35. Correspondent U Thwin Htoo Aung pointed out that some trade circles have said that foreign trade has been stagnant during the State Administration Council’s tenure. He asked about the current situation of foreign trade.
36. Maj-Gen Zaw Min Tun said he would talk about trade according to statistics. Practically speaking, trucks are moving on the Yangon- Mandalay old route. According to the provisional accounts for February and March 2021, while the State Administration Council was in charge, the export value was US$ 1,774 million, and the import value is $ 1,772 million. The trade volume was $ 3,546 million, and the trade surplus was over $ 2 million. At present, most of the trade at border crossings with neighbouring China was about US$ 438 million in exports and US$ 171 million in imports between February and March. The trade volume is US$ 609 million, 65 per cent from Muse border trade camp, 6 per cent from Lwejel, 18 per cent from Chinshwehaw, 10 per cent from Kampaiti in total. In trading with Thailand, $352 million in exports and $104 million in imports. The trade volume is $492 million through the trading camps in Tachilek, Myawady, Kawthoung, Myeik, Hteekhee and Mawtaung. As with Bangladesh, $5 million was imported from Sittway during the first two months of this year without any export. On the Indian side, $7 million were exported from Tamu and could not be imported. At the trading camp in Myeik, exports $34 million and imports $0.17 million. On the Laos side, there is not much trade from Kyaiklat. He replied that although business and commerce were less than before, they were operating normally.
37. Correspondent U Thwin Htoo Aung further mentioned that refresher courses are being provided to teachers to reopen basic education schools. He asked what percentage of teachers are in basic education; Whether it is effective or not, and the difficulties during the training and planning to open schools.
He identified only one reason why the State Administration Council’s Chairman wanted to open the schools because schools were closed during the COVID-19 period, affecting the students and parents. Although refresher courses are open for reopening schools, people who participated in the CDM campaign are putting pressure on the teachers. We have seen things that are not in our Myanmar society.
38. Maj-Gen Zaw Min Tun said he would answer this question as much as he knew, and the Ministry of Education would add more information. He identified only one reason why the State Administration Council’s Chairman wanted to open the schools because schools were closed during the COVID-19 period, affecting the students and parents. Although refresher courses are open for reopening schools, people who participated in the CDM campaign are putting pressure on the teachers. We have seen things that are not in our Myanmar society. In the respectable and lovely tradition of Myanmar people, teachers are regarded as one of the five infinite venerables. It is now seen that students are insulting the teachers. As per experience, there are not many countries that respect teachers as the way Myanmar people do.
He said if they appreciate the gratitude of those who educated them, he would like to ask why they are insulting the teaches.
As for difficulties, there are schools that were set on fire because of the opening of the refresher course. He said he would like to say to the teachers that there are 50 per cent and more of the teachers who are attending the refresher course. Some teachers are not able to come due to many difficulties such as attacking by students, but he said he believed they would absolutely succeed. As for teachers, basic education needs teaching, unlike universities, and it is a community where no self-study can be done without instruction. He would like, on behalf of the State Administration Council, to express words of thanks to those who attend the students’ education.
39. A Ministry of Education spokesperson added the coordination with the Ministry of Health and Sports for the COVID-19 prevention at schools, preparation to reopen the schools, attendance of more than 50-per-cent teachers, difficulties for teachers to come to the course due to regional issues and the successful conducting of the course for the rest.
40. Dr Soe Myint Oo, editor in-charge of the Myanmar Public Press New Agency, raised the first question. After passing through 10 years as a democratic nation, patriotism has weakened a lot. Later, during the second parliamentary term, our country’s culture came with many distortions, and national characteristics have become very weak. Therefore, during the State Administration Council’s time, how does the Tatmadaw plan to promote and protect patriotism, national culture, and national characteristics?
He also asked if there were any plans to hold traditional performing arts competitions again.
41. Maj-Gen Zaw Min Tun said there are different ideas about patriotism. For some liberal people, they see patriotism as a danger. He quoted the former Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yu, who is considered a realist in Southeast Asia. As he put it, patriotism is, in fact, a “place to cast the anchor”. No matter how big the ship, if it loses its place to cast the anchor, it will not be able to stand.
When we talk about patriotism, we often talk about the era of globalization. It is acceptable that news, trade, education and technology are spreading in the age of globalization. However, which country accept the spread of people? Does the so-called democratic USA get immigrants from southern Mexico? No country accepts the influx of people.
He said he was not comparing with patriotism, but it is said its reality has not been erased. In some places, not all liberals are perfect.
The main point is that if the anchor’s place is lost, patriotism will be challenging to stand on. The State Administration Council is working to revive patriotism. Since our country’s foundation is based on Buddhist culture, the constitution also provides Buddhism, and other religious groups must also be given priority.
He clarified that the Tatmadaw’s belief in patriotism’s revitalization was that it would never betray nationalism and would be taken seriously.
The number one thing in the news media sector is that the State-owned media and local media must work hard to spread the truths about the news media, and we must continue to focus on nationalism not only at the State-level but also at the national-level.
42. Dr Soe Myint Oo, Editor-in-Charge of Myanmar Public Press New Agency, said that our country’s media were taken action. However, some foreign media outlets have been found to be inciting false news. He asked how it is planned to prevent such information from flowing into the country.
43. Maj-Gen Zaw Min Tun said that it is impossible to prevent, even modern countries can’t do, regarding the flow of information. There are various ways — traffic on the internet and flow from air. He said he does not think it is the right way to prevent them from entering the country. The main right thing to do is build and promote the strong national identity in the people’s minds. It means that it is more important to promote it.
There is very little good writing about China in the world media. Suppose you look at every news item, whether it is right or wrong, including Myanmar media outlets who reported that Wuhan’s situation was really like hell in the COVID-19 outbreak. But the national response is more critical. As they have better national resilience, they do not need to worry too much.
The number one thing in the news media sector is that the State-owned media and local media must work hard to spread the truths about the news media, and we must continue to focus on nationalism not only at the State-level but also at the national-level. He said there are more things to be done and expressed words of thanks for the suggestion.
to be continued.