….wild is the wind…creative freedom is the seed….
11 Feb 2021: This is an update I wished I never have to make! The Military Juntas of Burma are at it again! They jailed Aung San Suu Kyi again. They crushed protestors brutally. They inflicted genocide on Ethnic Minorities. The Chin State are protesting against them again! So there will be more human rights violations, creating more exiles like my old friend from Burma, who ALSO survived Covid19 and went back to work as an NHS frontline worker! If there was ever a symbol of the resilience and strength of an ordinary Burmese person, it would be my dear Burmese Chin Christian friend!
1 Jan 2014: My friend from Mandalay in Burma will be going to the hospital to check for possible breast cancer. Please consider giving generously to Breast Cancer support charities on her behalf if the story of her courage and escape from an oppressive communist dictatorship moved you to stand up for those who cannot do so for themselves and oppose Communist dictators still killing and harming prolifically in the East and the West.
My burmese friend’s photo taken of a young aung san suu kyi when she visited the Chin state (where my friend’s village was) before she was jailed in house arrest for decades! :p
My friend ended up as “anne frank” for 20 yrs because her village refused to stop supporting Aung San Suu Kyi….and well…oh…you know the story…. families are scattered in different country! Different passports for many of her ethnic minority people who escaped! Mass graves for many who did not!
My Burmese Friend’s story: Her Journey from Mandalay:
“In 1988, my country had a nationwide protest. When I was a cloth trader living in the Chin (ethnic minority ) State in Burma. We used to go to the border between Burma and China to trade. One trip I made changed the course of my life. I came back from a trip to China and was staying at a hotel in Mandala on my way back to Rangoon. It was the moment of the 1988 protest. Overnight all our currencies devalued, suddenly from being able to go out to eat chinese food and staying at a hotel, all our paper money was worthless. We could not buy food. The hotel we stayed at, the hotel owner did not have enough money to buy food to cook in his restaurant. Suddenly all the students staying there and at all other towns in Burma, were stuck because their money were worthless and all of us woke up to the end of the world as we know it. We just stayed where we were, perplexed. Everything was shut down. A few days into the nationwide protest all students were ordered to go back to their home down under martial laws. They were just told to get home in the free transport provided at the risk of heavy penalty or death if they defied military law.
I got involved in the protest because it was a way to get out of Mandalay, by using the free student transport so I could get home. When we travelled, there were lots of check-points by the military. We were all harassed and because I was travelling with the students but was not a student, I was under suspicion by the military.
When I got back to the Chin State, to my home village, we were told to join the nationwide protest. We did. We were told in 1990, there will be an election. Aung San Sui Kyi came to see us at the Chin State and to talk to us about a possible future for Burma, different to this (what we knew!). We got involved.
By the time the election came and went, the military dictators ignored the election results and locked up Everyone involved who were elected. People were rounded up. We knew we were in trouble. There was no peace, no freedom. Life was going to be an endless time of fear and constant oppression. Anyone who had ever been involved risked being rounded up by the military.
By 1992, Life was impossible. Our usual life of trading was unendurable because of the corruption of the military. What used to be easy trading trips became like a black market. If we did not have enough money to pay the bribes to the military to get to our destinations or back, they did bad things to us. They did very bad things to the women. There was no freedom. There was no such thing as peace. Everything was controlled. No external media. No newspapers from outside. No news from anywhere. Everyone had to hide their pictures of Aung San Sui Kyi. Mentioning her name could get you into a lot of trouble.
Many many people ran away to India to refugee camps just to stay alive. I went with them. I stayed there and continued to trade and try to make a living. But being there, being Burmese could also get you arrested and sent back to Burma where you will never find out what will happen to you. People just disappeared and was never heard about again or even talked about by their own family. We had to hide the fact that we were Burmese and picked out a living in the hope of getting enough money to get our refugee status. There was still no peace and no freedom in India because there, being Burmese could still mean arrest and worse…
When I scrambled together enough money to pay an agent, I took a risk and tried to get to England as a political refugee. It was very difficult. It costed everything I ever had. It took a very long time for them to believe that I was really Burmese and not an Indian pretending to be a Burmese. I still couldn’t talk about Aung San Sui Kyi because I think people get sick of me so I learnt to keep quiet about such things and talk about more British things. Many were very kind but there was also a long time where I had to hide, just like in Burma, just like in India.
While Aung San Sui Kyi lived in-house arrest by the military dictators in Burma for the last 20 years, since 1990, my life since 1990 consisted of hiding and running….there has been no peace. There was a time when you knew in Burma, you did not know what will happen to you from one day to the next. You cannot be sure that people you see will be there tomorrow. In India, it was a lot of hiding and then in England, it was for a long time, endless waiting and wondering if I will go back to the life of endless fear.…it all began in that moment, when stuck in Mandalay…I, like the other women from my village, did what we could to get home when all our money and hard work was worth nothing.
My friend told me her story while we watched a documentary about Aung San Suu Kyi in her home.
Who is Aung San Suu Kyi?
Aung San Suu Kyi MP AC (Burmese: ; MLCTS: aung hcan: cu. krany, /aʊŋˌsæn.suːˈtʃiː/, Burmese pronunciation: [àʊɴ sʰáɴ sṵ tɕì]; born 19 June 1945) is a Burmese opposition politician and chairperson of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in Burma. In the 1990 general election, the NLD won 59% of the national votes and 81% (392 of 485) of the seats in Parliament. She had, however, already been detained under house arrest before the elections. She remained under house arrest in Burma for almost 15 of the 21 years from 20 July 1989 until her most recent release on 13 November 2010, becoming one of the world’s most prominent political prisoners.
Suu Kyi received the Rafto Prize and the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 1990 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. In 1992 she was awarded the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding by the government of India and the International Simón Bolívar Prize from the government of Venezuela. In 2007, the Government of Canada made her an honorary citizen of that country, the fourth person ever to receive the honour. In 2011, she was awarded the Wallenberg Medal.
On 19 September 2012, Aung San Suu Kyi was also presented with the Congressional Gold Medal, which is, along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honour in the United States.
On 1 April 2012, her party, the National League for Democracy, announced that she was elected to the Pyithu Hluttaw, the lower house of the Burmese parliament, representing the constituency of Kawhmu;her party also won 43 of the 45 vacant seats in the lower house.
The election results were confirmed by the official electoral commission the following day. Later in that year, she was criticized by some activists for her silence on the anti-Rohingya riots in Rakhine State. Suu Kyi is the third child and only daughter of Aung San, considered to be the father of modern-day Burma.