Compassionate letter 8, “Loss of Home, Loss of Paradise”

Compassionate letter 8, “Loss of Home, Loss of Paradise”

OUR LONG MARCH to the MIRAGE PARADISE?

As Bo Aung Din in Burma Digest

Dear Nan,

Do you remember the seminar we attended in 2001 called, Ethnic Minorities’ Struggles along the Thai-Burmese Border, organized by the Institute of Asian Studies, Chulalongkorn University, the Thai Action Committee for Democracy in Burma, and Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development. I think we had noticed the presence of UNDP, UNHCR, UNESCO and some UN officials there.

Dear Nan, nowadays why did you become so over sensitive, easily irritated, snappy, angry fast and quick to blame others including me? May be you are frustrated with the deadlock in our country’s future. Don’t worry dear, nothing last forever in this world, including the Military rules in Burma/Myanmar. There would be definitely a change in our country’s politico-social status. Don’t give up hope; we already could see the light at the end of the tunnel. SPDC camel’s back is already weak, its need only some more straws to break. We just need to keep on pushing endlessly on them from all possible battle front s.

You asked me why I could even think you would forget that trip. I know darling, you enjoyed that trip too much and could not forget the various memorable experiences on the journey and there. And especially you had a rare chance to reunite with few of your cousins staying at Thai-Burma border. And our feeling and experience of as if we were at home, just by tasting the wind that breezed from the Shan Yoma into Thai. And you accidentally discovered my soft spot, my love for your Shan Land, when I could not control my tears while gazing at our mother land, which is actually my birth place also. At first you even failed to understand me and asked, what happened to my eyes because you thought that dust or some foreign particles entered my eyes. You were shocked only when I could not answer back immediately, choked and answered with the trembling soft voice.

Dear Nan, just remember that incidence before saying good-bye to me. My eternal love would never stop even if you go ahead with your plan to divorce me or even if I die. Don’t worry dear, even if you stay away from me I would not disturb you with revenge and jealousy or keep on stalking you. I am not a Sula Thu Badda from Saddan Sin Min, or like the character from our favourite, writer, singer, artist, actor and director Win Oo’s, The hate of a pretty woman. Win Oo himself was hated by the military and refused to honour him because he had supported the democracy movement. I just wish to remind our futures leaders not to forget the popular artist from various fields like Win Oo, U Htun Wai and etc who were ignored or suppressed by the Myanmar Military because they had supported the democracy movement. Once there is democracy, we should honour them and those who had sacrificed for the democracy movement.

I am not asking for blood or revenge punishment of the perpetrators but to compensate by our country to those suffered. We have to take a leaf out of National Reconciliatory Council of South Africa. This is in case the SPDC Generals redeem themselves and transfer the power back to the real owner, people, NLD and opposition. If not they should better start to select and engage the best lawyers in Myanmar who could converse in English, and study the International Laws related to GENOCIDE. Shan leaders and Burma Digest had already said; See you in court to the SPDC Generals. According to the Laws they had already contravened the Genocide Law, and there is neither Diplomatic nor Ruler’s Immunity. So dear darling, I wish to assure you not to even worry for my letters; I could stop writing to you if you just say so.

As you know darling, at that time, you were still studying at Singapore National University for your Masters and I was working with a Multinational company there. Now you got your PhD and you could afford trying to run away from me like a winged bird. Sorry dear, you were very angry with my first letter comparing you with the cat got (transplanted with) the new wings. I know you left me not because you could stand on your own, but for the principle: as a strong warning protest for the arresting of your uncles by my step mother Daw Than Shwe. I know and felt from the bottom of my heart that after many years of staying together, we already have a very strong bond and attachment for each other. Your other uncles and Burma digest is even collecting evidences to take legal action on Daw Than Swe and cohorts including that crime as I had mentioned above. Yes dear Nan, UN and International Criminal Court had defined that incarceration of the leaders of a group is guilty of not only attempted genocide but committing the GENOCIDE!

Let’s go back to our trip. Although we could take a flight, we decided to follow your idea to take the slow train from Singapore to Bangkok, through Malaysia. Dear Nan, I have to thank you for your suggestion and I am glad that even our fussy children had enjoyed the journey. Although we had visas to enter Malaysia, Thailand and re-entry visa to Singapore, all the three Immigrations had given trouble to us just because we were holding the Myanmar passports. After prolonged interviews only they approved our entry and then only you questioned them what wet wrong. You pointed out calmly to them that we could enter their countries even without any visa before when we were not an ASEAN member. Now only after Myanmar is accepted as an ASEAN member country, why our citizens need visas and there are a lot of red tapes and stricter entry conditions. You were angry because although our travel documents were in proper order, they set-aside our Passports and processed only after all the passengers were safely back on the train.

