Burmese Folk Tale, Puppet Master

Burmese Folk Tale,

Puppet Master

 

Once upon a time, that was a very long long time ago, in a beautiful prosperous country called Shwe Bama Paradise there was an old puppet maker name Ah Ba Aung.

He had a son named Mg Tat. As the name implies Mg Tat is megalomaniac and thought he knew every thing. So he decided to travel and work abroad to become rich. Father sadly gives him his favourite, precious four puppets,

  1. a Nat (Burmese version of guardian angel),
  2. a Be Loo (ogre),
  3. a Zaw Gyi
  4. and a holy monk.

Ah Ba Aung reminded Mg Tat to use his puppets wisely and explained him how to use them if he is in trouble.

On the first night of his journey, he was alone scared and out of curiosity but jokingly asked the Nat puppet whether it is safe to rest under the tree. The Nat suddenly came alive and advised him to survey and observe the surroundings first before sleep and he found out the foot prints of a tiger, climbed and sleep on the tree and was saved from the tiger which came again later.

The next day he saw a long caravan and he asked the Be Loo or Ogre how he could become rich immediately. Be Loo suddenly became alive and help Mg Tat to rob and take over the whole caravan. Be Loo taught him a lesson that “The Might is right and it is nothing wrong if he could take anything with force.”

He found Shwe Bama princess on a carriage and fall in love at first sight. Princess told him that she is the daughter of deposed King Lu Du and she was traveling with all their belongings on the way to join back her father.

Mg Tat, with the help and advice of the Be Loo took the princess by force against her will.

Mg Tat was confused and did not know what to do with the new found wealth and asked the advice of the Zaw Gyi. As Zaw Gyi was wise, powerful, know the science, weather, ground condition, could even fly, dive into the earth, he could give the detailed map of fertile soil and precious metal deposits to Mg Tat. Mg Tat became very rich in a very short time.

Mg Tat tried in every possible way to get the love of the princess but failed every time. One day the princess managed to escape from Mg Tat. Be Loo and Zaw Gyi could not give any help. Then only he remembered about the two puppets he forgot, the Nat he used once and the Monk he never asked for help.

Then only the two of them taught him that Power and Wealth only, never brings happiness.

Physical possession of the body with the Might could not get the Love and Loving Kindness.

The True Happiness comes only from pure heart and Good-deeds.

What one possessed is not important but how you utilize that possession is more important.

They reminded his father, Ah Ba Aung’s wise advice to use all four of the puppets wisely. As he was only using the Might of the Ogre and Wisdom of the Zaw Gyi and forgot to control those two with the Wisdom of the Nat and Goodness of the Holy Monk he was on the wrong track.

Might and power brought wealth but wealth brought in misery only. True happiness came from good deeds only.

Those two good puppets changed the life of Mg Tat. He does a lot of good deeds, donations and accidentally met the poor princess and her father, poor deposed King Lu Du. He apologized both of them, asked for forgiveness, give back the poor King all his belongings. He wanted to go back to his old village but the King immediately recognized his virtues and talent, offered him a job as his most trusted right hand man and offered him to continue to stay in the ‘palace’ he returned back.

Mg Tat gladly accepted to work for the deposed King, and later even won the trust of not only the king,  but of the princess and at last even won over her heart. They were legally married, Mg Tat became Ein Shei Min or Regent and at last the king of whole Shwe Bama country. And they happily lived ever after.

Zat paung khan (Epilogue):

Shwe Bama Paradise is Union of Burma.

Old wise puppet maker name Ah Ba Aung is our father General Aung San.

His son Mg Tat is the Myanmar Tat Madaw.

The Nat is Maha Bandula on special mission ordered by General Aung San to take care of his son, Tatmadaw. He advised me to keep quite like ‘The Royal drum which made the sound only if strike. The wise man, who only answered when asked for advice’ so I give this best advice at last at a crucial time only. I let Mg Tat or the Myanmar Tatmadaw alone to do what they like for a long time giving enough periods to learn its own lesson.

Ogre or Be Loo is not alone, represents three persons viz: General Ne Win, General Saw Maung and Senior General Than Shwe.

Zaw Gyi also represents: Russia, North Korea and Pakistan giving Nuclear Know-how, Thailand, China and India supporting economically and militarily.

Tiger represented foreign colonies including Fascist Japan.

Shwe Bama princess represented our beloved Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

Looting or robbing of the caravan is the Coup.

King Lu Du represents Lu Du or all the people of Burma/Myanmar.

