Living a Life with Values
This article is written for thoughtful Myanmar readers. Myanmar is an inclusive word meaning Bamar, Chin, Kachin, Shan, Mon, Rakhine, etc. When word Burmese or Burma is used, it has to do with British usage during their rule or as leftover usage. Foreign readers are unlikely to know the sense of some of the Bamar words in this article. This is written as an article, in order to stay compact. Elaboration generally is kept to a minimum.
Part 1: Disfranchising of a Nation, gave a very brief historical background of the fate of Myanmar and its people starting from the times of independence. It is to provide a brief review of how its political leaders let down the Nation in just about every manner. Blame it to the infancy of the Nation if one wants to, but major damage was done.
Part 2: Empowering Self and Nation, is for strengthening the characters of patriots who still have the Will to fight and fix the damages done to the mindset of the populace.
Part 3: Enfranchising the Nation of Myanmar, is to in spite of those self-serving characters who presently holding to political power, act together to replace them with a political system capable of providing fair deals for the people.
- Part 1: Disfranchising of a Nation
Only this part will coming Soon.
- Part 2: Empowering Self and Nation
Some Bamars are taught to believe that life is a suffering. That is not a fact of life and is incorrect teaching. Those who believe that will end up suffering more than they should. What is fact being that life is going to be a constant challenge to all who came to existence. Those who learn to respond correctively to life's challenges and work smart, will do OK or flourish, and those who respond poorly, will generally suffer more than they should.
Now in my seventies, I had several important lessons in life. Some very hard, and certainly to avoid in the future, and others that would make me be aware of the principles that would help to respond correctly to the reality of life. I would like to tell interested readers of what I consider as important experiences to me as I was growing up, and up to today, and of the principles that should matters, to everyone who cares about living in an enlightened society.
When I was about eleven years old, I picked up a book from the U.S.I.S. (United States Information Services) Library downtown Yangon. In it, there was a verse which I liked and immediately took to heart. That verse is as follows:
When a task is once begun, Never leave it till it's done. Be the task be great or small, Do it well or not at all.
I may well say that it was among my first guiding principles. I was too young to know that verse also sets the principle keystone within me with regard to my sense of SAMADHI. My sense of SAMADHI will be explained later in this article.
I matriculated from St. Paul's High School, Yangon in 1959. I did well enough to received distinctions in double mathematics and qualified for state scholarship. The mathematic teachers were very good, but the language teachers were uninspiring to say the least. When I started six standards, U Nu's government decided to lower the standard of English language teaching to be equivalent to first standard. Whatever ulterior motives he probably had seemed to be in the opposite direction from adding value to the nation's educational standards. My first direct negative experience due to politicians' decisions.
Later on, I met people who were students from less exulted schools and whose command of languages were excellent. I asked them about how languages were taught to them, and the answer seems to be because of individual teachers who care, rather than a teaching system that a particular school subscribed. And of course, those who I talked to were bright individuals. A "famous" school necessarily may not possess an all-round excellent education teaching program, but in general, they tend to be better than others.
I very briefly attended Yankin College, Yangon, but very soon left the country for education in England. The political climate was starting to shift. AFPFL political party split up and both half were sliding downward. A military strongman emerged. Not for the better, but would be for the worse, but I was only little aware of what the future was going to bring. So were many other fellow countrymen.
After a few months at the first school in UK I attended, in science related subjects, I was top-of-the-class. I knew myself to be a decent student but never care to compete for top grades. I then realized that the school was not geared toward admission to highly rated universities, but was for sons of well to do parents; it was to acquire basic education and character building opportunities for the needs of the British Empire. Friendly folks, but I left it a year later for an educational establishment aimed more toward gaining university entrance.
Life was starting to get much more complex in an environment within which I had very limited resources, knowledge, and therefore very limited options and often faced with high risks of failures. It became a constant struggle for survival. Yet it was deemed safer to be outside Myanmar because of the political dark clouds moving in.
The reader may at this point, peruse Part 1 of this article -- Disfranchising of a Nation. It gave a brief historical background of the fate of the Myanmar and its people starting from after independence. It described of how the political leaders let down the Nation in just about every manner. Blame it to the infancy factor of the Nation if one wants to, but major damage was done. We shall continue with Part 2 here.
I did my Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (B.S.E.E.) and Master of Science in Electrical Engineering (M.S.E.E.) degrees in UK. I worked for a couple of years at telecommunication laboratories of ITT (International Telephone & Telegraph). I had job offer with ITT in USA in the field of microelectronics and moved to Florida. Back in the early seventies, the microelectronic technology was evolving very rapidly and competition was fierce. Moving from company to another company, and from state to another state as the jobs demanded was quite normal. My working experiences included employment with a few Fortune 500 companies. I had publications regarding R&D results with top rated science and technology journals. I got married to a Myanmar in California and settled there. She is Lei Lei Nwe Thein, a well known writer in Myanmar. My beginning job with the US Navy was at the Materials Engineering Lab, North Island, San Diego, an aircraft carrier base. I received Employee of year award for 1991 from my department.
I came back to Myanmar at the end of 1988, after 26 years away, for my mother's funeral. Myanmar was in a terrible economic plight. Major civil disorders that caused changes of political leadership were very recently quashed. Thai Airways had one flight to Yangon per week. No other airlines' services existed. Water supply to Yangon homes only trickled in, even then for a few very early hours each day. A small bucket was used to catch the drips for washing face, and for body sponging later in the day. Times were indeed very hard. I was invited for the Myanmar Independence Day (Jan 4th, 1989) celebration at the Parliament Building, Yangon. The government was so hard up for funds, and cashew nuts snack was the main dish. Every year since Independence (if I am in Myanmar), I was invited to the Presidential Independence Day celebration dinner for being a member of Bogyoke Aung San family. General Saw Maung was the host. That was the last time I got invited, and seemed like I was dropped from the invitation list by all the later government heads.
I intended to attend 1994 Martyrs Day ceremony, but had to negotiate with General Khin Nyunt's people for the conditions that both side could agree to let me into the country. At that time, I visited Myanmar once only every three years and for three weeks at a time. I still was working back in USA and vacation time had to be saved up. Only after I retired in July of 2005, I could think of staying longer in Myanmar.
On my trip back to Myanmar in 1997, I was meditating and sitting cross-legged on the floor facing a Buddha statue in Tutpyinnyu temple of Bagan. A snake rushed in under me and stayed put until I finished meditating. I also wished it Amhya (good will). Security people (sergeants Htay Aung and Htay Myint) of General Khin Nyunt, were witnesses. I had also powerful dreams while in Bagan, and also when back in USA, dreams related to Bagan. I felt Bagan was calling me and started to look for a piece of land there to build a home.
There was a very rugged piece of land at the edge of Taungbe village and next to the Ayerwaddy river bank, and essentially being used as a garbage dump. Because most of the ground was slopping fairly steeply downward to the river level, it served as drainage for the village when heavy raining occurred. The drainage created a path down to the river level for the villagers to fetch water for drinking and cooking. The villagers did their laundry and bathe at the river edge as well. Their cattle and horses were brought down the buff daily for them to drink, which can be sixty feet below at the low water season. It was right next to Road to Mandalay river cruise boat jetty. The river meanders east to west at that location, and is nearly two miles wide. Low mountains can be seen at a distant, further beyond the opposite river bank.
