Woman Faces 5 Years over Photo Likening Army Garb to Suu Kyi’s Dress

  An image posted to Chaw Sandi Tun’s Facebook page has caused controversy. (Photo: Chaw Sandi Tun / Facebook)

An image posted to Chaw Sandi Tun’s Facebook page has caused controversy. (Photo: Chaw Sandi Tun / Facebook)

PATHEIN, Irrawaddy Division — A young woman was brought to trial in Irrawaddy Division on Tuesday after sharing a satirical post on social media deemed to be insulting to Burma’s military.

Twenty-five-year-old Chaw Sandi Tun, also known as Chit Thami, last week took to Facebook to share a digitally photo collage of Aung San Suu Kyi wearing a green traditional htamein, Commander-in-Chief Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing and other military service personnel donning newly redesigned uniforms.

The post compared the new military garb to the apparel of the renowned opposition leader, who chairs the National League for Democracy (NLD) and once served nearly two decades of house arrest under the former military junta.

A text transposed on the image read: “[They] like the color of the longyi of Aunti Suu [Aung San Suu Kyi], so they had it tailored and are now wearing it.”

The image hit a nerve in Burma’s conservative society, where it is considered an insult to imply that a man would wear htamein, the woman’s version of the traditional Burmese sarong known as longyi.

A Burma Army general staff officer, Lt-Col Kyaw Htin of the Southwest Command in Pathein, filed the suit against Chaw Sandi Tun on Oct. 12 under article 34 (d) of Burma’s Electronic Transactions Law. The vague provision, which carries penalties of up to five years in prison, outlaws altering digital information in such a way that would defame “any organization or any person.”

After her arrest on Monday evening at a meditation center in Rangoon, Chaw Sandi Tun was taken to the Maubin police station where she has since been in custody. She was brought to trial at noon on Tuesday and will return on Oct. 27, according to a member of the local students’ union that is assisting her case.

Chaw Sandi Tun, who earned a Bachelor’s degree in technology, is a former member of the Maubinn District Students’ Union and took part in student demonstrations against a new National Education Law earlier this year in Irrawaddy Division. She has since resigned from the students’ union and joined the local chapter of the NLD, and now works on the party’s election campaign.

The head of the Maubin Police Force, Pol-Lt Thein AUng, told The Irrawaddy on Tuesday that he could not provide any comment or further clarification about the case because he didn’t get permission.”

Chaw Sandi Tun is at least the second person to be arrested this year after sharing a satirical online post viewed as critical of the military. In February, police arrested Aung Nay Myo, a freelance photographer in Monywa, after he posted a satirical photo on his Facebook page that reportedly mocked Burmese officials. He was released after three days of interrogation.

9 Responses to Woman Faces 5 Years over Photo Likening Army Garb to Suu Kyi’s Dress

  1. Political satire is a healthy and acceptable ingredient of a true democracy, unlike in Myanmar where such a practice is considered criminal. I suppose the regime would call this an ingredient of “disciplined democracy” with the accent on “disciplined”.

  2. Chaw Sandi Tun was merely honoring the uniform.

    All BAMARS are proud to wear their mother’s garb, especially when the fighting is fierce. Some wear it like a head band.

    Even in the US a Burma born American Lt General wears his mother’s garb underneath his hat.

    It is a Myanmar tradition.

    Lt Col Kyaw Htin possibly likes to have a promotion. He just wants to please the boss. I do not know his ethnicity..

  3. Put her into prison for five years for a good joke like that?

    I remember a few years ago high government officers even wore ladies’ skirts with floral patterns to an important function to avoid an unfavourable astrological prophesy.

    The Thai’s have their ‘lese majeste’ law,
    Myanmar has many invisible red lines, people are not supposed to overstep.


