ASEAN LEADERS ARE BARKING AT THE WRONG TREE WITH THE WRONG CAUSE AND WRONG OBJECTIVE

ASEAN LEADERS ARE BARKING AT THE WRONG TREE 

WITH THE WRONG CAUSE AND WRONG OBJECTIVE

 

ASEAN leaders are complaining about the convenient way to solve the Rohingya problem.

But for the Rohingyas or Burmese Muslims or Christian Chins/Karens/Kachins and Buddhist Mons/Shans/Burmese etc AND the NLDS  and political opponents and armed rebel groups_

Whether the SPDC would accept them back is not their main concern. What is the consequences after repatriation is their only problem.

Jailed? Tortured? Is the main concern for all but ‘Village arrest’ (for Rohingyas only) is the problem.

No democracy, no Human Rights, no political life, no respect for the Rights of religious minorities and Ethnic minorities is their main concern.

But the lack of development, economic problems back home are the most important fact for all of them.

There is no clear cut line to DEFINE OR CATEGORIZE THEM INTO POLITICAL OR ECONOMIC MIGRANTS. 

Continue reading

Deafening silence from Malaysia regarding Myanmar Cyclone?

Deafening silence from Malaysia regarding Myanmar Cyclone?

 

First of all I wish to apologize if I am wrong.

 

If Malaysian Government had already sent the condolence note to Myanmar, I am sorry for writing this.

 

If Malaysian Government, GLCs (government Linked companies), NST, TV3, NTV7, RTM and NGOs (esp. government affiliated) had already started a campaign to help Myanmar, please accept my  apology for wrongly writing this posting.

 

If you all haven’t done anything, it is shame on you.

 

We don’t want a cent from you Kaisu Malaysia!

 

 

We know that we are not Orang Puteh (Whiteman) , no Arab blood and have no Malay-Indonesian blood. We are ALWAYS discriminated in your country.

 

Never mind if you do not wish to recognize the undocumented workers/migrants and asylum seekers.

 

During the great disaster in Myanmar, I hope if Malaysian government could do the followings to help us without spending a cent.

 

Please announce amnesty on all the Myanmar/Burmese undocumented workers/migrants and asylum seekers including those already in the detention camp. (At least if they could work and earn, they could help their families, relatives and friends.)

 

You could put a time limit for example six months to one year.

It is shameful that you are heartless to continue arresting and some of your agents are harassing them daily.

 

Dr San Oo Aung

 

17 Myanmar Illegal Immigrants Held In Kelantan

BERNAMA, RANTAU PANJANG, May 6 (Bernama) — The Anti- Smuggling Unit (UPP) Tuesday arrested 17 Myanmar nationals without valid travel documents in Kampung Kempas, Machang, as they were being smuggled into the country by a syndicate.

Kelantan UPP commander Mazlan Che Hamid said the Myanmar nationals, aged between 16 and 30 years, had been turned over to the Immigration authorities.

He said the van driver, a Malaysian, stopped the vehicle by the roadside and fled after realising that it was being tailed by UPP personnel at 4.30 am.

The UPP personnel had followed the van from Kampung Kedap here, some 40 km from Machang, he said.

— BERNAMA

Myanmar cyclone toll hits 15,000, official says

Myanmar cyclone toll hits 15,000, official says

 MSNBC News Services

updated 11:49 p.m. ET May 5, 2008

YANGON, Myanmar – At least 15,000 people were killed in the Myanmar cyclone and the toll was likely to rise as officials made contact with the worst-hit areas, the military government’s foreign minister said on Tuesday.

Foreign Minister Nyan Win said on state television that 10,000 people had died in just one town, Bogalay, as he gave the first detailed account of what is emerging as the worst cyclone to hit Asia since 1991, when 143,000 people were killed in Bangladesh.

“In Irrawaddy Division the death toll amounts to more than 10,000,” he said in a state television broadcast, in which he also said the military government welcomed outside assistance, an unprecedented green light to governments and aid agencies who want to help with the recovery.[<iframe height=”339″ width=”425″ src=”http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22425001/vp/24466441#24466441” frameborder=”0″ scrolling=”no”></iframe>]

“The missing is about 3,000. In Bogalay, the death toll is about 10,000,” the minister said in the broadcast monitored outside of the Southeast Asian country.

The United Nations and the former Burma’s neighbors are scrambling to deliver food, clean water and shelter to survivors after the junta, the latest face of 46 years of unbroken military rule, gave them permission.

The total left homeless by the storm’s 120 mph winds and 12-foot storm surge is in the several hundred thousands, United Nations aid officials say, and could run into the millions.

In the biggest city, Yangon, people were lining up to share bottled water and there was still no electricity, four days after Tropical Cyclone Nargis struck the Irrawaddy delta, rice bowl for the country’s 53 million people.

“Generators are selling very well under the generals,” said one man waiting outside a shop, reflecting some of the resentment on the streets to what many described as a slow warning and response to the cyclone.

Very few soldiers were seen clearing debris and trees, except at major intersections, residents in the former capital said. Monks and residents, using what tools they had, cut trees.

“The regime has lost a golden opportunity to send the soldiers as soon as the storm stopped to win the heart and soul of people,” said a retired civil servant.

Myanmar officials, after an initial count of a few hundred dead, announced dramatically higher tolls on Monday in meetings with international aid agencies and diplomats.

Generals accept aid
The last major storm to ravage Asia was Cyclone Sidr, which killed 3,300 people in Bangladesh last November.

The scale of the disaster drew a rare acceptance of outside help from the diplomatically isolated generals, who spurned such approaches in the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

The U.S. Embassy in Myanmar authorized the release of $250,000 in immediate emergency aid, and first lady Laura Bush, a critic of the junta, promised more would be forthcoming.

However, she urged Myanmar’s military rulers to first accept a U.S. disaster response team that so far has been kept out, saying it would clear the way for broader aid.

In a statement, Bush criticized Myanmar’s state-run media and said it “failed to issue a timely warning to citizens in the storm’s path.”

“The government misled people. They could have warned us about the severity of the coming cyclone so we could be better prepared,” said Thin Thin, a grocery store owner.

Before the cyclone hit, the government had only put out “storm news,” saying the cyclone would travel at about 30 miles an hour, whereas it struck with winds of almost four times that speed.

The secretive Myanmar military, which has ruled for 46 years, has moved even further into the shadows in the last six months due to widespread outrage at its bloody crackdown on protests led by Buddhist monks in September.

After getting a “careful green light” from the government, the U.N. said it was pulling out all the stops to send in emergency aid such as food, clean water, blankets and plastic sheeting.

“The U.N. will begin preparing assistance now to be delivered and transported to Myanmar as quickly as possible,” World Food Program spokesman Paul Risley said. The organization has pre-positioned 500 tons of food in Yangon and plans to bring in more relief supplies, said Elisabeth Byrs, spokeswoman for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

 

 

The U.N. office in Yangon said there was an urgent need for plastic sheeting, water purification tablets, cooking equipment, mosquito nets, health kits and food.

Video
  First person account
May 5: Jens Orback, who was in Myanmar when the cyclone hit, describes what he saw.

MSNBC

Laura Blank, spokeswoman for World Vision, said two assessment teams have been sent to the hardest-hit areas to determine the most urgent needs.

“This is probably the most devastating natural disaster in Southeast Asia since the tsunami,” Blank said, referring to the 2004 disaster that killed around 230,000 people in 12 Indian Ocean nations. “There are a lot of important needs, but the most important is clean water.”

Myanmar’s neighbors also offered assistance.

Two Indian naval ships loaded with food, tents, blankets, clothing and medicines would sail for Yangon soon, India’s Ministry of External Affairs said.

Thailand announced that it would fly some aid in Tuesday.

Largest city hit hard
Myanmar is not known to have an adequate disaster warning system and many rural buildings are constructed of thatch, bamboo and other materials easily destroyed by fierce storms.

The cyclone blew roofs off hospitals and schools and cut electricity in Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon. Older citizens said they had never seen the city of some 6.5 million so devastated in their lifetimes.

With the city’s already unstable electricity supply virtually nonfunctional, citizens lined up to buy candles, which doubled in price, and water since lack of electricity-driven pumps left most households dry. Some walked to the city’s lakes to wash.

At the city’s notorious Insein prison, soldiers and police killed 36 prisoners to quell a riot that started when inmates were herded into a large hall and started a fire to try to keep warm, a Thailand-based human rights group said.

State television showed military and police units on rescue and cleanup operations in Yangon, but residents complained the junta’s response was weak.

“Where are the soldiers and police? They were very quick and aggressive when there were protests in the streets last year,” a retired government worker told Reuters, referring to protests led by Buddhist monks last year that were swiftly crushed.

Hotels and richer families were using private generators but only sparingly, given the soaring price of fuel.

Many stayed away from their jobs, either because they could not find transportation or because they had to seek food and shelter for their families.

“Without my daily earning, just survival has become a big problem for us,” said Tin Hla, who normally repairs umbrellas at a roadside stand.

With his home destroyed by the storm, Tin Hla said he has had to place his family of five into one of the monasteries that have offered temporary shelter to those left homeless.

His entire morning was taken up with looking for water and some food to buy, ending up with three chicken eggs that cost double the normal price.

Vote to go ahead Saturday
Despite the havoc wreaked by Nargis, the military government indicated that a referendum on the country’s draft constitution would proceed as planned on May 10.

“It’s only a few days left before the coming referendum and people are eager to cast their vote,” the state-owned newspaper Myanma Ahlin said Monday.

At the meeting with diplomats, Relief Minister Maj. Gen. Maung Maung Swe said the vote could be postponed by “a few days” in the worst-affected areas. However, the foreign minister intervened to say the matter would be decided by the official referendum commission.

Pro-democracy groups in the country and many international critics have branded the constitution as merely a tool for the military’s continued grip on power.

Should the junta be seen as failing disaster victims, voters who already blame the regime for ruining the economy and squashing democracy could take out their frustrations at the ballot box.

The secretive military, bunkered in their isolated new capital of Naypyidaw, 240 miles north of Yangon, has ruled for 46 years and has been shunned by Western governments after a violent crackdown on Buddhist monk-led protests last September.

The last major storm to ravage Asia was Cyclone Sidr, which killed 3,300 people in Bangladesh last November.

YANGON, Myanmar (CNN) — The death toll from the Myanmar cyclone is more than 15,000 people, Myanmar’s government has said, with at least 10,000 killed in the township of Bogalay alone, according to the Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua.

art.jpg

Buddhist monks move branches from an uprooted tree blocking a street in Yangon.

 Survivors were facing their third night without electricity in the aftermath of the historic cyclone that also clogged roads with thousands of downed trees.

Diplomats were summoned to a government briefing Monday as the reclusive southeast Asian country’s ruling military junta issued a rare appeal for international assistance in the face of an escalating humanitarian crisis.

A state of emergency was declared across much of the country following the 10-hour storm that left swathes of destruction in its wake.

The death toll of more than 15,000, official sources told Xinhua, makes the weekend cyclone the deadliest natural disaster to hit Myanmar in recent history, according to figures compiled by a U.N.-funded disaster database.

art.myanmar.boat.gi.jpgThe toll eclipses that from a 1926 wind storm that killed about 2,700 people in the country, according to the database.

The assessment is bleak, Kyi Minn of the international aid group World Vision told CNN Tuesday.

“It could be worse than (the) tsunami,” Minn said, comparing the cyclone’s impact on Myanmar to the damage caused there following the tsunami that struck the region in late 2004.

That tsunami was triggered by a a massive earthquake off the coast of Indonesia. It killed more than 150,000 across the region.

Minn said clean drinking water, food, medicine and shelter are all at a premium in southern Myanmar.

The government of neighboring Thailand said Myanmar’s leaders had already requested food, medical supplies and construction equipment, AP reported. The first plane-load of supplies was due to arrive Tuesday, a Thai spokesman said.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement he was “deeply saddened by the loss of life and the destruction suffered by the people of Myanmar” and pledged to mobilize international aid and assistance as needed.

A United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination team is on stand-by to assist the government in responding to humanitarian needs if required, the statement said.

Scenes of the destruction showed extensive flooding, boats on their sides in Yangon harbor, roofs ripped off buildings, uprooted trees and downed power lines after cyclone Nargis battered the Irrawaddy delta with 150 mile (240 km/h) an hour winds throughout Friday night and Saturday morning, dumping 20 inches of rain. Video Watch how the cyclone crippled Yangon »

Residents of Yangon trudged through knee-deep swirling brown waters Monday as the delta city remained mostly without electricity and phone connections.

The U.S. Embassy in Myanmar has issued a “disaster declaration” in the country and authorized the release of $250,000 for cyclone relief efforts, Deputy State Department spokesman Tom Casey said Monday.

A disaster relief team is standing by, Casey said, but the Myanmar government had not given permission for the team to enter the country.

U.S. first lady Laura Bush blasted the military government, saying the lack of warning before the deadly cyclone hit was the latest example of “the junta’s failure to meet its people’s basic needs.”

Hakan Tongkul, with the United Nation’s World Food Programme, said residents in Yangon needed urgent assistance. “This has pushed people to the edge. All that they have has been blown away.” Video Watch the cyclone hammer Yangon »

Michael Annear, regional disaster manger for the Red Cross, said the group was helping provide safe drinking water.

Relief agencies met at the United Nations’ Bangkok headquarters Monday to coordinate their response to the disaster. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said it had released 200,000 Swiss Francs (about $190,000) to help with the aftermath.

A state of emergency was declared Sunday across five regions: the city of Yangon, Irrawaddy, Pegu and the states of Karen and Mon. All flights to Yangon, the former capital, were canceled.

“Most Burmese with whom we’ve been in touch report they lost their roofs, although so far everyone we have been able to contact reports that they and their families are safe,” said a Yangon-based diplomat who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. Photo See photos of the destruction »

Most telephone and cell phone service was down in Yangon, a city of about 6.5 million people, according to Dan Rivers, a CNN correspondent in the country.

In some places, the price of fuel had quadrupled to $10 a gallon. Even with that price lines for gas stretched around the block and some sought to buy gas on the black market.

The main water supply has been cut in many areas and power lines are down, Rivers reported.

Earlier Monday, an editor for an independent Myanmar newspaper based in Thailand told CNN that people in the Southeast Asian nation were angry over the response to the disaster by the ruling military junta.

“People are very angry with the slow response coming from the military government,” said Aung Zaw of Irrawaddy news magazine. Video Listen to Irrawaddy journalist discuss the situation in Myanmar »

Khin Maung Win, a spokesman for the Democratic Voice of Burma — a broadcast media group run by opposition expatriates — said the whole of the delta region had been affected and entire villages had disappeared.

Pictures from inside the country showed a cyclone-ravaged region with tin huts crushed under trees. Bicyclists navigated around large branches that littered the deserted roads.

A man with his pant legs rolled up waded through knee-deep water and strained to clear massive limbs that were blocking the entrance to a house.

Despite widespread damage, Myanmar’s junta plans to proceed with a referendum on the country’s constitution on May 10 — the fourth step of a “seven-step road map to democracy” — according to state-run media reports. Learn more about Myanmar »

A critic of Myanmar’s government said the referendum must be postponed.

Myanmar cyclone death toll at 10,000

Published: Monday 05 May 2008 15:03 UTC

Nay Pyi Taw – Myanmar’s military government now puts at 10,000 the number of people known to have been killed at the weekend by cyclone Nargis. Around 3,000 others are reported missing. The authorities, normally opposed to any foreign presence, have now also accepted offers of foreign aid.

According to the United Nations, tens of thousands have been made homeless and hundreds of thousands are without clean drinking water. Five regions in the southwestern delta region have been declared disaster areas. Rescue operations are still getting under way as many roads are blocked and power has been knocked out in many areas. The authorities say a referendum on a new constitution due to be held on Saturday will go ahead as planned.

Myanmar believes at least 10,000 dead

in cyclone – diplomat

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Myanmar’s military government has a provisional death toll of 10,000 from this weekend’s devastating cyclone, with another 3,000 missing, a diplomat said on Monday after a briefing from Foreign Minister Nyan Win.

 

“The basic message was that they believe the provisional death toll was about 10,000 with 3,000 missing,” a diplomat present at the meeting told Reuters in Bangkok.

Myanmar official death toll

already reached 10,000 after cyclone

 

 

 

 

 

Myanmar death toll ‘could reach 10,000’

YANGON, Myanmar (CNN) — Almost 4,000 people have died and another 3,000 remain missing in Myanmar as a result of this weekend’s devastating cyclone, state media reported Monday amid fears that the death toll could continue to soar.

 Diplomats summoned to a government briefing on Monday said the foreign minister had acknowledged that as many as 10,000 could be dead as the reclusive southeast Asian country’s ruling military junta issued a rare appeal for international assistance in the face of an escalating humanitarian crisis.

A state of emergency was declared across much of the country following the 10-hour storm that left swathes of destruction in its wake.

The government of neighboring Thailand said Myanmar’s leaders had already requested food, medical supplies and construction equipment, AP reported. The first plane-load of supplies was due to arrive Tuesday, a Thai spokesman said.

United Nations Secretary-General ban Ki-moon said in a statement he was “deeply saddened by the loss of life and the destruction suffered by the people of Myanmar” and pledged to mobilize international aid and assistance as needed.

“As a first step, a United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (team) has been organized and is on stand-by to assist the Government in responding to humanitarian needs if required, the statement said.

Scenes of the destruction showed extensive flooding, boats lilting on their sides in Yangon harbor, roofs ripped off buildings, uprooted trees and downed power lines after cyclone Nargis battered the Irrawaddy delta with 150 mile (241 km) an hour winds throughout Friday night and Saturday morning, dumping 20 inches of rain.

“After about noon, the sky cleared and everybody came out and were just stunned,” said Shari Villarosa, U.S. Charge D’ Affaires in Yangon. “People on my compound who had been there for about 15 years say they had not seen anything like this here, ever.”

Residents of Yangon trudged through knee-deep swirling brown waters Monday as the delta city remained mostly without electricity and phone connections. Video Watch the cyclone hammer Yangon »

A spokesman for the Red Cross said the emergency aid group was working with its Myanmar agency to provide drinking water, temporary shelters and blankets and warned that urgent action was needed to limit outbreaks of disease.

“I think one of the biggest needs right now is to stave off disease,” said spokesman Eric Porterfield. “We will be helping with the distribution of clean drinking water and setting up shelters.”

Relief agencies met at the United Nations’ Bangkok headquarters Monday to coordinate their response to the disaster. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said it had released 200,000 Swiss Francs (about $190,000) to help with the aftermath.

The U.S. aid group World Vision also said it had responded to a government request for assistance.

“The biggest need is getting water for the two million affected people,” World Vision spokesman Casey Calamusa told CNN, adding that it was rare for the government to ask for help. The ruling junta under sharp criticism from many nations for using force to suppress pro-democracy protests last year. Learn A state of emergency was declared Sunday across five regions: the city of Yangon, Irrawaddy, Pegu and the states of Karen and Mon. All flights to Yangon, the former capital, were canceled.

“Most Burmese with whom we’ve been in touch report they lost their roofs, although so far everyone we have been able to contact reports that they and their families are safe,” said a Yangon-based diplomat who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Earlier Monday, an editor for an independent Myanmar newspaper based in Thailand told CNN that people in the Southeast Asian nation were angry over the response to the disaster by the ruling military junta.

“People are very angry with the slow response coming from the military government,” said Aung Zaw of Irrawaddy news magazine.

Zaw said communication was down across large areas of the country. He also said the casualty figures could rise.

“Very few people have access to these areas to estimate damage and how many people have been killed.”Video Listen to Irrawaddy journalist discuss the situation in Myanmar »

Khin Maung Win, a spokesman for the Democratic Voice of Burma — a broadcast media group run by opposition expatriates — said the whole of the delta region had been affected and entire villages had disappeared.

Pictures from inside the country showed a cyclone-ravaged region with tin huts crushed under trees. Bicyclists navigated around large branches that littered the deserted roads.

A man with his pant legs rolled up waded through knee-deep water and strained to clear massive limbs that were blocking the entrance to a house.

“The cleanup is beginning, but this will take a long time,” the diplomat said. “The damage around town is intense.” Photo See photos of the destruction »

“Fuel is not easily available. International emergency assistance would be needed within seven days. There is no food for eating,” Win said.

Food prices — already rising steeply — climbed further. Long lines could be seen at gas stations in Yangon. Many of the stations were operating on generators. At one gas station more than 100 buses lined up to refill.

“International emergency assistance would be needed within seven days,” the diplomat said.

Despite widespread damage, Myanmar’s junta plans to proceed with a referendum on the country’s constitution on May 10 — the fourth step of a “seven-step road map to democracy” — according to state-run media reports.

The government has said elections would be held in 2010 to choose a representative government to replace the military junta.

An official at the Myanmar consulate in Canberra, Australia, said she believed the referendum would go on as scheduled. “We haven’t had contrary information,” she said.

But the announcement was met with skepticism from pro-democracy opposition leaders.

“It looks as though it would be impossible to have a referendum on Saturday in those areas,” Larry Jagan, a freelance journalist who has covered Myanmar affairs for many years, told CNN.

“The question is, will the regime decide to postpone the referendum in those particular areas, and hold it in other parts of the country?. Or will they go ahead and hold it anyway, and do the best they can?”

Myanmar last held multi-party elections in 1990, when Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy handily won. The military junta ignored the results. Suu Kyi, who is currently under house arrest, has been in detention without trial for more than 12 of the past 18 years.

 

Myanmar cyclone death toll reaches 3,969:

5 May 2008 – YANGON(AFP) – The death toll from the cyclone that hit Myanmar over the weekend has reached 3,969, state television said Monday, warning that thousands more may have been killed in the disaster.

A further 2,129 people were officially listed as missing, it said, adding tens of thousands more may have been killed in the remote towns of Bogalay and Labutta in the Ayeyawaddy (Irrawaddy) delta.

 

 Death Toll 351 in Burma Cyclone in Yangon Myanmar

Huliq.com - Citizen Journalism

This image provided by NASA’s MODIS

instrument on board the Terra satellite

shows Cyclone Nargis as it approaches

the coast on the east of Bangladesh in

Bay of Bengal (i.e. Burma)

351 people have been reported dead after a cyclone hit Burma, which is also known as Myanmar. As a result it has been declared by the Burmese government that five states are currently disaster areas.

A diplomat in the area spoke to the Reuters news agency, giving them a description of the scene. He said that the area around him looked like a ‘war zone’ as a result of the cyclone.

 

An official from the United Nations also commented on the situation. “It’s a bad situation. Almost all the houses are smashed. People are in a terrible situation,” he said.

Another UN representative also spoke on the incident. He reported that “The Irrawaddy delta was hit extremely hard not only because of the wind and rain but because of the storm surge.” The Daily Telegraph , a UK newspaper, reported that the food price in Burma could be affected by this incident. Source: Wikinews.

Myanmar: Situation Report No. 1

Cyclone Nargis, 04 May, 2008 

Source: United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

Myanmar: Tropical Cyclone Nargis Interactive Map

This situation report is based on information received from the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office, Myanmar, UN agencies and media sources.

Situation

1. Category 3 Cyclone Nargis struck Myanmar on 2 May. The cyclone made landfall in the Irrawaddy delta region, approximately 250 km southwest of Yangon, at around 16:00. The storm then tracked inland in an ENE direction, directly hitting the capital Yangon itself late the same night. Latest reports indicate that five areas have been affected: Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy) Division, Yangon Division, Bago Division, Kayin (Karen) State, Kayah State and Mon State.

2. Detailed information on the impact has not been available due to downed communications and blocked roads. Information on the situation outside Yangon is even more limited, including in the southwest of the delta region, which is believed to be the worst-hit area and was affected both by strong winds and a sizable storm surge. The authorities have indicated that many villages in this area have been completely flattened. The intensity of the storm decreased significantly as it moved through Kayin State and towards the Thai border.

3. The cyclone has caused widespread devastation in Yangon. Winds of over 190 km/hr tore down trees and power lines, while accompanying rain caused flooding in many areas. Telecommunications lines were cut. Buildings have been badly damaged throughout the city, and it expected that significant numbers have been left without adequate shelter. Electricity is unlikely to be restored for several days. Water supplies are also likely to be a major problem. Many roads remain impassable, either due to flooding or fallen debris and the airport has been closed until further notice.

4. The authorities have reported a total of 138 confirmed deaths. The numbers in need of assistance are expected to be sizable.

