Chinese; Are they too clever, selfish or cowards?

    Chinese avoid confrontation with authorities.

Are they too clever, selfish or cowards?

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

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

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

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

Ko Moe Thee Zone’s announcement regarding SPDC crony businessmen

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

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

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

For Malaysiakini readers :

THE CHINESE, THEIR HOUSES HAVE NO WINDOWS

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

THE CHINESE, THEIR HOUSES HAVE NO WINDOWS

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

I looked out the window.
And I saw.

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

I looked out the window.
And I saw.

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

I looked out the window.
And I saw.

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

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

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

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

This is my story.

My grandfather took a ship to join the gold rush in

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Labels: ,

1 comments:

  gnh

March 30, 2008 5:47 AM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

References_

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

The rainbow of pluralism

  The rainbow of pluralism

I have edited and adapted to the Myanmar context from the original letter to Malaysiakini by Yeo Yang Poh

I hope Malaysiakini and  Yeo Yang Poh could understand and forgive for this. They should even be proud that they could contribute a very good letter for the fellow Myanmar/Burmese citizens.

YEO YANG POH is an advocate and solicitor, and the immediate past president of the Malaysian Bar.

Like birth, race is, for all of us, a matter of fact in which we have no choice.

This simple, neutral fact of nature, however, weaves such a painful web of complexity, once it passes through the maladjusted looms of the human eyes, hearts, and minds.

Far from being a distinction without a difference, race has provided the ugly excuse for_

  • discrimination,
  • prejudice,
  • fear
  • and hatred.
  • In the worst circumstances, the boisterous looms of race churn out bales of cloth soaked with human blood.

Just as_

  • many sins are committed in the false name of God,
  • much evil has been perpetrated under the mischievous pretence of championing a race.

Why has it come to be so?

It is rooted_

  • in the perceived need for human beings to compete for limited resources, initially
  • to meet one’s need
  • and, later, one’s greed
  • (or, more accurately, the greed of those in power).
  • Banding together of persons increases their strength in the tussle for resources.
  • Race became, and remains, one of the most convenient criteria to be used for rival groupings.

It takes little time for the leaders and the upper echelon of the pack, who have the most to gain in the economic and political game, to realise that the easiest way for them to retain support and control is to provide justification for discrimination

  • (‘this is our land’),
  • entrench prejudices (‘they are inferior’),
  • instill fear in the followers (‘they will rob you of what you have’),
  • and sublimely encourage hatred (‘their children will trample all over yours’).

So it snowballs.

  • By painting other races as an ominous threat to the well-being of one’s own race,
  • one can instantly become the champion of a cause,
  • the hero who offers to save his race from humiliation.

This cunning but cowardly man in a superman suit_

  • lights fires
  • so that he can ride in each time for the staged rescue.
  • As time goes by, this pattern is institutionalised, exploiting the weakness and vulnerability in the psyche of a mixed populace.

The fake angels

Such are some of the troubles of our multi-polar and terribly disturbed world, and of the difficulties faced by many pluralistic societies, MYANMAR/BURMA among them.

While we never celebrate our togetherness as Myanmar or Burmese, one of the most patriotic things we may usefully do is to examine our successes and failures, ask ourselves honestly how much of the ills described above have befallen our own society, and urgently seek better ways forward from now on. This must include a candid re-examination of our race-based system of Military Government Policies discriminating on MIXED BLOODED PEOPLE e.g. Burmese Muslims and Burmese Chinese.

How may we do that?

Racial differences_

  • do not need to lead down the path of discord and conflict,
  • notwithstanding the long periods of political propaganda that have duped a lot of us into thinking otherwise.
  • Race may be a fact about which we have no choice,
  • but what we would do with this fact is a matter very much of choice.
  • We have suffered long and hard, because more often than not the wrong choices, urged on by power mongers, had been made.

We may begin by realising that_

  • racial differences are never the real enemy.
  • The culprit is the inequities in the distribution of resources within a society, regardless of race.

