrupt official and
the business are transparent while the corruption in Burma military
regime is rampant and business deal has many hidden costs.
5/ Singapore has plentiful employment for its citizens and also attract
people from neighboring countries to come to Singapore to seek
employments. Burma military regime can not only give enough employment
for its citizens but also create fears and unbearable situation that its
highly educated citizens as well as unskilled laborers left the country
and seek employment in neighboring countries.
6/ Rule of law prevails in Singapore and offenders are being punished
accordingly while many innocent persons in Burma are being punished with
long prison term but real criminals who killed, torture and rape the
people go unpunished. Many such crimes are being committed by SPDC
soldiers and officers alike but not a single of them is being punished.
7/ Singapore care about its citizens who are getting into trouble abroad
but SPDC do not care about its citizens who are getting into trouble
abroad. If I remember it correctly in 1974 a scientific research
boat,belonging to Singapore was captured by the Burma Navy and the crew
were accused of stealing fish in Burmese waters. At that time I was
responsible for conducting the case in the court of law and obtaining
documents for repatriation of the crew members back to their country. As
I have the opportunity to talk to them I was convinced that they have
trust and respect for their Government. One crew member told me that the
food in prison was bad but they would not be for long because their
prime minister would talk to the Burmese Government. And that was true.
Before they serve their terms they all went home. recently I read about
many Burmese citizens who work in Japan have overstayed their stay
permits. Among them one person had contracted aides and he knew he was
going to die. Before he die he had a strong burning desire
to see his family at his bed side. He could not get his documents
revalidated because he could not pay ten percent the money he earn
abroad, including his back areas of payments. It was a tragedy and a sad
story the Burma Military regime do not care much about its citizen who
was in physical and financial trouble.
8/ In Singapore people afraid of the Government when they have become
offender of the law because they can expect hash punishment from the
authority. In Burma people fearful of the Government because they will be
picked up by MIS in the middle of the night for their political belief or
merely carried out party activities. People are fearful of SPDC soldiers
because they will be picked up for portering or being enslaved at
construction site or being killed or being tortured or raped.
9/ Singapore Government do not confiscate people' properties but
discourage the sale of their properties by imposing 100% capital gain tax
within 3 year
for the sale of property. Burma Military Regime confiscate all the
that they want in good business area and form joint venture business with
drug king pin.
10/ Singapore Government build suitable housing on government property to
meet the demand of its citizens while SPDC move its citizens out of town
where necessity such as transportation, water, electricity are not easily
available.By looking at the above mentioned difference between the
functioning of Singapore Government and that of the SPDC regime one can
easily draw the conclusion that Singapore Government still win the love
and trust of its citizens in spite of hash punishment imposed upon its
offender of the law. I would therefore categorize Singapore Government as
On the other hand when you look at the functioning of the SPDC regime and
the response of the people they loathe that their properties are being
confiscated, their villages being destroyed, their rice barns being burnt
down and their live stocks being robbed by SPDC soldiers. The people of
Burma have constance fear that they will be put in jail for their
political belief. In the country side people have fear that they will be
enslaved, tortured, rape and killed by SPDC soldiers. So in my assessment
the SPDC regime fall within the category of Yun-Kyauk-Moan.
The Burma Military have ruled the country for 36 long years with
different names but the people are still at the bottom level
educationally, economically and mentally. The people are not happy
because they are in constant fear of the government. The people are not
happy because they can not earn their livelihood peacefully to earn
enough food to eat. The minority people are not happy because their
children can not learn their languages so that they can maintain their
cultures. Well, if I have to mention many things that the people of Burma
are not happy about there will not be enough space here and I do not
intend to do so.
Just imagine and visualize what the country will become and how the
people will function when democracy flourish. Many highly educated
Burmese citizens who went abroad will come back and help out with
education, rich nations and major financial institutions will be willing
to help out with aids and loans which will enable economy to get started
its momentum and foreign investment will be coming in gradually. The size
of the Army will be reduced and the energies of the Army personnel will
be diverted to the work force which is essential for rebuilding of the
country and its economy. There will be much savings for the expense to
keep a big Army and feed its soldiers. Refugees and Burmese citizens
seeking employments in neighboring countries will voluntarily come back
and restart their new lives in their home land with out fear.
After long years of sufferings the people Burma deserve true democracy,
not disciplined democracy which General Than Shwe often mentioned.
Disciplined democracy is another system which SPDC is trying to create
just to perpetuate their hold on the people of Burma. Time has changed
and it is time for SPDC to make a move to let the people form their own
Government. Time for true and real reconciliation is overdue and the
longer the SPDC try to hang on power the more damage will be done to the
country and the people. The International community no longer believe
SPDC propaganda and lies. I am sorry to say that. If the International
community believe what the SPDC is trying to say the UN will not use
tougher words each year to pass resolution to single out Burma Military
Regime for its extensive human right abuse. SPDC will not need to spend
hundred thousands of dollar to hire lobbyists to mend its tarnished
image. So please be realistic and do what is best for the country and the
people. As soldiers SPDC had vowed and is obliged to protect the people
and their properties and if necessary to lay down their lives, but now it
turn out to be the other way around. People have to suffer and die so
that SPDC can still hang on power.
Before South Africa handed over Apartheid Government to majority rule,
the then prime minister De Klerk had a hard time to convince his own
party and the hard line members but SPDC do not need to convince any
party to make decision for drastic change. If SPDC could dissolve the
SLORC easily I believe they will not have any problem to make a change.
As many people believe, it might probably need to have the blessings of
the former head of State General Ne Win.
In conclusion, as ordinary citizen I earnestly appeal to General Than
Shwe and colleague to please initiate dialogue between opposition leaders
and minority leaders for true and meaningful reconciliation. I also
appeal again to SPDC to help out with the smooth transition of the
Military regime to the Civilian Government which the people desire to
form. Even though I live comfortably but not lavishly in foreign land I
still share mental anguish with my fellow countrymen in Burma. To all my
fellow countrymen I wish you prosperity and happier the remainder of your
lives and pray that God Bless you all abundantly and always. with LOVE.
SAW AUNG KHIN.
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