5. Urgent needs are expected to be plastic sheeting, water purification tablets, cooking sets, mosquito nets, emergency health kits and food. Fuel shortages have also already been reported. Determining the impact in areas outside Yangon has been even more difficult, though it can be assumed to be critical, with shelter and safe water being the principal immediate needs.

National Response

6. The Government has established an Emergency Committee headed by the Prime Minister. Five central and southern regions – Yangon, Ayeyarwady, Bago, Mon and Kayin states – have all been declared disaster areas. The authorities inform to have deployed military and police units for rescue, rehabilitation and cleanup operations in Yangon.

7. No formal request has yet been issued for international assistance, though there are indications that such assistance may be welcomed. UN support was offered to the Ministry of Social Welfare by the RC ai last week. The acting RC/HC a.i. met today with the Deputy Minister for Social Welfare to discuss possible support by the IASC partners in-country. Another meeting is scheduled for tomorrow.

International Response

8. OCHA is looking into the possibility of deploying an UNDAC team. UNOSAT has been activated. CRD has been in contact with the Permanent Representative to the UN who has indicated that he would keep in contact with OCHA for any further developments on his side.

9. UNICEF will deploy five assessment teams tomorrow (to Yangon, Pathein and Bago). The Myanmar Red Cross Society will send out five teams tomorrow (to Yangon, Ayeyarwady, Bago East, Bago West, Mon and Kayin). IFRC in Yangon was due to assess damage in the city today (4 May) and national volunteers are already gathering information.

10. The UNDMT and IASC partners in the country have established a cluster system as part of an ongoing process of contingency planning. They shared information last week on preparedness levels. WFP has 500 metric tonnes of food in Yangon, and is hoping to move further supplies, as well as offices in a box and possibly generators stocked in Cambodia. UNICEF and WHO also have pre—positioned stocks in place.

11. The IASC partners are due to meet at 10:00 am tomorrow (5 May). A meeting with donors in country will take place directly afterwards.

12. The UNCT in Myanmar is examining the need for a Flash Appeal and for an application for CERF funds. The extent to which funds are required will become clearer as more detailed information on the cyclone’s impact becomes available.

13. The Regional IASC cluster leads will meet in Bangkok to discuss next steps. Telecoms Sans Frontiers is prepared to deploy from Bangkok.

 Myanmar cyclone claims 241 lives

PhotoMore than 241 people were killed when cyclone Nargis tore through military-run Myanmar this weekend, an information ministry official said on Sunday.

”According to the latest information we have, altogether 19 people were killed in Yangon division and then about 222 people killed in Ayeyawaddy division,” the official said.

Myanmar cyclone claims 241 livesNargis made landfall around the mouth of the Ayeyawaddy (Irrawaddy) river, about 220 kilometres southwest of Yangon, late Friday before hitting the country’s economic hub of Yangon.

The cyclone ripped down power lines, battered buildings and left uprooted trees and other debris scattered across the streets of Yangon.

Five central and southern regions and states – Yangon, Ayeyawaddy, Bago, Mon and Karen have been declared disaster areas, the official said.

Police and army have been deployed throughout the worst hits areas to start the clean-up operation.

The information ministry official said that seven empty boats had sunk in the country’s main port, while Yangon’s international airport was closed until further notice with flights diverted to the city of Mandalay.

The storm cut most electricity and telecommunications in the nation just a week before a crucial referendum on its new constitution, the first polling in Myanmar since general elections in 1990.

Cyclone wreaks havoc in Myanmar 

Yangon, Irrawaddy Delta, Bago as well as Karen and Mon states were all heavily damaged by Nargis.

 
 
 

 

 
Several regions in Myanmar have been declared disaster zones after a tropical cyclone, packing winds of up to 190kmph speeds, destroyed hundreds of houses and knocked out electricity.
 
At least four deaths have been officially confirmed since Cyclone Nargis hit Yangon, the commercial capital, at about 5am local time (2200 GMT) on Saturday.

The military-run Myawady television station said on Sunday that emergency had been declared in the five states.

 State television showed pictures of Ten Sin, the prime minister, convening an emergency meeting of the military government.

 Extensive damage
 
There were reports of extensive damage around the country.
Witnesses in Yangon said that hundreds of houses had their roofs blown off and the storm cut electricity as well as phone service in much of the city.Local residents ventured out on Sunday to buy construction materials to repair their homes.

 

 

The worst hit area was the Irrawaddy Delta. Villagers said half the buildings in many towns were damaged or destroyed.

 
 
Tens of thousands of people were made homeless in the Irrawaddy Delta last August after unusually heavy rains triggered floods in the low-lying region.
 
Some people interviewed said that the government had done little so far to help with the clean-up.
 
“It’s a bad situation. Almost all the houses are smashed. People are in a terrible situation,” a UN official in Yangon, who requested anonymity, told the Associated Press news agency.
 
 “All the roads are blocked. There is no water. There is no electricity.”
 
‘Very uncertain’
 
Speaking on the situation in Myanmar from Bangkok, the Thai capital, Tony Craig, of the World Food Programme, told Al Jazeera: “The situation now is very uncertain [regarding] the exact extent of the calamity, but obviously this is a severe event.”
 
“If you are in a state where the food situation or malnutrition is a problem and you [receive] a shock to your security, obviously that will be a problem.
 
In Video

Cyclone batters Myanmar’s main city, Yangon

“We are prepared to act in these situations – we have put our global response capability on standby.”

The storm was initially forecast to move northeast towards Thailand, which warned that flash floods could hit the north, centre and east of the country.
 
An official at Yangon International Airport said on Saturday that all incoming flights had been diverted to the second city of Mandalay, and all departures from Yangon had been cancelled.

An official at Thai Airways in Bangkok said the airline planned to resume flights on Sunday.

                                                                                                                                
New constitution
 

The cyclone comes at a delicate time for Myanmar, which is scheduled to hold a referendum on May 10 on the country’s military-backed draft constitution.

 
A military-managed national convention was held intermittently for 14 years to lay down guidelines for the country’s new constitution.
 
The ruling generals’ handpicked delegates included those representing workers.
 
The new constitution is supposed to be followed in 2010 by a general election.
 
Both votes are elements of a “roadmap to democracy” drawn up by the generals, who have been in power for two decades.

 Feature: Daily life partly resumes in cyclone-hit Myanmar former capital

www.chinaview.cn 2008-05-04 18:33:08 Editor: Gao Ying

YANGON, May 4 (Xinhua) — A minor part of the daily life started to resume in Myanmar’s former capital of Yangon Sunday, the first day in the aftermath of the deadly cyclone Nargis strike the country for 10 hours from Saturday night to Saturday noon.

AP Top News

 

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Myanmar’s state-run television is reporting that more than 240 people have died from a powerful cyclone, a U.N official says. Chris Kaye, the U.N’s acting humanitarian coordinator, said state-run television reported that 243 people have died from Tropical Cyclone Nargis.

 

 Hundreds feared dead in Myanmar cyclone

 BANGKOK, Thailand (CNN) — Hundreds of people are feared dead after a tropical cyclone with winds up to 150 miles (241 km) per hour slammed into Myanmar over the weekend.

art.cyclone.tree.cnn.jpg

The powerful storm toppled this tree in Yangon, Myanmar, on Saturday.

“We believe hundreds of people are dead,” said Khin Maung Win with the Democratic Voice of Burma — a broadcast media group run by opposition expatriates.

“The entire lower Burma is affected. In some areas, entire villages disappeared.”

The ruling military junta put the death toll at about 200, according to media reports. Myanmar was formerly known as Burma.

The ruling junta declared a state of emergency in five regions: the city of Yangon, Irrawaddy, Pegu and the states of Karen and Mon. All flights to Yangon, the former capital, were canceled. Cyclone Nargis tore off roofs, uprooted trees and downed power lines. art.cyclone.road.cnn.jpg

The storm ripped through the sprawling river delta city of Yangon for more than 10 hours — from Friday night until Saturday noon, said Burma Democratic Concern (BDC).

The activist group opposed the military rule in Myanmar, a country formerly known as Burma.

By Sunday, many parts of the city were without electricity. Phone connections were also down in most areas, making it difficult to assess the extent of the damage.

“Most Burmese with whom we’ve been in touch report they lost their roofs, although so far everyone we have been able to contact reports that they and their families are safe,” said a Yangon-based diplomat who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Pictures from inside the country showed a cyclone-ravaged region with tin huts crushed under the weight of trees. Bicyclists navigated around large branches that littered the deserted roads.

A man with his pant legs rolled up waded through knee-deep water and strained to clear massive limbs that were blocking the entrance to a house.

art.cyclone.house.cnn.jpg“The cleanup is beginning, but this will take a long time,” the diplomat said. “The damage around town is intense.”

“Fuel is not easily available. International emergency assistance would be needed within seven days. There is no food for eating,” said Win of the Democratic Voice of Burma.

The junta has scheduled a May 10 referendum on a new constitution for the country, which came under sharp criticism from many nations for using force to suppress pro-democracy protests last year.

5 Myanmar regions are disaster zones, 4 dead after cyclone

By AYE AYE WIN in AP

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Five regions in Myanmar were declared disaster zones Sunday after Tropical Cyclone Nargis smashed hundreds of houses, knocked out electricity and left at least four people dead.

The military run Myaddy television station said Yangon, Irrawaddy, Bago, Karen and Mon states were all heavily damaged by Saturday’s cyclone, which packed winds of up to 120 mph.

 

Witnesses in Yangon said hundreds of houses had roofs blown off and the storm cut electricity, while the state-owned newspaper New Light of Myanmar reported Sunday that the international airport in Yangon remains shut down.

Domestic flights have been diverted to the airport in Mandalay, it said.

Three people were killed Friday when their boat capsized as they crossed a Yangon canal, witnesses said, and a fourth person died Saturday after a tree fell on his house.

“It’s a bad situation. Almost all the houses are smashed. People are in a terrible situation,” said a United Nations official in Yangon, who requested anonymity because she was not authorized to speak to a reporter.

“All the roads are blocked. There is no water. There is no electricity,” she said.

Casualties had been expected after Nargis hit Myanmar’s commercial capital at about 5 a.m. local time Saturday.

Neither the U.N. nor the government has provided a death toll or damage assessment, though a more detail picture is expected to emerge after officials reach remote areas in the coming days.

Yangon residents ventured out Sunday to buy construction materials to repair their homes. Some people interviewed expressed anger that the military led government had done little so far to help with the cleanup.

 

“Where are all those uniformed people who are always ready to beat civilians?” said one man, who refused to be identified for fear of retribution. “They should come out in full force and help clean up the areas and restore electricity.”

The cyclone came at a delicate time for Myanmar, which is scheduled to hold a referendum May 10 on the country’s military backed draft constitution.

A military managed national convention was held intermittently for 14 years to lay down guidelines for the country’s new constitution. The junta’s hand-picked delegates included those representing workers.

The new constitution is supposed to be followed in 2010 by a general election. Both votes are elements of a “roadmap to democracy” drawn up by the junta, which has been in power for two decades.

Opposition parties have criticized the draft constitution as designed to cement military power and have urged citizens to vote no.

 

Myanmar cyclone flattens two delta towns: media

YANGON (Reuters) – Cyclone Nargis caused three out of four buildings to collapse in two towns, Laputta and Kyaik Lat, deep in the Irrawaddy delta when it slammed into central Myanmar this weekend, official media said on Sunday.State newspapers in Yangon, where at least four people have been killed, made no mention of any casualties in the two towns, which are southwest of Yangon and mainly reachable by boat.Nearly all the buildings left standing had lost their roofs, the reports said.(Reporting by Aung Hla Tun; Writing by Ed Cropley; Editing by Darren Schuettler)                                              

 

    Yangon residents began to move about mostly on foot as few number of public buses could run as such huge vehicles find impossible to fight their ways through roads densely blocked by the Nargis-triggered fallen trees and its long and thick branches.

    Only a number of small vehicles were seen picking up passengers who are worried and eager to travel and meet their relatives and friends probably in trouble and need help if victimized.

    Passengers traveling by road were stranded at bus terminals, even finding difficult to get a taxi as an alternative way, the fare of which became doubled, passengers said.

    Other passengers traveling by the waterway were also seen stranded at river port jetties as passenger vessels are suspended for the moment due to the reason that some Yangon port terminals got destroyed by the cyclone with some five vessels being reportedly capsized and the casualties are still unknown.

    A small number of private shops rather than big shopping centers have opened for business mostly with food shops congested with customers seeking to buy at least bread, milk, rice, meat and vegetable.

    As electric poles and cable wires as well as telephone wires fell down and got disconnected due to the cyclone, power and communications failure maddened the public. The telephone link was so destroyed to a degree that mobile connection is hardly accessible.

    Especially that the power failure has brought the city into darkness as sun sets except some particular buildings and some affordable people have power sources operated from big and small generators.

    The night time of Yangon was spent with silence with few people going out on streets except some with torch lights on urgent case. Meanwhile, there saw some number of police vehicles patrolling around the city for security purpose.

    Besides, people were seen queuing for getting water partly available from some underground water pipes.

    Moreover, Yangon residents are mostly organizing themselves under voluntary basis to chop fallen trees and branches blocking roads to clear way for traffic and lift trees pressing on buildings. Individual people are also doing the same with their residential compounds where trees fell lying.

    Some police members were also seen moving away the blockade in some areas like that near the City hall and the Shwedagon Pagoda.

    Still some people were busy repairing their roofs blown off by the storm wind.

    Conclusively, electricity, water supply and communication links are pressing need after the disaster.

    Meanwhile, Myanmar government has declared five divisions and states — Yangon, Bago, Ayeyawaddy, Kayin and Mon — hit by current cyclone storm, as natural-disaster-hit regions.

    The government said some parts of the country like areas in coastal regions of southwestern Ayeyawaddy division — Haing Gyi Island, Pathein, Myaungmya, Laputta, Mawlamyinegyun, Kyaiklat, Phyarpon, Bogalay — also met with serious damage but the details are still not available including the casualty figures which are not yet confirmed by the authorities.

    The terrible cyclone Nargis, which occurred over the Bay of Bengal and stroke Yangon at a wind speed of about 192 kilometers per hour with a diameter of 240 km, has almost totally devastated the former capital.

    Observers here commented that the loss due to the disaster is inestimable.

Cyclone batters Myanmar, casualties feared

By Aung Hla Tun

 

YANGON (Reuters) – More than 200 people have been killed in military-ruled Myanmar by a Category 3 cyclone that ripped through Yangon and the Irrawaddy delta, where it flattened two towns, officials and state media said on Sunday.

Packing winds of 190 km (120 miles) per hour when it hit on Saturday morning, Cyclone Nargis devastated the former Burma’s leafy main city, littering the streets with overturned cars, fallen trees and debris from battered buildings.
“Utter war zone,” one Yangon-based diplomat said in an email to Reuters in Bangkok. “Trees across all streets. Utility poles down. Hospitals devastated. Clean water scarce.”
A government official in Naypyidaw, the ruling general’s new capital 240 miles to the north, said the latest death toll was more than 200.
The BBC, citing a report on state television, said 243 people were dead and more than 20,000 homes were destroyed. State MRTV later said the death toll was 241, including 19 in Yangon and 222 killed in the hardest-hit Irrawaddy division southwest of the former capital.
Official newspapers in Yangon said only one in four buildings were left standing in Laputta and Kyaik Lat, two towns deep in the rice-producing delta and accessible mainly by boat. There were no details of casualties.

  In Yangon, many roofs were ripped off even sturdy buildings, suggesting damage would be severe in the shanty towns that sit on the outskirts of the sprawling riverside city of 5 million.

Foreign aid workers, whose movements are restricted by the ruling military junta, had not managed to reach many impoverished areas to assess the impact.

“I have never seen anything like it,” one retired government worker told Reuters. “It reminded me of when Hurricane Katrina hit the United States.”

Although the sun was shining by Sunday morning, the former capital was without power and water, and food prices had doubled, with many storeholders unsure of when they would be able to replenish stocks. Most shops had sold out of candles.

An Electricity Board official said it was impossible to know when the power supply — hit-and-miss at the best of times in one of Asia’s poorest countries — would be restored.

“We still have to clear the mess,” the official, who did not want to be named, said.

United Nations disaster experts said it would be days before the full extent of the damage was known in a country ruled since 1962 by secretive and ruthless military regimes.

Bunkered down in Naypyidaw, the junta’s top brass will almost certainly have avoided the worst of the storm.

The military authorities declared a disaster in five states and state media carried footage of soldiers clearing trees from roads and Prime Minister Thein Sein, a lieutenant-general, meeting people sheltering in a Buddhist pagoda.

DEATH TOLL COULD CLIMB

The death toll could climb yet further as authorities slowly make contact with outlying towns and villages along the coast, where weather forecasters had predicted a storm surge of up to 12 feet.

They are also likely to uncover victims beneath some of the buildings that collapsed in Yangon under the force of the cyclone, which had been gathering steam for several days in the tropical waters of the Bay of Bengal.

Damages in Rangoon after cyclone Nargis“It was a direct hit on a major city,” said Terje Skavdal, regional head of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA).

“The government did warn people to stay inside and that might have had an impact, but the material damage is enormous for sure,” Skavdal said.

The U.N. had made an offer of assistance but was yet to receive a response from the junta, he added.

It remains to be seen what impact the storm will have on a referendum on an army-drafted constitution scheduled for May 10.

The charter is part of a “roadmap to democracy” meant to culminate in multiparty elections in 2010 and end nearly five decades of military rule. The opposition and Western governments say it allows the army to retain too much control. Damages in Rangoon after cyclone Nargis

An official at Yangon International Airport said all incoming flights had been diverted to the second city of Mandalay, in the middle of the southeast Asian nation, and all departures from Yangon had been cancelled.

Thai Airways in Bangkok said flights would not resume before Monday.

State media said four vessels sank in Yangon harbor, and jetties in ports had come loose.

By 0900 GMT (5:00 a.m. EDT), Nargis had tracked northeast into northern Thailand, where it was dumping large amounts of rain but with dramatically reduced wind speeds.

(Additional reporting by Khettiya Jittapong and Darren Schuettler in BANGKOK)

(Writing by Ed Cropley; Editing by Darren Schuettler and Bill Tarrant)

Agencies rush emergency aid to Myanmar cyclone victims

YANGON (AFP) — Aid agencies Monday rushed emergency food and water into Myanmar after a cyclone tore into the southwest of the impoverished nation, killing more than 350 people and leaving tens of thousands homeless.

Despite the devastation wreaked by tropical cyclone Nargis, the ruling junta vowed to press ahead with its controversial referendum this weekend on a new constitution, which critics say will entrench military rule.

Nargis left at least 351 dead after making landfall at the weekend, packing winds of 190 kilometres (120 miles) per hour, wrecking thousands of buildings and knocking out power lines, state media reported.

People of the main city, Yangon, were busy Monday clearing roads blocked by fallen trees and queuing to collect water from neighbours with private wells, as supplies were cut by the storm.

“I haven’t seen anything like this in my whole life. It will take at least a month to return to normal,” a 70-year-old man told AFP.

Several coastal villages southwest of Yangon were, destroyed according to a preliminary assessment by the International Federation of the Red Cross, its spokesman Michael Annear told AFP in Bangkok.

The villages in the Ayeyawaddy (Irrawaddy) delta bore the brunt of Nargis, which came in from the Bay of Bengal and combined with a sea surge.

State media said nearly 98,000 people were homeless on the delta’s Haing Gyi island alone, which is home to a navy base.

Annear said teams in Myanmar were distributing essential supplies and would bring in more from Malaysia as soon as possible.

“We’re distributing supplies for those who need shelter, plastic sheeting to cover roofs, water purification tablets, we are currently procuring 5,000 litres of water, cooking items, bednets, blankets and clothes for those in most need,” he said.

“We went out as soon as possible but there were problems with mobility due to a lot of debris and power lines down. Authorities and the local community have been clearing the road networks so mobility has increased today.”

Hundreds of monks joined in efforts by residents, police and troops to clear blocked roads.

“The government should do more and we need emergency assistance. Water is the main need for us. I haven’t taken a bath for three days,” a taxi driver told AFP.

Annear said it would take days to get a full picture of the extent of the devastation.

The military government said Saturday’s referendum on a new constitution intended to usher in democracy would go ahead, but with food prices tripling and water supplies cut, residents said they had more pressing problems.

“We don’t want any democracy, we just want water now,” a 30-year-old man said as he queued at a neighbour’s well.

But the junta, based in the remote new capital of Naypyidaw, insisted “the entire people of the country are eagerly looking forward” to the referendum, the New Light of Myanmar newspaper reported.

The generals say it will pave the way for multiparty elections in 2010, but opponents say the charter will entrench military rule.

Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s house in Yangon, were she is under house arrest, was damaged but the Nobel peace laureate was unhurt, a Myanmar official told AFP.

“Her house was also hit a little but she is safe,” the official said.

Meanwhile United Nations agencies and international charities were meeting at the UN’s Bangkok headquarters to coordinate their response to the disaster, Terje Skavdal, head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, told AFP.

He said Myanmar’s national Red Cross was the only agency able to commence damage assessment Sunday, but other agencies had now started their own.

The country’s infrastructure has been run into the ground by decades of mismanagement by the military, which has ruled since 1962. Myanmar has also suffered more than a decade of US and European sanctions over the continuing detention of Aung San Suu Kyi.

Sanctions were tightened after the junta’s crackdown on mass protests last September left 31 people dead, according to UN figures.

 

 

The cyclone coincided with a storm surge tide inundating fields and islands in the vast and low lying delta of the Irrawaddy, Burma’s largest and most important river. In the towns of Kyaiklat and Laputta, three quarters of buildings were reported to have been destroyed.

In Rangoon, the former capital and Burma’s biggest city, local people, including Buddhist monks, were using handsaws to chop up tens of thousands of tall tropical trees which had blown over crushing cars and buildings beneath them. There were long queues at petrol stations and prices of commodities such as eggs were reported to have doubled.

Telephone and electricity supplies to Rangoon have almost completely broken down, and shopkeepers were keeping their premises half shuttered, after reports of looting at food markets.

An organisation of exiled Burmese opposition activists reported that 36 prisoners at the notorious Insein Prison in Rangoon were shot dead by police after a riot over deteriorating conditions caused by the cyclone.

Apart from the loss of life, the injuries and the destruction of tens of thousands of homes, the disaster may have far reaching secondary effects. The flooding and destruction of sanitation systems increases the risk of epidemics, including malaria and typhoid, and adds to pressure on villages where many people subsist of less than a dollar a day.

The stricken area is Burma’s richest agricultural region, and the cyclone must have wrought terrible damage on the rice crop. World rice prices are at a record high already, provoking food riots in more than 30 countries. Burma is a net exporter of rice, and the destruction of crops in the Irrawaddy Delta will only add to upward pressure on international prices.

Burma may be unable to keep its promise to sell rice stocks to other more needy countries such as Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, where a cyclone last year destroyed crops.

The World Food Programme has stocks of 500,000 tonnes in Rangoon and plans to bring in more. Thailand became the first country to provide aid by sending a C-130 transport plane loaded with food and medicines. Two Indian naval ships were on their way carrying relief and medical supplies.

On Saturday Burma’s military government is due to hold a referendum on a new constitution. The Government promises free elections in 2010. But Burmese opposition groups insist that the constitution is a sham that will simply transfer power from uniformed officers to a civilian dictatorship. The new constitution guarantees a quarter of all seats for the military and bars the Nobel Prize winning opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, from the presidency.

Yesterday the government insisted that the referendum would go ahead. “The referendum is only a few days away and the people are eagerly looking forward to voting,” the junta said in a statement confirming the vote would go ahead as planned.

As many as ten thousand people could have died in the catastrophic storm which ripped across Burma on Saturday, and the number is likely to rise as aid workers pick their way through rubble, floods and broken roads to the stricken areas of the Irrawaddy Delta.

Foreign diplomats in Rangoon were told by Myanmar’s foreign minister that he acknowledges that the cyclone death toll could rise to 10,000, after a day during which the official count had gone from 351 to 4,000 dead.

“The confirmed number is 3,934 dead, 41 injured and 2,879 missing within the Yangon and Irrawaddy divisions,” Burmese state radio reported. Three other divisions have been declared emergency areas after Cyclone Nargis swept across the country’s most fertile and densely populated region on Saturday morning at speeds of 120 miles per hour.

“How many people are affected? We know that it’s in the six figures, Richard Horsey, of the United Nations disaster response office in Bangkok, told Reuters. “We know that it’s several hundred thousand needing shelter and clean drinking water, but how many hundred thousand we just don’t know.”

