THATON, Mon State — Mon State Chief Minister U Aye Zan has told the residents of Thaton Township to “eat only a dish of curry” at mealtime in order to bring down food prices.
The chief minister said food prices would decline if every household ate only a dish of curry at their dining tables when he and other officials met with locals on Wednesday.
After the officials made their speeches, locals were allowed to ask questions.
“I’d like to know if the government can adjust the prices of food including rice, oil, salt and onions and general consumer goods to an appropriate level,” said U Aye Myint.
“Our country is poor. We should only eat a dish of curry. If we don’t go to tea shops and only eat a dish of curry in our homes, won’t the food prices decline?” the minister replied.
When U Aye Myint answered “yes,” the minister added: “If so, it would be the best. Do you think a law can be enacted to require people to do so?”
“It is easy to bring down food prices, isn’t it? Don’t make donations,” U Aye Zan said, referring to the practice of donating food for Buddhist novitiation ceremonies and other rituals.
“If you are going to prepare ten dishes of curry for your donation ceremony, then you can choose to donate only one dish, can’t you? It is quite easy to bring down food prices,” the minister added.
He urged locals to take the example of England and Russia, which rationed food during the world wars.
He said the people of Myanmar should spend more money investing and less buying food, and to farm on vacant land.
“When we were young, students had to grow gourd, ladyfinger, roselle, radish and so on in the school compound,” U Aye Zan said, urging locals to plant crops around their houses to reduce their food expenses.
The Union minister for agriculture and irrigation under the previous administration, U Myint Hlaing, came under fire for similar remarks when he told farmers to “skip a meal” in order to pay back the agricultural loans provided by the government. He was henceforth dubbed “one-meal Myint Hlaing.”
Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.