State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, in her capacity as the Chairperson of the Central Committee for Development of Border Areas and National Races, met with the local people in Myawady and Hlaingbwe townships in in Kayin State on yesterday.
During the visit, she was accompanied by Union Ministers Lt-Gen Soe Htut, Lt-Gen Ye Aung, Thura U Aung Ko, Dr Aung Thu, U Ohn Win, Dr Myint Htwe and Dr Win Myat Aye; Deputy Minister U Hla Maw Oo, Chief of Myanmar Police Force Police Lt-Gen Aung Win Oo and officials.
They left Mawlamyine for Kawkareik Township, Kayin State, by helicopters in the morning, and proceeded to Myawady Township where the State Counsellor held a public meeting at Mya Sandi Park.
At the meeting, the State Counsellor said, “Wherever I go all over the country, I usually make arrangements to meet our people personally. It is the people’s collaboration that makes such mass gatherings a success. Of course, in order to get the collaboration of the people, discipline is a necessity.
In fact, if we want our country to make advances, we should cultivate in each and every individual heart empathy and sympathy towards the weaker souls. Such practice can start in such a mass gathering. We should consider not only for the sake of ourselves but also for the sake of others. Only then can we make progress.
If we want to build a qualified country, first we should qualify ourselves. Otherwise, you have not qualified yourselves but if you criticize others for lacking the qualifications, that would be a verbal act of inconsistency. So what I want our people to do everyday is think about our country, what is your contribution towards the benefits of our country, and review over what you have done, what you need to do.
Well, some people might respond that we are nothing to do with politics. But every deed, every action of every individual is related to the country we live in. If you are a student, and if you have learned and fulfilled your learning goals, then you are a dutiful citizen. If you are a shopkeeper, and if you make your business transactions at fair prices and correct practices, you are contributing towards the progress of the country. Every individual acting in such a way as would promote his or her reputation and integrity is doing good for the country.
Our country is still a developing country. I think I do not need to convince the people living in Myawaddy about this because you are witnessing the development of the country on the other side, the gap between the conditions of our country and those of the other country. Practically speaking, some of our citizens have to go over to the other side and work for a living. That’s a sad thing, you know. The family members have to stay apart. If you have built a family, that family should live under the same roof, united. Otherwise, this will more or less affect the progress of the family.
It is a harsh reality that many of our citizens have to go and stay abroad and work over there, and this, of course, affects our country. If you can stand on your own, finding a chance in a foreign country to exercise your talents and skills, that’s one thing. Being forced to leave your family, leave your country and earn a living is another thing, which I wish would never happen to you. So taking measures for the development of our country aims at creating many more job opportunities for our people.
Today the word Democracy has become a household word. One advantage of democracy is providing the people with many choices. In terms of politics, the people have the rights to choose the kind of government they like and give votes and elect the representatives they want.
When democracy has been developed and the economy of the nation has been consolidated, you will have more job opportunities for earning a living. A country that remains undeveloped has no choices, no opportunities. You have to pick the job before you and your living standard will remain low. But the moment the country has become well developed, the people will have more choices, more priorities. For example, in the sector of education, in developed countries, the children have more choices of schools for their education.
That is why we have been making every effort to develop our country. We are tying our best to build a genuine democratic nation so that we can promote the people’s rights and choices. To achieve this goal, it goes without saying that the most important thing is Peace. Our people living in the Kayin State know better than anyone in our country the great values of Peace, as well as the miserable realities devoid of Peace. Our people have already undergone the time and circumstances they had to bear the brunt of armed conflicts. On the other hand, you now can unfailingly witness and enjoy the change for the better when Peace has been restored in the region.
It’s time we worked together for restoring Peace all over the country. In fact, Peace comes from within. Only if we really want Peace from the bottom of our hearts will Peace be there within our reach. If you just lip service Peace without really wishing for it, but work for it out of greed, anger and delusion, our peace making process would take long. Of course, it’s been a long time.