 

 

Race and Xenophobia

   Race and Xenophobia

Posted by Marina Mahathier

We’re not the only people in the world grappling with the issues of race.

I thought this article has some resonance at home too.

 

 

Editorial Observer, “Race and the Social Contract”

by Eduardo Porter, The New York Times

In 1893, Friedrich Engels wrote from London to Friedrich Adolph Sorge, another German Communist then living in New York, lamenting how America’s diversity hindered efforts to establish a workers’ party in the United States. Was it possible to unify Poles, Germans, Irish, “the many small groups, each of which understands only itself”? All the bourgeoisie had to do was wait, “and the dissimilar elements of the working class fall apart again.”

 

America’s mix of peoples has changed in its 200-plus years. Yet when Barack Obama delivered his bracing speech on race, he was grappling with a similar challenge.

“Realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams,” he said. “Investing in the health, welfare and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper.”

It is a tall order. Ten years ago, William Julius Wilson wrote that American whites rebelled against welfare because they saw it as using their hard-earned taxes to give blacks “medical and legal services that many of them could not afford for their own families.”

As obviously sensible as Mr. Obama’s proposition might be in a nation of as many hues, tongues and creeds as the United States, it struggles against self-defeating human behavior: racial and ethnic diversity undermine support for public investment in social welfare. For all the appeal of America’s melting pot, the country’s diverse ethnic mix is one main reason for entrenched opposition to public spending on the public good.

Among the 30 nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a club of industrial countries, only Mexicans, Koreans and Greeks pay less in taxes than Americans, as a share of the economy. The United States also ranks near the bottom on public spending on social programs: 19 percent of the nation’s total output in 2003, compared with 29 percent in Sweden, 23 percent in Portugal and almost 30 percent in France.

The Harvard economists Alberto Alesina and Edward Glaeser correlated public spending in Western Europe and the United States with diversity and concluded that half the social-spending gap was due to the United States’ more varied racial and ethnic mix. The other half was mostly due to the existence of stronger left-wing parties in Europe.

Americans are not less generous than Europeans. When private charities are included, they probably spend more money for social purposes than Europeans do. But philanthropy allows them to target spending on those they personally believe are deserving, instead of allowing the government to choose.

Mr. Glaeser’s and Mr. Alesina’s work suggests that white Europeans support a big welfare state because they believe the money will probably go to other white Europeans. In America, the Harvard economist Erzo F. P. Luttmer found that support for social spending among respondents to General Social Survey polls increased in tandem with the share of welfare recipients in the area who were in their own racial group. A study of charity by Daniel Hungerman, a Notre Dame economist, found that all-white congregations become less charitably active as the share of black residents in the local community grows.

This breakdown of solidarity should be unacceptable in a country that is, after all, mainly a nation of immigrants, glued together by a common project and many shared values. The United States has showed an unparalleled capacity to pull together in challenging times. Americans have invested blood and treasure to serve a broad national purpose and to rescue and protect their allies across the Atlantic.

Still, racial and ethnic antagonism all too frequently limit generosity at home. In one study, Mr. Alesina, with Reza Baqir of the International Monetary Fund and William Easterly of New York University, found that the share of municipal spending in the United States devoted to social good — roads, sewage, education and trash clearance— was smaller in more racially diverse cities.

While this tension manifests mainly along racial lines, it has broader ethnic, religious and even linguistic dimensions. A 2003 study by Julian Betts of the University of California, San Diego, and Robert Fairlie of the University of California, Santa Cruz, found that for every four immigrants who arrived in public high schools, one native student switched to a private school.

Politicians, from Richard Nixon to Tom Tancredo, have long exploited racial tensions. But there is nothing inevitable about ethnic animosities, as Senator Obama argued in his speech, which came at an important moment.

Globalization presents the United States with an enormous challenge. Rising to the test will require big investments in the public good — from infrastructure to education to a safety net protecting those most vulnerable to change. Americans must once again show their ability to transcend group interests for a common national cause.

 

 

YES or NO? The CHOISE is yours, Myanmar voters

 YES or NO?

The CHOISE is yours, Myanmar voters

 

Malaysiakini, The power of choice Yoga Nesadurai

There are many management theories in the market place to help organisations and individuals improve. I would like to introduce a fundamental theory that is very powerful and easy to apply but often overlooked. I am talking about ‘choice’.

Webster defines choice as, ‘a selection, an alternative, the right or power to choose’.

It comes down to a very simple step – to act or not to act on the choice.

 

It represents a verb, an action, thereby giving the chooser the power to choose from a selection or if just two, an alternative.

What it ultimately points to is that the power is with you.

To make a choice, we need options.

There are times when we have no options and therefore the choice is automatic.

But in most cases we do have options available to us and I want to work through the deduction process here.

Evaluating options

Now that we have deduced options, what does evaluating our options involve? :

It requires courage and commitment to act on your choice.

 

This is the ‘locking in’ step in the ‘power of choice’ process.

This is where courage comes in. No matter what the response, I still hold on to my original intent or choice – the courage to stand by my offering and the commitment to follow through with action.

Information or an event is the stimulus that makes us take action. There are various stimuli that present themselves everyday to us. Between the stimulus and our response, lies choice!.

Attitude is our ‘way of being’ or ‘steady state’. Generally, we are all aware of our general attitude towards people and situations. Sometimes due to circumstances, like having a bad day, our attitude could vary from its natural ‘steady state’.

Where information is the stimulus that helps us derive our options, attitude is the component that helps us make the choice from our options. Attitude is therefore an important ingredient in the choices we make. It has a huge impact in making our choice and its consequences.

Making great choices

We have all made unwise choices at some point in our lives.

 

  1. It is sometimes inevitable,
  2. sometimes intentional,
  3. sometimes regrettable
  4. and sometimes transformational.

Inevitable choices are where the alternative is not a viable option. This is a case where an organisation needs to downsize, assuming all other avenues have been explored. In this instance the best thing one can do is to carry this out in the most humane manner with honesty and integrity.

Intentional choices are where you know that the alternative option is the wisest option, yet you intentionally choose the opposite option. In organisations, this is when we may bypass a certain process or person intentionally for various reasons. Or where we circumvent a certain procedure because we have the power and privilege to do so. Corruption is a classic example of the latter

Regrettable choices are where at the point of making the choice you are ‘aware’ of what the wisest choice is, however your steady state or way of being at that moment stops you from acting on it. These are usually choices made when emotions are running high, where you regret your choice as soon as have you made it or regret the choice as the words have left your mouth.

How many of us have been in this situation in the workplace and personal life? The power is still in the chooser’s hands to undo the wrong and recover the situation.

Transformational choices are what we should all be aspiring to achieve. In this instance, we take control and are accountable for making great choices. Accountability means taking responsibility for the choices made.

Even if you have made an unwise choice, you are in control to remedy it or to deal with the consequences. It is a big responsibility to be accountable, but one with many rewards when executed.

Learning to make transformational choices gives us the power to be extraordinary, therefore directly impacting you as an individual and the organisation that you represent.

Choice is an active process. It is the difference between a customer continuing to do business with your organisation versus taking their business elsewhere. Use it wisely.

 

YOGA NESADURAI is founder of O & C Advisory, which focuses on choice as a basis for leadership and organisational development and executive coaching.

 

 

My comments and advice to all the Burmese 

 

Yes the choice is yours_

There is a saying in Burmese that:

  1. If you made a wrong choice in trade (wrong choice of cargo) trip you would lose one trip or one time only.
  2. If you made a wrong choice in choosing the husband, you would lose your whole life. (Because usually Burmese practice monogamy and rarely divorce and have another marriage.)
  3. But I wish to seriously remind all of you by adding another phrase_

If you all vote wrongly in the coming referendum, the future history of our country would be gone to dogs.

Sorry for using the harsh words, proverbial jokes and defamatory jibes applied to the dogs. It may be an insult to the dog-world, who are known to love and loyal to its owners.

But Myanmar Military or Tatmadaw do not love its owner Burmese people and is not loyal to its owner, Myanmar Citizens or Pyi Thu in Burmese. Although the dog would be willing to sacrifice its life for the master Myanmar Tatmadaw is always willing to sacrifice its masters for its selfish greed of power.

Be careful, think twice before voting. This is not just an election, which consequence would for one term of government only.

This is the referendum to rubber-stamp the continuous dominance of military dictatorship in Burma/Myanmar forever…

Daw Suu, 88 Generation Students, NLD, Ethnic Minorities and opposition leaders of all the religions and races had sacrificed a lot: in the jail, tortured, some away from home and country and many had sacrificed their lives.

  •  What are you waiting for?
  • What are you scared of?
  • Are you not willing to make a minor sacrifice for your country, your race, your religion, your family, your relatives and for your future by taking a small risk of voting NO?
  • Don’t be intimidated by threats of the SPDC affiliated thugs.
  • You have shown your courage in 8888 revolution and Saffron Revolution.
  • This courage to vote is nothing when compare to the above revolutions.
  • If all the people or most of the people vote NO, what could they do?
  • Nothing at all!
  • They cannot arrest, torture or shoot and kill million of voters.
  • Just say NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! by voting NO in the coming referendum.

May you kindly allow me to refer back YOGA NESADURAI’s advice.

Please courageously make a Transformational choice by voting NO to transform our country from poor military dictatorship to truely progressive democracy.

Transformational choices are what we should all be aspiring to achieve. In this instance, we take control and are accountable for making great choices. Accountability means taking responsibility for the choices made.

Even if you have made an unwise choice, you are in control to remedy it or to deal with the consequences. It is a big responsibility to be accountable, but one with many rewards when executed.

Learning to make transformational choices gives us the power to be extraordinary, therefore directly impacting you as an individual and the organisation that you represent.

Choice is an active process. It is the difference between a customer continuing to do business with your organisation versus taking their business elsewhere. Use it wisely.

 

 

 

 

What was I sent here (as an Indian) for ?

 What was I sent here  (as an Indian) for ?

Natalie Shobana Ambrose | in Malaysiakini 

Please read my heartfelt feelings, written below, after reading this article_

Persian poet Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Balkhi (fondly know as Rumi) wrote, “The human being therefore has come into the world for a specific purpose and aim. If one does not fulfil that purpose, one has done nothing.

When I was younger I remember wishing so hard that I wasn’t Indian. Many times I’d ask my mother if I looked like I was of mixed parentage – my mother’s straight to the point answer ‘Of course you look Indian. What else would you look like? Both your parents are Indian. ‘

Much to my disappointment, without a shadow of doubt – I was Indian. My attempts to not stand in the sun didn’t help me on the fairness graph either.

It wasn’t that I didn’t like the way I looked or my inherited ability to roll my ‘r’s’. I just didn’t want to be Indian because of the stigma of being Indian.

To me, being Indian meant that we were not the brightest lot, we were poor, didn’t have much of a future and enjoyed fraternizing around coconut trees singing songs to our heart’s content.

But that wasn’t me. I refused to be defined by society’s perception of Indians.

No matter how hard I tried not to be Indian, I was derogatorily called Tangachi (literally, little sister, but often denoting, cutie or ah-moi) and would be teased by students of other races attempting to speak Tamil (something only fellow Indians would understand).

I grew up not seeing Indians on TV unless on the news, – usually at a crime scene – and I grew up listening to radio adverts mocking the Indian accent. Surrounded by all these observations, who in their right mind would want to be Indian?

Anything but Indian I pleaded. Anything! It must have been quite an amusing sight but an even more common sight in today’s Malaysia.

I’ve grown up since then, and fully embrace my Indian heritage. But what about society?

Of course the likes of Aishwarya Rai and Shilpa Shetty, the glamorization of Bollywood moves and movies has helped in the acceptance of being Indian. But what does it mean to be a Malaysian Indian?

Always #3

 

Am I, Malaysian first and Indian second? Or am I, Indian first and Malaysian second?

The reality of living in Malaysia means that we are defined by race. Every application form we fill subjects us to define ourselves by race and the Indian box is always at its highest position at number 3.

It didn’t matter that my parents raised their children to believe that we could be anything we wanted to if we really wanted to, because society dictated otherwise and the law makes sure we remember our ‘standing’ in the country. Always #3, nothing more.

I remember clearly being defined by race from a very young age. I remember while in primary school, my class teacher (who I thought was a very nice Malay lady) told the whole class that I looked like her maid.

Not a very clued-in child, I thought, well her maid must be very pretty. Little did I realise what had just happened. Of course, when I got home and spoke of my day to my mother this compliment turned into the bitter reality of class-fuelled racism. I had been indirectly told I was #3 in the scheme of things!

I never understood what I had done for someone whom I respected – and my teacher of all people – to treat me in such a manner.

In a perfect world, we would not see colour, but the reality is we do see colour and we interpret and place judgments – good or bad based on our biases, socialization and upbringing.

Maybe if we acknowledged that racism does exist in us, we might be better able to address it. It is a bit of a radical idea in harmonious unified Malaysia, but we all are biased to a certain extent. It’s just that some people are able to conceal it better than others – but it that doesn’t mean it doesn’t’ exist.

I’m not advocating racism, in fact the opposite. I’m looking for a solution. The first step to any recovery is acknowledging the problem, – if not what are we trying to fix?

We may have different likes and beliefs – but when does a preference become racism?

I believe it is when a sales person refuses to let you try on a dress because he thinks you can’t afford it. It is when a quota system limits you to the right of an education of your choice. Or when a job advertisement specifies what race, age and gender you should be before you can even apply.

It is when scholarships are limited by race and not test scores, it is when you have to pay more for the same house your neighbour has – on top of paying for your child’s education because there weren’t spaces left for your race in the public tertiary education system.

How then are we to love our neighbours?

When life is defined and limited to race, problems arise. When people are suppressed, repressed, bullied and forced to be voiceless a country suffers.

For today, we, as a nation may look well, but will Malaysia have a multicultural society to brag about in twenty years to come or would we have to scour foreign lands for sightings of Malaysians?

 Tolerating one another

 

 As a nation, our greatest asset is the fact that we are a multicultural people, and as the travel brochures would say ‘living in harmony with one another’. Or, as the Tourism Malaysia ad says, Malaysia – Truly Asia!

Somehow it has become a song we sing rather than a reality we practice. In many ways, it should read Tolerating One Another. After all that is what we do best – tolerate.

The very word advocates hatred. We should not have to put up with each other, rather we should embrace one another and strive to understand each other better …. not looking at race or religion.
The only way to do this is to spend time with each other instead of allowing our prejudice to distance us from one another.

It sounds very much like my moral classes back in the day. Maybe we should all hold hands and sing Kum-Ba-Yah or Rasa Sayang and sit around a bonfire and magically we will be transformed.

A huge part of me wishes I hadn’t spent all those years trying so hard not to be Indian. But an even bigger part of me hopes that young Indian children don’t feel like they have to apologize for being an Indian in Malaysia – for this is the only country they can call home.

Have migration enquiries to other countries increased in the last six months? I don’t think we need statistics to confirm it. As a young Indian living in Malaysia, why wouldn’t I embrace a country that allows me to be the best I can be without penalizing me for my race? As I ponder on RÅ«mÄ«’s words, I wonder to myself, will Malaysia allow me to fulfil my purpose or will I stay and achieve nothing.

Please read my feelings after reading the above article_

All the Indians and mixed blooded Indians are sufferring in Myanmar.

You still have here_

Indian MP, Indian Minister, IndianDeputy Minister, Indian Political secretries, Indian opposition leaders, Indian Judges, Indian Military officers, Indian Police Officers, Indian Ambasadors, Indian Immigration Officers – – -e.t.c.

You still have here_

Indian schools, Indian TV Channel, Indian Newspapers, Indian Radio Stations, Indian Journals, Indian Magazines, Indian Movie Theatre- – -e.t.c.

But in our Myanmar or Burma, sadly NON of the above could be found.

If your face have Indian features, dark skin, sharp nose, beard (shaved or not), whether you are Hindi or Muslim or Christian you are discriminated at each and every corner you turn!

Myanmar Military rulers are labeling all the Indians as guest citizens, ‘Kala’ or mixed blooded persons or not pure citizens. That, however, could not make us, or people like us, to become non Burmese Citizens. We are Burmese citizens no matter how some might disagree, or wish otherwise or decreed by force. Whether mixed blooded or not is not important in the eyes of the whole world but SPDC could not deny our right of 100% pure Burmese citizenship!

We, and all the other persons like us, not just those Indians, Chinese, Bengalis or Pakistanis although we are undeniably mixed blooded immigrants’ children or descendants of immigrants, but we are now full Burmese Citizens. No matter what some like SPDC racists or their cohorts might say contrary.

Our great grand parents and all the ancestors were loyal citizens of Burma and all of them were and are holding the Burmese National Registration Cards or ‘Ah Myo Thar Mhat Pone Tin Cards’. My brothers and sisters’ family members are holding those Burmese National Registration Cards but now the SPDC Apartheid Régime had ordered to issue the differently formatted cards for their younger children. It is curious when the parents and elder brothers and sisters are the same citizens as our Burmese Buddhists at least on paper but now only their youngest children are blatantly or brazenly discriminated as different from others and their own elder siblings.

This racial discrimination is practiced on not only Muslims but on Chinese and Hindis. SPDC National Registration officers decreed that if any one is not pure Burmese Buddhist, could not claim to be pure blood and all the Burmese Muslims must be recorded as mixed blooded persons. Whether correct or not, know or not, must be enlisted as mixed blooded Indian, Pakistan or Bengali. So it is blatant Racial Discrimination or openly practicing Apartheid practice of SPDC Junta.

We believe that no one has that right to practice the issuing of Apartheid certificate or new type of Registration different from other citizens to us. By doing so, SPDC is clearly starting to commit a Genocide offence.

We wonder how that single document would change their dreams or what would be their vision of their world or Myanmar excluding them or shutting out all of them from all the opportunities. It is our children’s turning points of their lives. SPDC ruthlessly had shown them who they are, why and how they are not welcomed in Burma/Myanmar. As our children journey into an uncertain future, they will struggle and grapple with their sense of their rightful place in this Myanmar nation.

The constant emphasis on differences by the narrow minded SPDC apartheid racists who could not see value in these children prevent them from seeing them as anything other than Burmese Citizens.

Our country’s diversity makes us who we are and what we are today. And though we Burmese Indian Muslims, Burmese Hindus, Burmese Indian Christians may be different but we all are almost completely burmanized culturally but I am sure when we dream we dream as Burmese only because we know Burmese, we love Burmese, and Burmese only is in our heart and mind.

Successive Burmese Kings had accepted us as their loyal subjects or citizens, after Independence U Nu’s government had accepted us. And General Aung San had even promised us: “I want to address the Indians and Chinese residing in this country. We have no bitterness, no ill will for them, or for that matter for any race and nationality in the world. If they choose to join us, we will welcome them as our own brethren. The welfare of all people of this country irrespective of race or religion has always been the one purpose that I have set out to fulfill. In fact it is my life’s mission.”

But sadly those illegitimate illegal SPDC Régime is practicing Apartheid committing the Genocide on all of us.

I could guarantee to all of our Burmese friends that we are all Burmese in our heart and we have no intention or imagination to even support the foreign countries believed to be the homeland of our ancient ancestors even if Burma is at war with them!

Please give back our children at least a chance to dream. Please do not shut off their future.

 

 

Chinese; Are they too clever, selfish or cowards?

    Chinese avoid confrontation with authorities.

Are they too clever, selfish or cowards?

Burmese Chinese and Malaysian Chinese are the behaving the same way.

Before reading about Malaysian Chinese in the_THE CHINESE, THEIR HOUSES HAVE NO WINDOWS by a Malaysian banker, please  taste back some Burmese Chinese stories/comments.From Irrawady, By Shah Paung November 12, 2007

The junta’s top leader, Snr Gen Than Shwe, is known to despise Muslims and Chinese people who live in Burma. However, most Chinese in Burma are business people and were not directly involved in the September uprising. In Mandalay, home to thousands of Chinese immigrants, most doors remained closed during the protests, a sign that the ethnic Chinese were not in support of the demonstrators. The Muslim minority, on the other hand, played an active part in the pro-democracy demonstrations, just as they have throughout the country’s troubled recent history.

“We cannot say that the demonstrations were not related to Muslims just because they were led by Buddhist monks,” Pan Cha concludes. “We were all born and live in Burma and should not discriminate among each other. We must work together toward democracy.”

Ko Moe Thee Zone’s announcement regarding SPDC crony businessmen

Now, we see the Muslims and Indians participating in the monks led peoples protesting. However, the Chinese seem to be curiously missing – in shape or form – within the context of the current protests.

Are they against the current protests or in support of the protests? Or simply indifferent to any of this since they already have a stronghold over Burma’s economy and anything that takes attention away from them would be positive?

Either way, the bigger question here is not a question of why aren’t the Chinese involved in these protest rather when will the Chinese get involved. The bottom line is why do the minorities, specifically the Chinese and the so called Indians or Muslims, continue to feel disenfranchised?

For Malaysiakini readers :

THE CHINESE, THEIR HOUSES HAVE NO WINDOWS

Saturday, March 29, 2008 at 8:06 PM Posted by jatt

THE CHINESE, THEIR HOUSES HAVE NO WINDOWS

This is a story from a banker (name witheld).*

I looked out the window.
And I saw.

Thousands and thousands of Malays in the Bersih Rally. They were fighting their own kind for a cause they believed in. And they risk being ostracized by their Muslim brothers. And they risk much.

I looked out the window.
And I saw.

Thousands and thousands of Indians holding the picture of Gandhi in the streets. All were teargassed and many beaten with batons. At Batu Caves , they were locked in, pumped with tear gas and sprayed with chemical water. 80 are awaiting trial. 31 are charged for attempted murder of a policeman that attacked them. All their leaders are under ISA. The one that got away fled the country.

I looked out the window.
And I saw.

Thousands and thousands of Chinese closing their doors. Minding their own business. Watching the soap operas. Playing mahjong. Going to the gym. Planning for holidays. Eating bah kuet teh. Enrolling their children in private schools. Going for line dancing. Changing to a bigger car. Perming their hair brown. Going to the movies. Shopping.

The Chinese. They don’t look out the window.
Their houses. Have no windows.
______________________

It is because of 3 generations of ‘keeping quiet’ that we are in a political quagmire of sorts today.

My story may not be the same for others, but it is no doubt a story of 3 generations of political oblivion -a saga of unremitting circumstances that has ‘trained’ us to look the other way – to economic wealth, education and religion. Politics because a ‘dirty word’ in our home; as a Chinese we should disengage ourselves completely from this ‘unproductive’ activity.

This is my story.

My grandfather took a ship to join the gold rush in

San Francisco
around the turn of the last century. Halfway on a Chinese junk, he got sea-sick, so he jumped ship at Singapore .. Traveling up the hinterland, he focused on survival. Hungry from famine in Southern China , he vowed never to be hungry again. Politics was the last thing on his mind. Keeping his belly filled was his only priority. It was an obsession that dictated everything he did.

My father worked for the British. One day, forced by the Japanese to do ‘national service’, he was selected to look after food supplies. The family was starving during the war, so he stole rice under his care and hid them in sweet potatoes when he cooked rice. Our neighbors always thought we were eating sweet potatoes we grew on the fringes of the jungle, when in actual fact, we always had rice.

(As a matter of fact, it is more nutritious to eat sweet potatoes than rice….sweet potatoes, the red variety, has carotenes-vitamin A precursors-other nutrients & fibre. Polished rice has mainly carbohydrate.)

My grandmother sews clothes for the women day and night to survive and got paid in Japanese currency.. When the war was over, these Japanese notes – which were unnumbered – became valueless. The family again struggled to bring food on the table. It was a litany of hunger and fear in our house.

When it came to my generation, my father thought education was the passport to economic freedom for us. He refused for us to be a contractor like him and forced us to study. In university, he forbade me to get involved in politics. He went as far as to refuse me to study law so that I would not get involved in politics. I was forced to study a course I did not like because he wanted me to be a banker.

Needless to say, I made the same mistake when it came to my children. I told them also the ‘passport to heaven’ was also to study. But I refused to dictate what they should study but instead asked them to study what they liked. I ensured they got the best education. I also reminded everyone that they do not talk about politics on the dinner table.

My story is not uncommon; such is the struggle and saga common to thousands of Malaysian homes.

We are cajoled by our parents to look at bread-and butter issues. We are told that politics are not for us. We are told that our ‘houses have no windows’, so mind your own business and close the door. We are told that if this country is not good enough, you must get a good education and emigrate.

