Sale and use of Ya Ba among teenagers increasing in Kawkariet Township

WCRP, Kawkariet Township, Karen State, Burma: “During this year, the use and sale of Ya Ba [methamphetamine] among the teenage population of Kawkariet Township is increasing”, says a drug user from Kawkariet Township.

A Mon villager from Kawbein village, Kawkariet Township, explained that there has been a recent increase in the sale of drugs in his village, and it is now frequented by many students from elsewhere who know that they can purchase drugs there. “Even if they [the teenaged villagers and students] cannot buy drugs here [Kawbein village] on one day, they just go to Mawlamein, because they can buy them there instead. All the drug dealers have good relationships with each other and know where it is possible to buy drugs on any given day.”

“Ya Ba” [methamphetamine], from the Thai meaning “madness drug” are tablets containing a mixture of methamphetamine and caffeine. Very popular since the 1980s in Thailand, they are less common there now following the Thai government’s crackdown on drug trafficking in 2003, but are still prevalent throughout South East Asia and pose a significant health problem. They are typically produced in the form of small pills and are easily transportable.

Use, sale and purchase of recreational drugs is illegal in Burma, although the laws go largely unenforced by the regime and Burma remains one of the world’s worst offenders for drug trafficking. According to one villager who used to use Ya Ba but no longer does, “Even though the government has made selling drugs illegal, they just put up signs around the town, and do nothing else to enforce the law.”

One tablet of Ya Ba [methamphetamine] in Burma costs around 5000 kyat (approximately US$5), which is a significant sum in a country where the average daily salary for a village farmer is between 1000 and 3000 kyat. “The drugs are very expensive, so it is mostly teenagers from rich families” said one villager from Kawbein Village.

The same problem can be found in Three Pagodas Pass, Karin State, claims a doctor who works in a clinic there: “Many men and children who live around here are using Ya Ba [methamphetamine] regularly.” Methamphetamines are highly addictive and dangerous. Prolonged usage can result in fatal kidney and lung disorders, brain damage, liver damage and psychosis, among numerous other physical and mental problems.

NUP campaign promises immunity from regime abuses

HURFOM: While the USDP has thus far dominated most accounts of government support and abuse against civilians prior to the 2010 election, the NUP has also returned to again contest Burma’s national election. The NUP, intending to raise membership and support before going to the polls, has been coercing the support of voters through incentives of protection against current government abuses. This tactic indicates strong ties with government support despite election laws.

On the 17th and 18th of August, the National Unity Party (NUP), worked to organize 50 people from each Mon village in southern and northern Ye Township, Mon State, to cast votes in favor of NUP party candidates and issued permanent member cards to those people from each Mon village. The NUP, which originally was formed in 1989 by members of the defunct Burma Socialist Program Party (BSPP), to contest the 1990 elections, reregistered to contest the 2010 election. After the recent candidate registration deadline, the NUP will field more then 800 candidates in the upper and lower house, the second largest candidate list next to the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP).

U Hla Maung, 45, who is chairperson of the NUP, has been organizing at the local level, with campaign messages highlighting the guaranteed changes the NUP can make, and that they want to support Mon ethnicity. At a community speech on August 17th, U Hla Maung was quoted by a HURFOM researcher who attended as saying, “Our party will work hard for Mon people”. U Hla Maung is one of the 800 candidates fielded by the NUP.

Through its campaign in Ang Tan village, Hne Hnor village, Ah-Bal village, in northern Ye Township, the NUP has also issued permanent party member cards for 50 key members from each of those villages. Nai Nyut, who has decided to become one of the 50 key members when the NUP issued party member cards on August 20th, explained what benefits he can get as a NUP party member:

According to what U Hla Maung said, as a holder of an NUP party member card, you will not be stopped by traffic police officers while travelling in Ye Township, none of your family member have to go for Loh Ah Pay [forced labor] while other people have to go for it, and you also do not need to worry about taxation charged by the army.

On August 19th and 20th, Ye Township NUP’s members also organized the party’s campaign in Ka Law village and Han Kan village, in southern Ye Township. Ko Maung Nge, 29, who is working for a local NGO as an intern and was an eye-witness to the activities of NUP members campaigning in the area on August 22nd:

If the villagers from these villages become party members and vote for NUP, they do not need to worry about motorbike confiscation, taxation charges, and Loh Ah Pay work [forced labor], so said the key party members through their campaign activities. Through the campaign, the key party members have new members join, but I cannot estimate how many new members they get. I do know, however, that the NUP is the party at one time formed by General Ne Win. Because this party was once formed by Gen. Ne Win, even though [it says it will] give equal rights, for me, I do not believe in it. The people who do not think like what I think will regret it later on after becoming its [NUP] members. We are the ones who have to write our history. And although prisoners may escape from prisons, it is not considered that they are free. By thinking deeply, no one [should] want to vote in this forthcoming election. Continue reading “NUP campaign promises immunity from regime abuses”

Sam Kalayanee passed away

One of the best friend of Burma passed away. May he rest in peace and we will never forget him.

His last words on his Facebook page on August 6.

Commemoration to ‘8888. Re-commemoration to fallen comrades and don’t forget to take care the casualties of war.

Brothers in Arms

Burmese Student Army’s (ABSDF)HQ at Manerplaw a former stronghold of democratic opposition and ethnic resistance forces.

ABSDF Casualty of War!

Band of Brothers – Maesod, Tak – 2010

A migrant and a soldier..

A Burmese migrant worker and a Thai soldier watching the Burmese authority from Myawwady ordered the Burmese venders to move-out of “No man Land.”

Salute to Sam

with his Brother hood flag of ABSDF

“He should be declared as ABSDF’s brother and he always will be.” Dr.Naing Aung………

Obituary: Sam Kalayanee
Saturday, September 4, 2010
In 1988, when thousands of young Burmese student activists arrived at the Thai-Burmese border, many enthusiastic supporters of Burma’s democracy movement came to the border to share their lives with the “Student Army,” also known as the All Burma Students’ Democratic Front (ABSDF), that was born in the terrain controlled by several ethnic armed groups. Sam Sittipong Kalayanee was one of them. As a former Thai student activist, he supported the struggle for democracy and justice in his neighboring country, and as a photographer, he recorded it for history. read all

Thai-Myanmar border closure cited as consequence of domestic problem ahead of the coming election in Myanmar

BANGKOK, 3 September 2010 (NNT) – The remark on domestic problem in preparation for the coming general election in Myanmar was cited as the cause of Thai-Myanmar border closure.

Speaking at the Regional Border Committee meeting (RBC) which took place at the Centara Mae Sot Hill Resort located in the Mae Sot district of Tak, 3rd Army Chief Thanongsak Apirakyothin said the meeting aimed to negotiate the reopening of Thai-Myanmar border, as discussion took place with participation of delegates from various agencies especially members of the RBC from across the northern region of Thailand.

According to the 4rd Army Chief Prasan Seangsirirak, the border closure is an offshoot of the Myanmar’s preparation for the upcoming national election in November as well as the country’s objection to the river bank construction on the Thai side, since Myanmar has expressed disapproval for nine times, reasoning the construction will cause an erosion on the Myanmar side.