If you look into the history of Myanmar, since she has regained her independence, there wasn’t a time when the flames of the civil war had been extinguished. Seventy three years since then. Our people have struggled for a survival through these hectic seventy three years. I do not want our people to go on like this. We must have the rights to make a choice of our own, we must protect and safeguard these rights, and we will carry out our duties and responsibilities as good citizens. I trust the spirit of our people because, to tell you the truth, I want my people to be the best. A mother always wants her sons and daughters to be the best, the most outstanding. Compared with the citizens of other countries, I want to see our people more talented, stronger in morale and morality, greater foresightedness. I really do.
If from the global outlook, I do not fail to see that the morale and morality of our people can compete with the world. There’s no way to compete with the world in terms of development for we’ve been left behind. But there’s a chance to remedy this situation. It is only when each and every individual has kept his or her morale intact that our values will grow with years. We all must adopt the spirit of claiming for Peace. Peace does not merely stand for the ceasefire. Not merely for the sake of Peace making among the armed forces. Peace directs our souls for the stability, love and respect stemming from the diversity of cultures, religions and languages in our Union.
Our people are not of inferior caliber. Never underestimate yourself. Never feel small, never feel dejected, adopting the mentality that we live in a poor country, that we are poor people, our education has been lagged, etc. These drawbacks can be remedied, of course. If we have the right attitude, the right morale, we can change the situation. The moment you are determined to make a change for the betterment, there’s a way for your improvement. That is why I want my people to set a big goal, and adopt the right, unflagging spirit. With the unwavering conviction that we can stand proudly in the arena of the world, we must march forward.
The architects of our independence started a revolution with the goal of building our own destiny. That was the right for a choice. Building own destiny is the right. We have the right to choose which path to take, and how we face the challenges on the way. The moment we have taken a particular path, we cannot always have a chance to choose the challenges or hardships. Instead, we have to face it bravely. How? In what way? Well, every individual has the rights for his or her own choice. Are you going to face justice with untarnished reputation? Or are you going to play mean tricks to face the things? You have a choice. So make a choice of your own. The sages always say, It’s a lot harder to take a path of justice than the one with no justice.
A wrong path means the path you take just for the sake of satisfying the immediate needs, making things run smooth just for the short term. But if you have the long term goal, if you foresee the next generations of ours, and not for the individual personal needs, it is a lot harder, of course. So I often quote the words of an experienced politician: Those who make politics as the stepping- stone take only the next election into consideration; those who work for the interest for the country consider the interest of the next generations. What a truism! Please keep these words in mind always.
The election is very important under the democratic system because it is the occasion that the people reveal their desires and dreams. But it is more important to ensure the security of our next generations than winning victories in the elections. It would be a perfect country only if we are blessed with both physical and mental security.
In such a mass gathering like this, I always welcome you to come up with questions and proposals. I usually take the opportunity to give explanations to different views because I believe that only if there is transparency among ourselves, only if we share the same views and come together will our country stand consolidated, and make advances.
In the states like this, I usually focus on the important role of the Union because ours is a country composed of a rich variety of national races. It is quite natural that priority should be given to the affairs of own state and own national tribes. You are right to adopt this kind of attitude. But please don’t forget that the case of the Union stands above everything. The word, Union’ itself is a beautiful word for me, a word that looks fresh in all seasons.
The Union is a country built of collective forces, our collective strengths, so what a beautiful word! Please consider how much we should value it. Just like a word like “Family”.
A family does not stand for the father alone, or the mother or parents only, but it also includes the sons and daughters, and grandparents. This is family.
The Union can be likened to a family. Now we have a country called the Union. But it is only through our collective morale that our country will be a strong country, as well as a developed one. That is why I have come a long way to pay visit to the states.
I do mean the states are more important than the regions. Every individual citizen is equally important. You know, when you go politics, you must consider the interest of the majority, as well as the interest of the individual. I always think about how to adjust these two factors so that we can make practical improvements. In the mass gathering like this, the local people make proposals for the improvement of the locality. They might feel that all sorts of issues and problems pop up only in their little world.