The village council had being trying to exchange the above piece of land for a transformer for the last two years, but no takers. Potential customers, it seemed like, were not able to see its value beyond that of a garbage dump. My wife and I decided to go for it and offer the village council a great deal more than they were asking. We promised them not just the transformer, but also over a hundred street lighting posts and wiring that would facilitate electricity connections to individual homes. Roughly ten times of the asking price. Furthermore, I was now more friendly with General Khin Nyunt than previously (without any political affiliation) and had his needed permission for the village to be hooked to the town's electricity grid. The village council then arranged for river water to be pumped to individual homes for family use and for their animals. The daily grind to go to the river edge was no more. The children could now study after dark. Strangers with no-good intentions stayed away at night time from well lit streets, and village security got greatly enhanced. Now that the horses can have water easier, the village pony cart ride business increased in size. Years later, with much greater number of tourists especially from China, the pony cart ride business provided many jobs for the villagers. Property values went up. Unfortunately, also caused more inheritance related litigations among relatives, with some strongly wishing to split the property up. Life in the village became less simple.
The value of the village of Taungbe had greatly increased with the event of electricity becoming available (added). It also means that the value of many of its inhabitants went up. The quality of life will increase whenever added value can be made to happen.
After acquiring the property, part of the garbage dump that can be moved elsewhere without much problem was moved, and the rest got buried deep. Earth needed to moderate the steep slopes was trucked in and the landscape enhanced. I additionally constructed a proper road for the villagers to go down to the river with their animal herds, on the east end of the property. I did about 85 percentage of the house design. The detail structural design for the framework and foundation was done by ACE Construction. The project kicked off in Oct of 2003, but it got slowed down till I retired and be in Myanmar to supervise. Funding budget was and is very tight and the construction is only incrementally implemented. Work is still in-process to reach Build 1 stage completion. However, the house, its name Bagan U, is meanwhile very livable.
In September 2010 when I came back to Bagan, I found out that the adjacent village land east of our site was claimed by a crony linked to staff members of then. Prime Minister Thein Sein office. She was planning to build a hotel. In Bagan, hotels can only be built on lands designated as Hotel Zones, and the 4 acres of village land and 4 acres of adjacent heritage land (falsified for her as village land) she was planning to grab were not inside any Hotel Zone. Both these plots of land have excellent river front, one high (good for viewing sunset toward the east) and other low (good for docking boats) elevation, and a magnificence view of the Shwezegon Pagoda further toward the east. She also had plans to grab more land for construction of a hotel road passing through (villager homes to be removed) toward the south to the main paved road.
The story to follow is based on real accounts, and is to provide the reader with some ideas of the corruptions and shenanigans that went on at the village administrator level people in cahoots with higher up level people. To "protect" the guilty, the faint-hearted and the simpletons, most of their names are kept anonymous. The story below is absolute bare-bone, not including many nearly as important facts.
After about a month, a group of village people came over to talk about their concerns of the village lands being sold out to the outsiders, with the help of the village council members on the take. Village administrative regulations do not allow land sale to outsiders. The official document shown for the grabbing of land was the so called LaNa39, a land use permit needed for agriculture cultivation and permission for other smaller supportive work, but not for hotel business. I was able to get hold of the submitted LaNa39 document, and found that it correctly was from the Military Governor office in Mandalay. However, it never went through the required approval seeking route of local safety and security organizations like the Fire and Police departments. It was two pages instead of twenty pages or more report. It simply cannot be valid.
I was also informed that most of the villagers from the land to be grabbed, will be relocated within the main village area with some monetary compensation. The offer was to take it, and if not, they would still be moved out and not getting anything. The land need to be cleared. Then there were three families who were renting, they will get nothing. Whatever problems they would likely face, were solely be their own concern.
I asked the local military officer commander of what to do to present the village situation to higher ups. His input was, any request likely from the villagers would not go higher than the Mandalay Military Governor Office. Only a direct letter to President General Than Shwe (no political affiliation) might get results. So a meeting with the anti-hotel group was called, and to send the letter to the General was agreed. Also villager’s signatures in support of the letter was to be organized. We were going through the last days of decades of dictatorship, and after the coming rigged elections, a quasi-democratic government at best, headed most likely by General Thein Sein (absolutely no political affiliation) as president, would assume political power. The very man whose henchmen' crony was causing problems. Villagers naturally were very apprehensive and no supportive signatures were forthcoming, except from the three families with everything to lose. I ended up writing to General Than Shwe with three supportive signatures. Putting self on the line for the villagers' sake was not an easy decision. My wife reminded me that I could lose my VIP status provided by General Khin Nyunt (more on this later).
A few weeks later, a couple of government men showed up and looked around the proposed hotel site. A few more days later, I was told they were sent by General Than Shwe. Their report regarding the hotel project, considered the project status to be less than legal. Also ordered the ownership stakes put into ground by the crony, to be pulled out. Hooray for the General. But that was only the beginning of the story, with more episodes were to follow. When U Thein Sein assumed presidency in April of 2011, the next episode would begin.
Before continuing with any further episodes we need to pause and reflect what had happened, and of the mindset of the characters involved.
The main character of the story is the female crony. She has character and cultural disorders to the max. She had a foreigner as a business partner. She can very comfortably operate beyond the bounds of Myanmar culture and with multi-language capability. She had extensive business properties like hotel at Inlay in the Shan State, and at beach resort areas like in Rakhine. The Governors, the Generals, the government officers she manipulated were usually no match for her. She even uses the help of Voodoo Nat Sayers to intimidate the faint-hearted. She got the village Sayardaw to curse me out for going against her wishes, and him stating that I was accruing bad Ju Ju (Ahkudo) aplenty. That should do me no good for my after-life, or for the here-and-now. The Ng Yaungs (those who do not morally know who they are) are most likely be under her thumb very fast. If Ng Kyungs (those who do not know what to think) meet her, they will simply stop thinking and will be fascinated with her. She usually moved around flanked by a few female lawyers. Arguments not welcome.
The village council that was in cahoots with the crony, and also with the person (his initials are WM) from the government land buying, selling and record keeping office (his special services were required for ownership falsification of paper works) were very worried after General Than Shwe reversed the hotel construction project. An Inquiry was to Follow. They were seen feverishly praying daily probably asking their guardian spirits to save their butts. More about them after telling the second episode of this saga.
The young local commander came from a good family, and of excellent character. Said to treat his men very well, his family and his dogs also. I can only hope that the fate of the Nation becomes much better and that he will be serving in the Myanma Tutmadaw that truly serve the country and its people, and not lording over, shamelessly driven by self-serving generals.