Holy man Monk represent, Sayadaw U Gambira led demonstrating monks.  

Lesson learnt:

  1. Might is not always right.
  2. Wealth could not buy the love.
  3. Wealth alone could not bring in happiness.
  4. How much wealthy is not important. How do we use the wealth is more important.
  5. Knowledge alone could lead to disasters.
  6. Might and Knowledge must be guided by Wisdom and Goodness.
  7. Might and power brought wealth but wealth brought in misery only. True happiness came from good deeds only.
  8. Physical possession of the body with the Might could not get the Love and Loving Kindness.
  9. The True Happiness comes only from pure heart and Good-deeds.
  10. What one possessed is not important but how you utilize that possession is more important.

A. Advice to Mg Tat or Myanmar Tatmadaw:

please open your eyes and ears and think about your beloved country and people. Don’t just obey the wrong orders of Be Loos or Ogres Generals like Senior General Than Shwe.

B. Advice to Ogres, SPDC Generals led by Senior General Than Shwe:

because of your wrong selfish advices and orders your Mg Tat or Myanmar Tatmadaw is now hated by all the people of Myanmar.

Please repent now and change  if you wish to see the happy ending of Myanmar Tatmadaw.

Give back the power you looted from the people and NLD.

Your good will could be rewarded back by NLD and people. At last after few years, your Military men could definitely win back the power in fair and square elections as your brothers in ASEAN.

Actually people love you in their hearts but because of your strong. cruel, violent and unfair tactics they hate you in the brains.

Metta is always reflected and flows to both side. If you could really give the tender loving kindness to all the people you would be respected and loved by all.

C. Advice to Zaw Gyis: Russia, North Korea and Pakistan, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, China and India to stop supporting economically and militarily to the illegitimate present Military Government.

D. Advice to Lu Du or the people of Burma: Please be brave, patient and continue with the Civil Disobedience. As our beloved Bo Gyoke had advised in the shortest speech before the revolution of Fascist Japan, “Search and attack the nearest enemy!”

If applied that General Aung San’s advice in the present situation, that could mean, “Search and attack the nearest Kyant Phut, Swan Arrshin, military personnal and police.”

[Adapted from Daw Khin Myo Chit’s “The Four Puppets,” Folk Tales from Asia for Children Everywhere.]

MAHA BANDULA

Burma’s Saffron Revolution leader, Revered Monk, Sayadaw (abbot) U Gambira

Burma‘s Saffron Revolution leader

Revered Monk, Sayadaw (abbot)

U Gambira

Dr San Oo Aung 

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Sayadaw (abbot) U Gambira,  is a prominent Buddhist clergy, who took a leading role in the August and September peoples’ protest in Burma.

In August 2007, SPDC announces the sudden increase in fuel prices. That cause a devastating effect of Burmese people as especially the food and basic necessities prices increased along with the massive inflation but there was no increase in consumer earning power not only for the poor but even for the average ordinary citizens.

Mass peaceful protests nationwide started on 21 September 2007. At first it was led by Buddhist monks. U Gambira, 27 year old monk was the leader organizing, instigating and leading all the monks. Only after a few days only ordinary people dare to support and took part and went down into the streets, protesting against the government, calling for a reduction in commodity prices, release of political prisoners and national reconciliation.

Beginning on 21 September 2007, the numbers of demonstrators increased considerably, with estimated numbers ranging from 10,000 to 100,000. Demonstrations on this scale have not been seen since the nationwide protests in 1988, which were violently suppressed by the authorities with the killing of approximately 3,000 peaceful demonstrators.  

Bae Thu Thay Thay_ Nga Tae Mar_Pyee Yaw.

That is sheer selfishness, self-interest, self-centeredness or egocentricity. We could call in a modern term, MYOB meaning “MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS” or to ‘take care of our own self first’ policy. This has been the priority culture that practices by almost all of us, nowadays. Yes this provides a great advantage to the ruling Myanmar Military government when things related to Myanmar’s affairs.

This MYOB have deeply imbedded in our thinking process daily and putting chills of fear up into our spines coupled with the prospects of rewards if we just keep quiet or nod our heads or could reap the best rewards if we could support, praise and also greased the palms of various level of military authorities.

The monks of Burma are not prepared to kill for anything or anyone nor even a tinniest of a creature. But U Gambira had managed to successfully lead them to come out on to the roads ready to sacrifice for the benefit of their people. The simple gesture of the unarmed praying monks taking to the streets and standing their ground before the bayonets and tanks of the military junta sends out a clear message to the SPDC regime that while they have the guns and tanks it is the monks and the people who now command the moral high ground.