Malaysian Immigration and Thailand officers had given lame excuses; they have to be strict because of many Myanmar illegal immigrants in their countries. But you boldly told them off, by asking how rich their countries were, to think we were going to work in their countries. Dear darling, you continued that even if their governments invited your husband to work for their countries, you have to reject as your husband’s driver’s salary is even more than the average government officer’s salary in their countries. (Actually my real salary was not that high; Nan just wanted to revenge and dents their pride only.) I had to pull your arms to stop you because they were Government Officers and they could easily give trouble to us as they are notorious for extortion with trumpet charges on others. And the politicians are always ready backing them, to cover up their countries’ rots.

But when the stupid and greedy Thai officer keep on repeating that they have to be strict because of Myanmar illegal, and advised us to deal with the touts outside to smoothen the process, we all understand that he was clearly asking for bribes. You are a lady only but your anger sometimes rose higher than me and told them off again by advising to clear the millions illegal and rebels from our country inside their border. And you threatened to report to the Thai Embassy for refund of the visa fee if we need to pay bribes again. Then only the Thai officer from the back came out and stamped our passports with 60 days’ stay approval, although we asked for only three days. Thai Immigration officer’s agent touts are also shameless and although they knew that we have no more business with them they follow us and asked for few loose coins as cigarette money. (They already knew that they could not demand the dinner or tea money but have to settle for cigarette s only.) Although I did not want to pay, you pulled out few dollar notes to stop harassment.

Sorry friends for Nan’s offending words about the freedom fighters at our border. Please forgive us because she used those words just to win the war of words, with those Sit Taung Sars meaning the officers checking just to get bribes. Although we all knew that those kinds of habits and extortion are rampant in Myanmar SPDC authorities, we now know that this is one of the ASEAN values. But we had to admit that we rarely see these corruptions amongst government servants in Singapore, but cronyism, nepotism racial discrimination and unfair cruel crushing or annihilation of all the political opponents is still the order of the day under the autocratic government of Singapore. My dear wife never looks down on all of you and even forced me to follow her to the border to donate some foods, clothings, medicines and cash at the border. Later we learnt that our photographs were secretly taken by Myanmar MI spies and sent to Singapore Myanmar Embassy to take necessary actions. We have to thank the special officer-in-charge of Intelligence works in Singapore Myanmar Embassy, who was married to Nan’s cousin. (The same person who helped the release of Ko Harnif after the racial riots, mentioned in my previous letter.) His wife gave the whole file to Nan so that we could destroy.

Dear Nan, as you were familiar with the history of our Ethnic Minorities: the facts came out or revealed there in the seminar were not strange or new to you, but I was shocked because I lost in touch with the history at that time. And the following facts disclosed at the seminar were unanticipated; I could not swallow and were not even accepted easily by my conscious mind:

These are a few stories passed down by the Daw Daw Mon, U Ka Yin and Daw Daw Shan (Daw Daw Tai), Wut Boonlert, coordinator of the Karen Network for Culture and Environment, continued to explain how a stateless predicament befell the U Ka Yin’s relatives of the Salawin Basin.

According to him, once upon a time ie a long long time ago Ka Yin started his long march from the very far far away land, Gobi Desert and migrated to Yangtze Basin. Then he descended aga in downwards to the Khong River, the Chao Phya River and the green Irrawaddy Basin in Shwe Bama village, where grass were greener and water was cleaner.

U Ka Yin is also known in Thailand as the Kariang or Yang as he is also an ethnic group of U Thai village. U Ka Yin always has good relations with Ko Thai Land because Ko Thai Land started a policy to use U Ka Yin’s villages as buffer zone from successive aggressive U Shwe Bama. After some of the U Bama’s relatives were expelled from the Lanna Kingdom village in 1783, with support from the new U Chakri Dynasty of Bangkok village, (Saw Bwa Pya) Kawinla of Chiang Mai village had a close relationship with the U Ka Yin in order to bring people from the land controlled by his cousin U Ka Yinni (also known as U Ka Yah) to Chiang Mai.

Later Saw Bwa Luang Setthi Khamphan of Chiang Mai married Saw Bwa Nang Kham Paeng, daughter of Saw Bwa Maha Wong who governed Muang Pha Poon. Saw Bwa Nang Kham Paeng was later sent to govern Muang Kantara Wadee. But the Saw Bwa Muang of Chiang Mai dared not tell about an ancestor who came from the land of the U Ka Yinni. Saw Bwa Nang Khampaeng was the great-grandmother of Saw Bwa Dararassamee, a wife of King Rama V.

