A tribute to Aung San Suu Kyi

By Sim Kwang Yang

AFTER a donkey number of years in and out of Burmese prison, Aung San Suu Kyi is free once again, to mingle with the ordinary people of Burma or Myanmar.

The world had anticipated her release, after the court in Myanmar had freed most of the military regime’s detained prisoners. As to what will happen next, nobody knows for sure.

After the prolonged stand-off between the generals and Suu Kyi, it is not clear how the current situation can ever develop into a peaceful win-win situation for all.

On the one hand, Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy has been sidelined by the development of political events. She is now left with remnants of her old political party, struggling for legitimacy and organisational revival.

Having been declared illegal by the government, her old  political  party is a poor instrument for the new political scenario.

Meanwhile, she will have to watch out for close monitoring from those in power, who would only be too glad to see her fledging political base being squandered by capricious moves.

Her  political future in Myanmar will probably be decided by her moves within the next 30 days.

Let us speculate regarding the worst possible scenario.

Suu Kyi’s worst enemies must now be the government’s spies and agent provocateurs, who will try to create some disturbance, to provide an excuse for the security forces to conduct mass arrests of opposition elements.

We know that Suu Kyi is free for the moment, but nobody can say for certain how long she will be allowed to go about her business. The more seasoned observers among us expect her to be arrested any time soon.

This then is the dilemma the world is facing, in respect of Suu Kyi’s predicament.

We all know that her arrest and imprisonment are all arbitrary, and under the proper rule of law, her punishment at the hands of the state could never be tolerated.

Simply put, the rule by the military junta is one of the most primitive forms of political oppression in the world.

What happened in Myanmar can only exist there in the isolation of their state.

It is an anomaly that begs to be removed, for the sake of human progress.

But look at it from Suu Kyi’s point of view.

Her stand of non-violent confrontation is probably the only option left to her.

As long as she adopts the non-violent means of struggle, she stands on her moral high ground far more effectively than if she conducts an armed struggle.

Yesterday, I went to visit my friend from Myanmar, who has been living and working in Malaysia for many years.

Like most of the Myanmar diaspora in Malaysia, my friend, Amin, is happy that his leader is out of jail.

We have a large number of the Myanmar diaspora in Kuala Lumpur.

They take the trouble to come together for an unofficial gathering every once in a while to exchange their news from home, and to relieve one another of their homesickness.

Their response to Suu Kyi’s release was unanimous: They were all happy and full of hope that the politics in Myanmar will now be ready for a change for the better.

Having watched the politics in our neighbouring country for many years, I am quite pessimistic about the prospects for political reform in Myanmar at the moment.

The generals have all the trump cards and are calling all the shots. It is unlikely that the generals who have all the power in Myanmar will give up any of it.

We are far from witnessing a regime change in that country as yet. This is rather unfortunate.

Myanmar is blessed by her store of natural resources and minerals.

A generation ago, she had one of the most educated peoples among all Asian countries.

Today, she still has every chance to grow into a prosperous and democratic nation with living standards that can compete with any other nation. Unfortunately, because of the bad politics that has its roots in the 1960s, Myanmar is still stuck in the quicksands of time, struggling with an archaic form of government, the military junta.

The people in Myanmar must be praying for deliverance from the yokes of their historical past.

They deserve to join the ranks of other ‘emerging nations’ and reap the benefits of their national development. The junta stands in the way of this development.

We must pray that justice will be restored to the people in Myanmar.

(The author can be reached at kenyalang578@hotmail.com. All comments are welcomed.)

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