Harmonious race relations will be achieved by_

  • building a fair and equitable society
  • in which resources are applied and distributed in accordance with need, ability and effort;
  • rather than for satisfaction of greed, manipulation or corruption.

The politics of race, and the fake angels who sing that lone tune, must be exposed for what they really are:

  • persons too selfish
  • or too incompetent to provide for all,
  • and too weak to govern except by_
  • o dividing
  • o and ruling.

We must wake up to the fact that we belong to one race, the human race.

One much-touted approach to avoid racial prejudice and combat discrimination is_

  • to build a culture of colour-blindness.
  • See not the skin colours of persons,
  • or see beyond their colours.
  • requires one to ignore the obvious differences that one’s senses perceive,
  • and to act as if those differences do not exist.
  • acknowledges and accepts racial differences as a positive enrichment of the diversities of our world.
  • No basis or excuse for discrimination,
  • but for non-discrimination
  • and mutual appreciation.

Unity forged, not forced

  • Instead of being colour-blind,
  • we should be colour-appreciative.

In other words, we learn, understand, accept and appreciate the differences that exist among various races; and know that the world is better and richer for it.

  • A rainbow is beautiful precisely because it is not single-coloured.
  • And none of its colours could, nor should, claim a larger share of its glory.

By the same token,

  • integration, when not entirely voluntary, is not the best solution for a plural society.
  • A better approach is to embrace plurality.
  • Pluralism is the silver lining for the world’s future, as it is for Myanmar’s.
  • Pluralism is_
  • o not to be merely tolerated
  • o or accepted.
  • o It should be embraced.

Sixty years ago, Burmese of all races united to free themselves from colonialism.

  • Sixty years hence, we face new challenges in a globalising world.
  • Failure to adequately meet these challenges will enslave all of us, regardless of race, as much as colonialism would have.
  • To meet these challenges, unity is essential.
  • 1. But unity requires equality.
  • 2. Unity cannot be coerced.
  • It has to be forged, not forced.
  • If people feel less than united, it does not help calling them unpatriotic or disruptive.
  • It is usually due to the presence of inequity.
  • Examine the causes, and effect change.

There is such a lot to do, and so much to change within ourselves.

Let us reject race-based politics in Military Government, Ethnic Minorities and all the opposition Groups including NLD.

Let us_

  • embrace equality amidst pluralism,
  • and be colour-appreciative,

so that the next 60 years will be far better than the last.

Burmese Chinese

  Burmese Chinese

The Burmese Chinese or Chinese Burmese are a group of overseas Chinese born or raised in Burma (Myanmar).

Although the Chinese officially make up three percent of the population, this figure may be underestimated because of _

  1. intermarriage between them and the ethnic Bamar,
  2. and because of widespread discrimination against minorities (which compels many to declare themselves as Bamar when applying for birth certificate or national identification card).

The Burmese Chinese_

  1. dominate the Burmese economy,
  2. have a disproportionately high percentage of the educated class.

Generally, the Burmese Chinese in Lower Burma fall into three main groups:

  1. Burmese called eingyi shay, or let shay lit. long-sleeved shirts to Hokkien and Hakkas from Fujian Province
  2.  Burmese called eingyi to, or let to lit. short-sleeved shirts to Cantonese and Hakka   from Guangdong Province
  3. So Burmese sometimes called zaka, lit. mid-length sleeve to all the Hakka  from Fujian and Guangdong provinces.
  4. But Hakkas are further subdivided into those with
  5. ancestry from Fujian Province, called ein-gyi shay ha-ka
  6. and Guangdong Province, eingyi to haka respectively.

The Hokkien and Cantonese comprise 45% of the ethnic Chinese population.

The groups have different stereotypical associations.

  1. The Cantonese are commonly thought of as the poorest of the Chinese,
  2. the Hokkiens are generally wealthier,
  3. occupying high positions in the economy,
  4. and having connections to the government.