The Chinese? We are told this is not our home. We have no home. We are the Jews of the East. When trouble starts, we ought to look the other way. If it gets worse, we emigrate. Money talks. So long we have money, some country will take us.

100 years of ignorance. Is it blissful? No. *It is tragic*.

Credit : Taken from http://groups.google.co.uk/group/sangkancil posted by Mei Joon Quek

Labels: ,

1 comments:

  gnh

March 30, 2008 5:47 AM

While I agree with the writer that the political activism is not the strong point of the Chinese here, you will note that the election this year showed it is at an embryonic stage at least. We may not be waving placards and throwing rocks in the streets, but the act of voting for the Opposition does constitute political activism on a personal level. And the results are no less astounding.

There are reasons for this state of affairs. Two and an half millenia of Confucian teaching have taught us that us to value social harmony and eschew disorder. In our circumstances, the fires of May 13 have seared into our collective memory that sometimes political victories come at a high cost. So for 40 years, we have learned to get along; we get used to some political power and in return we were granted the right to pursue economic goals. And at every GE since that fateful date, we have marked our ballot papers against the sign of the Dacing, an almost Pavlovian act rather than one of reasoned judgment. And invariably, prior to each GE, we are our fears are stoked by the firebrands in UMNO Youth.

The election this year is a sea change. There are many factors that came into play. But from a personal point of view, the sight of our Minister of Education waving the keris was the straw that broke the came’s back. If the minister could elicit that response from me, the most placid and politically apathetic of people, then I suppose the vast majority of Chinese here would have felt mortally insulted. It made voting Opposition that much easier, something Anwar capitalised on and encouraged.

So while most of us of the older generation will retreat into out comfort zones after doing our duties as citizens, the younger generation will build upon what was achieved. In time, we hope to see them speaking out against injustice as Malaysians and not as members of a racial group. I look forward with optimism.

Please read my contribution in the Wikipedia enclyclopedia to know the basic spyche of Burmese Chinese which shaped the present mindset of Chinese in Myanmar.

In 1962, Ne Win led a coup d’état and declared himself head of state. Although a kabya himself, he banned Chinese-language education, and created other measures to compel the Chinese to leave. Ne Win’s government stoked up racial animosity and ethnic conflicts against the Chinese, who were terrorized by Burmese citizens, the most violent riots taking place at the time of the Cultural Revolution in China.[1] When Ne Win implemented the “Burmese Way to Socialism“, a plan to nationalize all industries, the livelihoods of many entrepreneurial Chinese were destroyed and some 100,000 Chinese left the country.[1] All schools were nationalized, including Chinese-language schools. Beginning in 1967 and continuing throughout the 1970s, anti-Chinese riots continued to flare up and many believed they were covertly supported by the government.[2] Many Burmese Chinese left the country during Ne Win’s rule, largely because of a failing economy and widespread discrimination.

The first government-sponsored racial riots to take place in Burma was in 1967, during General Ne Win‘s rule. In the riots, the general populace went on a killing spree because of sedition and instigation against the Chinese by various government departments. The massacre lasted for about five consecutive days, during which thousands of Chinese died or were left dying in the streets of Rangoon. Some of the Chinese were thrown alive from the second and third floors of buildings in downtown Rangoon. The dead and wounded Chinese were hauled up unceremoniously and dumped onto army trucks and taken to ‘htauk kyan’ incinerators and the ‘carcasses’ were sent up in smoke. That showed the true bestial and cruel side of the character of the ruling Burma Military Junta. The only “crime” the Chinese committed was the wearing of Chairman Mao‘s badges on their shirts.[3][4][5]

Latha Secondary School was torched by the henchmen of General Ne Win’s government, where school girls were burnt alive. Chinese shops were looted and set on fire. Public attention was successfully diverted by Ne Win from the uncontrollable inflation, scarcity of consumer items and rising prices of rice.

References_

  1. ^ a b c d e Martin Smith (1991). Burma – Insurgency and the Politics of Ethnicity. London,New Jersey: Zed Books, 153-154,225-226,98,39. 
  2. ^ Steinberg, David L. (2002). Burma: The State of Myanmar. Georgetown University Press. ISBN 0-87840-893-2. 
  3. ^ Various Goernment Newspapers in Burma.
  4. ^ Asia Week, Far Eastern Economic Review.
  5. ^ Bertil Litner Bangkok Post Thailand

Tibet – support the Dalai Lama

Tibet – support the Dalai Lama

By Feraya Nangmone

Hi,

I just signed an urgent petition calling on the Chinese government to respect human rights in Tibet and engage in meaningful dialogue with the Dalai Lama. This is really important, and I thought you might want to take action:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/tibet_end_the_violence/98.php/?cl_tf_sign=1

After nearly 50 years of Chinese rule, the Tibetans are sending out a global cry for change. But violence is spreading across Tibet and neighbouring regions, and the Chinese regime is right now considering a choice between increasing brutality or dialogue, that could determine the future of Tibet and China.

We can affect this historic choice. China does care about its international reputation. Its economy is totally dependent on “Made in China” exports that we all buy, and it is keen to make the Olympics in Beijing this summer a celebration of a new China that is a respected world power.

President Hu needs to hear that ‘Brand China’ and the Olympics can succeed only if he makes the right choice. But it will take an avalanche of global people power to get his attention. Click below to join me and sign a petition to President Hu calling for restraint in Tibet and dialogue with the Dalai Lama — and tell absolutely everyone you can right away. The petition is organized by Avaaz, and they are urgently aiming to reach 1 million signatures to deliver directly to Chinese officials:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/tibet_end_the_violence/98.php/?cl_tf_sign=1

Thank you so much for your help!

COMING LETHAL FORTH POLITICAL TSUNAMI

  COMING LETHAL

FORTH POLITICAL TSUNAMI

Modified and edited the original comment written by AB Sulaiman and letter in Malaysiakini.

I have edited and adapted to the Myanmar context from the original article. I hope that  AB Sulaiman and Malaysiakini could understand and forgive us for this. They should even be proud that they could contribute a very good article for the fellow Myanmar/Burmese citizens

There is popular tale of the frog that cuddles comfortably in a cauldron of water. The frog feels so comfortable that it has not detected that the water is warming up by a fire coming from under the cauldron. The rate of warming is slow, so the frog does not detect the rising temperature. Until it is too late when it realises the water temperature is too hot for its comfort and has to jump out in great shock.

The 8888 first political tsunami is somewhat like the rising temperature in the cauldron. The Myanmar Military Junta (read that was BSPP and supremo General Ne Win) mindset has been too comfortable riding the wave of military power, and for so very long, so much so that it has taken the population (especially the Bama segment) for granted, and does not detect the appearance of hate, disenchantment and detestation simmering and growing on the part of the population on the Tatmadaw until it is too late. Ne Win and successive cohort military anointed leaders were dethroned.

1990 second political tsunami was dedicated to overthrowing General Saw Maung, Supremo of SLORC. Daw Aun San Suu Kyi led opposition was voted in with a landslide 86% win. That was a greatest Political Tsunami in Burma.

And then latest, the third Safron Revolution was also another unexpected third political Tsunami for the Myanmar Tatmadaw leaders, this time SPDC Supremo Senior General Than Shwe had to bear the consequence.

The FORTH (In the Chinese Dialect, Catonese number four is called Sae. The other meaning of Sae is DIE.

(It is called Homophone = One of two or more words, such as night and knight, that are pronounced the same but differ in meaning, origin, and sometimes spelling.

Pun = A play on words, sometimes on different senses of the same word and sometimes on the similar sense or sound of different words. )

So if the lethal FORTH TSUNAMI is allowed, it would wipe out the whole group of Myanmar Tatmadaw Military Generals.

And so now what do we have?

We have this momentous successive political tsunamis taking place.

What has hit?

The Military permanent dominance policy.

It is in actual fact more than just political, it is a psychological tsunami.

By definition the BSPP General Ne Win, SLORC General Saw Maung, and SPDC Supremo Senior General Than Shwe (in this context they are arguably synonymous to one another) mindsets have been going about controlling the reins of the country with the traditional mindsets of yesterday.

They rest on the ethnocentric platform of ‘Tatmadaw Thar Ah Mi_ Tatmadaw Thar Ah Pha‘ meaning that military is the true parents of the country (citizens). What kind of SHIT idea comming out from the sparrow bird’s brain?

With this they went way beyond reason to protect and propagate the sanctity of Tatmadaw, and similarly the elitism of the Tatmadaw culture, without paying too much respect to the views and sensitivities of the rest of the  civilians e.g. Bamas, Ethnic Minorities and Religious Minorities.

The military and ex-military, in the meantime, were treated like a father treating his favourite son, showering the child with a lot of goodies in the form of subsidies and a long list of affirmative action programmes. Their minds are carefully nurtured to be conservative and in conformity with the status quo. Mainly the child is nurtured and groomed to remain as a child, never allowed to grow into adulthood. The child is spoilt rotten.

All along and very much like the Burmese proverb “Chee Htae Mhar Pyaw thor Lauk”: meaning, The Maggot dropped into the pile of Shit or like a mouse falling into a sack of rice, the military leadership helped itself to the fats of the country involving obscene, ugly and astronomical amounts.

All along the non-Military or civilians were treated like enemies as witnessed by the nonchalant way the SPDC term all the oppositions as ‘enemies of the nation, to be eliminated’. More than that, it became very complacent, arrogant, immoral, irrational, and totally unprofessional with its Military leadership performance and accompanied by a deterioration of quality.

Lord Acton’s dictum that power corrupts with absolute power corrupting absolutely comes to the fore. The successive tsunamis then hits with a force far beyond even what the people had ever anticipated.

This psychological tsunami should be a wake up call to the complacent Tatmadaw mindset. Commentators and columnists have inundated the media, especially the Internet, suggesting ways and means on how this composite Permanent Military Dominence mindset can redeem itself.

I shall limit my contribution by saying that the Myanmar/Burma social, economic and political environments have changed since sixty years ago. The people are more educated, urbanised, and are enjoying a higher standard of living. They travel more often to more distant places. More importantly people read more and think more. They are more literate. They are more equipped and able to conceptualise about new ideas and new things around them. People are more matured, more ready to think of alternatives. They are not afraid of alternatives.

Coming back to the frog analogy, the Burmese people are ready to venture out from the Known to the Unknown. Put all these elements together and we have a population being more aware and more knowledgeable of things happening around them. We have a population with a declining group orientation, and taken over by a developed sense of the individual. They would require a leadership as aware and as knowledgeable as them.

The Myanmar Military Permanent Dominance policy holding incumbents SDPDC leaders should pay heed to this new breed of individual-orientated Myanmar/Burmese who have their own minds, and mainly have faith, trust, and confidence in their own judgments. Should the leaders not change as well so as to be at par with the people’s mindset, they will not be effective leaders.

In such an unfortunate mismatch situation, it is tantamount to an invitation for another more damaging LETHAL FORTH tsunami to come. Military dominence culture would surely be drowned by the sheer force of this tsunami.

 

Don’t cry for me grandpa, Minister Mentor

Don’t cry for me grandpa, Minister Mentor

  

There is a Burmese saying_

Kyaw poo dar_khan naing thee

Naar poo dar_ma khan naing”.

  • Most of the peaple could bear the heat on the back of the body (prefer to work hard even under the sun)
  • but could not stand the (heat/ pressure) in the ears (read: brain / stress / undue pressure from the boss).

Some of us could prefer to work hard but could not stand the mental torture, pressure, or stress.

Yes! Even our Prophet (PBUH) had taught us_

If you do not want to donate to a beggar, use polite words to apologize.

But never insult the beggar even after you donated a large some of money.

Getting / money or not is far less important than getting an insult.

Money goes into the pocket only but the insult goes deep into our hearts.

So feeding the human’s mental ego is sometimes more important than just feeding the mouths.

Successive Burmese Governments used to discriminate us as foreigners, migrants, mixed blooded persons, Kalas (Migrant Indians/Indians), Kala Dein (Indian descendent)  and “Mi Ma Sit_Pha Ma Sit”. (The words meaning Bastards used by the the Burmese Chinese General Ne Win on Burmese Muslims. I think he never look at his own BASTARD FACE in the mirror!)

Most of us emigrated (migrated out) and left Myanmar not because of economic reason. As the professionals we could earn enough to stay in upper-middle strata in Myanmar and could earn some respect not only from the non-Muslims but from the Monks and even from the Military authorities. We just hate the unfair general discrimination on our race and religion. (As all the Military leaders are corrupt, we could even do anything in Myanmar after paying bribes. If the payment is good enough we could even get their daughter’s hands.)

Once the governments could fulfill (actually all the government leaders wrongly thought like that! They think they had done favours on their on citizens but actually the people are the masters of the governments. Although the governments’ policy and guidance  are important, it is the people who really works hard to achieve every thing for the country. And the give the salaries, of cause from their tax money, to those political leaders.) the physical and psycological needs of its citizens_

Food, shelter, clothing, employment is important but should understand that they also should take care of their social, mental and psycological needs.

SINGAPORE GOVERNMENT FAILS BECAUSE OF THAT FAILURE>

Just read the following article.

Don’t cry for me grandpa Lee,

Goodbye and thank you

Excerpts from article by SEAH CHIANG NEE.  Singapore’s emigration rate, one of the highest in the world on a per capita basis, is a blow to the government.

YEARS of strong economic growth have failed to stem Singapore’s skilled youths from leaving for a better life abroad, with the number topping 1,000 a year. 

This works out to 4%-5%, or three in 10, of the highly educated population, a severe brain drain for a small, young nation, according to Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew. 

Such high-end emigration is usually associated with less better-off countries where living conditions are poor. Here the opposite is the case. 

The future doesn’t look better, either, despite Lee holding out promises of “a golden period” in the next five to 10 years. 

The emigration rate, one of the highest in the world on a per capita basis, is a blow to the government, particularly to Lee, who takes pride in building up this once poor squatter colony into a glittering global city. 

They are people who abandoned their citizenship for a foreign one, mostly in Australia, the United States and Canada. 

The emigrants, mostly professionals, don’t leave Singapore out of poverty but to seek a better, less pressurised life.  

Lee recently said the brain drain is touching close to this family. 

Lee’s grandson, the elder son of Prime Minister Hsien Loong, who is studying in the United States, has indicated that he may not return.  

Over the years, the children of several Cabinet ministers have also made Britain or the US their home.  

Lee, aged 84, has often spoken on the issue with emotions, once tearing when referring to the losses.  

However, he has offered no reasons for the exodus beyond economic opportunities, although the government more or less knows what they are.  

Singaporeans who have or are planning to emigrate are given a host of 10 questions and asked to tick the three most important ones. They include the following: –  

> High costs of living 

> Singapore is too regulated and stifling 

> Better career and prospects overseas 

> Prefer a more relaxed lifestyle 

> Uncertain future of Singapore. 

Some liberal Singaporeans believe Lee himself, with his authoritarian leadership and unpopular policies, is largely to blame.  

Singapore’s best-known writer Catherine Lim calls it a climate of fear that stops citizens from speaking out against the government.

Globalisation, which offers opportunities in many countries like never before, is a big reason for the outflow.  

Many countries, including populous China, are making a special effort to attract foreign talent. 

Others who leave were worried about the future of their children living in a small island, and look for security and comfort of a larger country. 

The exodus is more than made up – at least in numbers – by a larger intake of professionals from China and India. 

“The trouble is many of the Chinese then use us as a stepping stone to go to America, where the grass is greener, Lee said. 

Some feel the large presence of foreigners, and the perks they enjoy over locals in military exemption as well as in scholarships, are themselves strong push factors.  

They see the foreigners as a threat to jobs and space, undermining salaries and loosening the nation’s cohesion. 

“I just feel very sad to see the Singapore of today with so many talented, passionate Singaporeans moving out and being replaced by many foreigners,” said one blogger. “I feel sorry for the future.” (Me too, for Myanmar.)

Lee recently made a passionate appeal to youths to think hard about their country. He said they had received education and opportunities provided by Singaporeans who had worked hard for it. 

“Can you in good conscience say, ‘Goodbye! Thank you very much?’ Can you leave with a clear conscience? I cannot,” he said.  

But many Burmese just need to say this even although they could not get the same kind of welcome from their host countries. Some need to work illegally, some as refugees and many professionals have to do the manual works. So you Singaporeans are luckier than us. Just leave the old grandpa enjoy his own great authority on new comers, or new immigrants.

 

 

Burmese Muslims requested the future leaders including the opposition leaders to grant the following Basic Human Rights

Burmese Muslims requested

the future leaders of Burma

including the opposition leaders

to grant the following Basic Human Rights

The following basic Human Rights should be granted to all the citizens including all the Muslims of Burma/Myanmar:

  1. Rights of unrestricted internal travel in the whole of Myanmar/Burma.
  2. Rights to travel abroad must be accepted by the government and to relax the strict present regulations on all Myanmar/Burmese citizens.
  3. Equal access to education at all levels including postgraduate studies, locally and abroad, according to meritocracy.
  4. Equal rights to all the government jobs and chance to be promoted according to meritocracy but not based on the Military experience or relationship.
  5. Equal rights to settle and work in any parts of Myanmar/Burma.
  6. Equal rights to serve and entitle for promotion to all the ranks in armed forces, Police, immigration, Ministry of Foreign Affairs etc.
  7. Freedom of religion, worship, religious publications, building and repairing of religious buildings and religious schools etc.
  8. Rights to allow participation in the election process and hold posts in all the levels in national and regional politics.
  9. Rights to hold the political and administrative posts in various level of government and its’ agencies.
  10. Freedom of speech and expression in any form of media is important. But freedom after speech is especially more important!

We all must recognize and implement:

  1. (i) The Status, Rights, protection, participation and representation of all the Ethnic Minorities.
  2. (ii) The Status, Rights, protection, participation and representation of all the Minority Religious groups.
  3. (iii) The Status, Rights and protection of the poor and downtrodden.
  4. (iv) Programme and implementation for the eradication of poor and general measures to increase the living standard of people. Handicapped people, youths, orphans, aged, disease inflicted people, homeless people, retrenched and unoccupied peoples’ rights and protection must not be ignored.
  5. (v) Majority got the right to rule. But they must respect, protect and guarantee the Minorities’ rights.
  6. (vi) Minorities must have the right of representation because the Majorities with their number of votes could totally monopolize all the good, lucrative and high places and positions, marginalizing the minorities.
  7. (vii) Majority must ‘sacrifice’ their absolute power by reserving some places and positions thus giving the Minorities the chance of participation and representation.
  8. (viii) Workers rights and adequate protection. Rights of forming unions, strikes, compensation, recreation, various benefits, pension and etc.
  9. (ix) On farsighted and fair distribution of investment policy in various fields of : Education, Research and Development, Science, Information Technology, Health, factories, Irrigation, Houses especially low cost houses and infrastructure projects.

There must be antitrust legislature to control the monopoly in each and every field.

We have to look, monitor and record at the –

  1. (a) Distribution of wealth and opportunity among the different groups depending on race, religion and political alignment, Political patronage- awarding government contracts, appointments, promotions, scholarships, land distributions, permits etc.
  2. (b) Rural development, Urbanization, squatter relocation and settlements.
  3. (c) Basic infrastructure facilities, water, electricity, highways, telephone, multimedia facilities, railways, seaports and etc. 

not to forget the most important basic issue of :

  1. (i) The Rights of Dissent and Disobedience of the people, parties, minorities and even among the Ruling Party (Party ordinary members, Central Committee Members, MPs and even Cabinet Ministers). Those individuals should not be forced or coerce to always toe the party line.
  2. (ii) We also wish to request that the minorities must have a say in the governance or at least the laws and rulings that are related or affected them.
  3. (iii) Democratic governments must accept that accepting the participation of minority races and religions is better than hatred, resentment, revolution, racial riots or civil wars.

 “Counting the ballots is better than cracking the skulls”.

We need the folowing undertaking by the future governments of Burma/Myanmar_:

  1. 1. “The people, whether Majority or Minority must have the right to disobey or resist the commands of the oppressive, authoritative or tyranny governments, if their commands trespass the limit and no longer serve their interests.
  2. 2. There must be enough check and balance. ACA (Anti Corruption Agency) or any organizations dealing with corruption must be independent from the administrative branch of Government.
  3. 3. Newspapers, TVs and all the media must be free and independent to probe and do investigative reports.
  4. 4. NGOs and other right groups must also be free to express their views. All of them and various reporters must have a free access to the government and the big companies as long as there is no real danger of espionage or national security. There is a danger of over protection and trying to hide under the name of national security to avoid exposure of the corruption.
  5. 5. There must be real separation of powers in the government. Administrative power of the head of the government should not let to be able to influence the Judiciary, Attorney General’s office and Legislative assembly.

In gist, the Rights we should get from the good governments are, Political, Civil, Human Rights & Economic Reform, including though not limited to:

  1. Freedom of speech.
  2. Freedom of association.
  3. True, full democracy.
  4. Separation of Powers between Government, Judiciary, Police & Military.
  5. Independent, competitive non-government media, free from government censorship or editorial restrictions.
  6. Full freedom of religious-thought, belief, expression & practice, including abolition of Government controls of religious affairs.
  7. The right of self-determination.
  8. The Rule of Law: The presumption of innocence until proven guilty; Trial by jury of peers; The right to a fair trial with appeal rights; The right to adequate & independent legal representation
  9. Non-discrimination by Governments, individuals or organisations on the basis of race, nationality, colour, religion, gender, marital status, political belief or affiliation, physical or mental disability.
  10. Religious & Political organisations must be permitted.

if I go into details of other Human Rights such as:

  1. (i) Detainees’ Rights: Prisoners’ Rights, POW’s (Prisoners of War) Rights, Political Prisoners’ Rights etc. Free from torture and inhumane treatments. Right to engage a lawyer, right to remain silence, right to defend one self in proper open court of law, right of access to medical care, communication with the love ones, rights to recreate and rehabilitate in the prison etc.
  2. (ii) Women’s Rights,
  3. (iii) Children’s various Rights,
  4. (iv) Senior citizens’ Rights, Handicapped Persons’ Rights, and various victims of diseases, HIV patients, Ca patients etc Rights.
  5. (v) Workers Rights; Workers Unions’ Rights, Foreign Workers’ (legal and illegal) Rights etc
  6. (vi) Foreigners’ Rights; Foreign temporary Residences Rights, visitors, tourists, Foreign Investors and Asylum or refugee seekers’ Rights etc
  7. (vii) Diplomatic Rights, Inventors’ Rights, Artists’ Rights, Patent Rights etc. etc…

The Golden days of the Great Mon Empire I

The Golden days of the

Great Mon  Empire I

References 

  1. Wikipedia
  2. Cambodia History
  3. Thailand History
  4. Mon Web pages
  5. Hariphunchai, Wikipedia 

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Mon state Flag

 The Mon are an ethnic group in Southeast Asia. They live in Mon State, historic lower Burma and the area around the southern Burmese-Thailand border.

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New Mon State Party Flag

There are believed to be around 8 million people who claim Mon ancestry and retain their culture and language, but the majority of the Mon (possibly 4 million) use the modern Burmese language for daily business and are literate only in Burmese (not in their native language).  The majority of Mon live around the city of Bago or the site of their historic capital, Thaton and the port of Mawlamyaing.

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Mon Children (boys)

They also constitute a significant percentage of the population further south along the lowland coast to the city of Ye, Burma.

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Mon Children (girls)

 Early history of Burma_ 

Humans lived in the region that is now Burma as early as 11,000 years ago, but the first identifiable civilization is that of the Pyu although both Burman and Mon tradition claim that the fabled Suvarnabhumi mentioned in ancient Pali and Sanskrit texts was a Mon kingdom centered on Thaton in present day Mon state.

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Khmer Arts

The Mon were one of the earliest distinct groups to occupy Burma, moving into the area as early as 1500 BCE or possibly earlier. The Mon are primarily associated with the historical kingdoms of Dvaravati and Haripunchai.

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Ankor Wat

Up until the 14th century, outposts of Mon culture continued to spread very Far East, including modern Thailand and Isan plateau cities such as Lampang and Khon Kaen.

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Mon Khmer Empire

Look, Thai’s Upper or North Western region was under Pagan.
Remaining Thai, Laos, Upper Malaysia and Lower Burma
was under Mon-Khmer rule.

As late as the 14th and 15th centuries, it is believed that the Mon were the ethnic majority in this vast region, but also intermarried freely with Khmer and Tai-Kadai populations.

