The term “soft power” is considered to be derived from the arts, and Myanmar, which is a developing country, needs such kind of soft power to be stronger.
The term “soft power” is widely used in foreign policy debates and it is defined as the ability of a country to persuade others to do what it wants without force or coercion. Successful states need both hard and soft power – hard power being the ability to coerce others as well as the ability to shape their long-term attitudes and preferences. Today, the ability of soft power to influence the world is borne out by the Korean movie series. Meanwhile, literary fiction remains important. We think literary fiction is more important than ever in today’s world because it helps people escape from the never-ending news cycle by immersing themselves in great stories and complex characters. We believe that literary fiction can help the readers understand deeply our own culture and understand the cultures of communities different from us as the arts bring expression in the context of different regions, territories, cultures, local circumstances or even challenges faced around a particular issue. Literary fiction places the reader in other places, other times and other skins. In yesterday’s talks between State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and students over literary fiction, the students voiced that reading a good literary fiction make them better able to connect with others, enhances their ability to detect and understand other people’s emotions, a crucial skill in navigating complex social relationships. It shows that literary fiction is very powerful. It can change society. But, readers ought to be able to experience stories from all parts of society, not just from privileged corners of it. Hence, the goal of literary fiction should be: to make diverse voices heard and to bring out different opinions from different societies. The art of literary fiction flows between love and hate, admiration and denouncement, pleasure and pain…. influencing the feelings of readers. Let’s make the best use of the power of literary fiction to change hate to love and conflicts to peace.