But it is a fact that Ko Thai created our Shwe Bamas as a common bogyman not only for historical reasons but it offered a cheap and convenient target when it launched a Pan Thai Empire, to unite all the Tai speaking tribes in Shan quarters of Shwe Bama village, U Laos and all those of the Dai tribes including from Sip Son Panna in U Ta Yoke’s village tract.

Ka Yin-speaking people are spread over a large area, mainly on the Shwe Bama village frontie r with U Thai Land village. Everywhere U Ka Yin’s relatives live interspersed among various other ethnic brothers of Shwe Bama, so that we find pockets of exclusiv e U Ka Yin’s cousin villages among for instance Daw Mon, U Shan and Ko Lawa.

Historically, U Ka Yin (U Pha Hti) descended from the same ancestors as U U Mongo people. The Great grand father U U Ka Yin settled in Htee-Hset Met Ywa (Land of Flowing Sands), a land bordering the source of the Yangtze -Kiang River in the Gobi Desert. From there, U Pha Hti migrated southwards and gradually entered the land now known as Shwe Bama about 739 B.C. or earlier as stated above. They thought they were the first settlers in this part of new land. U Ka Yin named this land Kaw-Lah, meaning the Green Land.

But U Pha Hti could not enjoy his peaceful live for long, as Daw Daw Mon entered this area next, followed at their heels by the Shwe Bamas. (Contrary to his claims, most historians accepted that Daw Daw Mon was the first settler in Shwe Bama earlier than U Pha Hti.) Both the Daw Daw Mon and U Bama brought with them feudalism. U Bama later won the feudal war, and they subdued and subjugated all other nationalities in the land. The U Pha Hti claimed that he had suffered untold miseries at the hands of the U Bama lords. U Pha Hti thought that persecution, torture, killings, suppression, oppression and exploitation were the order of the day. U Pha Hti even mentioned a few historical facts as evidence; he referred to the U Bama’s subjugation of the Daw Daw Mon and the Daw Ya Khine, and especially their past atrocities against the Daw Thai at Ayudhaya village. He even claimed that those were episodes in a never ending attempt of Genocide by the Shwe Bama soldiers on their Ethnic Minorities.

Dear Nan, I have already acknowledged that you are smart and clever but why did you query me for the skipping of your second question regarding the Basic concepts of good Governance. Why do you forget my right of answering your questions in any serial order? I thought the answer to that question is a little bit dull and so I used my right to choose to answer your last question before the second question.

What’s up Nan, at first my answers were based on Shan official web and the Karen migration is based on Karen web site and our own experience at the seminar. I also quoted Dr Than Tun’s books, and various History books I mentioned in earlier letter and from the Wikipedia encyclopaedia.

Even if you do not wish to give me the distinction marks, I am sure you could not fail me. Ha, Ha! I had learned a lot from you Nan, thank you for teaching me all the general knowledge and encouraging or sometimes pushing and forcing me to read in stead of watching my favourite movie series. Now you are reaping what you sow. Don’t even think to say that now the son is one month older than the father! If all the students in the whole world just used to learn and know what their teachers spoon fed them, and if there are no more research or progress, we all would be stuck in the Stone Age.

Dear darling, all of us progress successively from Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Steel Age, Mechanical Revolution Age, Electrical Age, Atomic Age, Computer Age, Internet Age, ICT Age and K-economy Age (Knowledge based economy) because students not only learned but tried to be better than their teachers. I am not insulting the teachers dear Nan. Just because you are working as a lecturer, you are a little bit bias, angry and thought I am insulting all my teachers. Actually I always respect my teachers and also know their plight: the grinding stones became thinner helping to sharpen the knives.

Our Lord Buddha pointed out to us the virtues of the candle light (fire) sharing the fire (light) to light up another candle. You never lost any thing, but could help light up another candle. We need to think like that. Teachers are sharing or distributing their knowledge but the students must not stop or satisfied with what they are taught. Even Lord Buddha had taught us not just to accept any thing without thinking, including his teachings. So don’t angry with me dear Nan. You should instead happy with your student’s small progress. Although I am gloating, I had made a blunder again. Sorry Nan, I am drifting away a lot from my topic again.

Dear darling Nan, as I had already answered earlier, our people of Shwe Bama village are said to be descendants of three main Migrant Ancestor branches or families:

(1) Mon-Khmer,

(2) Tibeto-Burman and

(3) Tai Shan-Chinese.

