An empty stomach does not make a good political advisor.
From a Fortune Cookie.
I should have written this on April Fools’ Day, but on April Fools’ Day I was busy writing about the “April Fools’ Day” by-elections in Burma. So I am trying this hybrid-form political satire now. Some of the names are changed and some of the characters are fictional or fictional composites. But everything in here definitely happened to someone in reality, it’s just a little skewed, for fun. After all, the funniest things are the most real or true.
Zardandan, one of the most vocal of dissidents, named after Marco Polo’s term for “the golden and silver towers” of Bagan in Burma when Polo came down the Salween from China on his way home, sometimes spells by-election as “bi-election.” That too. Or we could spell it “bye-election”. That too.
Zardan calls Burma “the resource whore of Southeast Asia” like we used to hear in school, “the sick old man of Europe”. But it’s not the country nor any “resource curse” that made it so. After all, resources – metals, natural gas and trees – are inanimate, with no will of their own. It’s the junta that made it so.
I knew a couple who broke up when she said to him “Do you see a Green Card in my face?” A Green Card is a permanent residency card which will lead to American citizenship. Likewise, I heard of an older couple who broke up because he kept saying “Myanmar” and she thought a bland “junta” would suffice. I haven’t yet heard of the breakup of couples who each use either the M word, or the B word (Burma) exclusively.
Catherine Ashton, E.U. Foreign Minister, who was recently in Burma, has a curious “sideways cast” to her face, and appears often on CCTV, the Chinese TV broadcast in English.
At the opening of the new EU Rangoon office a few days ago, Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi did not appear too happy, but she maintained her upright posture.
In an article in the U.K. Independent called “What’s really happening in Burma today”, human geographer Nancy Hudson-Rodd, who has done a great deal of grass roots research on land loss by farmers to “development projects” describes the 17th and 18th century colonizations of Canada, Rhodesia and India (of which Burma was a part until 1937) with David Cameron’s recent visit to Burma, and the scramble for Burma’s resources. Asian Correspondent’s Francis Wade in an article in Al Jazeera called “Myanmar’s New Battle” suggests Burma may be inundated with capital which might only build up the army, as the army is the main entrepreneur, if there are not also accompanying institutional reforms. There are not.
I was “happy” to know after seeing a YouTube version of a panel at Payap University in Thailand that I am not the only one who thinks the “reforms” are cosmetic and just “enough” to get sanctions suspended (the junta wants them lifted permanently).
Well known dissident Khin Ohmar mentioned that the Myitsone Dam that President Thein Sein suspended to so much applause that started this whole process is only one of 7 or 8 dams, and only suspended for the duration of his presidency. She also mentioned the hundreds of political prisoners still in jail, the long sentences which were not obliterated and could be reinstated and the lack of peace in the ethnic areas. Aung Zaw, editor of the influential Irrawaddy magazine, called the reforms “half-baked” and painted a bleak picture for the future. On one recent visit to Burma, he said he was invited to a “crony’s house” and saw a Lamborghini, a Rolls Royce and a wine cellar – “as big as this auditorium.”
All this may be anecdotal, but Truth is made up of anecdotes.
In an upcoming Vampire movie, the wonderfully zany actor Johnny Depp stands in front of a mirror brushing his teeth.
Are foreign investors already preparing for their next meal in Myanmar?
I think we know the answer already.
In Beijing, the USA and Mrs. Clinton have already sacrificed the blind dissident Mr. Chen to the exigencies of America’s enormous national debt to China. China holds most of the USA’s treasury bills. How can we say Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy and the “ordinary” democrats of Burma will not be the next sacrificial lambs?