  4. October 15th , 2015 .
    It has been since the days that , the late strongman : General Ne Win and his staffs at the military ranks and files had been distorting the images of the coutry by , forcing people to gave up their businessess , with the executive order of taken over all the independent businessess , the schools , the banking systems , and the rest is history . It has been more than five decades past and the successive military generals has been mistreating their own people in various parts of the country with their ” Private Armies : The Thatmadaw ” , acting as if they were one of the most notorious gangs in the world after the North Korean : crazy , Kim Jong Ill . The stealing of the national treasuries by putting all the key sectors of the ministry under the military control and effectively acted as they are owned by the militray enterprises as , modeled after their big brother , the People’s Republic of China’s , PLA , the people’s liberation army as they have the same model of putting into their national ministries under the military control and doctrine .
    The Burmese Military Generals has no ” Intention of relinquishing their hold on to the power and will never return it to the citizens of Burma , including all the ethnicties around the country as , they are still using with the same tactics , of intimidation , harrassing , destroying farmers properties , forced occupation of farmer’s plantation lands ,and fields , animals stocks , and so forth . Even , to this day , they are using their own soldies to commit rapes , raping of the young school girls , preganant women and later , shot them and taken away to dispose of their bodies . I am asking the International communities , the humanrights advocacy groups , and the Admnesty International as well as the WCC , which stands for : the world criminal court to investigate the Burmese Military Generals and their orders to their soldies to continue with their way of using this kind of inhumane methods to control their countryman has to completely stop . Put each and every persons related for their crimes committed to their fellow citizens of Burma , on trial .

  5. No oppression is so heavy or lasting as that which is inflicted by the perversion and exorbitance of legal authority.

  6. ASSK is loved and cherished by people Sometimes they think SHE is a SAINT or QUEEN. In many nations military serve the country at the pleasure of The ROYALTY. . Rightful heritage, lineage, integrity, capability and valor.

    Honor thy Queen.
    Honor thy uniform.
    A good choice.

    Thanks for bringing up the painful past.I lost everything in Burma. However let us not refresh guilt feelings at this juncture. Give a try with the coming election. May be, this could be the first peaceful and bloodless change in history.

    U Kalar or somebody should write RUBY CHRONICLE as a continuation of The Glass Chronicle.

    Desert Fox.

  7. While Burma’s Army portrays themselves as democracy founder in Burma or Father of Democracy in Myanmar,Burma’s Army and government shamefully failed the litmus test of Democracy. Political satirical caricatures and cartoons are absolutely critical and fundamental elements of free media and digital media in democratic country.

    The Myanmar government will release immediately and unconditionally,she did not commit any offense or crime. What on earth,all the students both boys and girls from kinda to high school uniform particularly longyi are similar to Army uniform. Why on earth, Army has not been offended by student uniform but by this poor girl.

  8. It is an open secret that the legal authority in Burma abuses their power and authority over so many decades. The comedian Zaganar had been given lengthy jail sentences over the years and now that he’s free, he has been sharing his experiences with the people over the media and different venues. Last night, I watched one of his shows on YouTube and couldn’t stop laughing but at the same time felt the hopelessness of the legal system in Burma and the corruption that’s going on as well. Here’s a scenario when Zaganar appeared at one of his trials in the court room:

    Judge: So, you used the internet.

    Zaganar: Yes, your Honour.

    Judge: You sent email to your colleagues?

    Zaganar: Yes, your Honour.

    Judge: What is your email address?

    Zaganar: It’s [address]@gmail.com

    Judge (looking angry at Zaganar’s response): I asked your email address, why did you gave me gmail.

    Zaganar: I guess, because they don’t have fmail yet.

    Zanagar was sentenced to 45 years. The Judge probably had not used email or computer for that matter.

    Well, here’s another instance:

    Judge: You chat with your friends on the internet?

    Zaganar: Yes, you Honor.

    Judge: Where did you chat?

    Zaganar: I chat in the Meebo.

    The Judge was fumed and Zaganar got 5 years for that. You see the word “chat” means “cooking” in Burmese and “Meebo” means “kitchen”. What Zaganar actually meant was that he chatted through “Meebo” website.

    Here’s one last scenario:

    A judge came out of the courtroom and was giggling non-stop. A colleague pulled him over and asked why he was giggling so much. The Judge answered, “The guy (the defendant) in there was saying so many satirical jokes about the government.” The colleague asked the Judge if he could share the jokes. The Judge responded, “No, I just handed him 5 years sentence for that.”

    I wish I could say that there’s hope for better days ahead in Burma but my hope gets dimmer everytime I read news like this article about Burma.

  9. Pol-Lt Thein AUng, told The Irrawaddy on Tuesday that he could not provide any comment or further clarification about the case because he is part and parcel of the Burma Army general staff officer, Lt-Col Kyaw Htin of the Southwest Command in Pathe: they have no balls period.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available. Comments with external links in the body text will be deleted by moderators.