Daw Daw Mon is a desendant of of this Mon-Khmer group family. Humans lived in the region that is now known as our Shwe Bama village as early as 11,000 years ago, but the first identifiable civilization is that of the Daw Daw Mon. See Nan, this fact is contrary to U Ka Yin’s claim. But I think it is no use for us to quarrel who came first when the most important real practical fact is that we all are sailing together in the same boat. It is no use trying to fight over who is the original owner, who came later and who is just a freshman comming in and join last. Once we accepted any one as a fellow traveller or a citizen, we must be fair to all of them, should stop all discriminations and treat as an all-equal-partner. We need the combined undivided effort to reach our destination, Democratic Federal Union of Burma/Myanmar. The weather out side is bad, SPDC thunderstorm is still strong, it cause Kyant Phut waves which could pull and push our ship into danger. Instead of fighting among each other and wasting our energy, we must focus all our energy to fight our common enemy, SPDC and cohorts.

Daw Daw Mon actually began her long march of migration into our Shwe Bama village in about 3000 BC, and her first kingdom Suwarna Bhumi village, or Golden Landwas founded around the port of Thaton in about 300 BC. Daw Daw Mon’s tradition folk tales suggests that they had contact with Buddhism via seafaring as early as the 3rd century BC. But definitely by the 2nd century BC, they received an envoy of monks from Ashoka, Ko Kala’s village. Much of the Daw Daw Mon’s written records hav e been destroyed during the wars.

By the mid-9th century, Daw Daw Mon became a dominant force in all of southern Shwe Bama. Even in Malay Chronicles called Sejarah Melayu.

 Pago/Bago men were recorded to arrive Malacca, the first Malay kingdom, and were regarded as one of their founders, forefathers or ancestors! Yes, I wish to repeat again, our Daw Daw Mon’s children were regarded as part of Malaysia’s ancestors.

Daw Daw Mon’s descendants are also known as Talaings because of their origin partly from Talingana village (State) of Ko Kala’s village tract. But some of them think that Talaing is a derogatory name for them and wish only to be known as Daw Daw Mon’s desendants. Daw Daw Mon blended U Kala and Mon culture (carried and inherited from U Tayoke’s place) together and emerged as a hybrid of the two civilizations.

I h ereby wish to apologize my Mon friends because some of you may be obviously offended by the name Talaing. But let me continue talking about the gossips about the alleged secret afair of Daw Daw Mon and U Talaing, Dear Nan, while writing about this Talaing name, I remember the joke of my uncle U Tin Oo (NLD) and I hope that you would kindly allow me some extra time to regurgitate this story.

Dear Nan, thank you for allowing me to interrupt with this interesting story about my Uncle U Tin Oo. As y ou know, although he is my uncle but you are more closed to them as his wife had a better chemistry with you. Dear Nan, when we were in U Ya Khine’s village tract they used to visit our house for few times. And Uncle U Tin Oo used to tell that our house was his lucky house because coincidently on the day of his visits to our house, he got promotions for two times. At that time he was serving in the Burma Army and was the Commander of the Middle Division Military Command. Once he was promoted and became a full General on his first visit to our house and on the day of his next visit he was promoted as the Minister of Defence.

Dear Nan, you were strict with our a-little-bit-mischievous children, forced or disciplined them to eat with porcelain coated iron plates and used to keep the delicate fine china plates in storage, for the guests. I still remember that day; our Bama Military General refused to use the precious plates and joined our children using their porcelain coated iron plates. As we already knew his humane or decent habit of calling in his driver and security soldiers to join the dinner table, one of his soldiers fondly or proudly told us that his General used to eat with the ordinary soldiers and usually refused to eat at specially decorated reserved VIP places. He was very popular among the grass roots and loved by various strata of people; Military rank and file and even among the ruling elite. He was the national hero then because he had just rooted out the prolonged strong hold of Burma Communist Party’s rebel head-quarters on the Bago Yoma (Pegu Mountain Ranges).

No wonder uncle U Tin Oo was loved by the whole army and all the people, not like the present megalomaniac Myanmar SPDC generals, who used to sit on higher decorated special chairs with the delusions of been a royal descendents and wished to be addressed like a royalty. They are actually like the dirty trace of oil above the peoples’ clean water. They choose not to be mix with rank and file and ordinary people; like that oil could not mix with water.

Dear Nan, once you asked me in a whisper; why my uncle General Tin Oo never attempted a Coup d’tat, to save all of us from Daw Ne Win’s tyranny. I told you I thought he was so naive and loyal to Daw Ne Win at that time, but now he has to pay dearly for that indecisiveness. He even failed to support with all his might to Captain Ohn Kyaw Myint, a Burmese Muslim, who sought his blessing for a Coup d’tat to topple Daw Ne Win. Captain Ohn Kyaw Myint was caught, charged and hanged. And our uncle U Tin Oo had to spend six years in jail for the failure to report the treason attempt. And Daw Ne Win started a vicious and ferocious revenge attack on all the Muslims of Burma like Saddam Hussein’s attack on all the Shiites after the failed assassination attack on him.