In Upper Burma and Shan Hills,

  1. the Panthay
  2. and Kokang, are speakers of a Mandarin dialect of the Southwestern Mandarin branch, most akin to Yunnanese.

Combined, they form 21% of Burmese Chinese.

Kokang are_

  1. mountain-dwellers
  2. and farmers
  3. classified as a part of the Shan national race, although they have no linguistic or genetic affinity to the Tai-Kadai-speaking Shan.

Muslim Panthay_

  1. are considered as separate local nationalities
  2. rather than a Chinese diaspora community.

The Tayoke kabya of mixed Chinese and indigenous Burmese parentage.

  1. The kabya (Burmese: mixed heritage) have a tendency to follow the customs of the Chinese more than of the Burmese.
  2. Indeed those that follow Burmese customs are absorbed into and largely indistinguishable from the mainstream Burmese society.
  3. A large portion of Burmese is thought to have some kabya blood,
  4. because immigrants could acquire Burmese citizenship through intermarriage with the indigenous Burmese peoples.

Culture

Politics

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?

Language

  1. Most Burmese Chinese typically speak Burmese as their mother tongue.
  2. Those with higher education also speak Mandarin
  3. Those with higher education also speak Mandarin and/or English.
  4. Some modern educated use English.
  5. Some use, Chinese dialects/languages.
    • Hokkien is mostly used in Yangon as well as in Lower Burma,
    • while Taishan Cantonese and
    • Yunnanese Mandarin are well preserved in Upper Burma.

Conditions of Chinese-language schools_

  1. General Ne Win’s (1962-1988) banned on the Chinese-language schools caused a decline of Mandarin speakers.
  2. Chinese schools are growing again nowadays because of the increase in investors and businessmen from Mainland China and Taiwan, who uses Standard Mandarin,

Religion

Most Burmese Chinese practice_

  1. Theravada Buddhism,
  2. incorporating some Mahayana Buddhist
  3. and Taoist beliefs,
    • such as the worship of Kuan Yin.
    • Chinese New Year celebrations,
    • as well as other Chinese festivals, are subdued and held privately.
    • Clan associations are often the only places where the Chinese culture is retained.

The Panthay or Chinese Muslims practice Islam.

Education

The Burmese Chinese_

  1. place a high importance on education,
  2. a disproportionate big share with advanced (medical, engineering or doctorate) degrees. (SOA’s note: it is partly because Muslims are labeled Kala and denied the place for postgraduate educations. The Chinese not only escaped that kind of discrimination but they got the special privileges given by the Chinese blooded political, military and education authorities.)
  3. The number would be higher still had it not been for the longstanding ban on those without Burmese citizenship from pursuing advanced degrees.
  4. Nowadays, many wealthy Burmese Chinese send their children overseas for further studies especially in US, UK, Canada, Australia, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.

Names

The Burmese Chinese have_

  1. Burmese names
  2. and many also have Chinese names.

Names in various Chinese dialects are roughly transliterated into the Burmese.

  1. For example, a person named ‘Khin Aung’ may have the Chinese name of 慶豐 (pinyin: Qìngfēng), with ‘慶’ (pinyin: qìng) corresponding to ‘Khin’, and ‘豐’ (pinyin: fēng) corresponding to ‘Aung’.
  2. However, variations of transcription do exist (between dialects),
  3. and some Burmese Chinese do not choose to adopt similar-sounding Burmese and Chinese names.
  4. Because the Burmese lack surnames, many Burmese Chinese tend to pass on portions of their given names to future generations, for the purpose of denoting lineage.