The second episode. The elections of 2010 came. General Than Shwe nominated political party won. General Thein Sein became president. His henchmen resumed land grab efforts in Bagan. An Inquiry team picked by the new government Ministry for Culture headed to Bagan to shake down those guilty of scuttling the hotel plan. All the village council crooks were very relieved when they were declared guilt free. It seemed like their guardian spirits truly came to their aids. Those against building the hotel including myself were guilty of something, but the inquiry team was deemed not to have done a good intimidation job, and also failed to punish us. That got the inquiry team's bosses in Naypyidaw very irate. They send a second inquiry team headed by a Mr. XX from the Ministry for Hotels and Tourism. He was considered very tough, very capable of taking unfair punitive actions. We were interrogated and were to sign the statement reports his team generated. We agreed to sign but only after reviewing the reports and correcting as needed. Once done, the corrected, clarified and purged of any false self-incriminating reports, were not useful enough for Mr. XX needs. He was supposed to exert maximum intimidation pressure. The whole incident was rapidly forgotten. When it became clear that the deal for Madam Crony would not stick to look legit, she was to be compensated by almost double the acreage she wanted from Taungbe, but within a Hotel Zone elsewhere. Mr. XX coming to Bagan to conduct the hotel related persecution was not his only agenda.
Mr. XX was a man with a major mission in Bagan. It was not to preserve Bagan as historical heritage site in the highest manner, but to inundate the area with as much hotels and guest houses on behalf of cronies and fellow henchmen. That way can be very lucrative and rewarding. All that endeavor must be completed within the first term of Thein Sein presidency. His second term was considered as very iffy. Anyway, when he was not reelected in 2015, several constructions out of 45 that were started, still could not qualify as complete. There was a bureaucratic mess but I am certain that somehow the interests of the cronies and henchmen will be well look after. The government of Thein Sein was supposedly a democratic one, and Bagan is allocated two members of parliament (MP). The one for Taungbe, probably spend about close to zero seconds for the village behalf when Mr. XX was prancing around. The MP was smart enough not to contest in the election of 2015. The new next MP has probably spent similar seconds for the village so far after three years.
Well what do I gained from all these happenings? Actually, I lost my VIP treatment, which means I no longer was provided with security (put under surveillance), automobile and residence so that the officer for security can stay close to me. The hotel incident in Bagan may not be the actual or only cause for the loss, but the coincident timing appeared to make it seem so. I did not put self on the line to gain anything, but to take responsibility for own kind. Taungbe was the only village that totally kept out the construction projects that Mr. XX facilitated. It is important that one walk the walk to the line and not just talk the talk. So far, I survived. Fortunately for me, Bagan U house was partly livable by then.
After episode two, the ex-village council members attached themselves with a very well known pagoda caretaker committee and with generous donors in abundance to take care of, they seem well off and happy around the village. With more tourists visiting Bagan, it is rumored that the largest temple Dhamayungyi's caretaker committee is to be taken over by the same group, now regarded as very capable for the job roles, and it looks like for them, happy days are ahead. The anti-hotel group got control of the village council (call it episode 3), but a few years later, lost control of it (episode 4). These episodes will not be further presented here in this article.
In 1994, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) government with General Khin Nyunt as Secretary 1, began to organize Bagan to get tourism coming. Also his religious inclinations motivated him to make Bagan an important city. New hotels and guest houses started up. The infrastructure of the environ of Bagan was significantly improved to support foreign tourism. Tourists began to trickle in, and it slowly became part of the economic life of Bagan. A government agency was appointed to protect the heritage aspects of Bagan. More details about its recent history can be read on the Web. After General Khin Nyunt fall from grace, the city got neglected and not protected from the likes of Mr. XX and his associates. A man like Mr. XX has major character disorders and cultural disorders. He ended up as a minister within the government, somehow got filtered in to an upward position. That should give the reader an idea of the kind of credo the government of that moment at Naypyidaw has.
In July of 2019, Bagan was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. UNESCO plan to remove all hotels, etc., illegally built on heritage land and that by 2028. By that time, the 2025 elected government can hopefully have enough guts to handle the generals and their cronies who had instigated the shenanigans. ____________________
By the end of 2010, a small Bungalow was built within the Bagan U construction site and I camped out there. I started exploring the surrounding areas and began to get to know the small kids whose family huts were nearest to my main gate. I befriend them by giving them cakes and candies. The number of kids and the number of families I associated with slowly grew. Most of them were poor, and so I started to take care of their health and education associated costs. And often taking care of some mothers' health as well, especially when they got pregnant. All these activities gave me the opportunity to learn the way of life of how the village families live and survive in a Bagan village. Up to early nineteen nineties, very little was done for the Bagan villagers by the various governments since independence, which was also true probably for nearly all the other villages of the country.
I can provide below a few facts of my observations of the children and their families. Kids who are brighter than average in some ways, made themselves noticeable as early as three months old. At pre-kindergarten age, one can clearly make out the kids who are timid or bold, or have leadership possibility, or who are team players, etc. At starting school age, those who did not like school are easy to spot. Then there is less than 10 percent whose report cards always are all "A"s. Last year, both the first of two of the oldest kids that I paid for their tenth standard boarding school, flunked matriculation state exams. Meanwhile, three younger children have dropped out, with the possibility of a few more to follow. I even tried bribing one of them to remain at school, it nearly works but did not. I can think of three basic reasons regarding the negatives. The first appear to be mainly Bagan centric but all the reasons seem systemic for the whole country.
The first reason is the parents of poor students themselves were very poorly educated and probably flunked out of school. They may also be in a line of work like some kind of street hawkers that do not require much schooling. They have only little idea how to guide their kids, not just for school, but of how to grow up successfully. There is next to nothing around the poor home or village environment for a kid to self-start and think of the greater life around. The village culture has no counseling program set up at or outside the school system to combat this kind of cultural deficiencies. Maybe, if the village council is not too busy with other important agendas, they and the school teachers might be open for discussion and to devise motivation programs for the challenged kids. Bagan has a giant distraction factor for some of the kids -- tourism. Those kids hang around tourists and try selling "post cards" or kid drawings and some tourists would give them money amounting to a few thousand kyats. Many kids headed straight to the tourists spots after school, or some stop attending school altogether and hang around tourists.
About two years ago, Ye Sayadaw came to visit Bagan, and dropped in to see me. I have been to Sayardaw's monastery in Ye many years ago. I told him of the village children I looked after. Before he left, he gave a good sum of money to use for the kids' behalf. One of the girl previously was asking me a bicycle. I remember that request and decided to buy four families brand new bicycles with the money I got. When I handed over a spanking new bicycle to the girl, I have never ever saw a happier young person than her before. Another new bicycle was given to another family and got trashed in about a month. All the remaining bicycles needed fixing up before a year was over. I gave another new bike to a small boy but within two months, his older brother trashed it. The bikes that got trashed were done by those who later dropped out of school. They did not seem to realize that objects have values, and that they as persons also have values. And that attending school is like adding to their own value, increasing incrementally year by year, their own worth. The culture of the simple village level needs to be helped and to advance it by capable counselors, funded by the state.