Dear Nan, we all have conveniently forgot our fallen unsung hero, Captain Ohn Kyaw Myint, who unsuccessfully tried to stage a palace Coup d’tat and present the crown on the platter to a good, fair and just leader, U Tin Oo of present NLD. We should honour him so that other heroes in the Myanmar army would repeat the wheel of the history; follow his brave plot to save all of us. Now most of us could only have a secret day dream for the split in Myanmar military and the rising of the moderate leaders who would negotiate and willing to make a deal with all of us.

I am regurgitating these old events because recently I got the news that NLD U Tin Oo was allowed out for less than an hour to visit his nephew’s funeral. At our last meeting with him, when we met before our transfer to Thar Yar Waddy, he joked that the town was notorious for its biggest jail in Burma. But he was so pleased with you when you were quick to retort that it is actually famous for Saya San, farmer rebel, our hero. He even commented, Shan Ma, I am happy that you could also remember our Bama hero!

But I thought he made an unintentional blunder by insulting Daw Mon when he joked about the story of Kyansittha. During the war with the Daw Mons, he went to pray at the famous Shwe Maw Daw pagoda in Bago. When he came down the stair case of the pagoda, the Talaings had already surrounded the pagoda. But Kyansittha managed to come down calmly without any harm, any fight and he neither faced a danger nor even had a scratch.

He asked us the reason of that miracle and the answer to this extra normal phenomenon. I was caught, but dear Nan, you were clever enough to quickly give the correct answer: Ta, means one in Burmese. Ta-Line means one line on the shoulder i.e. a sergeant in his own army. So, Kyansittha was not surrounded by the enemy Daw Mon or U Talaing’s soldiers but was just surrounded by his own military men, sergeants or in other words ˜Ta-Lines.

That General Tin Oo was later promoted to the Chief Commander of Burma Armed Forces and became ˜the number two man in Burma. But that position was dangerous under the dictator Daw Ne Win. Once the second man became popular and if there were signs of a threat, he used to remove them like all other dictators around the world, and replaced with a weaker person so that his number one position would be safe. General Tin Oo was accused of corruption. He had allegedly accepted five bottles of imported foreign liquor, accepted the government controlled foreign currency from the Military Attache in London, to buy medicine for his child suffering from leukaemia! Quite a flimsy trumpeted charges to remove the second most powerful man in a country. But you told me that we have to thank god, he was not accused of shameful trumpeted charges like sodomy as Hitler and Mahathier had done on their deputies. I hereby wish to propose that future Presidents or Prime Ministers of Burma/Myanmar should not allow in office for mo re than two terms. In Burmese, all the Aso Ya Asa bae yoe thee means all the governments are trustworthy at the start but later changed into tyrant and not honest any more. .

Dear Nan, you could deduct some marks from my score. No problem, I think it is our duty to tell our children about our experiences. You have to give me some latitude to swing and sway. As long as my variations do not overshoot beyond one standard deviation, I hope there should not be any problems.

Dear darling, at the above mentioned seminar we attended in 2001 called, Ethnic Minorities Struggles along the Thai-Burmese Border, Pisanh, a Mon representative, presented about his great grand Aunty Daw Daw Mon ancestors building kingdoms villages in Shwe Bama village tract and other parts of Asia.

According to Daw Daw Mon and Shwe Bama village records, before Buddha achieved Enlightenment, Alika and Tapusa, two Mon merchants, had presented khao tu [sweetened rice] to Buddha. Lord Buddha then gave his eight hairs to those two Daw Daw Mon’s merchants. They then brought the hairs to their Daw Daw Mon’s village head and he put the Buddha’s hairs in a pagoda. That pagoda is now known as Shwedagon, and has become a symbol of Shwe Bama village.

Daw Daw Mon’s village kingdom was destroyed by the Shwe Bama village heads. First Thaton village was conquered by King Anawrattha in eleventh century. He bitterly accused that in 1757 King Alongphaya of Burma attacked and burn the Mon capital of Hongsawadee village (Han Tha Wadee) about 3,000 Mon monks were killed. The Mon religious leaders flee to U Thai’s village.

Ten years later the U Thai’s kingdom of Ayutthaya village was also destroyed by the Shwe Bamas. But later Thailand skilfully used Daw Daw Mon, U Ka Yin, Daw Daw Shan and other ethnic groups to play as buffer states between the Ko Thai and Shwe Bamas.

