RANGOON — The Mon State government will replace the Brahminy Duck (hintha) statue, a cultural symbol at the entrance of the Mon State capital Moulmein that was removed under ex-junta leader Snr-Gen Than Shwe.
The Brahminy Duck is a national symbol for millions of ethnic Mon people living in southern Burma. The military junta removed the figure in January 2008, without approval from the local ethnic people. According to Mon community leaders, the junta removed it at night when no one was around. The statue has been abandoned in a municipal office for the past nine years. The former military regime replaced the duck with a large alms bowl at Moulmein’s entrance, which Mon leaders say Than Shwe did to bring himself good luck.
Min Kyi Win, Mon State’s natural resources and environmental conservation minister, told The Irrawaddy that the local government was trying to replace the statue as soon as possible.
“The chief minister went to see where it had been abandoned and how much damage it had suffered. He also visited the entrance to Moulmein to see if the statue’s foundation needed repair,” said Min Kyi Win.
The Mon State government tasked Min Kyi Win with arranging the statue’s return. He said that after meeting with involved parties, including Mon Buddhist leaders and an engineer to settle problems with the original foundation, it would be returned as soon as possible.
Min Htin Aung Han, Mon State’s minister of energy and electric power, told Viva Video, “It is the symbol of the Mon. It is better to bring it back. This will even help ethnic unity with the Mon.”