Thein Sein Receives Hero’s Welcome in Rangoon

Supporters of Burmese President Thein Sein hold posters as they await his arrival at Rangoon International Airport on Monday. (Photo: The Irrawaddy)

More than a thousand people welcomed Burmese President Thein Sein upon his return from the United States on Monday morning in a rare gesture of popular support for a leading politician in the military-dominated nation.

“We love our president,” bellowed the crowd outside Rangoon International Airport. Huge posters with the former general’s image bearing the slogan “We support you! Congratulations, Mr. President” were held by supporters

Those present included affluent businessmen, members of political parties, garment factory workers and students. Some estimated that as many as 2,000 people could have been among the horde.

“We are glad that sanctions have been lifted. Before, we could only export our products to our neighboring countries like Bangladesh, Malaysia, Japan, Vietnam and so on,” said Dr. Aung Win, deputy chairman of the Myanmar Garment Association.

“Now we in the textile industry can export more to the United States too. That’s why we came here to welcome the president.”

Aung Win said that he brought around 300 garment factory workers to welcome Thein Sein, but that 10,000 or 20,000 people could easily have come.

During Thein Sein’s trip, which started on Sept. 24, the Obama administration lifted import sanctions against Burma as a reward for tentative democratic reforms since the 67-year-old took office in March last year.

Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has also been traveling in the United States and backed Naypyidaw’s calls for the lifting of the trade restrictions.

Maj Zaw Htay, the director of the President’s Office, told The Irrawaddy on Monday afternoon that “the president’s trip was a success.”

“The president got a chance to explain the changes in our country in front of the international community,” he said. “Our President’s Office was proud of his success.”

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the lifting of sanctions one day before Thein Sein addressed the UN General Assembly in New York on Thursday.

5 Responses to Thein Sein Receives Hero’s Welcome in Rangoon

  1. It makes me remember when we were forced to show up to welcome Khin Ngyunt. I believe many people from USDP showed up with costumes from various ethnic groups. Except lip’s service, what had we seen from Thein Sein’s reform? He is still far from being a hero. 

  2. For me, the time is not yet ripe to give my applause to president Thein Sein but I feel very much bemused to myself to see that I have a good military general who is a Burmese citizen like myself. There are long roads ahead for president Thein Sein and all Burmese. We just all threw our hats in the ring including Suu Kyi and the fight is going on there without knowing who is the winner.

    The mismatch of 2008 constitution and Rohingya issues is popping high while war in the north against Kachin is still devastating. Burma is a sleeping giant who will wake up the most beautiful nation on earth soon!

  3. Can’t begrudge Baldy for trying to be Mini Me of his sidekick. what with well organised roaring rant-a-crowd and ever  loyal “free Media” of international envy at hand.

    Small footnote: 
    People who are currently free and at liberty are going to be always dictated by and looking up to the “employer” once that cycle is started in Burma soon. Like fish in pagoda lakes. And like a snake in the hole. No turning back. 

    Always wishing to be ordered about. Life depends on it. Ask the 2-3 -job-low, low wagers in US- the “rich” ex-pats living in dungeons willingly watching “Friends” reruns.In the coming census put in Religion  as “Lo-bun”.

  4. The petty man is eager to make boasts, yet desires that others should believe in him. He enthusiastically engages in deception, yet wants others to have affection for him. He conducts himself like an animal, yet wants others to think well of him.


    I C J

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