THAILAND: For PM, Leading A Divided Nation is a Sisyphean Struggle By Marwaan Macan-Markar

BANGKOK, Jan 15, 2010 (IPS) – A year after coming into office, Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is finding some parallels between the challenges of governing this divided South-east Asian kingdom and one of his favourite books, the ‘Myth of Sisyphus’ by French existential novelist Albert Camus.

“Yes, it feels like that in trying to get work done,” the 45-year-old leader of a coalition government told IPS on Thursday night, shortly after delivering a speech to the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand. “It is like having to push the rock up the hill and see it roll down and then do it again, to go on.”

The reference was to Camus’ use of Sisyphus, a figure from Greek mythology, in the final chapter of the book. Sisyphus is reduced to having to push a boulder up a mountain, only to see it roll down, and then repeat the process.

Yet while Sisyphus’ struggle served as a metaphor for the ordinariness of modern life – but where the struggle of labouring against odds should make Sisyphus happy, according to Camus – the Thai prime minister’s challenges are far from drab, dull toil.

Dealing with the country’s poor economic performance and social divisions has been among them. So, too, corruption involving members of his cabinet. A raging insurgency in the southern provinces, where close to 4,000 people have died since early 2004, has barely ebbed.

But his most daunting task is the quest to reconcile Thailand’s deep political divisions, made worse by the manner in which the Abhisit-led coalition came to office. It was product of the triumph of backroom deals involving reportedly large sums of money and a lead role played by the country’s powerful military – rather than a popular mandate.

The Abhisit administration, which won a slim majority in a parliamentary vote in December 2008, replaced an administration allied to former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra that had been elected at a poll the previous year. Continue reading “THAILAND: For PM, Leading A Divided Nation is a Sisyphean Struggle By Marwaan Macan-Markar”

Military junta rewards arms traffickers with ‘Thiri Pyanchi’ for their “contribution” to football development

Rangoon (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Instead of people who made positive contributions to society, cronies associated with Burma’s military junta are given prizes. Tay Za and Zaw Zaw, two of the most powerful and richest businessmen in the country, were awarded on 4 January, Independence Day, one of Burma’s highest honours, the “Thiri Pyanchi,” a prize dropped in 1978 by then dictator Ne Win but recently reintroduced. State-run media made no mention of the honours conferred on the two men, both of whom are viewed as arms traffickers by the international community, The Irrawaddy reported.

Tay Za chairs the Htoo Group of Companies and Zaw Zaw runs the Max Myanmar Group of Companies. They were honoured with the title for their “outstanding work” in helping Burma develop its economy and for their contributions to the development of professional football (soccer) in the country. In fact, their close ties to the junta’s top generals have won them lucrative business concessions in a number of key industries, including logging, gems and jewellery, tourism and transportation.

In complete disregard of the law and human rights, the two have been involved in international trade, exporting rice, rubber and other agricultural products and importing machines. Last year, they both entered the field of professional sports promotion, playing a key role in the creation of Burma’s new national football league. They are also among the largest investors in the regime’s newly built Yadanabon Cyber City near Mandalay.

Although dominant figures in Burma’s business world, they are international pariahs. Both they and their companies are under Western sanctions.

According to the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, Tay Za is “an arms dealer and financial henchman of Burma’s repressive junta,” whilst Zaw Zaw’s Max Myanmar has provided important services in support of the regime, particularly in the form of construction projects.

Chan Tun, a veteran politician in Rangoon, said that in the past, the title of Thiri Pyanchi was awarded to hardworking officials and businessmen whose efforts benefited the people. “Now it is for cronies who contribute to the businesses of the generals.”

Junta Recruits Forcibly To Form People’s Militia To Harass KIA

The Burmese military junta is forcibly recruiting people from East Burma to form a people’s militia in Northeast Shan State, the area where the 4th brigade of the Kachin Independence Army is located, said a local source.

A resident of border town Mongkoe, where the army has set up a training camp, told Kachin News Group that the Burmese military was forcibly assembling local people for recruitment for a people’s militia since January 11.
KIA soldiers in Laisin Bum in Kachin State near China border.

“At least 60 people from Mongkoe have already been recruited,” said the source.

“They (local Burmese military authorities) forced the civilians to attend the training programme. This problem is being faced by Mongkoe and its surrounding areas,” he added.

However, no one is certain of the motive of the regime in trying to form the militia. Local people think it might be to take on the Kachin Independence Organization/Army (KIO/A) and pressurize the ethnic armed group.

“They want to pressurize the KIO and the KIA’s 4th brigade. Should there be clashes between KIA and the Burmese Army, the militia will be sent to the front lines because they know the terrain well,” said a resident. Continue reading “Junta Recruits Forcibly To Form People’s Militia To Harass KIA”

Burmese artist Zaw Zaw’s painting -has been awarded the best prize for 2009

Burmese artist Zaw Zaw’s painting – the Irrawaddy river view with the two main rivers— Mali Hka and N’Mai Hka (May Kha in Burmese) has been awarded the best prize for 2009 in a painting competition organized by the Tun Foundation Bank on December 12, 2009.

