By The Irrawaddy 8 September 2012

‘Thirty Comrades’ Survivor’s Shwedagon Wish

Lest we forget, let me remind you all that we owed a debt of gratitude to all Thirty Comrades. Particularly the Tatmadaw members, you will not be where you are now without the sacrifices of the Thirty Comrades under the leadership of Bogyoke Aung San. Now that one of his surviving Comrades, Ex-Brig Gen Kyaw Zaw, wished to say his last rites at the foot of Great Shwe Dagon Pagoda,why can’t we repay our gratitude to the old soldier before it’s too late? Why can’t we be compassionate? Remember he is 93 and gravely ill. Allow him immediate return to his cherished motherland. At least let the old soldier know that his motherland is grateful for what he has sacrificed.

—U Ngwe Winm

Police Say Red Bull Heir Over Alcohol Limit

Why did he flee the accident scene anyway? He should have assisted the victim if he was not intoxicated. The claim from his lawyer is unbelievable. Let this young man go to jail for a long long time. He acted like Than Shwe’s grandson.

—Ne Win

Upper House Rejects FDI Restrictions

Myanmar needs to open business, at least like Thailand. Otherwise Than Shwe’s cronies will dominate our land and it will not benefit us. Myanmar needs to show more hospitality to receive foreign business companies so that we can have more companies who bring jobs to the locals. Competition is very important to solve our unemployment problems—something which the previous administrations never mentioned in the past.

—Shwe Yoe

US Democrats Claim Policy Success in Burma

President Obama is claiming all the credit for the success in the U.S policy vis-a-vis Burma. But the former president George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush deserve no less credit, if not more, for their unwavering support and tremendous efforts to help the people of Burma in their struggle for freedom and democracy. I would like to say that George W Bush and Lura Bush are the true friends of Burma, not merely opportunists. Perhaps Irrawaddy should conduct a poll among the Burmese readers to find out who is the true friend of Burma, George W. Bush or Barrack Obama.

—Setkyar Min

Christian Chin ‘Coerced to Buddhism by State’

Freedom of worship (Religious Freedom) is one of the very basic cornerstones in democratic societies. Separation of Religion and State must be included in our constitution. Other than that the majority group will always exploit their numbers to oppress the minority groups. It happened in the past, it is happening today. If the law isn’t clearly there, it will happen in the future too. The government must not side with any particular religion. Promoting Buddhism above other religions by any means is undemocratic. Government must not use the State Funds to promote Buddhism. Personally, everybody can donate or contribute for charity but in the past, Myanmar government used State Funds to promote Buddhism. This is totally wrong and the government must stop this kind of undemocratic behavior and action. At the same time, leave the religious sectors to religious leaders. The religious leaders also need to refrain from party politics. Do not cross the line.


Waiting for Reform to Hit the Streets

The way things are, we know what’s going to hit the streets once again unless bread and butter issues are properly addressed.
Even if the ‘reformers’ win over hardliners according to conventional wisdom, what we are witnessing today is elite reconciliation, a domestic process (cooptation/collaboration essentially starting with ASSK) that set off the international one (Welcome to the New World Order), where the interests of the regime and international capital converge. More of the same in the ethnic homelands with inducements and lucrative business opportunities for the elite far better than what Khin Nyunt was able to offer.
How will the national pie be shared if at all? What’s in it for ordinary working folk, farmers, etc. including the minorities? Trickle down? Drip feeding? SEZ exploitation by international capital where you can’t have a break to take a leak, complete with weak unions and poor health & safety regulations, no holiday & sick benefits? More land-grabbing by the cronies (expect partnerships with foreigners and generals’ families) and transformation to wage slaves for the farmers? Better to be exploited than not, eh?
Hla Shwe hit it on the nail. Seventeen months is a long time for any administration worth its salt except military dictatorships and autocratic rule. Min Zaw at least can afford a bus fare. Many just have to walk to work at the crack of dawn, and home again in the pitch dark after a long day, six days a week. What kind of life is that?
—Moe Aung

KNU Signs Code of Conduct with Govt

“Peace talks”, pleasant to hear! Except for the fact that it always turns out nothing more than both parties just talking peacefully. At every peace talk, a hint of political dialog is mentioned, but without any further discussion followed. True, code of conduct and relocation of troops are steps required, but what’s the next step? Who knows it’s just a way of avoiding lasting peace? Or a way of lulling KNU into sleeping?