Archaeological remains of Mon settlements have been found south of Vientiane, and may also have extended further to the north-west in the Haripunchai era.The Mon converted to Theravada Buddhism at a very early point in their history.

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Mon Buddha

Unlike other ethnic groups in the region, they seem to have adopted Theravada orthodoxy before coming into contact with Mahayana tendencies, and it is generally believed that the Mon provided the link of transmission whereby both the Thais and Cambodians converted from Hinduism and Mahayana Buddhism to Theravada Buddhism (increasingly from the 1400s).

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Mon Buddha (side view)

Although the precise date cannot be fixed, it seems that the Mon have been practicing Theravada Buddhism continuously for a longer period than any other extant religious community on earth, except for Sri Lanka, as the lineage was destroyed in India.

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Mon Scripture Wheel

Like the Burmese and the Thais, some modern Mons have tried to identify their ethnicity with the semi-historical kingdom of Suwarnabhumi. Today, this claim is contested by many different ethnicities in South-East Asia, and contradicted by scholars. Historical scholarship indicates that the early usage of the term (as found in the edicts of Ashoka) 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 Burmese and the Thais have made concentrated efforts 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.

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(Mon Khmer) Grand Palace Bangkok

The 6th century Mon kingdom of Dvaravati in the lower Chao Phraya valley in present day Thailand extended its frontiers to the Tenasserim Yoma (mountains).  With subjugation by the Khmer Empire from Angkor in the 11th century the Mon shifted further west deeper into present day Burma.  

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Khmer Women in the field

Oral tradition suggests that they had contact with Buddhism via seafaring as early as the 3rd century BC and had received an envoy of monks from Ashoka in the 2nd century BC. 

The Mons adopted Indian culture together with Theravada Buddhism and are thought to have founded kingdoms in Lower Burma including Thaton in the 6th or 7th century and Bago (Pegu) in 825 with the kingdom of Raman’n’adesa (or Ramanna which is believed to be Thaton) referenced by Arab geographers in 844–8.The lack of archaeological evidence for this may in part be due to the focus of excavation work predominantly being in Upper Burma. 

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Shampoo Island

The first recorded kingdom that can undisputedly be attributed to the Mon people was Dvaravati, which prospered until around 1000 AD when their capital was sacked by the Khmer Empire and most of the inhabitants fled west to present-day Burma and eventually founded new kingdoms.  These, too, eventually came under pressure from new ethnic groups arriving from the north. 

Mon kingdoms ruled large sections of Burma from the 9th to the 11th, the 13th to the 16th, and again in the 18th centuries. About the same period, southward-migrating Burmans took over lands in central Myanmar once dominated by Pyu city-states and the Tai started trickling into South-East Asia.  

The Burman (Bamar ) established the kingdom of Bagan.  In 1057, Bagan defeated the Mon kingdom, capturing the Mon capital of Thaton and carrying off 30,000 Mon captives to Bagan. 

After the fall of Bagan to the invading Mongols in 1287, the Mon, under Wareru an ethnic Tai (Shan), regained their independence and captured Martaban and Bago, thus virtually controlling their previously held territory. 

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Shampoo Island

Mon kingdoms A main body of ethnic Shan / Tai migration came in the 13th century after the fall of the Kingdom of Dali to the Mongol Empire and filled the void left by the fall of the Bagan kingdom in northern Burma forming a loose coalition of city-states. These successive waves of Bamar and Tai groups slowly eroded the Mon kingdoms, and the next 200 years witnessed incessant warfare between the Mon and the Burmese, but the Mon managed to retain their independence until 1539. 

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Mon State Mudon

The last independent Mon kingdom fell to the Burmese when Alaungpaya razed Bago in 1757.  Many of the Mon were killed, while others fled to Thailand. Hanthawaddy (or Hanthawady; in Thai หงสาวดี Hongsawadi) is a place in Burma.  Hongsawatoi ( Bago/Pegu/ Handawaddy )  Hongsawatoi, Capital city of old Mon kingdom.  

It was destroyed by Burman King, U Aungzeya or Aloungpaya in 1757.  Hongsawatoi (Mon language pronounce) (Pali Hamsavati) Bago is about 50 miles from Rangoon. 

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Shampoo Island

According to legend, two Mon princess from Thaton founded Bago in 573 AD.  It was written in the chronicles that eight years after enlightenment, Lord Buddha along with his disciples went air-borne around Southeast Asian countries. 

The earliest mention of this city in history is by the Arab geographer Ibn Khudadhbin around 850 AD.  At the time, the Mon capital had shifted to Thaton. The word Mranma, in both Mon and Myanmar inscriptions came into being only at about the same time, lending support to this claim that the Pyu were an earlier vanguard of southward Tibeto-Burman migration who were entirely absorbed into a newly formed identity by later waves of similar people.  

The Pagan Kingdom grew in relative isolation until the reign of Anawrahta (1044-77) who successfully unified all of Burma by defeating the Mon city of Thaton in 1057. The area came under rule of the Burmese from Bagan in 1056.  

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Kyansittha, Alaungphaya, Bayintnaung and Nga Paw

Consolidation was accomplished under his successors Kyanzittha (1084–1112) and Alaungsithu (1112-67), so that by the mid-12th century, most of continental Southeast Asia was under the control of either the Pagan Kingdom or the Khmer Empire.  The Pagan kingdom went into decline as the Mongols threatened from the north. The last true ruler of Pagan, Narathihapate (1254-87) felt confident in his ability to resist the Mongols and advanced into Yunnan in 1277 to make war upon them. He was thoroughly crushed at the Battle of Ngasaunggyan, and Pagan resistance virtually collapsed. The king was assassinated by his own son in 1287, precipitating a Mongol invasion in the Battle of Pagan.  

The Mongols successfully captured most of the empire, including its capital, and ended the dynasty in 1289 when they installed a puppet ruler in Burma.  

After the collapse of Bagan to the Mongols in 1287, the Mon regained their independence. From 1369-1539, Hanthawaddy was the capital of the Mon Kingdom of Ramanadesa, which covered all of what is now lower Burma.  

The area came under Burman control again in 1539, when it was annexed by King Tabinshweti to his Kingdom of Taungoo.  

The kings of Taungoo made Bago their royal capital from 1539-1599 and again in 1613-1634, and used it as a base for repeated invasions of Siam.     A Mon dynasty ruled Lower Burma after the fall of the Pagan dynasty from 1287 to 1539 with a brief revival during 1550–53. At first Martaban was the capital of this kingdom and then Pegu.

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Mawlamying jetty

The Mon king Rajadhirat, who waged war with the northern Burman kingdom of Ava during the whole duration of his reign, unified and consolidated the Mon kingdom’s domains in Lower Burma.The most famous Mon monarchs during this period were Queen Baña Thau (Burmese: Shin Sawbu; reigned 1453–1472) followed by Dhammazedi (reigned 1472–92). Queen Baña Thau personally chose Dhammazedi to succeed her. Dhammazedi had been a monk before he became king of Pegu. Under Dhammazedi, Pegu became a centre of commerce and Theravadan Buddhism. These two devout Buddhist monarchs initiated a long period of peace in Lower Burma.Many foreign traders were attracted to the capital, which became well-known to the outside world as a centre of commerce. As such it is mentioned by the Russian merchant, Nitikin, who traveled in the East about 1470.

Its fifteenth century rulers were, like those of old Pagan, chiefly interested in the development of religion. Missions were sent to Ceylon and on their return stimulated an important religious revival, which affected the whole of Burma.

Its centre was the Kalyani thein near Pegu, so named because its original monks had been ordained on the banks of the Kalyani River in Ceylon. Kalyani ordination became the standard form for the whole country. The story of the reforms is told in the Kalyani inscriptions erected by King Dammazedi (1472-92). Dammazedi was the greatest of the rulers of Wareru’s line. His reign was a time of peace and he himself was a mild ruler, famous for his wisdom. A collection of his rulings, the Dammazedi pyatton, is still extant. He maintained friendly intercourse with Yunnan and revived the practice of sending missions to Buddhagaya. He was a Buddhist ruler of the best type, deeply solicitous for the purification of religion. Under him civilization flourished, and the condition of the Mon country stands out in sharp contrast with the disorder and savagery which characterized the Ava kingdom. When he died he was honoured as a saint and a pagoda was erected over his bones.

The Mon kingdom possessed two great pagodas of especial sanctity, the Shwemawdaw at Pegu and the Shwe Dagon at the small stockaded fishing-town of Dagon, now Rangoon, the capital of modern Burma.

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Shwe Dagon

The last Mon kingdom was Hongsavatoi—they re-conquered much of their lost territory until the energetic Burman leader U Aungzeya forced them back and captured the kingdom by 1757, massacring a considerable part of the population. The Mon religious leaders were forced to flee to Siam and the Mon have been harshly repressed from the 1750s to the present day. 

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Shwe Maw Daw (Pegu)

King Mingyinyo founded the First Toungoo Dynasty (1486–1599) at Toungoo, south of Ava, towards the end of the Ava dynasty. After the conquest of Ava by the Shan invaders in 1527 many Burmans migrated to Toungoo which became a new center for Burmese rule. The dynasty conquered the Mohnyin Shan peoples in northern Burma. By this time, the geopolitical situation in Southeast Asia had changed dramatically. Mingyinyo’s son king Tabinshwehti (1531-50) unified most of Burma. The Shan gained power in a new kingdom in the North, Ayutthaya (Siam), while the Portuguese had arrived in the south and conquered Malacca. With the coming of European traders, Burma was once again an important trading centre, and Tabinshwehti moved his capital to Pegu due to its strategic position for commerce. Tabinshwehti was able to gain control of Lower Burma up to Prome, but the campaigns he led to the Arakan, Ayutthaya, and Ava in Upper Burma were unsuccessful. When Tabinshwehti’s brother-in-law, Bayinnaung (1551-81), Tabinshwehti’s brother-in-law, succeeded to the throne he launched a campaign of conquest invading several states, including Manipur (1560) and Ayutthaya (1569). An energetic leader and effective military commander, he made Toungoo the most powerful state in Southeast Asia, and extended his borders from Laos to Ayutthaya, near Bangkok.  His wars stretched Myanmar to the limits of its resources, however, and both Manipur and Ayutthaya, which had remained under Myanmar domination for 15 years, were soon independent once again.  Bayinnaung was poised to deliver a final, decisive assault on the kingdom of Arakan when he died in 1581. Faced with rebellion by several cities and renewed Portuguese incursions, the Toungoo rulers withdrew from southern Burma and founded a second dynasty at Ava, the Restored Toungoo Dynasty (1597–1752). Bayinnaung’s grandson, Anaukpetlun, once again reunited Burma in 1613 and decisively defeated Portuguese attempts to take over Burma. Encouraged by the French in India, Pegu finally rebelled against Ava, further weakening the state, which fell in 1752.                 

         

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Mon Shan dominence
Indo China

Renascences of the Golden days of the Great Shan Empire

Renascences of the Golden days

of the Great Shan Empire

that shaped the present South East Asia

Brief history review
Burma, Shan and Thailand

It is interesting to note that the linkage and emergence of the modern Shan State, its national day and the formation of the Union of Burma are so intertwined; it is almost impossible to discuss the making of this historical formation separately. And the history of Shans had greatly influence the history of the establishment, the evolution the modern present-day Myanmar/Burma and Thailand.

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Burma or Myanmar

Shans

Shan is a Burmese rendering of Siam. The Thai call our Shans as Thai-yai or Elder Thai – and Tai or Thai is only a dialectical rendering. The Tai  Speaking Peoples stretch from NE India, through Burma, the Kachin and Shan States, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and south and southwest China  Chinese Prime Minister Chou-en-lai of PRC [Communist Mainland China] said in 1957 to Soa Shwe Thaike, who was the first President of the Independent Burma, that in China there were then 100million Tai/Dai Speaking Peoples  in China.

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Orientation of Shan State

Ethnic Groups in Yunnan and Myanmar

The regions of Southwestern China and mainland Southeast Asia have been settled by many ethnic peoples since ancient times.

Effects of the Himalaya mountain range between China and India.

 

 

 

 

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Their history has been marked by struggles, wars, alliances, the creation and disintegration of their Baans (villages), Mongs (city-states), kingdoms and empires, and the efforts to re-create new ones in new lands.

Myanmar Neighbours, China and  India separated by Himilayan mountain ranges.

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Situation of Myanmar as a convenient highway between India and China

Some ethnic groups succeeded in creating highly organized kingdoms and empires, but others failed and, abandoning their old settlements, continued their migration south- and southeastward.

Their migration was sometimes gentle, sometimes forceful depending on the pressures from new emigrants and the conflicts that took place among themselves.

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(d) Myanmar highway along the valleys with water-supply along it, connecting China and ASEAN.

Indonesians, Malays and Polynesians were believed to be the earliest migrants came down from Yunnan through Burma to their homelands in south.

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(d) Strategic situation of Myanmar between its Neighbours (China, India, Bangladesh, Thailand and Laos)

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(e) Myanmar in ASEAN.

Myanmar highway, connecting China and ASEAN. Indonesians, Malays and Polynesians were believed to be the earliest migrants came down from Yunnan through Burma to their homelands in south.

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 (f) Orietation of Myanmar in the world map

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(g) Burma or Myanmar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Those who picked hilltops and deep valleys for their settlements and were cut off and isolated from their parent stock became in the process of time a new ethnic group with a distinctive culture of their own, their linguistic affiliation later to be established by linguists and philologists. They survived on a simple sustainable type of economy and came to have new local names.

Yunnan, where numerous ethnic peoples make their homeland, is situated in southwest China, bounded on the north by Sichuan and Sizang (Sikang), on the east by Guizhou and Guangxi, on the south by Vietnam and Myanmar, and on the west by Myanmar and Assam. It is extremely mountainous with only a limited area of level plains.

It is furrowed by the Taiping, Shweli, Salween, Mekong, Black and Red rivers.

The Salween and the Mekong are rivers of great length, having their sources in the interior part of Tibet, and flowing through Yunnan and the neighboring lands of Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

The basins of these rivers and their tributaries form deep, narrow valleys which, with the high parallel mountain ranges running generally north and south, constitute a favourable home for numerous ethnic minorities.

Yunnan shares a long common border with Myanmar and many ethnic groups that live in Yunnan can also be found in Myanmar.

For example, the following ethnic nationalities, among many others, are common to both Yunnan and Myanmar:
1. Miao (Mhong)
2. Yao
3. Minchia (Pe-tso)
4. Wa
5. La
6. P’u-man
7. Palaung
8. K’a-mu
9. Shan (Tai)
10. Chinese
11. Tibetan (Petorpo)
12. Li-so (Li-su)
13. Mo-so (Na-She)
14. La-hu (Lo-hei)
15. A-ch’ang (Maingtha)
16. Ma-ru
17. La-shi
18. Kachin (Ching P’aw)
19. A-K’a
Linguistically these ethnic peoples belong to three families: Mon-Khmer, Tai, Chinese and Tibeto-Burman.

Human migration from one region to another is known to have taken place since time immemorial.

Even after “national” boundaries appeared in history, the migration process remained an on-going one, and the trends of human migration have continued to the present time, gathering momentum and involving large numbers of people at certain times more than others. In some places ethnic crossings over national boundaries become serious problems and disputes over such issues are common between adjacent countries. Today any ethnic problem occurring along a border can precipitate an international crisis, which may need either a short or a long term solution.

 

 

Ethnology has also become a subject of study for scholars of international relations. Words such as ethnic identity, ethnic adaptation, ethnicity, ethnic politics, ethnic consciousness, ethnocentrism, ethnic discrimination, ethnic conflict, ethnic attachment, ethnic ideology, ethnic aspects, ethnic responses, ethnic issues, ethnic plurality, ethnic relations, ethnic misunderstanding, multi-ethnic problems, ethnogency and ethnography have become catch-words of the ethnologists in their dealings with ethnic issues in our international setting.

In some countries, national governments have explicitly provided in their Constitutions certain provisions, regulations, and laws regarding the rights and roles of ethnic minorities.

Assurances and guarantees are given for the promotion and preservation of their cultures, languages, customs, traditions and beliefs.

Usually, boundaries and areas that we call ethnic autonomy, ethnic centers, ethnic zones, ethnic belts, or ethnic communities are demarcated by national governments with the intention of having harmonious relationships among ethnic nationalities. Opportunities are also provided to ethnic nationalities to participate in local administration, in the management of national development projects and in the defense of sovereignty. In some countries provided with such assurances and guarantees, ethnic peoples co-exist peacefully and have cordial relations with each other.

But in other places, racial prejudices are so deep-seated and socio-religious differences so great that conflict has occurred, quarrels have developed into armed clashes and ethnic cleansing, leading to loss of lives and property, and upheavals on a large scale. Such unrest and violent outbreaks have led to renewed ethnic migrations from one region to another and across national boundaries.

Migration and Settlement of Tai Ethnic Groups

 

 

Like many other ethnic peoples the Tai once had their homeland in China. Some historians believe that the Tai people first came to settle north of the Yellow (Huang Ho) river, occupying the region known as Hebei and Shanxi round about 2515 B.C. The Chinese annals also mention Tai settlements in the middle basin of the Yellow River in 850 B.C. They made their homeland here for a long time, establishing small feudal kingdoms and spreading their “Na” culture to neighboring regions. But new emigrants coming from Central Asia later impelled the Tai and other ethnic groups to move southwards to new fertile areas between the Yellow and Yangtze (Chang Jiang) rivers covering the present provinces of Hunan and Hubei.
With the Yellow River in the north and the Yangtze river in the south as their natural boundaries, the Tai and other ethnic peoples felt safe, and rebuilt their feudal kingdoms and erected their “Na” which lasted for several centuries. However, another wave of emigrants from the north, which became powerful and aggressive, put new pressure on the Tai ethnic group. With inter-state rivalries and an inability to establish unity, the Tai and ethnic people of the south were unable to resist the intrusion from the north, and split up into numerous groups. Some took refuge in the neighboring hills and valleys of Sichuan, Guizhou and Yunnan, where they picked up new local names which concealed their identity and turned themselves into little-known hill tribes of the region, remaining obscure for centuries. Other Tai groups who were displaced by the new immigrants migrated into Honan to Hubei, and crossing the Yangtze river, fanned out in different directions to settle in Hunan, Guangxi, Guangdong, Hainan, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar and Assam.
The central point of my paper here is to trace the routes of migration of the Tai people and their areas of settlement in Myanmar. The Tai in Myanmar are known to the Myanmar people as Shan, to Kachins, A-ch’angs, Zis and La-shis as Sam, to the Ma-ru as Sen, to the Palaung as Tsen, to the Wa as Shem and to the Talaing or Mon as Sem and to the Yunnanese as Pai-Yi. But they themselves like to be called “Tai.” The Shans are the most widespread ethnic people in Myanmar, being found in every region. Their Baan or Maans (villages), Mongs (city-states) and settlements stretch from the northernmost region of Hkamti Long down to Taninthayi in the south, and from the eastern tip of Kengtung to Hsawng Hsup and Ta-mu to the west. In central Myanmar their settlements and communities can be found around Ava, Pinya, Sagaing, Taungoo, Phyu, Pyinmana and Pyay.
As to when exactly the Shans entered Myanmar, scholars have different views. Some believe that the migration of the Shans into Myanmar started 2000 years ago citing three reasons: first, their restless character which prompted them to find new lands to settle; second, their warlike character; and third, the pressure of new invasions from the north, such as those of A.D. 78 and A.D. 1253.
Most Shan chronicles say that a big wave of Shan migration took place in the 6th century A.D., the Shans moving from southern Yunnan into the Nam Mao valley and adjacent regions and establishing many Mongs, among them Bhamo, Mong Mit, Hsipaw, and Hsenwi. Making these places their first homeland in Myanmar, they spread out over the whole of the Shan State, establishing more Mongs and Kengs (towns) like Mong Naung, Mong Nang, Mong Hsu, Mong Kung, Mong Keshi-Mansam, Mong Laihka, Mong Nai, Mong Pan, Mong Maukmai, Mong Yawnghwe, Mong Sakoi, Mong Sam Kar, Mong Hsamongkham, Mong Lawk Sawk, Mong Pai, Keng Tawng, Keng Hkam and Keng Rom.
From Mong Kawng, Mong Yang, Waing Hso, Kat Hsa, the Shans moved northwards to the Hkamti Long area where they established the eight Mongs of the Khamti Shans: Lokhun, Mansi, Lon Kyein, Manse-Hkun, Mannu, Langdao, Mong Yak and Langnu. Moving to the west, they then occupied and established new Mongs like Hsawng Hsup, Sinkaling Hkamti, Mong Kale, Mong Leng (Mohling), Maing Kaing or Mong Kang, Hu-Kawng, Maw Leik, Mong Nyaung, Homalin, Phaungbyin, Hkam-Pat and Ta-Mu, between the Ayeyarwaddy and the Chindwin, along the Uyu river and even up to Manipur and Assam.
The Shan immigrants of north and northeastern Myanmar were recognized as the earliest branch of the Tai migration southwards, and they came to be known as Tai Long or Tai Yai, that is, “Great Tai”. The later branch of the Tai migration to Laos and Thailand were known as Tai Noi or “Little Tai.”
More migration of Shans into Myanmar took place when the powerful Shan kingdom of Mong Mao Long was established in the Mao valley. According to the Shan chronicles, the Mao political power reached its height in the 14th century, especially during the reign of the twin brothers Sao Hso Hkan Hpa and Sao Hsam Long Hpa.
All the principalities of northern and southern Shan State were united under the leadership of Sao Hso Hkan Hpa. He also extended his power to Laos, Cambodia and Thailand around about 1350. For the westward expansion, he assigned the task to his brother Sao Hsam Long Hpa who marched with his army to Mong Kawng which he easily annexed. Mong Kawng became the second capital next to Mong Mao. Making Mong Kawng his military base, Sao Hsam Long Hpa crossed the Ayarwaddy and Chindwin rivers to annex more new lands which included all the regions of the Kabaw valley, northern Rakhine, Manipur and Assam. New immigrants were settled into these newly conquered areas. Some of the followers who preferred to remain in Assam established their feudal communities along the Brahmaputra river and pledged their allegiance to the king of Tai Ahom. These Shans along the Brahmaputra river split in the course of time into Tai Ahom, Tai Aton, Tai Hkamyang, Tai Phake and Tai Tarong, to be later joined by Tai Hkamti from Myanmar. They survive to this day, although some have become Hinduized.
During the reign of Sao Hsam Long Hpa in Mong Kawng, several Baans and Mongs were established throughout northern Myanmar. Each Mong was under the Chief or Saohpa, and there were altogether ninety-nine Saohpas who who pledged their allegiance to Mong Kawng. The ethnic Tai people who came with Sao Hsam Long Hpa to northern Myanmar called themselves Tai Leng, but were called Shan-Myanmar by others. They became very Myanmarized. The Tai Leng settlements were scattered all over the present-day Kachin State, which at that time was Shan (see Appendix I). Those who settled at the northern tip of Myanmar around Putao came to be known as Tai Khamti. There were also Tai Long, Tai Mao and Tai Nu settlements in Bhamo, Mong Mauk, Waing Maw, Kat Kiao, Nam Ma, Nam Ti, Mong Kawng, Mong Yang and many other places in north and northeastern Myanmar. The Shans in northern Myanmar were skilled farmers. They brought along with them from Mong Mao Long the art of cultivation and turned the fertile lands of northern Myanmar into Na or rice fields. These Shan farmers concentrated their settlements in places with good soil and fresh water. In the Kyaukse area, they improved the land and irrigation system and turned the place into a rice bowl for Bagan. After the reign of King Narathihapate (1254-87) Bagan became very weak from the effects of the Mongol invasion. The Three Shan Brothers, Athinkaya, Yazathinkyan and Thihathu who controlled the economic base of Kyaukse area became very powerful and played a leading role in Bagan power politics. For two and a half centuries the Shans established their dynasties and made their power felt over Myanmar (see Appendix II).
In southern Myanmar there were several Shan settlements around Thaton, Mawlamyine, Madama and Bago. As elsewhere in Myanmar, the local chiefs of southern Myanmar locked themselves into the game of power politics. The most prominent and active of these was a Shan local chief named Wareru . He was the son of a Shan immigrant to Thaton and was born in a village called Doonwun near Thaton. When he grew up he went to Sukhotai and became a stable boy of the king. He was assigned to look after the royal elephants and to lead the elephant troops in times of war. He was also a good soldier and after a few successful campaigns he was promoted to the rank of captain of the guards. He later became acquainted with the king’s daughter, eloped with her and brought her to Thaton. He involved himself in the local politics and later became the governor of Madama in 1281. He next turned his attention to Bago and was able to take it over in 1369, following which he established a dynasty which lasted from 1287 to 1539 (see Appendix III). During the reign of king Wareru, the Shans from Chiangmai and Thailand moved to Lower Myanmar. There they mixed and mingled with the Mons and became good cultivators in the delta area which later became the rice bowl of Southeast Asia. During the period of the Wareru dynasty, trade and commercial relations developed with European countries, bringing prosperity to Bago, Madama and the Taninthayi coastal region. Native products such as rubies and other gems of northern Myanmar, lac, ivory, horn, lead, tin, Bago or Madama jars, long peppers, and nyper wine made from dani palm were exchanged with products brought by European merchants such as camphor, pepper, scented wood, Chinese porcelain and velvet.
East of the Nam Kong river or the Salween, there are numerous Shan settlements called Waans and Kengs. The region is shaped like a triangle. Although the Shan immigrants of this area were closely affiliated ethnically to the Tai race, they retained local names such as Hkun, Lu, Lem, Ngio, Yun and Tai Nu. Based upon their Waan-Baan-Keng system the Tai ethnic people of this area established several Mongs and Kengs as their feudal states (see Appendix IV).
Kengtung is the largest of the feudal states in the eastern Shan State. It covers an area of over 12,000 square miles and is bounded by Thailand on the south, China on the north, and Laos on the east. Its inhabitants are mostly Hkun, Lu, Tai Long and many other ethnic groups, among them Yun, Ngio, Tai Nu, Lem, Laotian, Wa, La, Tai Loi, Kaw, Mu-Hso (La Hu), Ako, Li Saw, En, Hsen Hsum, Pyen, Palaung, Kwi (La Hu Chi), Kang, Yao, Hsem, Miao, Mang Tam, Sawn (son) and Thai.
The majority of the Tai Nu people have settlements mostly along the Yunnan-Myanmar border and the upper part of the Salween river in Yunnan where they had several feudal city states. Inside Myanmar the Tai Nu people live in Bhamo, Myitkyina, Mong Kawng, Mong Yang, Muse, Namhkam, Mong Kung, Laihka and Kengtung area especially in the northeastern part of the region around Mong Lem.
The Shans penetrated deep into Myanmar in the long course of their history, to occupy its plains, hills and valleys and turn wasteland into Na to produce rice either for their own consumption or for trade. They were hardy farmers and food cultivators and adopted a feudal type of administration and a self-sufficient sustainable economy. Wherever they migrated they introduced their system of Mong and Keng city-states. They frequently fought among themselves but also formed alliances against common enemies. Endless wars are recorded in their local chronicles. The constant fighting among themselves and against neighboring foes exhausted their strength so that they eventually became very weak. They split and settled so much and so far that it became impossible for them to retain their unity as in the days of the Nanchao and Mong Maw Long. 