Independent Myanmar needs to thoroughly review its education program requirements on an on-going basis. Even though the reality in Myanmar makes it difficult to figure 100 percent of what kind of syllabus to be taught and tenure policies to follow, etc. In terms of best practices, we should be able to find out what other countries' educational programs are like and pick a suitable best fit mix. Then there is the how factor of teaching the various subjects. Regardless of how well or otherwise the education policies may be adopted, I have come across poor teaching quite often. For example, I was not impressed with the language teachers when I was at school in Yangon. I have seen math being taught in UK, but the teacher himself did not have adequate basic math sense, and how a student can learn from him becomes questionable. Another example; I had experienced in an engineering drawing class where every student were having a very hard time understanding the subject. Luckily for all of us, a visiting exchange professor from another country came, and after he watched how the resident lecturer was performing, he was allowed to take over the class. The correct way of teaching happened and the subject was a joy to learn. Nowadays, we have excellent teaching video programs for just about every subjects, and for every age groups. There are excellent language labs using audio visual techniques for teaching foreign languages. Every Myanmar student should have laptop computers to aid them with their studies.
Myanmar has a high level of unemployment of people who have matriculated or graduated. Years of time and money spent studying equate to not having any added value. Myanmars have sound basic intelligence and are trainable. Myanmars are not afraid to work. Many of them in their millions have already moved to neighboring countries who could make good use of them. Many professional caliber people have migrated to advanced nations and have become successful doctors, engineers, etc. Many of them will not be coming back. Something unthinkable when I was growing up and we were then, all very proud to be Myanmars.
The kind of people that are need to be gone from Myanmar are the political leaders not fit to be where they were or where they are. The quicker those characters if they still wielding political influence are removed from the public, the better the country will be. They are not going to abdicate easily from their powerful statuses. Their objectives are to reach to as many ng beins (easy to spin), ng tones (dense, obtuse, stupedo), ng kyungs, and ng yaungs, as much as possible, and get them highly confused, and to participate in perpetrating more confusion with contrived political turmoil of various kinds. That should keep any new less-than-intelligent government leaders off balanced and unable to get rid of undesirable political jerks.
Those with personality disorders have obvious physiological or psychological problems. They need help with appropriate medications and doctors. They usually are not high achievers educationally or socially. Borderline personality disorders are normally not easy to detect, but they usually merged into character disordered people who have propensity to Lie, Cheat and Deceive (LCD -- will be used synonymously as for character disordered person/s. Also for Lying, Cheating and Deceiving). Some of them camouflage their true characters by hiding behind religion, and try to manipulate and control their nearest and dearest. They are incapable of sane sustain responsibility, and on the long run, those who closely associated with them usually get hurt badly (M. Scott Peck MD, see Web). LCD can be quite bright person, but without ethics. If a character disordered person become successful within a society, he or she can do significant harm to others usually beside his or her own family. Some of them can become very good in cultivating their persona and can even be community or society leaders, by being good at manipulations.
In this era, culture of advance societies tend to evolve much faster than say fifty years ago. People usually think mainly in terms of science and technology advancements. In cultural changes, the most important factors are morality and human rights justice aspects. Even in advance societies, there are still currently racialism and mistreatment of women related political problems. Those are to do with morality, and not spirituality. Morality usually has to do with culture and often religious aspects are included. Spirituality is timeless, above religions, and is what is truly good for humanity and planet Earth. History have many accounts of religious wars where people (like Hindus and Moslems) got murdered by hundreds of thousands. I have written a book about twenty years ago called "Pragmatic Spirituality for a Progressive and Humane Society." A book (pages 250 in English) to help third world countries to put together a politico-cultural manifesto for progressive evolution. Excerpts from it may be used in Part 3 of this article.
The cultural disorders that impacts Myanmar in many ways are political and civil human rights. During the rule of Bamar kings, the people had absolutely no political or very little civil human rights. During the time of the British Raj, there was a legal system that supported many rights for the ruled, but kind of rights were selected by the ruler. That legal system had a high standard of civil justice for its time and purpose. Dictatorship started in 1962. Many Myanmars were against it, and tens of thousands of Bamar nationality ended up in prison. Dictatorship lasted till early 2011, and followed by a quasi-democratic government of President Thein Sein (ex-military). One of its purpose is to serve as a shield from retribution for illegal acts (by civilize standards) the senior generals and the judges of the previous regimes committed. Any illegal acts committed by President Thein Sein regime (of the likes of Mr. XX or worse) is apparently shielded (not taking any corrective action) by the succeeding regime. The only way to shield the illegal acts committed by the current regime is to get itself reelected (fair or foul) and shield itself for the next 5 years with the help of corrupt judges. This kind of justice related cultural disorder can be traced back to the mindset of the Bamar kings and the dictatorships after independence, and the current Myanmar populace need to rapidly cultivate zero tolerance culture toward any political leadership with cultural and character disorders, and to vote it out of office.
The quasi-democratic form of government should only be transitory and during that period, it is very important that the judges legal practices are of the highest standard to facilitate and not to impede, in moving quicker toward fuller evolution of democracy, regardless of less-than-ideal constitutional laws. Let it be known that this article and those like it are going to hold the judges to ethical practice with full integrity. Payback time will surly come for the lawless and those who consider themselves to be above the law, and especially crooked judges. Only by ridding these entities effectively, can the kind of cultural disorders they propagate, can be effectively vanquished.
Another cultural disorder is the "(I) WIN-(You) LOSE" attitude. It is very satisfying for the winner. The winner gets one hundred percent, and the rest get zero. This kind of attitude was taught at school when I was young as though it is a fact of life, at my Bamar language class. A verse by Amutgyi Anandathuriya containing that meta message was to be learned by heart. In the real world, the WIN-LOSE choice is destructive and is simply an illusion, an unreal choice for the long run, and subsequent failures will show it was really a NO WIN, or even a LOSE-LOSE situation for everyone involved. This kind of cultural disorder is another instance beginning from the days of Bamar kings.
The ability to think and act WIN-WIN is the power of cooperation. Without this power, the scope and scale of an organization is very limited when compared to an organization that has this power. History is full of cultures that disappeared or were relegated to a minor stature because of their inability to peacefully work out deals within themselves and with neighboring ethnic groups. Hopefully, as we become older, we also may become smarter and more mature; we gain greater relevant experiences and knowledge, and consequently become better at finding the correct solutions for working with challenging projects as well as with many types of people. As our ability to understand different realities improves, our flexibility should increase, enabling us to find the right balances or compromises, without being unrealistic and avoiding wasteful work. That means to be fully mindful of between value added work and wasteful work. With the WIN-WIN mindset, and by regularly performing value added work, bigger and more numerous "pies" (products, produces) can be outputted. Sharing the rewards equitably should become easy.
There are also cultural disorders at the community and family levels that may be functions of ethnicity but are not going to be discussed here. But they definitely should be subjects of interest for the Think Tank group to be mentioned in Part 3.