According to publications of Longsei Tang, a clan association based in Yangon, the ten most common Chinese surnames in Yangon are:

  1. Li (李)
  2. Peng (彭)
  3. Shi (時)
  4. Dong (董)
  5. Min (閔)
  6. Niu (牛)
  7. Bian (邊)
  8. Xin (辛)
  9. Guan (關)
  10. Tsui/Hsu(徐)

Cuisine

The Burmese Chinese cuisine is based on Chinese cuisine, particularly from

  1. Fujian,
  2. Guangdong
  3. and Yunnan provinces, with local influences.
  4. Spices such as turmeric and chili are commonly used.
    • Pauk si
    • Bhè kin
    • Igyakway
    • Htamin kyaw
    • La mont
    • Mewswan
    • San-byoat
    • Panthay khaukswè
    • Sigyet khaukswè

History

  1. The earliest records of Chinese migration were in the Song and Ming dynasties.
  2. In the 1700s, Ming Dynasty princes settled in Kokang (the northern part of Burma).
  3. Chinese traders, however, traveled up to the capital city, northern towns on the Irrawaddy such as Bhamo.
  4. There was a Chinese community at Amarapura.
  5. Another wave of immigration occurred in the 1800s under the British rule.
  6. They came to Burma via Malaysia.
  7. When the Chinese Communists expelled the Kuomintang, many fled to Burma and Thailand over the borders of Yunnan Province.
  8. The Burmese government fought and removed the armed KMT and forced them to Taiwan; those who managed to stay prospered.
  9. The Chinese dominate the highly lucrative rice and gem industries.
  10. Many became merchants and traders owning both wholesale and retail businesses.
  11. The northern region of Burma has seen an influx of mainland Chinese immigrant workers, black market traders and gamblers.
  12. In the Kachin State, which borders China in three directions, Mandarin Chinese is the lingua franca.

 They integrated well into Burmese society because they, like the Bamar,

  1. were of Sino-Tibetan stock
  2. and were Buddhists,

Their success_

  1. is reflected in the Burmese saying, “Earn like the Chinese, save like the Indian, and don’t waste money like the Bamar”.
  2. They got the nickname pauk hpaw (lit. sibling).
  3. During the 1950s, Burma was one of the first countries to recognize the People’s Republic of China as a nation.

However, its own Chinese population was treated as aliens.

  1. The Burmese Chinese were issued foreign registration cards (FRC), which declared that they were citizens of China.
  2. A similar discrimination policy was set up for Indians.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

  1. Many Burmese Chinese left the country during Ne Win’s rule, largely because of a failing economy and widespread discrimination.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Latha Secondary School was torched by the henchmen of General Ne Win’s government, where school girls were burnt alive.
  6. Chinese shops were looted and set on fire.
  7. Public attention was successfully diverted by Ne Win from the uncontrollable inflation, scarcity of consumer items and rising prices of rice.

Today, the majority of Burmese Chinese live in the major cities of_

  1. Yangon,
  2. Mandalay,
  3. Taunggyi,
  4. Bago, and their surrounding areas.
  5. According to Global Witness, 30 to 40% of Mandalay’s population consists of ethnic Chinese.
  6. Although there are Chinatowns (tayoke tan) in the major cities, the Chinese are widely dispersed.

Notable Burmese Chinese

  1. Aung Gyi leading army dissident and Ne Win’s former deputy/co-conspirator in the 1962 coup
  2. Aw Boon Haw (Hakka) – Inventor of Tiger Balm
  3. Aw Boon Par (Hakka) – Brother of Aw Boon Haw
  4. Eike Htun (Kokang) – Managing director of Olympic Construction Co. and deputy chairman of Asia Wealth Bank, two large conglomerates in Burma
  5. Khun Sa (Kokang) – Major Southeast Asian druglord
  6. Khin Nyunt – Former Prime Minister (2003-2004) and Chief of Intelligence (1983-2004) of Myanmar
  7. Lo Hsing Han (Kokang) – Major Southeast Asian druglord
  8. Steven Law (also known as Tun Myint Naing; Kokang) – Managing director of Asia World Company, a major Burmese conglomerate and son of Lo Hsing Han
  9. Ne Win (Hakka) – Leader of Burma from 1960s to 1980s
  10. San Yu (Hakka) – President of Burma in the 1980s
  11. Serge Pun – Proprietor of Yoma Bank, a major banking chain in Myanmar and chairman of First Myanmar Investment Co. Ltd (FMI), one of Myanmar’s leading investment companies
  12. Taw Sein Ko (Hokkien) – eminent Director of Archaeology (1901-1915)
  13. Thakin Ba Thein Tin – Communist leader from the 1970s to the 1990s
  14. Maung Aye – Vice chairman of SPDC and Chief of Staff of Armed Forces
  15. Major General Kat Sein – former Minister of Health
  16. Dr. Kyaw Myint – Present Minister of Health
  17. Myo Thant – Former Minister of Information under SLORC
  18. Colonel Tan Yu Sai – Minister of Trade under Ne Win’s government
  19. Colonel Kyi Maung– NLD member (1989-2004) and Army Commander of Rangoon in 1960s
  20. U Thaung – Minister of Labour & Technical Science, Retired Legion and Ambassador
  21. Lun Thi – Minister of Energy
  22. Thein Sein – First Secretary of SPDC
  23. Kyaw Ba – General Formal Minister of Hotel and Tourism

