Col Chit Swe’s most outstanding attribute was his loyalty to the late Shan resistance leader Gen Gawn Zerng aka Mo Heng (1926-1991) whom he had served with since 1967, and the Shan cause for freedom that began in 1958.
He was born a Karen in Thaton on 25 July 1938. He studied until high school, attended government sponsored mass education course and arrived in Shan State around 1959 as a teacher.
Being from Thaton, whose last king Manuha was believed to be a PaO, he spoke Karen as well as PaO and chose the PaO dominated Kawng Khae aka Loi Khae in Loilem township in Shan State South to work.
Col Chit Swe (Photo:SHAN)
Naturally, when the PaOs in Loi Khae took up arms, he joined the movement. However, when the group he was with welcomed the cross border offensive by the Communist Party of Burma (CPB) on New Year’s Day 1968, Chit Swe, an anti-communist, who was then a representative at the mobile HQ of Gawn Zerng, another anti-communist, decided that his destiny was with the latter.
Since then Chit Swe had served Gawn Zerng, who was only 12 years older, like a son to a father, as a security officer, as treasurer and as his personal aide. He wasn’t quite popular with many other officers, as he was almost fanatically protective of his boss.
Fortunately, I wasn’t one of those who often got into trouble with him. In fact, I still remember him presenting me with a tailored unitform in 1971, when I first arrived on the Thai border where the rebel headquarters had been set up since 1959.
After Gawn Zerng’s death, he accepted an advisory post with Gawn Zerng’s successor Yawd Serk, who later established the Restoration Council of Shan State / Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA). All his sons, 3 of them, are active members of the SSA.
Last month, after being told of his illness, I visited him at the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) at Chiangmai’s Suan Dok Hospital to pay my respect to him, as I thought, for the last time. Continue reading “Col Chit Swe’s Shans’ loyal Karen passed away”