That is why I take the opportunity to give explanations. Of course, issues are everywhere. You know, the issues of road transportation, electricity, health, education, cultivated lands, land ownership, the supply of drinking water everywhere. Our people need help because development still lies beyond our reach. Therefore, we must work harder so as to get developed more and more, consolidated more and more. However, alongside with the development, peace is a necessity. This is included in the long-term development plan of our government. Peace and development always go together: only if there is development, Peace can be built strongly; only if there is Peace can we maintain our developments. So we are striving for Peace with the objectives of restoring both, that is, peace and development. We must achieve both simultaneously.
So I’d like to request you all to collaborate. Especially, our brothers and sisters of the Union should value the Union, and strive towards restoring peace and consolidating the development with the attitude that we all are the sons and daughters of the Union.
As the fruits of our labour, we hope we could do our duties well for the new generations, for the future generations, and just a comment on our achievements, “You did it!” will satisfy us and make us feel worth living. Therefore, I’d request my people to work hard. Please direct your attention towards Peace, cherishing the goal of peace on the mind of each and every individual. You may profess any religion, but no religion speaks ill of loving kindness, or Metta. Share loving kindness among ourselves. Keep your love of Peace. Work hard. We all need to work harder.
In 1947, before we gained the independence, my father said: “The war has ravaged our country so much so that when other countries may walk, we must hurry up faster.” These words still remain true till to the present. While the other countries take time in leisurely walk, we must speed up, work harder so that we can reach our targeted goals.
So you may start training in the running exercise: if we join hands and set out running, it saves our energy. Whatever you do, if you collaborate, this would be a lighter job for you, so join hands, grip your hands tight, support the spirit of going together. Please avoid the behaviours and ways of thinking and negative attitudes and actions that would get ourselves split up. Thank you.”
After the speech of State Counsellor, local people raised issues on upgrade of hospital and healthcare services, infrastructural developments, rule of law, land confiscation and legal disputes. Union Minister Dr Myint Htwe, Kayin State Government members and officials discussed the problems to solve them with immediate actions and further investigations.
The State Counsellor also made suggestions on the threats of illegal drugs, rule of law, awareness programmes, capacity building of police forces, land confiscation cases and infrastructural developments.
The State Counsellor and party then returned to Kawkareik Township in motorcades before leading to Hlaingbwe Township by helicopters.
She held a public meeting at the town hall of Hlaingbwe.
In delivering a speech, the State Counsellor said, “Kayin State is so wide that it is difficult for us to be in every corner. I have visited almost every region of the country. However, the available time is very short for me in these places as we tried to meet people all across the country. I have no more chance to make many visits due to enormous duties of state in the area of foreign affairs and as well as internal affairs. They are not apart from each other but are actually interrelated.
Our country is not standing alone in the global community. No single country can exist in solitude. So, we are trying to maintain our dignity in relation with other countries in accordance with the globally recognized norms.
Meanwhile, it is very important to preserve the good traditions of our country because each country has its own culture and tradition. Now I must say that I appreciate such values more than ever. The reason is because when I travel I have visited developed countries as well as developing countries. The important thing is the capabilities of their citizens. This is a lesson for us. Our country is not a wealthy and powerful country. What is important is the capability of each citizen. The fact that other foreign countries understand and respect this value is a good motivation for us.
Since our country has regained independence, the world community has frequently remarked that “this country has a lot of potentials for development”, they have said further,” but its people need to put necessary efforts to realize these potentials.” Furthermore, they have said “they have not fulfilled their potentials. They have said repeatedly that although they have potentials they need to strive hard to fulfill these potentials. This is one of our goals.
As an elected government, we are responsible for implementing the favourable potentials of our country. In carrying out the task of implementation, we have not lost sight of the fact that people’s participation is a must. If our citizens want our country to develop, if they want to see their wishes fulfilled, they need to participate. Among those persons who keep asking “when is our country going to be developed. When is it going to become prosperous?” Few of them are actively participating. The majority of these people are asking these questions but they ask without doing anything, although they are capable of participating.
I would like to suggest our people not to forget their own value, self-confidence and capacity. Efforts must be made for both self-interest and community for the well-being of the country.