Daw Daw Mon’s Dvaravati kingdom ( Danya Waddy village) existed from the 6th to the 11th centuries AD, when it was conquered by the Ko Khmer’s Empire. And that Ko Khmer’s Empire or village tract was centred on the Chao Phraya River valley in modern-day Ko Thai Land’s village, with Nakhon Pathom village as the capital and spread up to lower Shwe Bama village tract.

Dear Nan, I wish to give a just brief account of Ko Khmer’s village empire that was a powerful village kingdom based in what is now Daw Cam Bodia’s village. Ko Khmer’s village empire, which seceded from the kingdom of Chenla, at times ruled over parts of modern-day U Laos’ village, Ko Thai Land’s village and Daw HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam”Viet Nam’s village. Its greatest legacy is Angkor, which was the capital during the empire’s zenith. Khmer villageers are Hindi and Mahayana Buddhists but l ater changed into Theravada Buddhists after the new version of religion was introduction from Sri Lanka in the 13th century

Dear Nan, Daw Daw Mon’s cousins, U Kaya, Daw Wa, Ko Palaung, Ma Padaung, Daw Pale, U Yao, Ma La, and others are originated from the Mon-Khmer group. Actually Mon-Khmers are sea-migrants of the east from India Talingana State mixed with the invader Mongols from the north. Mon-Khamars also stayed in U Thai Land village and Daw Cam Bodia village. Shwe Bama villagers got their cultures, written language , religion, arts and skills dubbed ten flowers: goldsmith, silversmith, carpentry, painting, architecture, sculpture, masonry etc from Daw Daw Mon and her cousins from U Thai Land’s village!

Dear Nan, it is a little bit strange for me because we were taught in the history books that Shwe Bama village head Anawrattha conquered Daw Daw Mon village head Manuha and brought back the Buddhism and all the skilled persons but our Shwe Bama written language is more related to Daw Daw Shan’s cousins Ma Mon, from U Thai Land’s village rather than our own sister Daw Daw Mon.

Dear Nan, in the chronicles of U Thai Land, it stated that Daw Daw Mon’s relatives were one of the earliest distinct groups to occupy Shwe Bama, moving into the area as early as 1500 BCE, or possibly earlier. Daw Daw Mon’s relatives had established the historical kingdoms of Dvaravati (Danya Waddy) and Haripunchai. Until the 14th century AD, Daw Daw Mon’s culture continued to spread very far east, including modern U Thai’s village and Issan plateau cities such as Lampang and Khon Kaen. As late as the 14th and 15th centuries, it is believed that the Daw Daw Mon’s relatives were the ethnic majority in this vast region, but intermarried freely with U Cam Bodia and U Tai-Kadai (your Daw Daw Shan’s relatives) populations. Archaeological remains of Daw Daw Mon’s settlements have been found south of Vientiane village, and may also have extended further to the north-west in the Haripunchai village era.

Dear darling Nan, according to the chronicles of U Thai Land, Daw Daw Mon’s cousins converted to Theravada Buddhism at a very early point in their history; unlike other ethnic groups in the region, they seem to have adopted Theravada orthodoxy before coming into contact with Mahayana tendencies. And it is believed that the Daw Daw Mon had converted U Thai and U Cam Bodia from Hindu/Mahayanism to Theravada Buddhism (15th century). So this is another version of the event how you got Buddhism.

Dear Nan, it is interesting that like us, U Thai and some present day Ma Mon has tried to identify her ethnicity with the semi-historical kingdom of Suwarnabhumi. Historical scholars pointed out that the early usage of the term (as found in the edicts of Ashoka during the U Kala’s Village tract’s haydays of Buddhism) indicated a location in Southern India, and not in South-East Asia. However, from the time of the first translations of the Ashokan inscriptions in the 19th century, both the Shwe Bama and U Thai have tried to identify place-names found in the edicts with their own territory or culture; sometimes these claims have also relied upon the creative interpretation of place-names found in Chinese historical sources. (This is taken from U Thai’s records.)

Dear Nan, I am excited to know that, Suwannaphum (also Suwarnabhumi) remains one of the most mythified in the his ory of Asia and in U Thai Land’s village, their head of village and village museums insist that it was somewhere along their southern coast. And so they had named the new Bangkok village airport after the mythic kingdom of Suwarnabhumi, or “Suwannaphum”.or Thu Wanna Bumi meant Golden Land in Burmese.

Dear Nan, when I wrote about your Daw Daw Shan, I forgot to mention about her ancestor origin that she was a descendant of the Tai Shan-Chinese group. Daw Daw Shan, U Pha Hti or U Ka Yin and Daw Taungthu, etc., all have their roots in the Tai-Chinese community and descended from present U Ta Yoke’s village tract and had made a long march through Ko Yu Nans village. We already knew the relation of Daw Daw Shan and her twin sister Daw Daw Siam, now known as Daw Thai. Their languages are also similar and both of them feel that they are twin sisters, just separated by the border.

