A friend in need is a friend indeed


By Ba Khet Zan

Ancient teaching
Confucius said, “To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right.”
The philosophy is still relevant for human community especially for our country because if we cannot cultivate ourselves how we can get good friends or how we can do good for our nation.

True friend
“A true friend unbosoms freely, advises justly, assists readily, adventures boldly, takes all patiently, defends courageously, and continues a friend unchangeably.” So wrote William Penn, an English philosopher, the 17th century poet. A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. We must select our friends wisely and then stick to them.

Parents’ exhortation
In my younger days, my parents tended to guide me in choosing friends and they used to say, “Dot’s be acquainted with him because he is a womanizer.” or “Don’t let this young girl come into your life: She’s a heartbreaker.” As a good boy, I obeyed my parents and never refused to follow their guidelines and thanks to following the parents’ advice, I have never been swayed to a wrong way. In my hometown, I have witnessed youths ending their lives tragically due to falling prey to drug abuse or infected with HIV as a result of acquaintance with fake friends.
What I want to say here is that a true friend is of great importance. So do in the international relations.

Can we stand on our own?
In the past we have voiced aloud that we have been living under own monarch for years, we are royals and so on. Yes, it is true that we were royals, we were decedents of royals and we lived under own monarchs. But, nowadays just shouting “We are royals.” and get lost in daydream, we cannot catch up with other countries because today is not the time to be satisfied with the glory of the past which is just needed to be preserved.
At this juncture, we need to think critically that do we need help or not.
Today is the age of advanced technology and we must analyze ourselves whether we have technologies that can help build our country or not. This can be called the critical thinking. If we believe that we possess enough technology then go on, and if we decide that we are lack of technology we must seek a way for gaining it. This brings up the question: On whom we are going to rely? The word “rely” here means not to depend totally on others but to grab know-how. To put it in another way, we need true friends.

People’s strength
Citizens of our country are true friends. Nothing is impossible if we hold hands together. No authority can resist the will of the people and thus we must rely totally on the people’s strength. But just one thing needs to be considered: Whether the will of the people is in a right position and in a right direction or not. If it is on the right track all are to give a helping hand to reach the goal. To satisfy the desire of the people, we need to build our country to become developed. For the country to be developed it is important to produce great human resource in various fields.

According to the definition given by the Wikipedia “industrialization is the period of social and economic change that transforms a human group from an agrarian society into an industrial one, involving the extensive re-organization of an economy for the purpose of manufacturing.”
Is our country now industrialized? No. We are agro-based one and we need to launch industrial revolution. Becoming an industrialized country will surely be the turning point in our history because it is the shortest way for our country to enjoy prosperity.
With this end in view, we need to produce many technicians who can make history. Is this enough just to produce the state-of-the-art materials? I don’t think so. We need to manufacture them, we need to showcase them, we need to sell them to boost revenue for the country. Without income we can do nothing.

Trade route
Supposed Myanmar is an industrialized nation. She needs to export her goods to other countries in Asia, America, Europe, Africa and Australia including neighbouring countries. To trade with other countries the route among them becomes important. The shorter the route the time and money we must spend on it will be less and the longer the route the cost will be greater.
There is an example of distance and cost. The esteemed daily The Global New Light of Myanmar on 28 April 2017 carried news about MV Tomini Amity which docked at Sule jetty to load bags of rice to export them to western African countries.
The news reports, “The transportation charges will be over Ks 6,000 per tonne when the rice bags are sent from Hlaingthaya to Sule Port. When the merchants transport the rice bags to Thilawa, the bus fare will cost over Ks 8,000 a tonne. Therefore, the arrival of the cargo ship at the Sule Port significantly brings down the cost of shippers and merchants. If the transportation cost can be slashed, the merchants can offer higher prices to the farmers.”
This is just within the country and it is not transporting of rice bags from the remote areas to the economic hub, Yangon. If the transportation charges are too great even from the outskirt of Yangon to the port, we can imagine the charges from one country to another. Therefore, we can deduce form the example that the shorter the route, the more profit we can gain.

Maritime Silk Road
These days, the initiative of the One Belt One Road proposed by China attracts much media attention from around the world. Some tried to approach the initiative from the military point of view, some from economy, and some from political view. No matter which approach is the best, we must choose the flawless one to serve the best interest of our country.
The writer of this article had a chance to participate in China-ASEAN Media Journey on the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road 2017 organized by the State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China, ASEAN-China Centre and China Report Journal. This is the third one of its kind and during the second trip, the acting chief editor of the esteemed paper GNLM U Aye Min Soe had a chance to participate in the journey.
The journey was aimed at showcasing economic and social development of central China. We, the journalists from ten ASEAN countries, have witnessed the well-developed industries including smart technology.
For the hosts’ part, they should link their businesses with the road to each ASEAN countries because just showcasing their success is not enough. They should tell something to their friends, “Hey guys! Here is a plan for you for your consideration.” This will bring more benefit to win-win cooperation.
After the trip, a thought came into my mind: How well if we can channel these technologies into our country.
Yes, there are many countries with advanced technologies. But there also may be many limitations to gain these technologies and thus we must decide how we can get technologies from others which may depend much on their wishes whether they have such a wish or not.

Critical thinking
Critical thinking is a term that we hear a lot, meaning making reasoned judgments that are logical and well-thought out. Based on this thinking we shall choose a way to go forward.

Shot in the arm
The Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation will be taken place in Beijing in May and world leaders will meet at the forum to focus on economic and trade links among Southeast Asian, South Asian, African and European countries.
It is hoped that the more the leaders who proffer their ideas to the forum, the better the outcome will be for us all. Without counsel purposes are disappointed but in the multitude of counselor they are established.

To do good for nation
There may be many ways and means or strategies to see our country developed. Among these strategies, establishing good relations with many others will surely bring about prosperity to the nation. Good relationships are to be built on mutual trust and respect, and to be able to maintain these relationships they should go under regular overhaul to make sure they are trustworthy.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step
We, Myanmar, are just at the start of the journey and we have to go a long way. No matter what the difficulties ahead, we must apply the essence of a stanza from the poem Invictus by English poet William Ernest Henley which also inspired our national leader General Aung San. The stanza says, “My head is bloody, but unbowed.”

We are the captains of our souls
Let us cultivate ourselves, set our hearts high, and stand on our own because we are the captains of our souls. And we need to be patient for better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.

What could be getting answers to our question about national development?
Trusting a true friend to whom we can deal with win-win cooperation may be one of the answers because “Friends come, Friends go, But a true friend is there to watch you grow” as said by a woman named Florence on the Internet. And true friend is the one who comes to you first when you are in despair or distressful situation while others quit you. Then, what shall we do? Do to other as you would have them do to you.
(This article represents the views of the author and should not be construed as an endorsement by the Global New Light of Myanmar.)

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