Once a person sufficiently knows who he is; is also sufficiently aware of his immediate reality and of the super and global realities, and has made the effort (drive) to better himself and his society, he is normally also evidently clear of his aims and objectives (direction). He would then steadily compel himself to make progress with regard to his objectives. Frequently, especially during the initial stages, he may be deflected from reaching his preliminary objectives because he does not yet possess sufficient knowledge, maturity, or resources to assess situations correctly. A person can make mistakes and fall down from time to time. It is important that those shortcomings not be repeated. It is even more important that he gets up again and does not let setbacks defeat him permanently. Even if the path to a particular goal is blocked off, other meaningful alternatives that could ultimately be for higher accomplishments are to be sought. Only such a persevering person with a set of coherently focused and synergistic character attributes can have SAMADHI. His focused beliefs are coordinated with his actions; only then can he perform deeds that are above the ordinary. NOTE: Without aims and objectives, there is nothing to or no need to focus, and therefore no need for any specific SAMADHI (function of aims and objectives).
There are those who never bother to set meaningful aims and objectives, are not concern of having SAMADHI. If for any reason, like somehow their fortune increases and they need to perform well above their normal self, they will simply fail, unless they can cheat as needed. Take the example of an ordinary person who must enter a foot race against trained athletes to win a million dollars prize. He only can hope to win by playing foul, like drugging the competition, or something similar. Those without SAMADHI simply need their characters to concomitantly become disordered, that is, to apply the required amount of LCD to become competitive. In many ways, the character disordered people are the opposite of people with SAMADHI. The Ng Tones, Ng Beins, Ng Kayungs, Ng Yaungs, are just loonies (Ng Yoos) or flunkies (Ng Nyaunts) of one kind or another, and simply too dumb to even be LCD. Many of them may fancy themselves that they can be successful like some LCD which they may considered as their role model/s, but as stupid as they are, there can be no such hope as they are also simply incapable of being highly unethical.
SAMADHI is to be understood as capable of according a powerful constructive force within progressive people, organizations, systems, societies, and nations. It is an action word; it is expansive and responds in a positive sense to World-Nature. It is that of the spiritual positive which is right in the path of positive evolution. To the extent that a man has SAMADHI, the less will he be wantonly destructive and petty. SAMADHI is integrity, awareness, courage, and drive, and is of this Earth and of the here-and-now. SAMADHI is pragmatism with principle. There is nothing idealistic or hallowed about it. For those people lacking SAMADHI, they will fumble perfectly doable tasks simply because sufficient appropriate SAMADHI is lacking.
Many people do not explicitly realize that the power of specific SAMADHI will synergistically be enhanced by practicing appropriate concomitant SILA and MINDFULNESS.
SILA broadly stands for religiously obeying commandments like basic five in Buddhism, and ten in Christianity. Usually it is associated with "Thou shall not" commands. But non-religious practice commands can be "Thou shall." For example, a student studying for a very important examination must obey "Thou shall" study a minimum of eight hours a day. "Thou shall" stay healthy. "Thou shall" always going to be thinking better than Thou can think now. Another example is a sports person training to be a champion, he must obey "Thou shall not" take dope. SILA has a spiritual factor to it. For example, "Thou shall not" be an LCD. Those with the highest order of SAMADHI are cognizant of the highest level of concomitant SILA set needed and to live accordingly.
Character disordered people usually know what is right or wrong most of the time—except they are good at repeatedly conning (act like they truly believe their own baloney) themselves to make unethical gains as long as they can get away unpunished, or if their actions are condoned by their associates. The preaching of morality generally has no impact upon them. Only effective resistance or punishment of some kind will stop them.
The other important component for SAMADHI is MINDFULNESS (nearest but not exact emphasis equivalent Bamar word is THADEED). It means to be cohesively aware in regard to a task or situation. MINDFULNESS must involve correct action or inaction. It may require planning to take appropriate action to effectively cope with challenging conditions, subsequently calling for total commitment to execute that plan, as much error free as possible. It is extremely important to be MINDFUL of SILA set that one has decided to obey and make absolutely sure that one is practicing error free. To be merely conscious of a situation while devoid of subsequent appropriate preparedness or action equates only with ordinary understanding of mindfulness, that is, which is, less than being MINDFUL. The meaning of MINDFULNESS have special emphasis to include being mistake free, error free, fault free. I only fully understood that aspect quite recently, and that is why many languages currently may likely not have the precise equivalent word. MINDFULNESS is essential to attain the highest levels of SAMADHI.
A good driver is mindful of his quality of driving when operating a vehicle and is fully aware of the driving environment. He may be driving a bus or a family sedan, in snow or in desert country. He may be driving alone or with others. And he would plan his driving needs accordingly. While driving, he is aware to always drive within the performance limits of his steering and braking. To that end, he ensures that his brakes, tires, and steering mechanisms are in good working order. He is aware of the nature of the traffic and driving regulations, and he has adequate vehicle insurance. He knows when to start, speed up, overtake, slow down, or stop safely. If he is driving to a new and unfamiliar place, he gathers as much information as possible prior to the trip, from his contacts, maps, books, etc. Above all, while driving he stays sober and does not allow himself to be distracted by his passengers, the cellular phone, or attractive or interesting views on the road side, even for an instant. His mind constantly monitors the traffic conditions. With experience, one may develop all these considerations and skills, with zero mistakes, backed up by appropriate actions regarding each and every factor to be a MINDFUL driver with SAMAHDI.
SAMADHI backed up by SILA and MINDFULNESS to the highest order, can accomplished what is deemed by conventional wisdom to be impossible, possible.
For my last project before retirement, I was involved with the CMM (Capability Maturity Model, see Web for details) training program that the US Defense Forces were instituting for their software development programs, capable of supporting up to their highest space and nuclear technologies. Since 1995, they have spent billions of dollars to implement that methodology. Essentially, it is to ensure to the highest order of SAMADHI for their software for super critical tasks, and using giant spreadsheets to make things happen. Their aims were for zero error, zero defects for their systems.
Asian countries such as Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China now have computer technology capabilities much higher than many European countries, and with solid economies. All these were accomplished in the last three decades or so. These nations have SAMADHI. Myanmars should pay heed to their rapid raise of their technological and cultural evolutions, and ask ourselves how they make those happen and how we are to emulate them as much as possible for our future. And to find out what we can learn from them.
In the world of science, Albert Einstein had great SAMADHI for theoretical physics. His great impact on science is legendary. Only a person with SAMADHI can impact destiny. Only a person with great SAMADHI can impact the greater destiny. SAMADHI is a power with which a person can empower himself; nobody else can take that power away from him, except himself.
By reading this article thus far, a person should within his mind, have a kind of character (principles, values) measurement chart and should be able to answer the question of who am I, in terms of yes, or no regarding SAMADHI. If you are against the LCD types, the next questions to ask yourself are: Are we going to let these LCD dominate Myanmar and its people? Are we going to let them defeat us? If the answer is NO, then we shall together fight the good fight and WIN. ☼
- Part 3: Enfranchising the Nation of Myanmar
A nation derives its powers from the synergistic totality of its power resource components. The most important component is the integrated power of all its people. The most important elements of that component are those people with positive personal powers (SAMADHI), whether great or small. The synergistic power depends largely on the manner in which the people cooperate with each other and especially with their government. A nation may have other important powers, such as rich deposits of natural resources, but those by themselves do not constitute a nation. A nation cannot be effective or powerful—unless the People have the National Will and the Spirit Requisite for the Growth of their Civilization (Bogyoke Aung San). Correct knowledge and formulation of a culture is essential to organize a society effectively. The above statements should help us define our aims and objectives.