Some of the Daw Shan’s descendants prefer to be called Tai. “Shan” is a Burmese corruption of “Syam” or “Siam”, or Thai or Tai. Shwe Bama Shans are much more in common ethnically and culturally with their cousins in U Thai village than the Shwe Bama villagers.

“In the past, there were 33 provincial towns in Muang Tai and each town was governed by chao fah or Saw Bwa,” said Chaiya Khongchuen of the Tai Union. “Burma was directly colonized by Great Britain, but Muang Tai [the Shan State] was just a Protectorate State. Ne Win killed many chao fahs (Saw Bwas) during 1962 coup. On May 21, 1958, Tai leader Saw Yanda announced that he was waging war against the Burmese government,” Chaiya said at the above mentioned seminar.

Dear Nan, let’s talk about last group of our ancestors, the Tibeto-Burman group which I had already mentioned in last letter.

Shwe Bama spoken language is derived from this Tibeto-Burman group. U Bamar, Daw Chin, Ko Kachin, Ma Rahkine, Ma Inthar, Ko Naga, Daw Yaw, Ko Mro, Daw Lisu, U Kadu, Ma Hpon, Daw Maru, U Lashi, Ma Rawang, Daw Azi, Daw Nung, U Daru, U Gauri, Ma Lahu, Ma Lolo and others, descended from the Tibeto-Burman group.

Darling, they migrated downwards from Daw Tibet’s village, U Ta Yoke’s village tract. They are now spread widely and staying in Shwe Bama village, U Tayoke’s village and Ko Kala’s village. Do you remember darling, in 2002 there was a U Kachin’s international conference held in Shwe Bama village. U Kachin’s cousin brothers from U Tayoke’s village and Ko Kala’s village attended.

Ko Chin, Ko Kachin and Ko Naga’s relatives are also on both sides of Indo-Burma border. Buddhist Rakhines in Bangladesh are known as Marghs.

Dear Nan, as you already know, our ethnic brothers spread in our village tract widely viz: U Ka Yin, Daw Daw Mon, Daw Daw Shan, Ko Intha, U Kayah, Ma Palaung, Ko Aka, and Ma Pa-o usual ly stayed in the east and southeast of the Shwe Bama village tract. And Ko Kachin, Daw Wa and U Kokang stayed in the north and east of our village tract. Daw Chin and U Yakhine are mainly in the west.

Dear Nan, I still remember these facts you told me once, that the Tibeto-Burman group of languages (often considered a sub-group of the Sino-Tibetan language family) is spoken in various central and south Asian countries, including Shwe Bama village, northern part of Ko Thai Land village, southern part of U Tayoke’s village tract (Tibet Autonomous Region, Qinghai, Gansu, Yunnan, Guizhou, Sichuan, Hunan), Daw Nepal’s village, U Bhutan’s village, Ko Kala’s village tract (Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir), and western part of U Pakistan’s village.

Dear darling, at that time you amazed me by telling me that the Tibeto-Burman group of languages subfamily includes approximately 350 languages. Our Shwe Bama language has the most speakers (approximately 35 million).

Dear Nan, you will be surprised by my new findings that some linguists (including Shafer 1966 and George van Driem) advocate elevating “Tibeto-Burman” to displace “Sino-Tibetan” as the top-tier language family, with the Chinese languages (Sinitic) classified as a branch of the Tibeto-Burman/Sino-Tibetan family. In simple layman terms, Chinese language is now under Tibeto-Burman language family. It is facinating to know that the great China or U Tayoke got the language from our ancestors!

As I had stated, in the 9th century the Shwe Bama and our Ethnic minorities migrated from the then U Tayoke-Daw Tibet border region into the valley of the Ayeyarwady which is now the heart of the Shwe Bama golden Pavalion.

Dear darling, our Shwe Bama village tract has experienced a long history of migration along fluid frontiers and numerous conflicts among various ethnic groups. We are between two big neighbours or world’s greatest civilizations, U Tayoke and U Kala’s village tracts. And our country is the only highway those big neighbours could travel, trade or migrate because they are divided by the very high Himalayan Mountain Ranges. When there were wars or struggles for power to control a village kingdom, our village tract became a safe heaven of refuge. Or if there were any famine, bad weather, diseases of humans, animals or plants our country was always ready to provide a greener pasture and cleaner water. So our Golden Shwe Bama village became the melting pot of two civilizations.