Although I was quite young, I still remember the images of the Buddhist monks who set themselves on fire in the about fifty years ago in Saigon, now renamed Ho Chin Minh city. The monks were protesting against the corrupt Vietnamese regime of that time. 

Later only I learnt that The South Vietnamese government troops had opened fire to disperse students and monks, who were banned from carrying Buddhist flags on Wesak Day. The Buddhist leadership quickly organized a protest that led to several monks burning themselves to death. 

I felt the déjà vu feeling when I saw the Burmese monks’ protests.

History always repeats itself but sometimes strangely in reverse condition. That South Vietnamese government was supported by USA and against the communists. Now the SPDC is the illegitimate children of communist/socialist General Ne Win and supported by communist China again. (China is becoming a Nga Pwa Gyi in both situations.) That Vietnamese government who shot monks was eventually toppled. We hope the same happens in Myanmar soon.  

Myanmar Tatmadaw should realize that it has lost all the remaining credibility, even if they have a few, not only in the eyes of its own people but more crucially for the world as well.

And by taking the stand that they have and keeping to it, Sayadaw U Gambira and our revered monks have shown the world that religion can also be a living dynamic force in the politics and is not a pariah faith to be locked in the sacred precinct of temples, churches, pagodas and churches. The only important fact is that the religion must be used with care and not to divide the people, races and religious followers but for the benefit of the country and humanity.

In Buddhism, Sanghas or Monks are revered in the same rank as Lord Buddha and Dharma, teachings or rules and regulations or Laws of Buddhism taught by Buddha. In Burmese, “Pha Yar_Ta Yar_Sangha” are held in the highest regard amongst the Burmese Buddhists. No one dare to insult Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, except SPDC and its thugs.

After Gautama Buddha’s Parinirvana, Sanghas maintain and preserve the teachings of the Buddha, as the guardians of Buddhism. All the Buddhists in Burma regarded Sanghas as the sons of Buddha who carry on the torch of enlightenment and march forward, continue to propagate and disseminate the Buddha’s teachings.

The protest began on Aug 19 after the government raised fuel prices. Initially, the protest involved only civilians but the impact changed dramatically when the monks took to the streets. 

Sept 26 was a sad day for Burma, when the Myanmar Tatmadaw opened fire on unarmed civilian protestors and Buddhist monks. Soldiers and police fired tear gas, clubbed protesters and arrested hundreds of monks in an attempt to quash the uprising.

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Hundreds of deaths were reported, but the SPDC tried its best to cover-up and destroy the evidences. They did not hesitate to use force even against those unarmed Buddhist monks peacefully charting prayers. Even the very old and young monks were kicked and beaten by the ruthless soldiers and shoved them onto trucks.

Doors of their monasteries were broken; things were ransacked and taken away. Few thousands of monks were arrested. There are reports creeping out across the iron sieve reporting that many of them have been tortured and killed or died because of the wounds inflicted during the arrest and torture. Some monks go into hiding, some flee abroad, some are dead, but the fate of many more remains unknown.

Buddhist monks are greatly revered for their exceptionally humble, harmless and peaceful way of life. If the military rulers can act so ruthlessly against such defenseless spiritually inclined monks, it is frightening to imagine what more they are capable of doing to others less spiritual.Now the junta is openly hunting for four monks who it says are the ringleaders of the biggest uprising against the government in 20 years.

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“Many monks are still hiding, at the homes of people, or on the top floors of apartment buildings,” one escaped monk, who gave his name as Vida, told reporters in northern Thailand. “It is dangerous for anyone who goes out. We are worried about our friends, especially those who have been arrested or have disappeared.”

”We saw that the military is very brutal, and we think a lot of people must have been tortured or killed. We plead with the international community to support us in any way you can.”

U Gambira, the leader of the All Burma Monks Alliance, managed to speak by phone from an undisclosed location in Myanmar to a public meeting at the Asia Society in New York.

He told of daily arrests at monasteries. He told that there were many soldiers surrounding the Buddhist monasteries and also in the streets. 

Have our hopes and prayers for the rapid democratic change in Burma is totally crushed to a hopeless situation?

Have the pro-democracy protesters been defeated totally and there is no more hope left for all of us?

When a government resorts to bullets and clubs to suppress peaceful demonstrators, you know they have lost all moral authority and it is just a matter of time before the regime is dumped into the ash heap of history.