Reference

Wikipedia

Let’s exploit our strategic position between the two greatest civilizations

  Let’s exploit our strategic position

between the two

greatest civilizations

Dear Nan, our village or Shwe Myae is actually the virtual highway link between the villages in the south and their origin Ko Yu Nan’s village in northern part. Ko Indo Nesia, Daw Ma Lay traveled through our village in 2500 BC and 500 BC.

And those villagers on the numerous Islands up to U Au’s and Daw Zee Lans’ place, now we called Ko Poly Nisian also thought to have came down the same road.

Many of our cousin brothers like U Ka Yin (Pha Thi) and Daw Mon even came down earlier than Daw Shan from far north of Ko Ta Yoke village. U U Bamas and other cousin brothers of Tibet-Bama family villagers also came down from above. You and your half brother Ko Thai, Ko Laos and Ko Kam Bodia also came down from Ko Yu Nan’s village.

In the official Thailand History books, they even claim that all of the above came down from Ko Ta Yoke place through Ko Yu Nan’s village and even Daw Tibet had made an almost U turn and climbed beck onto the Tibet High Lands.

Those came down from north were met by the travelers from Ko Kala’s village. They came down from northwest. There was an old silk road from U Ta Yoke village at north-east to U Kala’s village at south-west. And that high way was in our Shwe Bama land.

Later they built the Burma Road which linked Burma and China. Its terminals are Kunming in China and Lashio in Burma. The road is about 1,130 kilometres long and runs through rough mountain country. This remarkable engineering achievement was built by 200,000 Chinese labouers during the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937 and completed by 1938. It had a strategic role in World War II, where the Allied Powers used the Burma Road to transport war supplies to China. Supplies would be landed at Rangoon and moved by rail to Lashio, where the road started in Burma. In charge of the Operation was General Merrill and General Stillwell. At that time, Burma was a colony of the United Kingdom.

When the Japanese overran sections of the Burma Road the Allies flew supplies over the Hump and built the Ledo Road, also later known as the Stillwell Road. Ledo Road was built from Ledo in Assam into the Hukawng Valley as an alternative to the Burma Road, which had been closed by the Japanese. It was completed in January 1945 and was renamed Stilwell Road by Chiang Kai-shek.

(From the Wikipedia encyclopedia.)

Now China and India are negotiating with Shwe Bama villagers to build a modern high way liking their villages through our land. Recently Ko Ka Lar’s village chairman U Mus Lim went to Shwe Bama and signed an agreement to lay natural gas pipe line from Ko Ya Khine’s part of our village to Ko Ka Lar’s village. And there is already an agreement to connect the gas pipe line from Ko Ya Khine’s part of the village to Ko Yu Nan’s village. So these high ways and pipelines would become the renaissance of our forefather’s migration.