The Road Map to follow toward the growth of civilization should not be too difficult to work out. Many nations have already successfully reached that goal before this century. The immediate road map for Myanmar will be presented here below.
The first order of business is with regard to the coming 2020 general elections. Do we vote or not vote for the current NLD government in Naypyidaw? If their performance is sub-standard, can we elect a viable alternative government?
Let us review the performance of the current government in Naypyidaw. After winning the elections of November 2015 by a landslide, and assumed governance in April 2016, there is absolutely no meaningful reforms regarding justice practices, fiscal, economic, educational policies, simply no systematic reforms of any kind. All the government policies are leftovers from President Thein Sein time.
Are the Myanmars to allow the NLD another five years in state power with no meaningful progress and totally wasting the people' times/lives for up to 10 years or even more?
Su Kyi head of NLD is presidential advisor but above the president himself. That rule is only valid within NLD party, and not legal constitutionally. For any person elected as president of Myanmar, his oath of loyalty is to the country and its people, and not to the head of its political party. Do the people want to put up with a completely spastic president when Su Kyi is getting above the law treatment by a so call democratic government? Can the president totally cop-out and let the judges who ultimately answer to him constitutionally let Su Kyi win inheritance case in a totally sham manner? Are the people going to vote for NLD again and let this kind of shenanigan and similar others to continue to rule Myanmar? Are the people going to let Su Kyi conduct "peace negotiations" on and on, when she has only demonstrated failures after failures?
Throughout the entire Myanmar history, Kalars and Tayokes are always consider as arriving to Myanmar from across the border. Those of them who were born in Myanmar from citizen parents are certainly Myanmar Nationals (standard citizenship regulation in every country). But by any stretch of imagination no Myanmar of the right mind would consider them as indigenous national ethnic people, except Su Kyi who consider the Rohigya Kalars as part of indigenous Myanmars. Myanmars should not vote for those who are incapable of knowing who the real Myanmars are. Is the media/press afraid to present to the people the above questions in a so-called democratic society with presumably conferred rights?
Let us talk about the issues related to some of the above questions. Why is Su Kyi incapable of reforming or continue to reform the justice, the economic, the educational etc., policies and systems where U Thein Sein had left off? Decades of dictatorship misrule requires diligent step by step reforming processes. Surely, there are both internal and international expertise who could help in mapping out the way the country evolved into a nation with meaningful rights for everyone.
Su Kyi had never functioned at a professional level before she stumbled into politics in Myanmar; can we expect her to have SAMADHI for the well-being of Myanmar and its people? Whoever the president for the moment of Myanmar is, he or she is simply serving the whims of Su Kyi, because the NLD party rule dictates she is above the president (above the law also?). There are no constitutional safeguards for her kind. A person who is highly wayward should not be freely allowed to jerk around a president who must have the power to protect the rights of all the people. Since this is actually happening with the NLD government, it should not be reelected, otherwise the same kind of dictatorial misrule will be perpetrated for further 5 years.
Then there is the problem of inheritance lawsuit with myself and Su Kyi, going on for the last 20 years. A separate article is in preparation, with complete facts and figures, and those perpetrating miscarriage of justice on behalf of Su Kyi will be exposed. Su Kyi may technically claim that constitutionally she has no direct authority over the justice department, and therefore she likely is not giving orders for injustice perpetrated. If that excuse is used, it is a total cop-out. True, it is the president who has, and so far he appears he could not care less if he goes down in history as being a constitutionally irresponsible wimpy president and would just allow the judges to kissy up to Su Kyi. That way his presidential seat is kept secure for himself. Maybe we will just have to wait and see if he still got any spine left and do something with courage and integrity before his term is over. Anyone with SAMADHI will not let his or her name be used for this kind of LCD behavior. I hope an incoming new government with a much better sense of justice is elected in 2020, and those perpetrators of injustice prosecuted.
Watching how Su Kyi performed the peace negotiations was like watching someone not capable of construction work, but trying to build a housing complex. Any construction work should begin with a clear set of requirements. Then step by step, construction to commence according to the necessary planned sequence. Foundation requirements to be constructed first and then build upwards toward the roof. There should be a clear enough plan for the foundation of the central government and also for the foundations of all other local governments and plan for integrating all the foundational aspects. Su Kyi appear incapable of taking responsibility of the central government by not coming up with any reform program, and then with nothing more than blowhard sessions with regard to her peace plan. Only the loonies may take her seriously of her peace initiatives. Building a roof system without knowing the foundation layout or the supporting columns plan makes no sense. Not surprising, all her negotiations kept failing thus far, and she have yet to promulgate any idea that may have the slightest chance to succeed.
Su Kyi's foreign backers before NLD won the 2015 elections bestowed upon her many accolades, awards and prizes, including Nobel Peace Prize (see Web). Just about all the awards except the Nobel Peace Prize have been revoked when they finally realized the kind of person Su Kyi is -- Top of the Line XXXXXX (a saying by Cowboy Gus). There were serious talks of revoking the Nobel Peace Prize also, but that would do much more damage to the Peace Prize givers than to Su Kyi.
To understand something of Rhohingyas, a short background history around the Rakhine/ Bangladesh border is needed.
The Bengal famine of 1943 (Bengali: pañcāśēra manvantara) was a major famine in the Bengal province in British India during World War II (WW2). An estimated 2.1–3 million, out of a population of 60.3 million, died of starvation, malaria and other diseases aggravated by malnutrition, population displacement, unsanitary conditions and lack of health care. Millions were impoverished as the crisis overwhelmed large segments of the economy and social fabric. Historians have frequently characterized the famine as "man-made", asserting that wartime colonial policies created and then exacerbated the crisis. A minority view holds that the famine arose from natural causes. The British rulers undertook horrendous draconian economic and military measures to stop the Japanese to reach India, no matter how many millions of Indians perished. To a large extent, the famine crisis was also exacerbated by the uncaring and insensitive mindset business culture of the Indian rice merchants of Bengal. The details of this event of 1943 can be read in Wikipedia.
The reason for bringing out this matter is, currently the Anglo-American media, in conjunction with the Islamic media are accusing the Myanmar government of genocide of the so-called Rohingya Islamic ethnic group, supposedly native to Myanmar, situated at present time Arakan-Bengal border, and precisely where the British and Japanese savagely fought during WW2. The British never mentioned then and could not have mentioned about the existence of Rohingyas, for they had never existed on the Burma side. Had they ever existed they would never have survived the British scorched-earth actions, and the mega famine that followed.
In 1971, East Pakistan was defeated by India and Bangladesh got Independence. Initially, the Pakistan Army was beating up the Bengalis, and the refugees streaming into Myanmar were Bengalis. When India joined the war, the Pakistan Army was getting beat up and entered Rakhine as refugees. Both group of refugees after that war, did not stay behind in Myanmar, unlike 1.5 million out of 10 million Bengalis who entered Assam in India. Assam already declared that those unwelcomed refugees will never get citizenship (see Web). The Bengalis claimed 3 million of them died, whereas Pakistan gave as only 26,000 (see Web). There are absolutely no records of any dealings with the Rohingyas within Myanmar during those events.