Anil Netto

The Burmese people have taken all that batons, bullets, cruelty and hard labour can give. But it is the Burmese junta that has lost all moral credibility – a long time ago. And thus, it is just a matter of time before these ruthless generals are unceremoniously booted out – with or without Asean’s help.

You see, it is no longer a worldly struggle but also a spiritual battle. That explains why the monks have been at the forefront of the struggle, the same way that priests and nuns led the People Power revolution in the Philippines that ousted the dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

In the evening of 25 September 2007, the authorities began a crackdown on the protesters, introducing a 60-day 9pm-5am curfew and issuing public warnings of legal action against protesters.  Arrests of reportedly at least 700 people have followed in the former capital Yangon, the second-biggest city, Mandalay, and elsewhere.  Among those arrested in Yangon were monks, members of parliament from the main opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), other NLD members and other public figures.  

Websites and internets blogs carrying information and photographs of the demonstrations were blocked; internet lines were cut. Telephone lines and mobile phone signals to prominent activists and dissidents were also cut.  

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U Gambira, as a leader of the All-Burma Monks’ Alliance had spearheaded the nationwide protests. He became a fugitive following the deadly Sept. 26-27 crackdown on protesters nationwide.

SPDC had arrested the family members of U Gambira, and shamelessly declared that they will not release them until U Gambira has been detained.  At first, U Gambira could successfully avoid the government authorities but had to giveup to safe his family as SPDC had cowardly arrested his family as a ransom.

  1. Ko Aung Kyaw Kyaw, the younger brother of U Gambira and secretary of the National League for Democracy in Pauk Township, Magwe division, was arrested in Rangoon.
  2. Another brother, Ko Win Zaw, a HIV/AIDS patient, was also arrested in their hometown of Pauk.
  3.  U Gambira’s mother and sister were also arrested by the township police in Meikhtila in Mandalay division. 
  4. U Min Lwin, his father and another sister had to be on the run.   The military intelligence officer who arrested U Gambira’s family members shamelessly told them they would not be released until U Gambira is detained.

Like other detained political dissidents they were at very high risk of torture and other forms of ill-treatment.

The following is a statement recorded by RFA:

“My situation is not good. I have slept without shelter for two nights. I am not very well now. My security is pretty bad,” he said, speaking from an undisclosed location.

“Now these fellows are trying to butcher me. Now if you are done talking, as soon as you hang up, I have to move somewhere…”

“The important thing for overseas Sanghas [monks] is to carry out the Burmese cause continuously, with unity. At the moment, as you know, we cannot do anything inside Burma. We have been assaulted very badly. A few got away, a few left. I am still trying to get away but I haven’t succeeded.”

He read the following message to_

  1. U.N. Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari,
  2. U.S. President George Bush,
  3. and to the world:

“Mr. (Ibrahim) Gambari… I wish to say,

  • please do something effective and practical for Burma.
  • Measures such as economic sanctions and arms embargo will take time (years) to achieve a political solution. What is most important is for today, for tomorrow.  
  • Please tell Mr. Gambari that I am very grateful for his active participation in Burmese affairs. I have a tremendous respect for him.
  • But please tell him to implement the most effective practical measures in Burma.
  • Please try.
  • Please send U.N. representatives to Burma to carry out various ways and means to get political results now. For today.”

To Buddhists all over the world and activists and supporters of Burmese movement_

  • please help to liberate the Burmese people from this disastrous and wicked system.
  • To the six billion people of the world, to those who are sympathetic to the suffering of the Burmese people, please help us to be free from this evil system.
  • Many people are being killed, imprisoned, tortured, and sent to forced labor camps.
  • I hereby sincerely ask theinternational community to do something to stop these atrocities.
  • My chances of survival are very slim now. But I have not given up, and I will try my best.”Killings, torture, labor camp

I would like to make an appeal to President Bush:

  • Please take pride as a President who has worked hard for Burma to achieve something before his term expires.”
  • “I might not have very long to live.
  • I, Gambira, speaking by phone with you right now, have a very slim chance of survival.
  • Please try your best to relieve our suffering.
  • It will be worse in future when they [the junta] have laid down their roadmap so they can remain in power forever—it will be a blueprint to oppress us systematically.
  • Once they establish their constitution, the Burmese people will suffer for generation after generation.”
  • Reports came out of the arrest of the U Gambira on 4 November. His brother Aung Kyaw Kyaw and father Min Lwin were also arrested in October. Their current whereabouts are not known.
  • U Gambira is believed to have been charged with treason for his role in leading the demonstrations, which carries a sentence of life imprisonment or the death penalty.
  • Other members of his family were arrested as “hostages” in an attempt to force him out of hiding.
  • U Gambira was arrested the same day his article appeared on the Washington Post on November 4, the source said.
  • The source, who talked to the clergy over telephone, said,
  • “He [U Gambira] responded saying that he had been arrested and is now under detention. Then, the line was disconnected.”
  • While how his arrest came about is difficult to confirm, some activists in exile believe it is related to his article, saying it might have given the junta clues to where he was hiding.
  • He was arrested on 4 November in Singaing.  U Gambira is 27 years old and is also a spokesperson for the People’s Movement Leader Committee.
  • U Gambira was arrested from a hiding place in Kyaukse, central Burma, in early November.