“Zaw Zaw won last year’s competition,” said an employee of Tun Foundation Bank. She told Kachin News Group today, this is the third consecutive year of the painting competition funded by Tun Foundation Bank in Rangoon, the former capital of Burma.Zaw Zaw’s painting named “Irrawaddy” won from among 375 paintings by 281 competitors. It was reported by a local weekly journal “7 Day News Journal” dated on December 17, 2009.

“There will be another competition this year,” said the employee. The winner was awarded a prize of Kyat 3 million (US$3,125) and a gold medal.
Continue reading “Burmese artist Zaw Zaw’s painting -has been awarded the best prize for 2009”

Junta Drops Charges Against Four Kachin Festival Officials

Written by KNG
Friday, 15 January 2010

The cooked up charges against four ethnic Kachin cultural festival officials in Bhamo city in northern Kachin State was dropped by the Burmese junta, sources close to the accused told Kachin News Group today.

The junta had heaped charges on the four members of the Acting Committee for the city’s second largest Kachin cultural festival on “Thanksgiving and Manau festival for Bhamo (Manmaw in Kachin) district” on November 27 to 28 last year. The charges against Chairman Hpaulu La Wawm, Secretary Naw Grawng, Maha Brang Tawng and Accountant Ms. Roi Grawng were dropped after they were interrogated at least thrice in the city police station, said sources close to them.

The police had mainly charged the Festival Committee Chairman La Wawm saying that he would be held responsible, said sources close to him. Continue reading “Junta Drops Charges Against Four Kachin Festival Officials”

Breaking News:Suu Kyi meets Burma junta liaison

Online news: Breakingnews

Burma’s detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi met the ruling junta’s liaison officer Friday, officials and her party said, in the latest sign of dialogue between the two sides.

A Burma official who spoke on condition of anonymity said labour minister Aung Kyi, the government’s liaison with Suu Kyi, met her for 30 minutes at a state-run guesthouse in Yangon.

He gave no details of their discussions.

It is the fourth meeting between the pair since the beginning of October and comes after the country’s supreme court agreed last month to hear a final appeal against her house arrest.

“We do not know details about the meeting but we expect future talks. There are several things to discuss,” said Khin Maung Swe, a spokesman for Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD).

He said the NLD hoped the junta would allow members of the party’s central executive committee to meet Suu Kyi at a later date. Continue reading “Breaking News:Suu Kyi meets Burma junta liaison”

***သတင္း-ကိုေက်ာ္ေသာင္း (ဘန္ေကာက္)*** news 15. by JACBA

ဇႏၷ၀ါရီလ ၁၅ရက္ ၂၀၁၀)
ထိုင္း-ျမန္မာနယ္စပ္ တနသၤာရီတိုင္း ေကာ့ေသာင္းျမိဳ႕မွ ထိုင္းနိုင္ငံ ရေနာင္းဖက္သို ့ ျမန္မာအလုပ္သမား တင္ ေဆာင္လာေသာ ေလွတစ္စီးအား ထိုင္းနယ္ျခား ေစာင့္ တပ္ဖြဲ႔က ယမန္ေန႔ ညေနပိုင္းတြင္ ဖမ္းဆီးလိုက္သည္။ ျမန္မာအလုပ္သမား ၃၄ ဦးႏွင့္ ကေလး ၃ ဦးကိုတင္ ေဆာင္လာေသာ စက္ေလွအား ေကာ့ေသာင္းကမ္း ေျခ ေစာင့္တပ္ဖြဲ႔က ဓါတ္မီးမ်ားျဖင့္ ထိုးၾကည့္စဥ္ ထိုင္းပိုင္ နက္ သူေဌးကၽြန္းအေနာက္ဖက္တြင္ ျမန္မာအလုပ္သ မားမ်ားအား ကၽြန္းတြင္္ထားခဲ့ျပီး ေလွေမာင္းသည့္ထိုင္းလူမ်ိဳးကေလွျဖင့္ ထြက္ေျပးလြတ္ေျမာက္သြားခဲ့သည္။ continue

real eclipse in Burma by Niknayman

ျမန္မာျပည္သူျပည္သားေတြ အေနႀကတ္ေနတာ ႀကာပါျပီ။

ျမန္မာျပည္မွာ ေနႀကတ္ (ႀကတ္ေန – အေနႀကတ္ ေနႀက) တာ ဒီေနႀကတ္ေနတဲ့ပုံထဲမွာ ပါေနတဲ့ သူေႀကာင့္ပါ။

ျမန္မာျပည္သူျပည္သားေတြ အေနႀကတ္ေနတာ ႀကာပါျပီ။

အေနမႀကတ္ေအာင္ ျဖစ္ဖို ့ဆိုတာ ဒီအာဏာရူးေတြ မရွိမွ အေမွာင္ဖုံးလႊမ္းေနတဲ့အခ်ိန္ေတြကေန လြတ္လပ္မွဳအလင္းေရာင္ ျပန္ရမွာပါ။