Dear Nan, why are you very sensitive, I am just mentioning the coincidences but not supporting those pipe-lines. You already know that I supported your policy of sanctions on SPDC. If you are not short sighted, you could still read the Burma Digest’s strong condemnation of TOTAL in recent issues. It is funny that those who play with fire and burnt sometimes blamed the fire. Recently one of the ASEAN PM complaint that their state owned oil company suffered some losses because of the sanctions in the host countries they operate. Then why did they foolishly decided to follow their greed to buy the shares of TOTAL and invested in Myanmar/Burma oil exploration? They should now redeem themselves by supporting the US, UK and EU led pressure on Myanmar Generals for the rapid democratization.

So there were a lot of travelers, migrants, victims of disasters and famine, war refugees and etc moving along the road and some of them settled in our Shwe Bama Village as we are located along their high way through out the history.

Dear Nan, do you now accept the concept that our village was and still is a highway from west Ko Kala’s village to Ko Ta Yoke’s village in the north. People from Northwest of Ko Kala’s village came to our village through Ko Ya Khine’s village. Since 500 BC Hindu Orrisa village colonists had migrated towards Southeast and settled in lower part of our Shwe Bama village. Later other migrant villagers from the Andhra Dynasty from Ko Kala’s village similarly migrated to our village in 180 BC. Some took the long march on land and then some had sailed here.

Even U Pyu, one of the three founding brothers of Shwe Bama village was believed to be mixture of three groups;

(i) one local inhabitant since Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age,

(ii) another came from Ko Kala’s village bringing in Hinduism and Buddhism along with their cultures and literatures successively

(iii) and the another group believed to came down from north, Tibeto-Burman group.

Daw Daw Mon was also rumoured to have two groups of ancestors:

(i) One came down from above like Daw Daw Shan,

(ii) and another from U Kala’s village tract , Orrisa village and Talingna village bringing in Hinduism and Buddhism to our land. Ko Ta Laings originated from the Talingana village of Ko Kala’s village tract and arrived to lower Shwe Bama village part, met and married with Daw Daw Mon’s children, who came down from Ko Yu Nan’s village, spreads through our village up to Ko Thai, Ko Laos and Ko Cam Bodia’s villages.

They give us the Buddhism arts, culture, literature etc. You see Nan, our Shwe Bama spoken language was from Tibeto-Burman family and there are a lot of similarities with Chinese spoken language. But our Shwe Bama writing language was from U Ka Lar’s village, Brami Script we took not from our native Daw Daw Mon but her cousin U Mon resided in U Thai Land’s village.

I am revealing this to you so that my dear Nan could accept our whole Shwe Bama villagers as the same family. Instead of dividing into numerous weak small countries we could even plan for the Future Federal Union of Burma working with ASEAN+++ formula, I proposed to you in my first letter sent together with my Valentine Music DVD.

Dear Nan, when I wrote in formal style, you complained that it was very dull, not attractive, you have to skip some lines and paragraphs, and you admitted that you even fell asleep before finishing my letter.

Now what? When Daw Khin Myo Chit wrote “The Heroes of Pagan” historians said she was playing with the history books like a child with a crayon. Now if you accuse me of attempting to imitate her, I would be glad and would felt honoured and reply with pride, “Thank you with my pleasure.” But I have to admit that my English could not even touch her toes’ level. And in the Story of Myanmar told in pictures by the famous historian Dr Than Tun, he had attempted to simplify the Burmese History.

Dear Nan, you have to understand me that I used to and need to quote the famous personalities frequently because I have an inferiority complex. I am afraid you would not be serious if I cannot support my words or the style of writing with the world accepted great persons’ works. I have to use them at least as an excuse for my deeds or words. You know I am just a graduate and were forced to waste my precious time with my business matters but you had already got two post graduate degrees, a Master and a PhD. So I hope my darling Nan is not sneering at my letter as a show off. Please kindly let me continue to enjoy with my false sense of grandeur by quoting those famous persons.

You see Nan, with the growing age and fading memory, I used to sway away from my primary target of answer your question.

