RANGOON — Comments on Facebook posted by the grandson of former dictator Ne Win about serving Lipton Tea at a state dinner for the visiting Singaporean Prime Minister have caused a ruckus on social media in Burma.
The dispute started with a menu from a banquet in Naypyidaw on Tuesday hosted by the Burmese President Htin Kyaw and the first lady for Lee Hsien Loong, who is now in Burma for a state visit.
A picture of the menu showing “Lipton Tea with Lime Slice” as dessert went viral on Facebook, and the ex-dictator’s grandson jumped in on the same day on his own Facebook feed, calling Aung San Suu Kyi ‘Old Gal’ and saying “she should definitely not be listened to, at least when it comes to tea.”
“OMG. Who serves Lipton Tea for a state dinner? Such a disgrace. It should be Twinning’s Earl Grey or Fortnum and Mason’s Queen Anne Tea or even our own traditional Shan Tea. I expect the Old Girl to have more refined taste than that,” said the post.
“Don’t give me the crappie excuse that we should save money when you can get Twinning’s at a local City Mart for $13 per 20 teabags,” the post added.
Aye Ne Win described the dinner as having been “hosted by the Old Gal herself,” quoting a report from Channel News Asia, but the menu said the dinner was, in fact, organized by the Burmese president and his wife.
The comments provoked a backlash on social media, with many Burmese—proud of Lee Hsien Loong’s recent offer to have Suu Kyi take a more “active leadership on behalf of Asean when it comes to international affairs”—seeing them as an insult to Burma’s state counselor-cum-foreign minister.
“Aye Ne Win is just an [expletive],” wrote Facebook user Hlwan Moe.
But many others took a more serious turn, calling his post full of jealousy and snobbery.
“Show some manners, you [expletive] pervert. Your [expletive] grandpa Ne Win already turned this country into a failed state that is looked down upon by other countries, and look now, you shamelessly say such garbage… You are such a [expletive] pathetic cheapskate,” wrote Ralph Aung Myo.
Aye Ne Win was released from prison under a presidential pardon in November 2013 after spending 11 years in jail. He was charged with high treason at the age of 26, convicted with his family of plotting to overthrow the former military regime.
Since his release, he has been a prolific user of social media and has been spotted at many public events, including commemorations for fallen soldiers of the Burma Army. He has spoken with numerous local and international media outlets, discussing a range of topics including his political and religious views, the continued role of the military in Burma’s political life and his business dealings.