A few Bengalis who regularly did some kind of cross-border trading since 1948 were called Khortaws. They could speak a limited amount of Bamar language with some characteristic accent and easy to be spotted by the locals. On the other hand, the so-called Rohingyas simply cannot speak a word of Bamar (Rahkine is a Bamar language dialect) and could not get along with the locals. The population of Bangladesh in 2017 was 164.7 million, larger than the Russian Federation. Bengalis since WW2, have perished by the millions due to wars. Any Bengalis calling themselves by any other name (such as Rohingers) who strayed into a neighboring country and got unwelcomed treatment, and if that become an issue, it need to be considered as only between just two countries, and simply cannot be considered as international genocidal (should be in millions, in Bengalis historical context) matter. It was unfortunate some illegal Bengalis died on Myanmar soil, but is miniscule in comparison with millions of their deaths previously, and yet no global media fussing regarding against the perpetrators for those previous deaths.
With the military government in Myanmar, economy was going so bad many Myanmar villagers moved out of the country and set up villages in Buddhist countries of Laos, and Thailand, starting about nineteen eighties. Many agriculture workers from Rakhine also left, and acute shortage of farm workers created a crisis throughout Rakhine, the same as for the rest of the country. The well-off land and farm owning Rakhines with the help of bribable Border Security forces smuggled Bengalis for agriculture work (not as migrants) and very soon villages sprouted up. The illegal immigrant population grew and spread and problems started to erupt with the local Rakhines. The fact that they were not Buddhists did not help them to assimilate with the locals. Myanmar political system was changing and who was and is lying (both military and civilian authorities) and who was and is telling truthfully (anyone?) about the Rohingyas after that, became very hazy for all the Myanmar authorities. Entered Su Kyi; invited Kofi Annan ex-UN Sectary General (God Sake what for?) and escalated the internal local matter into an international crisis. She seemed well adapted to create bigger and bigger mess, and is still continuing.
Well, what on Earth had Su Kyi accomplished for Myanmar? She can claim she lead the NLD and won the General Election of 2015, and finally got rid of the military LCDs ruining the country and its people for decades. The fact that she fumbled several times and which fooled the opposition into thinking they cannot lose and got complacent and careless, is to her credit. At the last moments, just in time prior to the election date, she appeared quite rational and to follow the advice of her political handlers and won, is also to her credit. The people hated the military LCD rulers and decided to get rid of them and their underlings. Above all, she got Bogyoke Aung San as her father. Myanmar people love Bogyoke. Bogyoke Aung San love Myanmar and its people.
Is it wrong to take advantage of one's extremely well regarded father to right the wrongs for one's country? Absolutely no. Is it wrong to take advantage of one's extremely well regarded father, and hanging on to state power even though one is highly incapable of doing good, but actually doing many bads? Absolutely yes.
There are off-springs or relatives of people well known in the past within a society, who try to latch on to their parent’s good names, and to behave self-importantly. They are known as brasso-polishers. That is, proverbially polishing with Brasso, the name brass-plate (or erecting statues, or making movies of highly regarded relatives) of their related highly regarded ancestors, and hoping that the extra shine generated will increase their own importance within the society. Voters should be aware of brasso-polishers with no constructive caliber whatsoever, and not to vote for them, even if they are related to a person of high character. There is nothing wrong if capable children of highly regarded parents continuing to do good work of their forbearers. The populace need to be fully aware that the elections of 2020 are very important for them, very important for their children, and very important for Myanmar to get on track toward progress. Do not vote for incapable people and to provide them with undeserving life with wealth and power. Do not waste another 5 years of the Myanmar people.
NLD will deny its lack of performance as described above, or of Su Kyi's behavior. What NLD might try to tell the loonies and flunkies is that there is not a single sound party large enough that can compete and win against it and can form the alternative government. Even if smaller parties banded together may win as a coalition, they afterward will not have the unity, resources, or the intelligence to come up with reform policies, regarding justice, fiscal, educational systems, etc. The voters should not be afraid of any implied political threat. Whoever claimed to be democratic but is clearly unethical, the people must exercise zero tolerance and have him or her voted out.
What a major political party might try to tell is that there is not a single sound party large enough that can compete, and win against it and can form the alternative government after the 2020 elections. Even if smaller parties banded together may win as a coalition, they afterward will not have the unity, resources, or the intelligence to come up with reform policies, regarding justice, fiscal, educational systems, etc. Whoever claimed to be democratic but is clearly unethical and undemocratic, the people must exercise zero tolerance and voted out those unfit for state political leadership. The voters should not be afraid of any apparent lack of any meaningful political choices if the political system is currently formulated correctly, but it is not. If the voters are unsure of these issues, the following discussions should provide food for thought of how to fix the Myanmar political system as operated under previous or current pseudo democratic governments with high self-enriching practices.
Scenario 1. Let us discuss first, the minimum percent of seats NLD must win to retain outright victory. That percentage is 51.
Scenario 2. NLD can still be the outright winner even with less than 51 percent if the anti-NLD collation added up less than whatever the total number of NLD wins. There will be MPs that will not join any collation.
Scenario 3. If the anti-NLD collation added up more than whatever the total number of NLD wins just by itself, NLD may still retain state power if it can form its own collation that has more MPs than the opposition collation.
Scenario 4. If not, then it will have to step down from state power. One may consider more scenarios but meaningful insights would get more difficult to ascertain.
Scenario X. Non-NLD, non-constitutional government after 2020.
Scenarios 1 to 3 are all very undesirables. Scenario 3 at least will make Su Kyi difficult to become above the president, presidential advisor. Theoretically, NLD and the military may form a collation to form a government. But pragmatically, it would be difficult for their lower echelon people to cooperate. However, if both sides do not care to serve the people, but just interested in exploiting the situation, they might superficially be able to stick together. Scenario X is an impossibility unless the military decided to grab power and may or may not form some kind of collation. If military leadership mindset remains unchanged, that will be considered as very bad. Military led collation can become real if the Scenario 4 collation failed to work out and collapsed. However shaky Scenario 4 situation is, we need to understand its implications and challenges it will have to face, just in case something good can be figured out and made it workable. Regardless, that way is our best chance toward progress and therefore we need to give it our best thoughts.
Scenario 4. can be in two flavors. With the military's 25 percentage votes (version 4A), and without those votes (Version 4B). Let us explore the Version 4B scenario first.
Scenario 4B is likely to be collation of medium and small political parties. Their political agendas are not nation-wide, and will be limited to the regions of activities they are involved. The size of party will be measured by the number of MPs who got elected, and not by the numbers of candidates fielded. The first problems off the bat are which of the small parties will have their members as president, ministers, and high level officer’s positions. These problems affect all collations and every collation will have to cross that bridge when they came to it. The Think Tank approach of governance to be described a little later, should moderate this issue, because the acquisition of high position in government would not equate to exploiting the political system for self-aggrandizement. Those who can think better of wider issues than just their regional areas of interests are preferable for higher posts. If they started facing a total impasse, they need to bear in mind, Scenario X can and most likely will replace Scenario 4 very quickly, that may mean possibly another twenty years under the military adhering to its current mindset. If the civilian collation cares about Myanmar, it need to rethink and decide efficaciously among themselves, or accept our advice of how the setup should be.