Our country has experienced a lot of international pressures. Especially, we were blamed for problems in Rakhine State without understanding these problems in depth with groundless allegations. Meanwhile, our country has seen significant development last year in spite of the fact that we had to face many challenges. We have been struggling very hard without getting any assistance. We were able to make progress in spite of this situation. However, the challenges have always been there. Sometimes they crop up by surprise.
The outbreak of coronavirus has impacted on our country. We cannot avoid its consequences. However, our country could take preparatory measures in both health and economic sectors. Myanmar is the first country that could bring back its citizens
from Wuhan. We are not the wealthiest country in the world. But we could manage to bring back our citizens. We are also making plans for the possible return of illegal migrants in foreign countries.
Our government has a policy to help the undocumented Myanmar citizens who are being bullied in other countries. We have responsibility for protecting our citizens. We do not shirk from our responsibility. I have spoken frequently about duty. Actually we need to be proud of the fact that we have a duty. A person without a duty is a worthless person. Therefore, in the final analysis, duty is not some job which has been assigned for you but something which is linked with loving-kindness (metta) and good intentions (cetana). That is why duty has a very deep meaning. Our community can be a really pleasant community if we really have good intentions and loving-kindness for each other; if we really value what has been done for us, if we are truly grateful.
Why? Our people are not lacking in loving-kindness (metta) and good intentions (cetana). I think our people are adorable and valuable. The generous nature of our people is very good. However, it is important that this is done systematically. That is why our people need to understand their own strengths and weaknesses. It is good to be generous. It is good to have a willingness to share. However, the sharing should be done systematically. Only then it will be effective. When we provide assistance, it should be done systematically with discipline. Only then it will be effective. Our people need to put a little more effort into this. Our people are facing common challenges. We have common expectation and destination. We need to realize our destination that is the establishment of a genuine federal union.
Each of us must try to aim for the day when we are proud to say “I’m from Each of us must try to aim for the day when we are proud to say “I’m from Myanmar”, till others praise and respect us. If each of our citizens fails to work hard, we will not achieve this status. Germany and Japan are included in the list of most disciplined countries. Their citizens keep good discipline individually. That is why after World War II, they were able to rebuild their countries from ashes to become the most developed countries in the world.
We must have high hopes. We must work with honesty and aim high. We must try to be recognized by the global community. Working with honesty means we must work honestly. It should not be for show and outward appearances only. Each of us must try to develop within ourselves qualities and capabilities that other people would truly respect and place in high regard.
I want to know the problems of people and the ways to solve them in our best as possible as we can. That is why I ask them questions. However, we cannot address all the problems as most of these problems are between people. Because they are problems between people, one may be satisfied but the other may not feel the same. It is not possible to please both sides.
This is the one of the duties of a government. If the government tried to please all sides its efforts would be doomed to failure. We have to work with a policy. A government must have a policy. Policy is not law. I want to say that policy is a belief. Based on our belief I wish to talk about procedures.
What is our belief? We believe that a country is made up of its people. The worth of its people is the worth of the country. We place high regard on our people and we value them. That is why our policy is to value our people as we nurture and develop our country. So, the reason why we support and encourage rule of law is because our people will be develop in safety only if there is rule of law.
We yearn for national reconciliation and peace. In our country we have never experienced peace since it regained independence. If there is no peace, the people have to suffer. The innocent people are the ones who suffer the most. That is why we need peace. That is why we must work to get peace. I want all of you to participate in the peace building efforts as much as you can to the best of your ability. Helping out in the peace building efforts is the same as working on development. Without peace there cannot be development.
That is why to get peace each one of us should work as a peace worker; we should stand on the side of peace. Of course there may be differences of opinions among us. We don’t need to settle our differences using means that are not peaceful. If each of us hold on to the belief that we will use peaceful means this country will soon become a peaceful country. I believe that we can achieve speedy progress as soon as we achieve peace.
There are many ethnic armed groups in our country. We are still working to convene the Panglong Conference. This work has not yet finished. Despite international pressures in Rakhine issue, we are ardently struggling for our country. Just imagine how much progress we can make if we did not have such pressures. Internal strength of our country is very important in encountering external challenges.