To make it easy for the readers, there is another version in notes form I prepared below_ 

Shan (also known as Tai) lived independently up north round about 650 B.C. in China at the lower part of the Yangtze River.

1. Shan’s (also known as Tai) migrated down through the present day Yunnan and desended further down into Burma and settled in the Shan Plateau.

2. A large group of them made a detour U turn and went up north and climbed the Tibet hills and stayed there forming the Tibeto-Burman ancestors of the whole region. (According to Thailand history books.)

3. One group continued their journey west, up to the present day Rakhine.

4. Another group even decided to continue the long march up into the present day north eastern part of India.

5. One of the group continued south in Burma and settled in lower Burma closely with Mon and  Kayins.

6. Few of them decided to continue to just stay-put in the present day Yunnan.

7. One group broke away from all others and decided to go straight southwards and settled in present Thailand.

8. One of them also broke away from all and moved to the east, settling in present day Lao and Cambodia. Actually they are a little bit different, some had more of the Chinese blood and some even have mixed blood with Khamars and some even went further and said to be settled in Vietnam.

9. One of the group, known as Thet mixed the Pyus and their decedents are part of the ancestors of Bamars.

10. Some of the ethnic groups, who made a detour U turn, went up north, climbs the Tibet hills and later came down and they were known as Kan Yan and formed one of the ancestors of Bama.

11. At last intermarriage of the groups who were the descendents of Pyu, Kan Yan and Thet give rise to my present day Bama ethnic group.

Note (A): the long march travelers of Shan came down in different times in batches. Because it happened in the prehistoric times, I have searched and collected data, and made it simple and easy from various references below.I hereby wish to go into some details of what I had given as a gist above: Shan’s other cousins descended from the same ancestors, now inhabit northeast Assam or Asom in India.

Note (B) : they established the Ahom kingdom in Assam, India, where the Burmese General Maha Bandula’s troops committed_

  • indescribable cruelties
  • and barbarities  as to
  • annihilate something like 2/3 of the population
  • and certainly 1/3 of the men and boys
  • disemboweling them,
  • eating their flesh
  • and burning them alive in cages
  • to intimidate
  • and suppress the Shan Ahom of Assam, India.

This event so weakened and disorganized the Shan Ahom that by 1839 the kingdom was completely annexed by the British.Before that from about 1220 – 1812 AD they maintained themselves under one Dynasty, (that of Mong Mao 568-1604 AD when its descendants ruled Hsenwi or Theinni in Burmese). Indeed the Shan Ahom resisted conquest by the Mughals who had conquered much of India before the British incursion.

Some groups of Shan settled along the way, at  Yunnan in the north east of Burma.

Some mixed blooded with Chinese and Khamar, went to the east and founded the Laos and  Cambodia.

Others went down to the southeast and settled in Thailand. No wonder Thailand was known as Siam or we could even easily understand it is just a slang of Shan.

Shans were  gradually pushed south, at about the beginning of the Christian era by the advancement of the Tar Tars.

About 650 A.D. one group of Shans formed a powerful country at Nan Chao, now known as Yunnan.Nan Chao Shans were quite powerful and could resist Chinese attempts at conquest until 1253.

300px-hsipawcountry.jpg

Hsipaw country

During the years 754 to 763 A.D. the Nan Chao Shans extended their rule even up to the upper basin of the Irrawaddy River and came into contact with the Pyu.

Pyu was one of three ancestors who founded our Burma: viz, Pyu, Kan Yan and Thet. Pyu was then the ruler of the Upper  Burmese Plains.

Some of Shan’s descendents ventured beyond Upper Burma into Lower Burma to mingle and live together with the Mons.

During the heydays of the Nan Chao Shans, some of them had even crossed Upper Burma to reach far west and established the once powerful Ahom Shan Kingdom, in the northeastern part of India, now known as Assam or Assom , as stated above.

Shans had moved into the area now known as the Shan Pyae of Burma in large numbers and settled down and were well established by the time our first Burmese King Anawrahta ascended his throne in 1st century.

Nan Chao  Shans tried desperately to defend their Nan Chao  kingdom from the Chinese attackers, but in 1253 the Nan Chao Kingdom fell.

Some of the Nan Chao Shans, unwilling to live under foreign domination there; move towards the south in strength, to seek freedom in present day Tailand area.

They joined forces with the other Shans, who had already settled in that area, and in 1262 took over Chiang Rai, in 1296 Chiang Mai and in 1315 took Ayuddhaya, and established their own kingdoms.

In Upper Burma the Shans established the kingdoms of Mo Gaung (Mong Kawng), and Mo Hnyin (Mong Yang), and in the Shweli basin, the Mao Kingdom.

Anawrahta ruled the Pagan for 43 year. He was able to unify the whole Burma under his rule for the first time in history.During this time he sent his armed villagers into the Shan’s kingdoms to help ensure the security of his Pagan Kingdom. However, he had no intention of annexing or taking over of the Shan’s kingdoms. He merely wished to defend the low lying plains of his Burma from raids by the Shan’s disgruntled militias. For this purpose he established a string of fortified towns along the length of the foothills.

Relations between Shan and Burma became friendlier under Anawrahta’s successors , but the Burmese Pagan fell to the attackers from China in 1287 A. D. and was destroyed.

Then in 1312 A. D. one of the groups of Shans took the kingly Title of “Thihathu” and ascended as the Burmese king or throned in Pinya.The (Mao) Shans, who had established kingdoms in Mo Hnyin, Mo Gaung and the Shweli areas then overran the villages of Pinya and Sagaing in 1364 A.D.

After they had withdrawn, Shan’s from Ava, whose title was Thadominbya, combined Pinya and Sagaing and established a new Kingdom, over which he ruled.

So Shans effectively became Kings in Burma from 1282 A.D. to 1531 A.D.In 1527 A.D. due to the attacks of the Mo Hnyin Saw Bwa on Ava, the Shan’s and U Burmese of the area left their homes and descended southwards towards Toungoo, where they established a new kingdom.

Thohanbwa, the son of the Moehnyin Saw Bwa, who became the King of Ava, was soon assassinated due to his lack of skill in statecraft and administration, and in 1543 A.D.

Onbaung Khun Maing succeeded him as the King.

Former Shan Settlements in North Myanmar

The successive conquests achieved by Sao Hsam Long Hpa over the northern territory encouraged greater Shan migration to these new areas and led to further establishment of their Ban-Mong system. Territories which now belong to Kachin State were once under the rule of the Mong Kawng Saohpa and many Shans (affiliated to the Thai-Long ethnic group) can still be found dominating the following Bans and Mongs of the region shown below:
1. Alambo
2. Aungthagon
3. Bilumyohaung or Waing Hpai Kao
4. Bilumyothit or Waing Hpai Mai
5. Gurkhaywa
6. Hopin or Ho-Pang
7. Htantabin or Ban Htan Ton Leo
8. Htopu or Ban Hto Hpu
9. Inbaung or ban Kyapt Naung
10. Ingyigon (old) or Ban Kaung Pao Kao
11. Ingyingon (new) or Ban Kaung Pao Mai
12. Kangon or Ban Kong Naung
13. Kanhla or Ban Naung Ngarm
14. Kayuchaung or Ban Nam Haung Hoi
15. Kondangyi or Ban Kong Khay
16. Kyakyikwin Ban Naung Mo Long
17. Letpandan
18. Lwelaw or Ban Loi Law
19. Mahaung
20. Maing Naung or Mong Naung
21. Mamana
22. Manywet or Ban Ywet
23. Mawhan
24. Mogaung or Mong Kawng
25. Mohnyin or Mong Yang
26. Moknaung
27. Myadaung
28. Myohla
29. Myothitgyi or Waing Mai
30. Nam Khwin
31. Namma
32. Nampoke
33. Namti
34. Nanhaing
35. Nansawlaw
36. Nansun
37. Natgyikon or Ban Hpi Long
38. Natyingya
39. Nyaunggaing
40. Nyaunggon or Ban Kon Nyaung
41. Ohnbaung
42. Pinbaw or Ban Pang Baw
43. Pinhe
44. Pinlon or Ban Panglong
45. Pintha or Ban Pyin Hsa
46. Pwinbusu
47. Sahmaw or Ban Mao Khay
48. Shanzu
49. Shwe-in or Ban Naung Hkam
50. Tagwin
51. Ta-paw
52. Taungbaw or Ban Ho Loi
53. Taungni or Ban Loi Leng
54. Tiggyaingsu
55. Theikwagon
56. Thutegon
57. Yawthit or Ban Mai
58. Yawathikyi or Ban Mai Long
59. Thayetta

In Kamaing Township:
1. Chaungwa or Ban Pak Haung
2. Haungpa or Ban Haung Par
3. Hepan or Haipan
4. Hepu or Haipu
5. Kamaing
6. Lawsun
7. Lepon
8. Letpangon
9. Lonsan or Long San
10. Lonton
11. Lwemun or Loimun
12. Maing Pok or Mong Pok
13. Mapyin
14. Maubin Natlatan
15. Nammun
16. Nanhlaing
17. Nankat
18. Nanya
19. Nyaungbin
20. Sezin
21. Taunghaw

In Myitkyina Township:
1. Akye
2. Ayeindama
3. Baingbin
4. Hokat
5. Katcho or Kat Kiao
6. Khaungpu or Hkaunghpu old
7. Khaungpu or Hkaungpu new
8. Kokma
9. Kwitu
10. Legon
11. Maingmaw or Mong Maw
12. Mainga or Mong Na
13. Male
14. Mangin
15. Mankin Saragatawng
16. Mankin Shewzet
17. Manmakan or Man Mark Karm
18. Manpwa
19. Mintha
20. Myitkyina
21. Nampong
22. Nanhe
23. Namkalan
24. Nankwe
25. Nanpomaw
26. Nanwa
27. Naunghi
28. Naungmun
29. Naungpakat
30. Nyaungbintha
31. Okkyin
32. Pamati
33. Panpa
34. Pidaung
35. Pinlontaw
36. Pinlonyana
37. Rampur
38. Sanga
39. Sangin
40. Sekow
41. Sinbo
42. Sitapur
43. Tahona or Ta Ho Na
44. Taiklon
45. Talawgyi
46. Tasaing
47. Talkon
48. Thagaya
49. Tonpakut
50. Ulauk
51. Wainglon
52. Waingmaw
53. Washaung
54. Zigyun

Source: The Kachin Hill Manual. Rangoon: The Superintendent Government Printing, Union of Burma, 1959. pp. 17-18
Appendix II: Shan Kings in Myanmar

The list of Shan kings who succeeded the kings of Bagan and reigned at Myinsaing and Pinya is:

1. Athinhkaya, Yazathinkyan and Thihathu, the three Shan brothers who acquired power after the fall of Bagan and governed the country with equal status from A.D. 1298. Their joint reign lasted fourteen years.
2. Thihathu or Ta-tsi-shin, youngest of the three brothers who made himself king at Pinya in 1312 and reigned for ten years.
3. Uzana son of Kyawswa (1287-98, deposed king of Bagan) and the adopted son of Thihathu.
4. Ngasishin Kyawswa (half brother of 3), son of Thihathu, he became king in 1343 and reigned eight years.
5. Kyawswa-nge (son of 4) became king in 1350 and reigned five years.
6. Narathu (brother of 5) became king in 1354 and reigned nine years.
7. Uzana Pyaung (brother of 6) became king in 1364, and was assassinated after three months’ rule by Thadonminbya.

Turning to Sagaing, there were seven Shan kings who reigned from 1315 to 1364:

1. Sawyun or Saoyun, the son of Thihathu or Tai-tsi-shin who also reigned at Myinsaing and Pinya. He became king in 1315 and reigned seven years.
2. Tarabyagyi (step brother of 1), became king in 1323 and reigned fourteen years.
3. Shwetaungtet (son of 2), became king in 1336 and reigned three years.
4. Kyawswa (son of 2), became king in 1340 and reigned ten years.
5. Nawrahtaminye (brother of 4), became king in 1350 and reigned seven months.
6. Tarabyange (brother of 5) bcame king in 1350 and reigned three years.
7. Minbyauk Thiapate (brother-in-law of 6) was driven from Sagaing by a Shan army from the north and murdered by his stepson, Thadonminbya in 1364.

Awa, the capital of upper Myanmar for many years, was founded with the help of the Shan chief Thadominbya in 1364. There were nineteen chiefs of Shan descent who reigned in Awa from 1364 to 1555:

1. Thadominbya said to be descended from the ancient Shan kings of Takawng or Tagaung on his mother’s side, he was the grandson of Athinhkaya Sawyun, the Shan king of Sagaing. He founded Awa in 1364, became king in the same year and reigned three years.
2. Nga Nu (usurper), a paramour of Sao Umma, became king in 1368, and reigned only for a few days.
3. Mingyiswasawke, said to be descended from both the Bagan dynasty and the Shan brothers, became king in 1368 and reigned thirty-five years.
4. Tarbya or Sinbyushin (eldest son of 3), became king in 1401 but reigned only seven months, being murdered by his attendant.
5. Nga Nauk Hsan, became king in 1401 and reigned only a few weeks.
6. Minkhaung (another son of 3) hesitated to accept the throne, but his younger brother Theiddat killed a cousin claimant and made him king. He became king in 1401 and reigned twenty-one years.
7. Thiathu (son of 6) became king in 1422 and reigned four years. He was murdered at the instigation of Queen Shin Bo Me.
8. Minhla Ngai (son of 7) king in 1426 and reigned only three months before he was poisoned.
9. Kalekyetaungnyo (usurper) became king in 1426 but reigned only seven months.
10. Mohnyithado or Mohnyinmintara, chief of Shan descent who justified his claim to the throne as a descendant of the kings Narapatisithu (1173-1210) and Ngasishin (1343-1350) of Bagan and of the family of the three Shan brothers. He became king in 1427 and reigned thirteen years.
11. Minrekyawswa (son of 10) became king in 1440 and reigned three years.
12. Narapati (Thihathu) (brother of 11), became king in 1443 and reigned twenty-six years.
13. Thihathu or Mahathihathura (son of 12), became king in 1469 and reigned twelve years.
14. Minhkaung (son of 13), became king in 1481 and reigned twenty-one years.
15. Shwenankyawshin (son of 14), became king in 1502 and reigned twenty-five years. He was killed by Thohanbwa or Hso Hom Hpa.
16. Thohanbwa or Hso Hom Hpa, son of Mohyin Saolon who conquered Awa. He became king in 1527 and reigned sixteen years. He was murdered.
17. Hkonmaing or Hkun Mong, Saohpa of On Baung or Hsipaw and related to Shwenanshin, was elected king of Awa in 1543 and reigned three years.
18. Mobye (or Mong Pai) Narapati (son of 17), Saohpa of Mong Pai became king in 1546 and reigned six years and abdicated.
19. Sithukyawhtin, a Shan chief of Salin, seized Awa and became king in 1552, and reigned three years. He was conqured and deposed by Bayinnaung in 1555.

Source: G.E. Harvey. History of Burma, from “The Earliest Time to March 1824, The Beginning of English Conquest”. London: Frank Case and Co. Ltd., 1967. p. 160.
Appendix III: Shan Kings of Bago

The following is the list of the Shan kings of Bago of the dynasty established by Wareru in 1287:

1. Wareru, the Shan chief who established the dynasty but had his capital at Madama. He became king in AD 1287 (S 649) and reigned nineteen years.
2. Khun-lau’ or Tha Na’ran Bya Keit who became king in 1306 and reigned four years.
3. Dza’u-a’u or Theng-Mha’ing (nephwe of 2), who became king in 1310 and reigned thirteen years.
4. Dzau-dzip, or Binya-ran-da (brother of 3) who became king in 1323 and reigned seven years.
5. Binya-e’-la’u (son of 2, Khun-lau and cousin of 4) who became king in 1330 and reigned eighteen years.
6. Byinya-u or Tseng-Pyu-Sheng (son of 4 and cousin of 5), who restored the ancient capital Bago or Hansawadi. He became king in 1348 and reigned thirty-eight years.
7. Binya-nwe, or Ra’dza’ Di-rit (son of 6) who became king in 1385 and reigned thirty-eight years.
8. Binya Dham-ma Ra’-dza (son of 7) who became king in 1423 and reigned three years.
9. Binya-Ra’n-kit (brother of 8) who became king in 1426 and reigned twenty years.
10. Binya-Wa-ru (nephew of 9) who became king in 1446 and reigned four years.
11. Binya Keng (cousin of 10) who became king in 1450 and reigned three years.
12. Mhau-dau (cousin of 11) who became king in 1453 and reigned seven months.
13. Queen Sheng Tsau Bu or Binya-dau’ who became queen in 1453 and reigned seven years.
14. Dham-ma Dze-di (cousin of 13) who became king in 1460 and reigned thirty-one years. He did not belong to the royal family.
15. Binya Ran’ (son of 14 and son-in-law of 13) who became king in 1491 and reigned thirty-five years.
16. Ta-ka’-rwut-bi (son of 15) who became king in 1526 and reigned fourteen years.

He was conquered and deposed by Tabeng-Shweti, king of Taungoo in 1540.
Source: Sir Arthur P. Phayre. History of Burma, Including Burma Proper, Taungu, Tenasserim and Arakan. London: 1883. pp. 290-291.

 Meanwhile from Toungoo Kingdom, in the year 1555 A.D. King Bayinnaung succeeded in unifying the whole of Burma for the second time in our history.

He was able to “persuade’ the Shan Saw Bwa to submit his suzerainty. In accordance with the traditions of the earlier Burmese Kings, the administrative setup was that the Shan Saw Bwas who submitted to the suzerainty of the Burmese King retained full powers to rule over their kingdom. This relationship was based on mutual respect.

The military forces of Burma included contingents of Shan soldiers who proved their valour on the foreign battlefields.That is how Shan and Burmese descendents had lived closely together, like brethren, till the fall of Upper Burma in 1886.

Then the Shan Saw Bwas, with the intention of restoring freedom to Burma and to the Shan State, chose the Burmese Princes Limbin and Saw Yan Naing to head their alliance, and started waging war against the colonialism.We could see in the above mentioned era how Shans  migrated and grew mightier.

We should study how political, economical, social and philosophical patterns changed according to their coming.To sum up again, after the fall of Bagan , Ava kingdom was built in 1364 M.E. Subsequently, until Pinya, Sagaing and Myinsaing  eras, the power of Bagan collapsed and rebellious small kingdoms spread. When the invading conqueror Shans came across Burmese, they accepted the Buddhist cultures and Burmese cultures.In this case, the saying, ‘conquerors are conquered’ need to be explained thoroughly.Anyway no one is sure the source of Shan ancestors’ conversion to Buddhism. We should consider the fact that Shans had very good relations with Mon and Khamars. Shans could even get the Buddhism directly from them.We could see that Shan Pagodas look more like Thai and Cambodia Pagodas than our Burmese.

This episode of the history, Shans’ conquering over the  Burma, which our successive Bama governments’ history text books just used to mention one line only and skipped forward to the glorious Burmese warrior Toungoo King Baying Naung who successfully established the 2nd Bama Empire. 

The date 7th February 1947 is a defining moment in the record of the Shan history as a modern nation. On that day, Shan princes and the people’s representatives of the Shan States demonstrated their newfound unity to declare it a “national day” which were followed by the resolutions of “Shan National Anthem”, “Shan National Flag” and the formation of “Shan State Council” on the 11th and 15th of February, 1947 respectively. The people of Shan States and leaders decided in this very year later at Panglong, on the 12th of February, to join with U Aung San and the AFPFL (Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League) and leaders of other nationalities, to live together under one flag as co-independent and equal nations. This marks the birth of a nation-state now known as “Union of Burma”.

National flag

1.     The design of the national flag is as sanctioned at the Panglong Treaty conference in 1947.

2.     The size of the flag is ( 5ft. x 3ft)

3.     Diameter of the Moon is (1. ½ ft)

4.     The breath of the three colors: yellow, green and reddish (1 ft) each.

Example

shanstateflag.png

The meaning of the color:

  1. yellow is religion
  2. green is forest, and rich in natural resources and peace
  3. red is  bravery,
  4. white is purity
sao.jpg

Saopha-loong, Soa Shwe Thaike, who was the first President of the Independent Burma. When Burma fell under military dictatorship, Soa Shwe Thaike was put into jai by the military regime, and later died in jail under suspicious circumstances.

Failed Cohabitation

The experiment to live together in harmony within the Union of Burma has been a disaster. In 1962, the Burmese military sized state power in a coup and declared the Union Constitution abolished. In so doing, the Burmese terminated the only existing legal bond between them and the other ethnic nationalities. So much time has gone by since February 7 1947…A lot of changes have occurred, and many of them have been very painful and unfair. the leaders of Burma from Prime Minister U Nu in 1948, to General Ne Win in 1962, to General Than Shwe (now), have missed the opportunity to build a peaceful and prosperous nation based on mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation. As a result, the people of Burma are suffering unnecessarily.

 

The problem that exist is not ethic “minority” rights versus the “majority” Burmese rights but rather of equality of rights for all.
                     

The 1948 Union of Burma was understood by us to be a federal  union of equals. And though the intent of the 1948 Constitution was federal, in rushing it through the Constituent Assembly by the AFPFL [Fa-sa-pa-la], the federal Union  in practice became unitary.
                    

