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

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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