Thet Tun Naing / The Irrawaddy

Yawnghwe Haw in Shan State 

Thet Tun Naing The Irrawaddy

YAWNGHWE TOWNSHIP, Shan State – Yawnghwe (Nyaung Shwe) Haw, the residence of Myanmar’s first President Sao Shwe Thaike, in Yawnghwe Township, southern Shan State, opens on Wednesday to the public as a cultural museum.

Sao Shwe Thaike, an ethnic Shan, was the last saopha—or hereditary prince—of Shan State’s Yawnghwe. He became President of the Union of Burma in 1948 following the country’s independence from Britain and served as head of state until 1952.

The conference hall in the 100-year-old Haw is a historic place where Myanmar’s independence hero Gen Aung San and an ethnic delegation led by Yawnghwe Saopha Sao Shwe Thaike held talks on Feb 8, 1947 to sign the Panglong Agreement on Feb. 12, an agreement for both the mainland and ethnic areas in Myanmar to claim independence together from the British.

The Haw was built by Shan Saopha Sir Saw Maung in 1913. Construction took 10 years and cost some 300,000 kyats. After Gen Ne Win staged a coup in 1962, families of Shan chieftains were banned from living in the Haw, and under different administrations, the Haw has been named a historical, cultural and Buddhist museum.