When we during 1958-62 tried to institute constitutional reforms in the Union Parliament towards a more equitable federal system as envisaged by the 1947 Panglong Agreement, Ne Win staged his military coup and he and his successor Burmese military troops in Shan country raped, murdered & tortured to oppress, suppress and intimidate.”Since then, Shan State has been treated as a de facto colony and occupied territory by the Burmese army. Its forced assimilation and Burmanization policies to subdue our national identity have devastated the Shan homeland and make the people homeless and refugees. Looking at the contemporary situation, one could only term the Shan nation as a downtrodden and battered one, reeling under the occupation of the oppressive Burmese military regime. Gross human rights violations, genocide and cultural genocide, population transfer designed to make the Shan a minority in their homestead, and robbing them of their birthright sovereignty and self-determination are glaring injustice, which push the Shan into the category of sub-human or slaves, especially in the eyes of their occupiers.    But even under such circumstances and after more than four decades of brutal suppression and occupation, the Shan sense of “national identity” and the aspiration to be the master of their own faith have not diminish but have grown stronger.

  • The Shan Nationalities League for Democracy’s (SNLD) victory in 1990 nation-wide election in the whole Shan State;
  • the continued political activities of the Shan State Army North within the limited political space provided by the Burmese military junta;
  • the active armed resistance of the Shan State Army South,
  • together with the bulk of Shan State National Army;
  • and the highly self-conscious Shan civil societies in keeping the national identity alive under intense pressure of the Burmese military junta; are indications of a nation, which refuses to be cowed.
  • the mainstream Shan organizations are endorsing the notion to rebuild a new Federal Union – together with all the other ethnic nationalities, Burman included

Practically, the Shan are faced with a dilemma to choose between secession and genuine federalism. But it is also important to note that the Federal Proposal of 1961, before the military coup,

  • is the brainchild of the Shan leadership at that time,
  • which was aimed at changing the Burman dominated unitary system into a genuine federal structure
  • with equal status for all ethnic nationalities.
  • All non-Burman ethnic groups endorse this as a balanced and acceptable solution until today.
  • Meanwhile, this proposed arrangement also find acceptance among most of the Burman opposition camps as a way to resolve the conflict as a whole.

This is perhaps lowering the aspiration to a certain degree but nevertheless, a pragmatic approach and in line with the international mood. But this is not to say that the global trend will stay forever in favor of status quo. The people concerned would eventually adjust their needs and value system, according to the prevailing international norm and structure of the time.    Finally, if the Shan wants to be heard and advance their aspirations, they would need to seriously think globally and act locally.

  • It would need to sell the idea
  • that it is part and parcel of a viable force,
  • in collaboration with all non-Burman ethnic nationalities
  • and Burman opposition groups,
  • to replace the illegitimate military junta.
  • To do this, “broad coalition-building” among all the opposition is essential,
  • even those within the rank of the enemies, who are ready to reform, embrace justice, equality and democracy should not be neglected.
  • The Shan cannot win this fight alone
  • and it is crucial that the “multi-pronged” approach is employed,
  • coupled with the motto of “diverse actions, common goal”, as urged time and again by the late Chao Tzang Yawnghwe.

If we can bring about change now, in twenty years, Burma can still be a peaceful and prosperous country.

 

“Yugoslavia did break up into its components parts. The Shan States are larger both in population then Cambodia for instance and larger in area than some 24 States of the US and 20 or so Nation-States in Europe.
                    

“I support all ethnic groups’ rights to have their own federal states, probably in US style or Canadian style. I understand that Quebac Province in Canada is an autonomic federal state. Shan state can be like that.
                

I never believe that “total separation of Union of Burma/Myanmar into a large number of totally separated & independent but very small tiny little countries” might be a wise decision.”

Burma (Pagan) 1044

Anawrata (d. 1077) seized royal power at Pagan and made it the political, religious, and cultural center of Burma; the Burmese written language was developed and Buddhist scriptures translated;

  • architectural monuments followed the inspiration of Ceylon and southern India.
  • In 1057, conquest of Thaton, Mon kingdom, which was in maritime contact with Ceylon and the Indian subcontinent and was a center for Buddhism as well as overseas trade.
  • Mon had a strong cultural influence at Pagan.
  • In 1060s-1070s, Anawrata initiated communication and exchanges with Vijayabahu I, Ceylon’s ruler (1055-1110), including the sharing of Pali Buddhist texts and monks.  

Rule of Kyanzittha, (1084-1112 )best known for his _

  • synthesis of various cultural developments
  • and the process of assimilation of different ethnic groups that took place during his reign.
  • He created a distinctive Burman style.  
  • In 1106, a Burmese embassy at the Sung capital in China was received as from a fully sovereign state.    

Pagan disintegrated into smaller states in ( 1287 )_

  • Following the rejection of Mongol demands for tribute in 1271
  • and later, Burmese raids into Yünnan,
  • and the death of Narathihapate (who ruled 1254-87),
  • Mongol forces looted Pagan and destroyed its power.
  • The invasion of Shan tribes, forced southward by the Mongols, led to the division of Burma into a number of petty states.

The chief states among them being_

  • Toungoo (established 1280),
  • Pegu in southern Burma,
  • and Ava in the middle and lower Irrawaddy Valley (established as capital 1365).

After the collapse of Pagan authority, Burma was divided.

Sagaing had been established as a capital, but later Sagaing fell to the Shan, the court moved across the river to Ava.

  1. Burmese Ava Dynasty (1364-527) was eventually established at the city of Ava by 1364.
  2. The kings of Ava set about restoring Burmese supremacy, which had disintegrated after the collapse of Pagan to the Mongol invasion under Kublai Khan that ended the First Burmese Empire founded by King Anawrahta in 1057.
  3. The kingdom lacked easily defendable borders, however, and was overrun by the Shan in 1527.
  4. There were repeated Shan/Tai raids on the capital of Ava and Ava sent military northwards to attack Tai fiefdoms such as Mong Mao.
  5. The Kingdom of Ava was involved in continuous warfare with Tai (Shan) princelings to the north on the frontier with Yunnan.
  6. The Ming dynasty that ruled China from the late fourteenth century often tried unsuccessfully to put an end to this warfare through traditional Chinese diplomacy.
  7. Ava occasionally became involved in the warfare between the Ming and Tai in Yunnan such as in the Luchuan-Pingmian Campaigns (1436-49).

Toungoo Dynasty  

King Mingyinyo founded the First Toungoo Dynasty (1486-1599) at Toungoo, south of Ava, towards the end of the Ava dynasty.

  1. After the conquest of Ava by the Shan invaders in 1527 many Burmans migrated to Toungoo which became a new center for Burmese rule.
  2. The dynasty conquered the Mohnyin Shan peoples in northern Burma.By this time, the geopolitical situation in Southeast Asia had changed dramatically.
  3. Mingyinyo’s son king Tabinshwehti (1531-50) unified most of Burma.
  4. The Shan gained power in a new kingdom in the North, Ayutthaya (Siam), while the Portuguese had arrived in the south and conquered Malacca.
  5. With the coming of European traders, Burma was once again an important trading centre, and Tabinshwehti moved his capital to Pegu due to its strategic position for commerce. Tabinshwehti was able to gain control of Lower Burma up to Prome,
  6. but the campaigns he led to the Arakan, Ayutthaya, and Ava in Upper Burma were unsuccessful.
  7. When Tabinshwehti’s brother-in-law, Bayinnaung (1551-81), Tabinshwehti’s brother-in-law, succeeded to the throne he launched a campaign of conquest invading several states, including Manipur (1560) and Ayutthaya (1569).
  8. An energetic leader and effective military commander, he made Toungoo the most powerful state in Southeast Asia,
  9. and extended his borders from Laos to Ayutthaya, near Bangkok.
  10. His wars stretched Myanmar to the limits of its resources, however, and both Manipur and Ayutthaya, which had remained under Myanmar domination for 15 years, were soon independent once again.
  11. Bayinnaung was poised to deliver a final, decisive assault on the kingdom of Arakan when he died in 1581.

 The Toungoo rulers withdrew from southern Burma and founded a second dynasty at Ava as the Restored Toungoo Dynasty (1597-1752), because_

  • they Faced with rebellion by several cities
  • and renewed Portuguese incursions

Bayinnaung’s grandson, Anaukpetlun, once again reunited Burma in 1613 and decisively defeated Portuguese attempts to take over Burma.

Encouraged by the French in India, Pegu finally rebelled against Ava, further weakening the state, which fell in 1752.

Siam (Thailand)

Early in the 11th century, Dvaravati (See Mainland Southeast Asia) was annexed to Cambodia; Haripunjaya retained its independence.

  • In the 13th century, Haripunjaya was overrun by a migration of Tai, or Shan, peoples from the north.  
  • In the year 1281, Tai leader Mangrai (1239-1317) conquered the kingdom of Haripunjaya at Lamphun. For two decades he fought Mongols who were threatening Tais from the north.
  • He is known as the founder of the kingdom of Lan Na, centered at Chiengmai, with cultural contributions influenced by Buddhist thought.  
  • In the year 1279-98, Ramkamhaeng ruled over the kingdom of Sukothai,
  • which he extended from Vientiane in the east to Pegu in the west.
  • Most important contributions were in areas of literature, sculpture, and religion; these developments strongly influenced Tai (+ Myanmar) cultural attainments as well.  
  • In the year 1350, migration of Tai, or Shan, accelerated by the Mongol conquest of the Tai state of Nan-chao (in modern Yünnan and southern Szechwan) in 1253,
  • led eventually to the suppression of the Khmer kingdoms

and the setting up of the Tai kingdom of Siam, with its capital at Ayuthia, founded by Rama Tiboti.

The early Siamese state was from the first under the influence of both Hinayana Buddhism and Chinese political institutions. The location of the Siamese state at a center of maritime commerce gave it a distinct advantage in its power struggle with Angkor. The ability to_

  • adopt the Angkorian-style administrative skills of the Mons and Khmers,
  • the martial skills of the Tais,
  • and the wealth and commercial skills of the local Chinese merchant communities was its legacy to the Tais’ cultural development.

Toward the end of the 13th century, a form of writing had been invented for the Siamese language.  

Siamese invasion of Cambodia in 1350-1460  finally led to the abandonment of Angkor (1431) and collapse of the Khmer Empire.  

In the year 1371, Siamese embassy at Nanking inaugurated tributary relations with the newly founded Ming dynasty.    

Intermittent friction between Siam and the Tai state of Chiengmai in the northern Menam Valley in 1376-1557 _

  • ended with the destruction of Chiengmai by the Burmese.  
  • During the 14th and 15th centuries, strong Siamese influence was exerted over the disunited states of Burma
  • and the northern part of the Malay Peninsula.

 Siam (Ayutthaya)

Administrative centralization of Siam attributed to efforts of King Trailokanat (r. 1448-88); but most of institutionalized form of government probably resulted from reign of King Naresuen the Great (r. 1590-1605).

  • Under this king, Siam regained its independence from Burma
  • and emerged as most powerful kingdom in mainland Southeast Asia.  
  • Development of overseas trade can be dated as early as 1368. By the early modern period, Siam was a major source for sappanwood and pepper in the Chinese trading network.  
  • Siamese adopted Hinduism along with Theravada Buddhism.
  • Hindu concept of divine kingship,
  • and accompanying rituals, provided important sources of legitimation.

But in Siamese society, the claim to divinity operated without the internal checks characteristic of India, for Brahmans had little influence at the court. This may explain the pronounced aspect of absolutism in Siam.

  • Yet Buddhism was dominant in the cultural system that emerged in the early modern period, particularly in providing signs of legitimation (and delegitimation in the face of popular unrest) for rulers.
  • Royal interaction with sangha (groups of monks) provided especially important occasions for public statements of rulers’ support of Buddhist precepts; nevertheless, Thai rulers closely controlled the sangha through cultural patronage (their support ranged from sponsorship of architecture and sculpture to public processions).  

In 1569, first fall of Ayutthaya to invading Burmese army although_ 

  • In 1538, as a measure of impact of military technology, King Phrachai (r. 1534-46) retained 120 Portuguese to instruct Siamese soldiers in musketry.  
  • In 1550, new fortification style was introduced around the Siamese capital.
  • King Maha Thammarcha (r. 1569-90) also purchased large supplies of foreign cannon.

In 1590, King Naresuen the Great regained independence and utilized political, economic, and military forces to transform fragmented kingdom into relatively centralized state.  

  • Portuguese trading stations were established in the 16th century.
  • Around the beginning of the 17th century large numbers of Japanese were active in Siam in war and trade.
  • In 1602 a Dutch trading post was established at Patani,
  • where the English soon followed, until their withdrawal from Siam in 1623.
  • R. 1656-88 King Narai most energetic in pursuit of trade with foreigners.
  • His curiosity about Persian and French cultures made his court known for its openness.  
  • 1664 By a commercial treaty, the Dutch gained a monopoly of Siamese foreign trade,
  • which was, however, thwarted by French intrigue; a French embassy and military expedition (1685) in turn failed to secure the acceptance of Christianity and French influence and led to 
  • In 1688 a popular revolt that began a period of prolonged civil war. Prompted in part by reaction against Narai’s openness, it became anti-European. European trade languished,
  • But Chinese and Muslim trade continued at a high level to take up the slack.  
  • In 1690s, a dramatic decline in trade with Muslims and Europeans could be measured, although the Chinese trade helped to fill the gap. 

In 1767, Burmese invasion destroyed Ayuthia

  • and compelled temporary acceptance of Burmese rule until 1782,
  • when Rama I founded a new Siamese dynasty, with its capital at Bangkok.
  • Even in period of political anarchy, great cultural activity emerged.
  • Rama issued royal decrees aimed at controlling the sangha and addressing the need to harness the manpower represented by idle monks.

Contemporary Shan State

 From the Wikipedia enclyclopedia_

Shan State is a state located in Myanmar (Burma), which takes its name from the Shan people, the majority ethnic group in the Shan State. Shan State comprises 69 townships, including 24 newly-created townships in Special Region 2 (Wa Area). Its capital is Taunggyi. The state is largely rural. Major cities of Shan State are Lashio, Kengtong and Taunggyi.

Contents

  1. Sub states, districts and townships
  2. Geography
  3. Education
  4. Economy
  5. Population History References

Continue to read about the Shan State in the Wikipedia enclyclopedia.

Contemporary Shan Nationals 

From the Wikipedia enclyclopedia_ 

The Shan (Burmese: ; IPA: [ʃán lùmjóʊ]; Chinese: 掸族; pinyin: dǎn zú) are a Tai ethnic group of Southeast Asia. The Shan live primarily in the Shan State of Burma (Myanmar), but also inhabit parts of Mandalay Division, Kachin State, and Kayin State, and in adjacent regions of China, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. The Shan are estimated to number ~6 million; a reliable census has not been taken since 1935. The capital of Shan State is Taunggyi, a small city of about 150,000 people. Other major cities include Thibaw (Hsipaw), Lashio, Kengtong and Tachileik.

The valleys and tableland are inhabited by the Shans, who in language and customs resemble the Thais, Dai, and the Lao. They are largely Buddhists and are mainly engaged in agriculture. Among the Shans live the Bamar, Chinese, and Karens. The hills are inhabited by various peoples, notably the Wa, who are numerous in the north and along the Chinese border.The Palaung People are numerous in the Northern Shan State, in Namkham, Muse, Nampaka, Kut Kai, and Lashio Townships along the Burma China Border and also in the middle of Shan State, in Namsarn, Kyat Mae and Thipal Townships. The population of the Palaung people is over 1 million. Some of the Palaung people in Kalaw and Aung Pan in the Southern Shan State. There is a dwindling population of Anglo-Burmese in major hill stations, such as Kalaw and in Taunggyi, a hold-over from the colonial period.

Contents

  1. Etymology  
  2. Culture
  3. Language
  4.  History List of Shan States and rulers
  5. Politics Independence and exiled government

 

Etymology

The Shan identify themselves as “Tai”, which means “free men” while “Shan” is a Burmese language term.[1] The Shan share their creation myth with the Lao people and believe their race was founded by Khun Borom the first king to establish Sip Song Pan Na (12 thousand Fields) along the Mekong (Mae Nam Kong).

The Shan people as a whole can be divided into four major groups:

  1. The Tai Yai or “Shan Proper”
  2. The Tai Lue, located in Sipsong Panna (China) and the eastern states
  3. The Tai Khuen, the majority of Keng Tung (Thai:เชียงตุง)
  4. The Tai Neua, mostly in Sipsong Panna(Thai:สิบสองปันนา or สิบสองพันนา).

Culture

The Shan are traditionally wet-rice cultivators, shopkeepers, and artisans. Most Shan are Theravada Buddhists and/or observe their traditional religion, which is related to animist practices.

Language

The Shan language, which is spoken by about 5 or 6 millions is closely related to Thai and Lao, and is part of the family of Tai-Kadai languages. It is spoken in Shan State, some parts of Kachin State, some parts of Sagaing Division in Burma, parts of Yunnan, and Mae Hong Son Province in northwestern Thailand.[2] The two major dialects differ in number of tones: Hsenwi Shan has six tones, while Mongnai Shan has five.[3] Its written script is an adaptation of the Mon script (like Burmese), although several other scripts exist.[3] However, few Shan are literate, and many are bilingual in Burmese.

History

The Tai-Shan people are believed to have migrated from Yunnan in China. The Shan are descendants of the oldest branch of the Tai-Shan, known as Tai Long (Great Tai) or Thai Yai (Big Thai). The Tai-Shan who migrated to the south and now inhabit modern-day Laos and Thailand are known as Tai Noi (or Tai Nyai), while those in parts of northern Thailand and Laos are commonly known as Tai Noi (Little Tai – Lao spoken) [1] The Shan have inhabited the Shan Plateau and other parts of modern-day Myanmar as far back as the 10th century AD. The Shan kingdom of Mong Mao (Muang Mao) existed as early as the 10th century AD but became a Burmese vassal state during the reign of King Anawrahta of Bagan (Pagan)(1044-1077). Note: the Mao people are consider a Shan subgroup.

After the Bagan kingdom fell to the Mongols in 1287, the Tai-Shan people quickly gained power throughout South East Asia, and founded:

  • Lan Xang (Laos)
  • Lanna (Chiang Mai)
  • Ayutthaya (Siam)
  • Assam
  • Ava by Burmanized Shan kings
  • Bago by Monized Shan kings
  • Several Shan states in the Shan hills, Kachin hills, Yunnan and parts of Vietnam.

Many famous Ava and Bago kings of Burmese history were of (partial) Shan descent. The Burmanized Shan kings of Ava fought Monized Shan kings of Bago for control of Ayeyarwady valley. Various Shan states fought Burmanized Shan kings of Ava for the control of Upper Myanmar. The Shan kingdom of Monyin (Mong Yang) defeated the Ava kingdom in 1527, and ruled all of Upper Myanmar until 1555.

Burmese king Bayinnaung (1551-1581) conquered all of the Shan states in 1557. Although the Shan states would become a tributary to Ayeyarwady valley based Burmese kingdoms for many centuries, the Shan Saophas retained a large degree of autonomy and often allied themselves with either ChiangMai, Ayuttaya or Siam.

After the Third Anglo-Burmese War in 1885, the British gained control of the Shan states and pushed the borders to the mountains, thereby robbing Siam of thousands of square miles of territory. (The last Burmese king Thibaw was half-Shan.) Under the British colonial administration, the Shan principalities were administered separately as British protectorates with limited monarchical powers invested in the Shan Saophas. [4]

After World War II, the Shan and other ethnic minority leaders negotiated with the majority Burman leadership at the Panglong Conference, and agreed to gain independence from Britain as part of Union of Burma. The Shan states were given the option to secede after 10 years of independence. The Shan states became Shan State in 1948 as part of the newly independent Burma.

General Ne Win’s coup d’etat overthrew the democratically elected government in 1962, and abolished Shan saopha system. In an effort to extract themselves from under the Burmese thumb, various Shan political organizations have attempted ro reassert Siam’s (Thailand) ancient claim to the Shan States, but without success.

List of Shan States and rulers

See List of Shan states and rulers.

Politics

The Shan have been engaged in an intermittent civil war within Burma for decades. There are two main armed rebel forces operating within Shan State: the Shan State Army/Special Region 3 and Shan State Army/Restoration Council of Shan State. In 2005 the SSNA was effectively abolished after its surrender to the Burmese government, some units joined the SSA/RCSS, which has yet to sign any agreements, and is still engaged in guerrilla warfare against the Burma Army.

During conflicts, the Shan (Thai Yai) are often burned out of their villages and forced to flee into Thailand. There, they are not given refugee status, and often work as undocumented laborers. Whether or not there is an ongoing conflict, the Shan are subject to depredations by the Burmese government; in particular, young men may be impressed into the Burmese Army for indefinite periods, or they may be enslaved to do road work for a number of months — with no wages and no food. The horrific conditions inside Burma have led to a massive exodus of young Shan males to neighboring Thailand, where they typically find work in construction, at daily wages which run about 100-200 baht. However unsatisfactory these conditions may be, all of these refugees are well aware that at least they are being paid for their work, and that every day spent in Thailand is another day that the Burmese government cannot impress or enslave them. Some estimates of Shan refugees in Thailand run as high as two million, an extremely high number when compared with estimates of the total Shan population at some six million.

Independence and Exiled Government

His Royal Highness Prince Hso Khan Fa (sometimes written as Surkhanfa in Thai) of Yawnghwe, lives in exile in Canada. He is campaigning for the government of Burma to respect the traditional culture and indigenous lands of the Shan people, and he works with Shan exiles abroad helping to provide schooling for displaced Shan children whose parents are unable to do so. He hopes to provide Shan children with some training in life skills so they can fend for themselves and their families in the future.

In addition, opinion has been voiced in Shan State and in neighbouring Thailand, and to some extent in farther-reaching exile communities, in favour of the goal of “total independence for Shan State.” This came to a head when, in May 2005, Shan elders in exile declared independence for the Federated Shan States.

The declaration of independence, however, was rejected by most other ethnic minority groups, many Shan living inside Burma, and Burma’s leading opposition party, the National League for Democracy led by Aung San Suu Kyi. Despite this dissenting opinion, the Burma Army has begun a crackdown on Shan civilians as a result of the declaration, and Shan people have reported an increase in restrictions on their movements, and an escalation in Burma Army raids on Shan villages.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khun_Sa

Country Profile 

Size:
Lies between 19 and 24 degrees latitude North, and Stretches from 96 to 101 degrees longitude East, covering approximately 64,000 square miles; shares boundaries with Burma, China, Laos, Thailand and the Karenni.

Topography and Drainage:

Bisected north to south by the Salween River, one of the longest rivers in Asia. It lies at an average of 2,000 feet above sea-level, and the highest point, Mount Loilaeng, is 8,777 feet. It is composed of broad valleys, thickly wooded mountain ranges and rolling hills forming scenic landscapes. Jong-ang, the biggest waterfall (972 feet) can be found near the town of Kengtong in Mongnai State.

Climate

There are three seasons: Monsoon (May to October), Cold season(November to January) and Summer (February to April). Annual rainfalls average between 40-60 inches. The overall temperature is equable throughout the year: not too cold and not too hot.

Vegetation

Pine and evergreen forests can be found in abundance. Teak and various kinds of hardwood cover over 47,210 square miles.

Minerals


The bulk of the so-called Burmese natural resources are in the Shan State: silver, lead, gold, copper, iron, tin, wolfram, tungsten, manganese, nickel, coal, mica, antimony, fluorite, marble, gemstones and even uranium. Major Operating Mines are: the Mogok (Mognkut in Shan) and Mongsu ruby mines, and the Namtu Bawdwin silver mines discovered by the Chinese traders and renovated in 1904 by none other than Herbert Clerk Hoover (1874-1964) who became the 31st President of the United State.

A study of the Indian geological reports made by Drs Cogging and Sondhi in 1993 reveals Northern Shan States as incredible mining potential…As for Southern Shan’s remarkable resources, they can be studied from the reports made by a G.V. Hovson (Shanland’s Grievances, by Htoon Myint of Taunggyi, )

People :

The population of these multi-racial people, described by ancient travelers as the most peace loving people who trust everybody and envy nobody is estimated at 7-10 million, the majority of whom are Tai, of the same ethnological stock as Thai and Laos, plus several other racial groups including Pa-o, Palaung and Wa of Mon-Khmer stock; and Kachin, Akha and Lahu of the Tibeto-Burman stock. All in all, it’s various indigenous races have lived harmoniously together for centuries. This fact is supported by the political analyst Josef Silverstein, who say’s: “Although the Shans dominated the people in the area both politically and numerically, they never assimilated the minorities; as a result, cultural pluralism existed through out the Shan States”. (Politics in the Shan State, The Question of Secession from the Union of Burma, 1958, by J. Silverstein). The Shan’s stand on the racial question is best described by Sao Shwe Thaike, who in his capacity as the Speaker of the Constituent Assembly, countered the objection that Muslims could not be considered as being indigenous by saying : “Muslims of the Arakan certainly belong to one of the indigenous races of Burma. If they do not belong to the indigenous races, we also cannot be taken as indigenous races.”