We will surely enjoy development. Each individual should find out what he or she can do. Is it going to be in peace efforts, maintaining discipline, or development of one’s own business for the development of the country.
If children study at schools with the objective to help and develop our country, it will also be helpful for the peace and prosperity of our country. Let’s try together. We have many challenges and weaknesses. We admit this. We will face them. We will work continuously to overcome our weaknesses. I wish to request our people to try and overcome their weaknesses and join hands and cooperate with us for the progress and development of our country.”
After the speech, the State Counsellor, Union Ministers Dr Aung Thu and Dr Myint Htwe, State Government members and officials explained on the issues of local people on upgrade of motorway, road, electrification project, compensation for land confiscation, healthcare services and national interest of Myanmar from court hearing at ICJ.
Before leaving Hlaingbwe Township, she also met with the locals who are awaiting her at the helicopter landing ground.
At the meeting she said, “A major strength in our work lies on the people’s support. No government can have its strength without the participation and support of the people. Apart from any other superficial strengths, the participation and support of the people are the only profound and significant strength. I’d like to thank you all for your patience to welcome and give me an opportunity to address you.
I do not need to elaborate on the fact that we are more required to develop our country. However, ‘unity’ is the most important factor in the roadmap towards our development. We all need to unite. The strength of the people like understanding and empathy between one another is the only strength different from others. Our people should understand and value it.
Right after the Independence, our nation was one of the forerunners among the South-East Asian countries. Health and education were then up to high standards within South-East Asia. Yet those things and situations could have been changed. We can see our neighbouring countries have now overtaken us. This is what has happened in the past. We could not change the past. At present we need to do what we need to do.
We have to value the present moment. We have our individual right to decide how to make the best use of the present moment of ours. The future might be at hand but we can’t hold it right now. We don’t know by a hundred percent how would it be tomorrow. This is a law of nature.
What we are doing now. How we are using our present moment. We are altogether in this mass gathering. We gather in unity and it results in benefits. This is an instance of time. We have decided how to use it and we’re making better use of it now. We deserve it. We don’t know what we might do tomorrow. One may have a certain objective but tomorrow we cannot expect 100 percent of it. We have our present moment at hand. Please bear it in your mind.
All of you should be mindful of trying your best at the present moment you all are in. You should consider your country in this regard.
Each and every citizen takes his or her country into account steadily day by day and you can think of how many numbers we can add based on a population of over 50 million people. You should do to develop yourself. This is right and responsibility for all. Our government will provide as much support as we can in the improvement of each and every citizen of us. Please take time and consider our nation little by little, a day at a time; just a little, not a lot.
To my satisfaction, the majority of this audience is familiar with Thailand. We should not stop at satisfaction. We should set firm determination to do more than the conditions in there. We do want to develop our country.
Experts may say that it is important we should compete ourselves rather than with others. We can be winners both for our own competition and for competition with others. You should work hard to the best of your ability. No doubt. I’m sure this is the way towards our development.
I’d like to take this opportune time and talk to our people. Please do not underestimate yourselves. Don’t be discouraged by yourselves. Don’t feel unhappy about ourselves comparing with others. We need to build our country where we all can enjoy and live happy safe and secure lives. With this firm determination mindset, we can walk hand in hand together and achieve success in our future journey.
That’s why, we should consider as friends for one another. We should keep walking together hand in hand towards our future destiny. I wish you all good health and peace of mind throughout this journey. Thank you all.”
After the meeting, the State Counsellor and party arrived back to Mawlamine in the afternoon. She held a meeting with Union Ministers, Deputy Minister, Chief Ministers of Kayin and Mon States, cabinet members at the Mawlamyine Airport.
During the meeting, she made instructions to take priority on the problems of local people during public meetings, to implement the national project transparently with public participations, to fight against narcotic drugs by the Ministry of Home Affairs in collaboration with students,teachers and parents, and to address squatter issue.She also coordinated the discussions of state governments. The State Counsellor and party returned from Mawlamyine to Nay Pyi Taw by a special flight in the afternoon.—MNA(Translated by Aung Khin/AungThura/Dr Zaw Tun)