According to the news published on Dec 5, 2007 by DVB:

The father of U Gambira, U Min Lwin, who was detained along with his son a month ago, has now been released, according to a family member. Min Lwin and U Gambira were arrested by officers from the police information force and other government officials in Sintgaing Township, Mandalay division, together with a third man named Ko Mondine.

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  • U Gambira, was held at Insein prison since his arrest, while his father was detained at New Mandalay prison.
  • After being held for one month, Min Lwin was released at around 11pm on 3 December. Ko Mondine and two other men from Mandalay division, Pyone Cho from Ma Hlaing Township, and Khin Maung Soe From Htone Bo Township, were released at the same time.  
  • Ko Mondine, Pyone Cho and Khin Maung Soe had been arrested for delivering money to U Gambira.
  • Min Lwin said he did not want to talk about his prison experiences in detail.
  • “I’m very happy that I can meet my family again,” he said.  He said that he would now seek justice for his sons U Gambira and Aung Kyaw Kyaw, who was arrested in Rangoon on 17 October. Both of them remained in detention.
  • Aung Kyaw Kyaw is the younger brother of U Gambira
  • and secretary of the National League for Democracy in Pauk Township, Magwe division. According to the following reports in Irrawaddy,
  • His mother told The Irrawaddy that authorities told U Gambira’s family that he is charged with treason for his leading role in the September mass demonstrations.

U Gambira was born in the town of Pauk in central Burma. He has three brothers and one sister. 

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“I am very worried,” said his mother.

  • “I am so sad for my son and my husband.
  • They might be tortured during interrogation.
  • But I am proud of him [U Gambira].
  • Since his childhood, my son has been active in helping other people.”
  • The monk’s father, Min Lwin, is believed to be in Burma’s infamous Insein Prison, said U Gambira’s mother.
  • U Gambira’s brother, Kyaw Kyaw, was also arrested in October as an exchange while the monk was in hiding.
  • But his brother has not been freed since the monk’s capture.
  • His mother and three other family members were also detained and interrogated before he was arrested.

Detaining of the fugitive political activists’ family members by the SPDC authorities calling for an exchange with the fugitive activist is regarded by the Human rights organizations as a form of criminal inhumane act of illegally “taking hostages”.

The Saffron revolution is not over yet.

  • The SPDC regime’s use of mass arrests, murder, torture and imprisonment
  • has failed to extinguish our desire for the freedom that was stolen from us so many years ago. We have taken their best punch.
  • As the famous saying, “Shwe Ba Ah Sa Nar Myee.” This is just a temporary set-back.
  • There is another Burmese saying_Htow Myi’ Sin_Nauk Ta Hlan_Sohe Thee.
  • The GOOD will always TRIUMPH over the EVIL.
  • Kindly allow me to repeat clearly and firmly again, “our uprising is not over yet!”
  • The SPDC military Junta may control the streets and monasteries,
  • but they will never be able to control the hearts and minds or determination of the Burmese people.

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Now it is the generals who must fear the consequences of their actions.

We adhere to nonviolence, but our spine is made of steel.

There is no turning back.

There is another Burmese saying, Ngoke Mi_Thae Taing. Tet Naing_Phar Yoke.

It matters little if my life or the lives of colleagues, comrades should be sacrificed on this journey as long as our beloved holy, revered monks are leading us.

After all, Sayardaw U Gambari had selflessly sacrificed for all of us.

Our comrade brothers, sisters, children will fill our sandals, and more will join and follow till the Saffron Revolution revolution succeed and dumped the Myanmar Tatmadaw to where they belong, barracks, as the servants and security guards of the Burmese People.

Ah Yae Daw Pone Aung Ya Myi.

Free Sayardaw U Gambari !

FREE DAW AUNG SAN SUU KYI!

FREE BURMA!

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Acknowledgement

Many data obtained from_