Culture:

Shan is still the first language of the majority, though due to 60 years under the British Protectorate and 40 years under Burmese neo-colonialism, usage of English and Burmese has become fairly common.

As for attire, Shan men, unlike the Burmese, who wear longyis or long skirts, don long baggy trousers. Theravada Buddhism is the pre-eminent faith, and perhaps due to this tolerant religion, Hinduism, Christianity, Islamism and even animisms flourish in this land.

Agriculture:

Primarily a self-sufficient agricultural economy, being blessed with fertile soil, it produces rice, tea, cheroot leaves, tobacco, potatoes, oranges, lemon, pears, and opium. Cattle-and horse-breeding is also a common sight in low grasslands. Added to the fact that it is rich in mineral resources and abundant in teak timber, there is no reason why the Shan State could not become one of the richest and most economically dynamic countries in Southeast Asia, given a favorable political climate. 

Shan States is a beautiful and fertile land, with green hills and mist-covered mountains.  Shans are on the whole, good natured gentle, independent people.

Shan States have a diverse mix of ethnic groups; Tai Yai, Tai Khurn, Tai Lui or Tai Neir, Tai Keiy, Pa-O or Daung Su, Daung Yoe, Palaung, Kachin, Dai Nawng or in Burmese Intha, Danu, Lisu, Lahu, Wa, Kaw, Padaung, as well as Chinese, Indians, Burmans and others. 

The Shans are the most widely scattered of the ethnic people in Myanmar and they can be found in every part of the country. Their Mans (villages), Mongs (city-states) and settlements stretch from the northernmost region of Hkamti Long down to Tharrawaddy and then to southern Taninthayi (Tenasserim) and from the tip of Kengtung in the east to Hsawng Hsup, Kabaw valley and Ta-mu in the west. In central Myanmar many Shan settlements can be found around Ava, Pinya, Sagaing, Toungoo, Pyinmana and Pyi (Prome).

 

250px-shanstatevillage.jpg
Shan State Village

Now-a-days, Shan people are spread around the world, many having left Burma to escape the persecution and brutality of the SPDC, many to study overseas.  Shans live overseas in Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Europe, Taiwan, China, Japan and elsewhere. 

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Shan Fields

Many overseas groups are actively campaigning for freedom in Shan States and Burma.  Until recently many groups worked almost independently.  In recent years the more widespread use of e-mail and internet technology means that overseas Shan groups can communicate more easily with one another, sharing ideas, discussing campaigns and global change. Shans feel immensely sad that their beautiful homeland has been ravaged and abused by SPDC, and because they have deep love for their motherland, they feel deeply bereft and betrayed.

250px-hsipaw2.jpg
Hsipaw

sss.png

Two photos of the His Royal Highness Tzao Hso Khan Pha, President and Head of States, Interim Shan Government of the Federated Shan States. The remaining  are Shan Freedom Fighters’ photos, Six photos are copyright of Chris Sinclair mailto:csinclair@pobox.com.Four........ Four other photos are courtesy of TSY taisamyone@yahoo.co.uk. All are taken from Burma Digest.

Soa Hso Kham Pha is the eldest son of the late Last year Soa Hso Kham Pha, also known as Tiger Yawnghwe, founded the Interim Shan Government with the cooperation of a group of Shan elders. Recently the ISG has established a freedom fighting force called Shan State Army (Central) with thousands of troops to fight against the neo-fascist military regime in Burma.  

List of Shan state rulers

 Read more in Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

The Shan State of Burma (Myanmar) was once made up of a large number of traditional monarchies or fiefdoms. Three ranks of chiefs where recognized by the Burmese king and later by the British administration. These ranks were Saopha or Chaofa (Shan for king or chieftain) or Sawbwa in Burmese, Myosa (“duke” or chief of town), and Ngwegunhmu (silver revenue chief).

Contents

1 Shan states

  1. 1.1 Hierarchy and Precedence
  2. 1.2 Baw (Maw)
  3. 1.3 Hopong (Hopon)
  4. 1.4 Hsahtung (Thaton)
  5. 1.5 Hsamönghkam (Thamaingkan)
  6. 1.6 Hsawnghsup (Thaungdut)
  7. 1.7 Hsenwi (Theinni)
    1. 1.7.1 North Hsenwi
    2. 1.7.2 South Hsenwi
  8. 1.8 Hsihkip (Thigyit)
  9. 1.9 Hsipaw (Thibaw)
  10. 1.10 Kehsi Mangam (Kyithi Bansan)
  11. 1.11 Kengcheng (Kyaingchaing)
  12. 1.12 Kenghkam (Kyaingkan)
  13. 1.13 Kenglön (Kyainglon)
  14. 1.14 Kengtung (Kyaingtong)
  15. 1.15 Kokang
  16. 1.16 Kyon
  17. 1.17 Kyawkku Hsiwan (Kyaukku)
  18. 1.18 Laihka (Lègya)
  19. 1.19 Lawksawk (Yatsauk)
  20. 1.20 Loi-ai (Lwe-e)
  21. 1.21 Loilong (Lwelong)
  22. 1.22 Loimaw (Lwemaw)
  23. 1.23 Mawkmai
  24. 1.24 Manglon
  25. 1.25 Monghsu
  26. 1.26 Mawkmai (Maukme)
  27. 1.27 Mawnang (Bawnin)
  28. 1.28 Mawsön (Bawzaing)
  29. 1.29 Möngkawng (Mogaung)
  30. 1.30 Mongkung
  31. 1.31 Möngleng (Mohlaing)
  32. 1.32 Mönglong
  33. 1.33 Möngmit (Momeik)
  34. 1.34 Mong Nai (Monè)
  35. 1.35 Mongnawng
  36. 1.36 Mong Pai (Mobye)
  37. 1.37 Mong Pan
  38. 1.38 Mong Pawng (Maing Pun)
  39. 1.39 Möngping (Maingpyin)
  40. 1.40 Möngsit (Maingseik)
  41. 1.41 Möngtung (Maington)
  42. 1.42 Möngyang (Mohnyin)
  43. 1.43 Möngyawng
  44. 1.44 Namhkai (Nanke)
  45. 1.45 Namhkok (Nankok)
  46. 1.46 Namhkom (Nankon)
  47. 1.47 Namtok (Nantok)
  48. 1.48 Namkhok-Nawngwawn
  49. 1.49 Panglawng
  50. 1.50 Pangmi
  51. 1.51 Pangtara (Pindara)
  52. 1.52 Pwehla (Poila)
  53. 1.53 Sakoi
  54. 1.54 Samka
  55. 1.55 Tawngpeng
  56. 1.56 Wanmaw (Bhamo)
  57. 1.57 Wanyin (Banyin)
  58. 1.58 Yawnghwe (Nyaungshwe)
  59. 1.59 Ywangan (Yengan)
  60. 1.60 Bibliography

Shan states

State Area (sq. mi) Classical Name Notes
Sawbwas      
Kengtung 12,400 Khemarata Tungaburi  
Hsipaw 4,524 Dutawadi  
Mongnai 2,717 Saturambha/Nandapwa  
Yawnghwe 1,392 Kambawsarata  
Tawngpeng 800 Pappatasara  

South Hsenwi

2,400 Siwirata or Kawsampi Also known as Mongyai

North Hsenwi

6,330 Siwirata or Kawsampi  
Mongmit 3,733 Gandhalarata  
Mongpai 730    
Lawksawk 2,362 Hansawadi?  
Laikha 1,560 Hansawadi  
Mawkmai 2,557 Lawkawadi  
Mongpan 2,988 Dhannawadi  
Mongpawn 366 Rajjawadi  
Manglun   Jambularata  
Kantarawadi 3,015    
Samka 314    
Mongkung 1,593 Lankawadi  
Myosas      
Nawngwawn 28 Pokkharawadi Amalgamated with Mong Pawn, 1931
Mongnawng 1,646 Nandawadi  
Mongsit      
Kehsi-bansam 551    
Mawnang     Amalgamated with Hsamongkham, 1934
Loilong (Pinlaung) 1,098    
Hsahtung 471    
Wanyin 219    
Hopong 212    
Namkhok 108   Amalgamated with Mong Pawn, 1931
Sakoi 82    
Mongshu 470 Hansawadi  
Kenglun 54   Amalgamated with Kehsh Bansam, 1926
Bawlake 565    
Kyetbogyi 700    
Hsamongkham 449    
Baw 741    
Pwela 178    
Ngwegunhmus      
Yengan (Ywangan) 359    
Pangtara (Pindaya) 86    
Pangmi 30    
Loi-ai 156   Amalgamated with Hsamongkham, 1930
Kyaukku 76   Amalgamated with Pwela, 1928
Loimaw 48   Amalgamated with Yawnghwe, 1928
Kyone 24    
Namtok 14   Amalgamated with Loilong, 1931

    Chinese provinces with the name Shan

  1. Shan is another name of the Dai, an ethnic group in China.
  2. Shan, an abbreviation for the Shaanxi province of the People’s Republic of China
  3. Shan, or Shan county, also refers a county in Shandong province of PRC
  4. Shan, or Shantou (汕头), a city in Guangdong province of PRC
  5. Shan, name for a region in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region
  6. Shan, also refers to the name of ancient Western Regions (西域)

Shan also means hill, peak, or mountain in Chinese languages and Japanese There is also Chinese surname, Shan (surname), is a in Chinese.There is also river name with Shan , in Zhejiang Province of PRC

Reference

  1. Wikipedia encyclopedia
  2. “Story of Myanmar told in pictures” by Dr Than Tun and translated by Maung Win War.
  3.  The Shan Herald Agency News’ Shan State Affairs section, Shan History.
  4. the folk tales of our Ethnic Minorities,
  5. the old records of Chinese and Indian travelers’ chronicles,
  6. Thailand and Khmer chronicles,
  7. from Hman Nan Yar Za Won, The Glass Palace Chronicle of the Kings of Burma (Pe Maung Tin and G.H.Luce, Rangoon University Press, Rangoon, Burma, January 1960.),
  8. Dr Than Tun (History Professor, Mandalay University) “Chin, Myu and Khumi, Notthern Rakhine” in Myanmar Magazine Kalya 1994 August and other publications
  9. and HGE Hall History of Southeast Asia
  10. and Burma’s old history text books published by Burmese Education Ministry. 
  11.  Edward Albert Gait’s “A history of Assam” book, published by Thacker, Spink in1963 at Calcutta.
  12. Shan State and Union of Burma“_ Editorial: Sai Wansai, .02.2006 Issue of Burma Digest
  13. Believing in a Change“_ Interview withSao Harn Yawnghwe
  14. Dialogue with a Shan Leader“_ Interview with Tiger Yawnghwe
  15. We Shall Cooperate with All Genuine Democrats“_ The Shan’s Pledge: Sao Hso Khan Pha
  16. Shan People, Shan State & Shan Government” _ Special Report: Interim Shan Government
  17. Shan Nationals“_ Commentary: Feraya Nangmone 
  18. Letter 1: A Valentine Present with Love” _  Compassionate Letters: Bo Aung Din
  19. Shan Freedom Fighters Photo article: Chris Sinclair & Tai Sam Yone
  20. SAI AUNG TUN, Yangon University, ” The Tai Ethnic Migration and Settlement in Myanmar” By the assistance of the Yunnan Institute for Nationalities, China and the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University, Japan he had  attended the Kunming International Workshop on the “Dynamics of Ethnic Cultures Across National Boundaries in Southwestern China and Mainland.
  21. Detained Ethnic Leaders Denied Outside Medical Aid“, By Shah Paung, January 8, 2008, Irrawaddy.
  22. The Kachin Hill Manual. Rangoon: The Superintendent Government Printing, Union of Burma, 1959. pp. 17-18
  23. G.E. Harvey. History of Burma, from “The Earliest Time to March 1824, The Beginning of English Conquest”. London: Frank Case and Co. Ltd., 1967. p. 160.
  24. Sir Arthur P. Phayre. History of Burma, Including Burma Proper, Taungu, Tenasserim and Arakan. London: 1883. pp. 290-291. 

 See also_

 

  1. Compassionate letter No 1: A Valentine Music DVD with Love for Dear Nan
  2. Compassionate letter number two, for my beloved Nan Sai   
  3. Renascences of the Golden days of the Great Shan Empire           
  4. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire II
  5. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire III
  6. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire IV
  7.  The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire V
  8.  The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire VI
  9.   The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire VII
  10.  A Valentine Present with Love, Letter 1A (In Burmese)View
  11. A Valentine Present with Love, Letter 1B (In Burmese) View
  12. A Valentine Present with Love, Letter 1C (In Burmese) View
  13. Compassionate Letters to Dear Nan, No. 6 C (in Burmese) View
  14. Compassionate Letters to Dear Nan, No. 6 B (in Burmese) View
  15. Compassionate Letters to Dear Nan, No. 6 A (in Burmese) View 
  16. Basic factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part I
  17. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part II
  18. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part III
  19. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part IV
  20. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part V
  21. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part VI
  22. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part VII
  23. The Golden days of the Great Mon Empire I

 

NOTE:  Compassionate Letters to Dear Nan letters 1 to 12 were first written in English as my earlier contribution to BURMA DIGEST on the Shan National day/Burma’s National day/Valentine day after I read about the Shan leaders intention to separate Shan from Burma/Myanmar.

Later I tried to made that letters in series imitating famous Indian first PM Neru’s letters to his daughter, who later the very famous and strong PM Indera Ghandi. I tried to rewrite the whole history of Burma like him but once I wrote about Burmese Muslims, some racists opposed.

But BD Chief editor Dr Tay Za even allowed me to write with different pseudonyms (author names). I love BURMA, SHAN, all the ethnic minorities and I even try to learn about all thee religions esp Buddhism, Hindu, JEWS and found out the essence and common basic good things. 

BD Chief editor Dr Tay Za even appointed me as a think tank member, editor and later senior editor, I tried to fulfill 99.99% of his request topics but I tried to squeeze in my interested topics. You all can see with your eyes what I have done for three years on Shan National day. THOSE WERE NOT APPRECIATED BUT I WAS RUDELY ORDERED NOT TO WRITE ANY RELIGIOUS ARTICLE. So without any quarrel or argument, I left BD sadly.

The true secular politics is just a myth only.

Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part VIII

Factors that influenced

the evolution of Burma Part VIII

Shans

Shan (also known as  Tai) lived independently up north round about 650 B.C. in China at the lower part of the Yangtze River.

1. Shan’s (also known as Tai) migrated down through the present day Yunnan and desended further down into our  Burma and settled in the Shan Plateau.

2. A large group of them made a detour U turn and went up north and climbed the Tibet hills and stayed there forming the Tibeto-Burman ancestors of the whole region.

3. One group continued their journey west, up to the present day Rakhine.

4. Another group even decided to continue the long march up into the present day north eastern part of India.

5. One of the group continued south in Burma and settled in lower Burma closely with Mon and  Kayins.

6. Few of them decided to continue to just stay-put in the present day Yunnan.

7. One group broke away from all others and decided to go straight southwards and settled in present Thailand.

8. One of them also broke away from all and moved to the east, settling in present day Lao and Cambodia. Actually they are a little bit different, some had more of the Chinese blood and some even have mixed blood with Khamars and some even went further and said to be settled in Viet Nam.

9. One of the group, known as Thet mixed the Pyus and their decedents are part of the ancestors of Bamars.

10. Some of the ethnic group who made a detour U turn and went up north and climbs the Tibet hills later, came down and they were known as Kan Yan and formed one of the ancestors of Bama .

11. At last intermarriage of the groups who were the descendents of Pyu, Kan Yan and Thet give rise to my present day Bama ethnic group.

Note (A): the long march travelers of Shan came down in different times in batches. Because it happened in the prehistoric times, I have searched and collected data, and made it simple and easy from:

  1. the folk tales of our Ethnic Minorities,
  2. the old records of Chinese and Indian travelers’ chronicles,
  3. Thailand and Khmer chronicles,
  4. from Hman Nan Yar Za Won, The Glass Palace Chronicle of the Kings of Burma (Pe Maung Tin and G.H.Luce, Rangoon University Press, Rangoon, Burma, January 1960.),
  5. Dr Than Tun (History Professor, Mandalay University) “Chin, Myu and Khumi, Notthern Rakhine” in Myanmar Magazine Kalya 1994 August and other publications
  6. and HGE Hall History of Southeast Asia
  7. and Burma’s old history text books published by Burmese Education Ministry.

I hereby wish to go into some details of what I had given as a gist above: Shan’s other cousins descended from the same ancestors, now inhabit northeast Assam or Asom in India.

Note (B) : they established the Ahom kingdom in Assam, India, where the Burmese General Maha Bandula’s troops committed_

  • indescribable cruelties
  • and barbarities  as to
  • annihilate something like 2/3 of the population
  • and certainly 1/3 of the men and boys
  • disemboweling them,
  • eating their flesh
  • and burning them alive in cages
  • to intimidate
  • and suppress the Shan Ahom of Assam, India.

Edward Albert Gait’s “A history of Assam” book, published by Thacker, Spink in1963 at Calcutta

This event so weakened and disorganized the Shan Ahom that by 1839 the kingdom was completely annexed by the British.

Before that from about 1220 – 1812 AD they maintained themselves under one Dynasty, (that of Mong Mao  568-1604 AD when its descendants ruled Hsenwi or Theinni in Burmese). Indeed the Shan Ahom resisted conquest by the Mughals who had conquered much of India before the British incursion.

DIALOGUE WITH A SHAN LEADER, H.R.H HSO KHAN PHA”. Tiger Yawnghwe or His Royal Highness Prince Hso Khan Pha; he is the eldest son of Sao Shwe Thaik, the former Saopha[Prince] of Yawnghwe[Nyaung-Shwe] and the first President of Burma after Burma’s Independence from British colonial rule. Interview with Dr Tayza, Chief Editor of Burma Digest.

Some groups of Shan settled along the way, at  Yunnan in the north east of Burma. Some mixed blooded with Chinese and Khamar, went to the east and founded the Laos and  Cambodia. Others went down to the southeast and settled in Thailand. No wonder Thailand was known as Siam or we could even easily understand it is just a slang of Shan.

Shans were  gradually pushed south, at about the beginning of the Christian era by the advancement of the Tar Tars. About 650 A.D. one group of Shans formed a powerful country at Nan Chao, now known as Yunnan.

Nan Chao Shans were quite powerful and could resist Chinese attempts at conquest until 1253.

During the years 754 to 763 A.D. the Nan Chao Shans extended their rule even up to the upper basin of the Irrawaddy River and came into contact with the Pyu.

Pyu was one of three ancestors who founded our Burma: viz, Pyu, Kan Yan and Thet. Pyu was then the ruler of the Upper  Burmese Plains.

Some of Shan’s descendents ventured beyond Upper Burma into Lower Burma to mingle and live together with the Mons.

During the heydays of the Nan Chao Shans, some of them had even crossed Upper Burma to reach far west and established the once powerful Ahom Shan Kingdom, in the northeastern part of India, now known as Assam or Assom , as stated above.

Shans had moved into the area now known as the Shan Pyae of Burma in large numbers and settled down and were well established by the time our first Burmese King Anawrahta ascended his throne in 1st century.

Nan Chao  Shans tried desperately to defend their Nan Chao  kingdom from the Chinese attackers, but in 1253 the Nan Chao Kingdom fell. Some of the Nan Chao Shans, unwilling to live under foreign domination there; move towards the south in strength, to seek freedom in present day Tailand area.

They joined forces with the other Shans, who had already settled in that area, and in 1262 took over Chiang Rai, in 1296 Chiang Mai and in 1315 took Ayuddhaya, and established their own kingdoms.

In Upper Burma the Shans established the kingdoms of Mo Gaung (Mong Kawng), and Mo Hnyin (Mong Yang), and in the Shweli basin, the Mao Kingdom.

Anawrahta ruled the Pagan  for 43 year. He was able to unify the whole Burma under his rule for the first time in history.

During this time he sent his armed villagers into the Shan’s kingdoms to help ensure the security of his Pagan Kingdom. However, he had no intention of annexing or taking over of the Shan’s kingdoms. He merely wished to defend the low lying plains of his Burma from raids by the Shan’s disgruntled militias. For this purpose he established a string of fortified towns along the length of the foothills.

Relations between Shan and Burma became friendlier under Anawrahta’s successors , but the Burmese Pagan fell to the attackers from China in 1287 A. D. and was destroyed.

Then in 1312 A. D. one of the groups of Shans took the kingly Title of “Thihathu” and ascended as the Burmese king or throned in Pinya.

The (Mao) Shans, who had established kingdoms in Mo Hnyin, Mo Gaung and the Shweli areas then overran the villages of Pinya and Sagaing in 1364 A.D.

After they had withdrawn, Shan’s from Ava, whose title was Thadominbya, combined Pinya and Sagaing and established a new Kingdom, over which he ruled.

So Shans effectively became Kings in Burma from 1282 A.D. to 1531 A.D.

In 1527 A.D. due to the attacks of the Mo Hnyin Saw Bwa on Ava, the Shan’s and U Burmese of the area left their homes and descended southwards towards Toungoo, where they established a new kingdom.

Thohanbwa, the son of the Moehnyin Saw Bwa, who became the King of Ava, was soon assassinated due to his lack of skill in statecraft and administration, and in 1543 A.D. Onbaung Khun Maing succeeded him as the King.

Meanwhile from Toungoo Kingdom, in the year 1555 A.D. King Bayinnaung succeeded in unifying the whole of Burma  for the second time in our history.

He was able to “persuade’ the Shan Saw Bwa to submit his suzerainty. In accordance with the traditions of the earlier Burmese Kings, the administrative setup was that the Shan Saw Bwas who submitted to the suzerainty of the Burmese King retained full powers to rule over their kingdom. This relationship was based on mutual respect.

The military forces of Burma included contingents of Shan soldiers who proved their valour on the foreign battlefields.

That is how Shan and Burmese descendents had lived closely together, like brethren, till the fall of Upper Burma in 1886.

Then the Shan Saw Bwas, with the intention of restoring freedom to Burma and to the Shan State, chose the Burmese Princes Limbin and Saw Yan Naing to head their alliance, and started waging war against the colonialism.

(I hereby acknowledged that I have adapted the above facts from the Shan Herald Agency News’ Shan State Affairs section, Shan History.)

We could see in the above mentioned era how Shans  migrated and grew mightier. We should study how political, economical, social and philosophical patterns changed according to their coming.

To sum up again, after the fall of Bagan , Ava kingdom was built in 1364 M.E.

Subsequently, until Pinya, Sagaing and Myinsaing  eras, the power of Bagan collapsed and rebellious small kingdoms spread. When the invading conqueror Shans came across Burmese, they accepted the Buddhist cultures and Burmese cultures.

In this case, the saying, ‘conquerors are conquered’ need to be explained thoroughly.

I adapted this last paragraph from the “Story of Myanmar told in pictures” by Dr Than Tun and translated by Maung Win War.

Anyway no one is sure the source of Shan ancestors’ conversion to Buddhism. We should consider the fact that Shans had very good relations with Mon and Khamars. Shans could even get the Buddhism directly from them.

We could see that Shan Pagodas look more like Thai and Cambodia Pagodas than our Burmese. from (

This episode of the history, Shans’ conquering over the  Burma, which our successive Bama governments’ history text books just used to mention one line only and skipped forward to the glorious Burmese warrior Toungoo King Baying Naung who successfully established the 2nd Bama Empire.

The same thing happened to the conqueror Tar Tars. They took over Turkey, Iran and Iraq, and they killed millions of the men and children but married those Muslim women.

Their new wives strangely converted them into Islam and they accepted the Islamic cultures. In this case also, as the saying goes, ‘conquerors are conquered’.

And those Tar Tar/Turk descendents’ armies invaded Afghanistan, India subcontinent (future India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.) and established the Moghol Islamic Empire.

So the Central Asia Muslims, Chinese Muslims, Yunan Chinese Muslims and Burma’s Chinese Muslims or Panthays and many of the Burmese Muslims are also their descendents. Even the Muslims in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia got Islam from those Chinese Muslims.

Ko Tin Nwe @ BO AUNG DIN