Once decided, the collation members will have to take care of the day-to-day business and they need to learn fast of how to. Special training arrangements probably will be needed for this stage. Then at the same time, they need to consider and decide how the (central) Think Tank for the collation is going to be organized. Among themselves (until new constitutional laws are established) agreements are needed to adopt and carry out policies that the Think Tank people worked out. These policies are for near term (less than a year) and longer term programs. Again, we can advice of setting up detail procedures as needed.
This Think Tank capability with knowledge based approach can provide the multi-party collation much greater power than even major parties with no Think Tank. This is a game changer of how within the whole country and at many electoral districts, to have their own fully empowered mini political organizations, fully empowered individuals within the bureaucracy, and even able to vote for the local candidate who may have actually born and grew up there.
To begin with, we need to identify and recruit, let us say, the top 100 or so minds with expertise in key areas of knowledge within the country, to form the Think Tank. They are to be tasked to develop the (Pillars of Principles) Mundaings, on which the National Will and the Spirit Requisite for the Growth of Civilization (Bogyoke Aung San) can rest upon. They are to be from all branches of government, including the military, and any governmental Ministries. Also included will be from all Special Interest Groups (SIG) capable of positive contributions. The manpower requirement to be adjusted, on as-need basis and availability. Experts from abroad may be included as needed. Many Think Tank personals are likely to be well adapt in the use of cyber systems and therefore the operation is to be akin to modern business corporations.
All major projects above a certain funding level and life-cycle must be submitted through the Think Tank for approval, disapproval decision process before particular Ministry or Ministries can implement. That way, the "Signature Bonus" corruption practice may be mitigated. All major projects must be compatible with the Mundaings (Pillars of Principles) and the projects must submit to specified inspections to be monitored by the Think Tank people for staying within budget and making real progress.
The important Mundaings to consider for a government are for rule of just and fair laws, equitable sharing of wealth, pragmatic educational programs, health and fitness programs, conservations of wildlife and ecological protection programs, conservation of natural resources, understanding of advance and modern civilizations (elimination of cultural disorders), understanding of pragmatic spirituality (minimize loonies, flunkies, LCD, and all of the above hybrids), anti-corruption methodologies (cyber based systems), monitoring the practices of the various branches of government (executive, legislative, judiciary, bureaucracy), freedom of expression and of the media, etc. It is important to know these Mundaings, well before learning about -- Establishment of Democratic Institutions, Considerations for Federalism or alternatives, Container Rail Systems to China and Vietnam from Indian Ocean side (neighboring countries issues), etc. These latter broad base "Upper Level Structures" (utilizing the support of hopefully very sound Pillars of Principles) related studies are more likely to be better understood and optimized (in Myanmar context), after interactive thinking among them. In many ways, the Think Tank organization should be considered as another branch of government needed for developing countries.
Military dictatorship ended in Brazil in March 1985 after about 21 years’ rule (see Web). The new civilian government immediately set out to reestablish democratic institutions that any current Myanmar pro-democracy government should find out how they go about reestablishing democratic reforms. Countries like China has minorities, and minorities within minorities but did not adopted Federalism. So Federalism is not necessarily the only approach for governance wherever minorities exist. China and Myanmar in some cases even have the same minorities across their common border. Container Rail Systems to China and Vietnam have very important geo-strategic Values, and therefore their construction cannot ordinarily be considered based upon Cost Pricing, but must be in terms of Value Pricing. Myanmar should receive the most revenue for the operation on Myanmar territory, and paying the least in terms of investment. The Think Tank and Parliamentary people can work out for new government policies and operating processes to be considered, even if the government is a formation of small and mini parties.
Coming back to think about the 2020 elections, and now we know we can have a new possibility Scenario 4B-2, which can now be a very viable, possible and very important option, but need to set up local mini parties in time before the 2020 elections if they wish to compete. Even if such an arrangement cannot be readied fully for the 2020 elections, the institution of the Think Tank approach is essential as soon as possible for a properly functioning political system of Myanmar, and should therefore be considered as compelling.
It is advisable that an over-arching committee (with its logo to indicate as collation coordinator) be formed to coordinate the mini parties, and to let the voters be aware of collation arrangement by displaying its logo with mini party's logo together as needed. The collation committee may be tentatively called DoePyi (our country). Any party except NLD, can become member of DoePyi even after the elections as long as it has at least a winning MP. NLD MPs may split from NLD and join DoePyi collation. It would be desirable that Scenario 4B-2 would likely be a collation which is comparable or bigger in size to the 25 percent voting power of the military. If that is the case, even the military could be part of the collation without needing to be too concern of them getting overbearing. That is, Scenario 4A and 4B-2 be considered broadly as to be in the same league.
One weakness of the mini party approach in the early stages, is that many of the local MP's ethics can be sub-standard. In this poverty ridden society, US $1000 per person can buy plenty of shenanigans. In addition to the Think Tank oversight arrangement, there are now anti-bribery methodologies such as ISO 37001 (see Web) that companies such as Microsoft is using. It should not be difficult to adapt and adopt these methodologies to a comparatively much simpler system requirements of mini-party collations. By 2025 elections, many of the undesirables could by then, be weeded out. Another important challenge will be to find an effective party whip. A positive character who will constantly remind his troops of the reasons of why they are together and to fight the good fight and win for Myanmar.
There are NGOs (local as well as international) already within Myanmar whose fields of interests are about Local Government, Public Participation, etc. They should be capable of organizing the planning and implementation of the above strategies and tactics. It should not be too difficult for those like them to handle using the cyber approach called for ISO 37001 requirements, or of the support regarding the Think Tank of the best minds of Myanmar.
Is Myanmar going to be regressing back for the next 10 to 15 years to the days of the last Bamar kings? The last Bamar king was driven out of the Palace's West Gate normally reserved for removing corpses. There may not yet be the last President of the Republic in 15 years from now, but if humungous foreign loan debts are allowed to accrue unchecked, he will be merely serving essentially as head peon of an insignificant people.
Thoughtful people of Myanmar are watching, the military community is watching, the Taing Yin Tars are watching, the poor people who has to eke out a living are watching, people who are concern of the rule of just laws are watching, people who cares of the sovereignty of Myanmar are watching, international groups interested in Myanmar are watching, people with positive sense of Spirituality are watching, students who are very concern of being able to grow up within a progressive and humane Nation are watching, of whether the next so called pro-democracy government will have more vision or greater sense of justice will be in state power after the 2020 elections.
Myanmars need to be fully aware that they are at an extremely critical cross-road -- The elections of 2020. To be, or not to be -- a Nation with SAMADHI? When the National Will and the Spirit Requisite for the Growth of Civilization become real to be so, we will be together to make it happen. Will that be in 2020? ☼