The recent discovery of the Genetic DNA researchers’ claim of the finding of the Chinese to be migrated from Africa or “Out of Africa theory” may reveal the longer and winding trail of our great ancestors. From Africa to China and then continue to Burma. If we consider the origin of the Southern Indians from Africa and Arian Migration from the north or tall blue or brown eyed and fair people proved to be genetically related to east Europeans, some of our ancestors had endlessly marched quite a long distance.

Actually if I am allowed d to sum up the above: U Pyu, U Kan Yan and U Thet were my ancestors. Most of the U Kan Yan’s descendants stayed along Chin Dwin River and between Chindwin and Irrawady rivers. As I had stated above, few groups of villagers came down from northern Ko Yu Nan’s village, one of them went and established Daw Tibet’s village. One group went further west to Ko Ya Khines village and some went further into Ko Kala’s territory. One group stayed along our mother Irrawady and formed my ancestors. One group stayed in Ko Ka Chin’s village. Actually Ko Ka Yin, Daw Mon and almost all our ethnic brother villagers came down the same path.

Dear Nan, no wonder your great grandmother Daw Daw Shan was the elder sister of Ko Thai and Ko Laos’ great grandfathers. Because of the same language and culture you even cruelly planned to divorce me and go and marry with one of them. I know, I know, you just wanted to hurt me because you were angry with me and never really intended to do so.

Dear Nan, because of that, there are larger number of cousins of Ko Ka Chin , Ko Chin and Ko Na Ga in Ko Ti Bet’s village and Ko Kala’s village than in Shwe Bama village. And there are a lot more of Ko Ka Yin and Daw Mon’s relatives in Ko Thai, Ko Cam Bodia’s villages.

Dear Nan, it is too late tonight to continue my letter as you know, I need to wake up early to prepare to go and work intime.

Your loving hubby

(Ko Tin Nwe)

BO AUNG DIN

We also Love Burma, part 2

Part 2

Comments

Nay Min Thura said _

I like the article and it is totally true. there may be WHY? WHY? WHY? Because it is being suffered for this. a beautiful dream and a small hope were destroyed. have to play monopoly for future and it would give you depression all the time. i love the country and the people too.

We are all Burmese in our heart

We are all Burmese in our heart

 

I hope that you and some of the Burmese Digest readers could recalled my name in association with my best friend Ko Tin New (Bo Aung Din). He had mentioned a few times about me in his a dozen Compassionate letters to Nan. As he had mentioned, my grandfather was a Burmese Muslim and married to a pure Burmese girl, Ko Tin Nwe’s grand Aunt that is the sister of Ko Tin Nwe’s grandfather. As he had mentioned, she was disowned by her father because she married a so called a ‘Kala’.

Actually the ‘Kala’ she married was the Burmese Muslim, the son of the royal body guard of Nyaung Yan Prince. Yes! I am not bluffing. His family was famous for the loyalty and braveness and was descendents of Afghanistan warriors at first came to Burma as mercenaries. And they were already regarded as loyal subjects of the Burmese kings or in other words Burmese Citizens. They are completely burmanized except for their religion. They loved to be called Burmese Muslims and successive Burmese Kings had already recognized them as Burmese Muslims and as their loyal subjects/citizens and even given them the relevant lands designated with their jobs.

In old royal capital Mandalay, we could still see the two ‘A Myauk Tans’ meaning Cannon or large artillery men’s quarters. ‘Myin Win’ horse-men’s quarters, ‘Sin Kywone’ meaning Elephant keepers, ‘Ko Yan Daw Win’ meaning Royal Body Guards’ quarters etc still fully occupied by their descendents Burmese Muslims with respectively named Mosques. As Ko Tin Nwe wrote, Oh Bo Mosque was donated by King Mindon, all the teak pillars were meant for the Royal Palace but those that could not go into their respected holes in time according to the astrologers were discarded and donated to build the Mosque. Chinese Muslim Mosque’s land was also donated by King Mindon and he also donated the hostel in Mecca for his Burmese Muslim subjects.