Sorry Nan I forgot to acknowledge that you told me about these facts in my first letter: our spoken language is from Tibeto-Burman group and related to U Tayoke’s language but our written language is from Brami script of Ko Kala’s village tract. And even our vowels or way of pronouncing is the same as southern Ko Kala’s few languages. So some of them could even read written Burmese correctly but could not understand much. But as our spoken language is similar to U Tayoke, they could understand some of our spoken words. Our lower half of the national dress is from Ko Kala and upper half from U Tayoke. And we got the religion, culture, arts etc from our big neighbours. But I am glad and feel proud because we had adapted all we got, modified to suit our needs and now almost all of our nationalities have our own unique languages, personalities, national dresses, traditions, cultures etc that we all could proud of.

Dear darling, I am sad to tell you about this, but anyway you had already known it. Because of the bad SPDC government, now our country is suffering the reversal of fate, totally in a different state, we are in the reverse gear mode. Our Shwe Bama village tract’s long tradition of giving refuge to all our neighbours in need, immigrant’s heaven, is sadly changed. Now many of our people are refugees, working legally and illegally abroad and we are in the emigration mode. Last time our country was a paradise for all of us, citizens and foreigners. Now we had lost our paradise like the Athu Yar Nat Min who was removed and replaced by the Tha Gar Min and sent to Athuyakae. But sadly, our SPDC is not Tha Gar Min or King of the angels, but acting like the King of the devils. They could not get or enjoy the Paradise stolen from us because they had just ruined our paradise and are collecting endless sins, preparing to go to hell, where they be long, in the next life. I hope and strongly believe that our lost or ruined paradise could be rebuilt by our united workforce once we got our democracy.

As you always said when I was a little bit disturbed with the never stopping visitors, Ain thar hma Ei lar thi in Burmese, which means only when the host (home) is pleasant, the guests would come. Your concept of “to be a donating person or paying hand is better than the receiving hand or a person in need”. Yes dear, now I could accept your foresighted ideas of trying to be at the upper end of charity chain of events. We have to thank god for chosen us in that position although we are not rich. We have to build back our country to regain our previous golden paradise status.

In the past we gained a lot; Brain Gain from immigrants, but now we are emigrating out from our mother land in droves and started to suffer the effect of Brain Drain. May be that is one of the SPDC Generals charitable idea of serving the world with our Shwe Bama’s brains, skills and labour. I am surprised with your never ending optimistic views that now many of our brothers and sisters are abroad, got a lot of experiences in almost every field. Once there is democracy and real open door economic policy, we all could contribute the rapid leap forward of our beloved country and we could easily overtake Thailand Malaysia, Singapore and all he ASEAN countries.

And I now could apply your Pollyanna’s optimistic views and could even see your temporary departure from me in t he fits of anger as a blessing in disguise for me. Because of that only I came to know Dr Tayza and Burma Digest and also have a chance to write love letters to you distantly following the paths of Nehru. Sorry again dear, I know this is the kind of gloating you hate most, and I had mentioned his name for three times already just to irritate you. But I hope you could already understand and forgive me at the end as I could not stop teasing you. And I don’t know why god matched two of us as life partners, you are always serious and hate fooling around and I am very light hearted and always search the funny side of any events around us.

Dear Nan, time is up because I foolishly waste it with the other subjects to impress you! I have to stop now but please reserve your judgment; don’t give your final verdict to fail me now. I will definitely continue to answer your remaining questions and impress you in my next letters. I hope to probe one of our ancestors, U Pyu and his civilizations next week but if Dr Tayza and Burma Digest Editorials thought otherwise and decided to stop their special courier service I have no choice but to stop nagging you.

Good-bye darling

Yours with love

(Ko Tin Nwe)

BO AUNG DIN 

TQ for this_

 

Politics in America

Election 2008 and Politics

Compassionate letter 8, “Loss of Home, Loss of Paradise”

May 17th, 2008

jr wrote an interesting post today on
Here’s a quick excerpt
Compassionate letter 8, “Loss of Home, Loss of Paradise”
OUR LONG MARCH to the MIRAGE PARADISE?

As Bo Aung Din in Burma Digest

Dear Nan,

Do you remember the seminar we attended in 2001 called, Ethnic Minorities’ Struggles along the Thai-Burmese Border, organized by the Institute of Asian Studies, Chulalongkorn University, the Thai Action Committee for Democracy in Burma, and Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development. I think we had noticed the presence of UNDP, UNHCR, UNESCO and some UN officials there.
Dear Nan, nowadays why did you become so over sensitive, easily irritated, snappy, angry fast and quick to blame others including me? May be you are frustrated with the deadlock in our country’s future. Don’t worry dear, nothing last forever in this world, including the Military rules in Burma/Myanmar. There would be definitely a change in our country’s politico-social status. Don’t give up hope; we already could see the light […]

Read the rest of this great post here

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