The 75th birth anniversary of renowned writer Moe Moe (Inya) was celebrated with the Myanmar Literature and Arts Festival at Yangon’s historic Central Press building in Botahtaung Township yesterday.
The event was formally opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony by Deputy Minister for Information U Aung Hla Tun, Yangon Region Hluttaw representative U Tint Lwin, MoI Permanent Secretary U Myo Myint Maung, U Myo Nyunt (Sarpay Lawka), and Daw Than Myint Aung, the chairperson of the committee for organizing the event.
State Counsellor’s digital address
Next, a video from State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was played. She first expressed gratitude for having the opportunity to speak at the commemoration for Moe Moe (Inya) and the festival. She said she will not be speaking as a literary scholar or critic but as an admirer of the writer’s work.
She said reading allows people to see the old world in new perspectives and to find new worlds as well. She said reading the famous writer’s books allowed her a fresh insight into the type of community she lived in. She said this allowed her to construct many worlds of thought and is a respectable skill of the writer to spark this thinking in the reader.
The State Counsellor said this is because a nation has to go through different time periods and historians cannot document history alone. She said the thoughts and words of artists are sometimes more effective in painting a picture of a time era. They are able to see, think and notice things they haven’t before. She said this was one of the reasons she respects Moe Moe (Inya) as reading her books let gain a more comprehensive understanding of Myanmar. Her books give insight into the spirit of the public and the feeling of the citizens.
The State Counsellor said she also noticed the writer often portrays the strengthened will when revealing the challenges and issues of the time period. She believes this firm will is important and supportive for every citizen because every nation and society will inevitably have to pass through a period of difficulty. She said the support given by experts, artists, professionals and great writers during those sort of times is invaluable.
The State Counsellor said the esteemed would have been 75 today and at an age where she is still prime for writing. She wonders how the writer would portray modern Myanmar and its democratic transition. As she wonders what sort of perspectives, portrayals and ideologies writer Moe Moe (Inya) could have given were she still alive, the State Counsellor said she feels her passing was a great loss for the nation.
However, she said the writer’s books are quite comprehensive and thus while she was unable to live a long life it cannot be called unfulfilling as she wrote numerous quality books. The State Counsellor said she once wrote a book about a senior member of the National League for Democracy. She said a valuable human being does not have an early or late death as they have completed what they needed to do if they pass away too early and have the strength to continue their duties if they pass away later in life. Thus, even though writer Moe Moe (Inya) did not live a life as long as we wanted, she was able to use her skills to the fullest and contribute wholly to her society, her nation, to the arts and literature and for that she is well respected.
The State Counsellor said the Myanmar Literature and Arts Festival is lively and writer Moe Moe (Inya)’s work is an art form in itself. She said this is why choosing her birth anniversary for the festival is well-suited. She urged attendees to reflect on the work of the great writer, value them, and hope for the continued art and literary development of future generations.
Deputy Minister’s remarks
Next, Deputy Minister U Aung Hla Tun delivered an address. He first thanked the organizers of the festival and expressed delight for the Ministry of Information to have been able to contribute as well. He said he is a strong supporter of Moe Moe (Inya)’s writings. He said the gifts of literature bestowed by literary experts for his generation that went through numerous challenges is invaluable. He wondered how the great writer would pen this society during the democratic transition if she were still alive. He wished for the writer’s literature to proliferate indefinitely and spread to all corners of the globe.
This was followed by separate addresses from Daw Than Myint Aung and Ko Zaw Myo Nyunt, who spoke on behalf of Moe Moe (Inya)’s family.
Next, esteemed female writers Kyu Kyu Thin, San San Nwe (Tharyawady), Ma Sandar and Ma Hnin Phway began the roundtable discussion on literary life of Moe Moe (Inya).
Following this, artist Pe Nyunt Wai gave a talk on ‘Expressing Moe Moe (Inya) through painting and writer Natmauk Ani Cho conducted the paper reading session.
The event was attended by Yangon Region Minister for Rakhine Ethnic Affairs U Zaw Aye Maung, officials from the regional cabinet, Hluttaw representatives, MoI officials, members of the organizing committee, experts and officials from the literary world, and lovers of literature.
Background on writer
Moe Moe (Inya) was born in DaikU in 1944. While attending Yangon University in 1964, she began writing poems under her pseudonym from Inya Dorm. She wrote her first novel, ‘Pyauk-thaw-lann-hmar san-ta-war’ in 1972 and received the National Literature Award for it in 1974. She also received short novel awards in 1980, 1982 and 1986 for the novel and short novel collections. Her books have been translated into English, Russian, Japanese and Chinese. She worked as the editor of Sabel Phyu Magazine from 1989 to her death in 1990.
The Myanmar Literary and Arts Festival will continue to 27 October and open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The festival includes photo displays of famous writers through successive time periods, an exhibition on moveable type printing, discussions between writers and their readers, art exhibitions, practical painting, cartoon displays, caricature drawing, performances from literary artists, SME booths, bookstalls, and free food and drinks. — Ommar Sandi (Translated by Zaw Htet Oo)