Mandalay was founded on Monday, the 23rd May 1859. But King Mindôn passed away on the 1st of October 1878 at the age of sixty-four. King Thibaw (1878-1885) took the throne illegally or by a palace coup. It was near the end of King Mindôn’s illness, which lasted about two months that, the Alaè-nandaw Queen plotted the maneuverings to make Thibaw Prince to get the throne. She was the daughter of King Bagyidaw (1819-1837), by his Chief Queen. She became very powerful after the death of the Chief Queen Nanmadawpaya in November 1876.  The rightful Heir-Apparent, the Kanaung Prince was murdered in the rebellion of 1866.

King Mindôn was undecided and hesitated to choose a new successor but put three of the best trusted and elderly Princes as Regents viz: Mekkhara, the Thônzè and the Nyaung Yan Princes.

Alè-nandaw Queen tried successfully to block them from becoming Eing shae min or Crown Prince. She plotted with palace officials to place Prince Thibaw on the throne, her second daughter Supayalat’s lover.

She practically isolated King Mindôn and give orders, as if it were by the King’s orders. The

Princes were summoned to the Palace and arrested. The princes Nyaung Ok and the Nyaung Yan managed to escape. They run into the French ‘Embassy’, now No 10th. State High School or formerly known as Than Dae’ School. His bodyguards including my great grandfather escaped into lower Burma and some of them settled in Taungoo.

King Mindon learned about the plot and ordered the Princes to be released. Kin Wun Mingyi and the Supreme Court (Hlut-daw) were persuaded to believe that King Mindôn’s wished to appoint Prince Thibaw as an Eing shae min and to marry Supayalat. Other Princes were re-arrested. When King Mindôn passed away, just after the funeral, young inexperience and naive Prince Thibaw was proclaimed King. He was the son of the almost unknown or least powerful Laungshe Queen. The Salin Princess, eldest daughter of Mindôn Min, who was the Princess reserved according to an old custom, to be the Queen of the next King, became a nun. Thibaw married the two sisters Supayagyi and Supayalat. The elder, Supayagyi, should be the chief queen, but Supayalat forced her to live a life of retirement in the Palace.

On February 1879, the interned Princes, together with some Princesses, a Queen and some notables, altogether over 70 persons, were murdered. Another greater massacre took place in 1884. About 300 remaining members of the Royal Family, who had escaped in 1879, were cruelly butchered.

So my great grand father luckily escaped the massacres. His daughter-in-law, pure Burmese lady who converted to Islam and was disowned by her family for the crime of marrying a ‘Kala’ was widowed soon and was very poor but she managed to give all of her children good education. Eldest son became a famous Head Master and he is my father. And she was very proud to see, before she departed, that more than two dozens of her grandchildren got the university degrees including many doctors and engineers. The rest is history.

But now only Myanmar Military rulers are labeling us 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.

My nephews and nieces are forced to begin their journey of life differently from their elder siblings and face the reality of the unfair world.  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.

Our children are entitled to their dreams and should not encounter any disappointments even before they started their tender lives. 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. Most importantly, SPDC have shown our children a real rejection. In waking to this realization, we suddenly understand that SPDC have already failed all our children’s future. 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 being seen, seeing themselves, as anything other than Burmese Citizens. And so SPDC Junta’s dancing with shadows continues, to their pied-piper song of unity and integration in single race and religion, to the beat of their war drums, changing Burma into a Myanmar world of so much bigotry and hatred. Our young children’s every early moments would be yet under another hammer blow, tempering or compromising their fantastic visions into listless and endless compromise under SPDC and cohorts.

Our country’s diversity makes us who we are and what we are today, that cannot be emphasized enough. And though we Burmese Muslims may each resonate differently, harmonizing only at some points in time and never universally, that is we are completely burmanized culturally but differ in religion only 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.

Ko Tin Maung


Comments:

Thein said _

SPDC blocks  the knowledge of our generation. So better sent this history to the whole Myanmar people.

Compassionate Letters to Dear Nan, No. 6 A (in Burmese)

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