Yadanarbon Daily in The Past Representing Thousands of Eyes & Ears

  • Khin Maung Aye (Mandalay)
  • 782 3 copy

King Mindon, who founded Mandalay City and Mandalay Palace & sponsored the 5th Buddhist Synod built up the Yadanarbon City with the moat around the Palace, Maha Loka Marajein Pagoda, Maha Sima Hall preaching Sacred Maha Pahtana Canon, Maha Atula Veyan (Atumashi) Monastery & Sudhamma Resting Place with grandeur and splendor, just after hearing a burst of cannon fire at the very nascent hours of Sunday just after 2 am under the Myanmar traditional timing system on 13 Waxing of Kason month, 1221 ME.
Myanmar with High Status & Good Reputation
There were a total of 729 Sacred Buddhist Pitaka Stone Scription Pillars built in caves each, as the holy shrines. These existed as a grace in Mandalay for Mandalay city dwellers to stand tall as the world’s biggest book. Our Myanmar people managed to live proudly on a grand scale, under the rule of our kings in our country.
During the reign of King Mindon, the Monarch, Myanmar literature was remarkably well-known for its advanced status. Out of variety of literature which emerged in that period, there included kinds of composition such as Pyo & Mawgun. Of them, we can enjoy reading the works of Narkhandaw Saw Hla Myosar U Shwe Chi such as Ah Katthi Pyo, Abi Ruka Pyo, Kaleinga Bodhi Pyo, Chanda Keindari Pyo, Deva Dhamma Pyo, Maha Paduma Pyo, Maha Dhamma Parla Pyo, Beikmam Yadanar Kyaungdaw Mawgun & Maha Veyan Bonsa Kyaungdaw Mawgun can be enjoyed as aesthetic writing of excellence.
Yadanabon Mandalay
With a view to the development of intelligence quotient and mentality of its subjects, the monarch permitted Mandalay Yadanarbon Daily to be published. Performances for the progress of social life of the people were visible in it. The newspaper was managed by a Sino-Myanmar named Mr Ah Hee, who was conferred upon the title of Thandawsint meant for “officer of the court who received and transmitted the king’s orders.” Ah Hee mastered in 6 languages and knew publishing work very well but he lacked skills of writing Myanmar so that the then people would like. It was Maha Mingaung, Myothit Myosar who supervised the newsroom.
At that time, a lad named Maung Lwin, son of Minhla Yarzar U Tun-Daw Kho was sent to U Cheint, Myaukhla Myosar by U Pandita, Reverend Sayardaw of Khinmagan monastery, who ordained the nephew of the co-residing Sayardaw U Zargara, naming him Shin Varajein meant for thunderbolt or weapon carried by Indra.
Renaming Maung Lwin as Maung Htin
Myaunghla Myosar apprenticed Maung Lwin to Kinwun Mingyi. When asked of his name, he replied that his name was Maung Lwin. Being similar to the king’s name, the lad was renamed as Maung Htin, by Kinwun Mingyi. When he entered the press work, his salary was 15 kyats only. Though being the manager of the Press, Mr Ah Hee acknowledged Maung Htin’s qualifications, assigning suitable duties to Maung Htin.
Yadanarbon newspaper became very popular with extremely attractive writing style of Maung Vajira. As Maung Vajira’s works became gradually well-known in the paper, the king condescended to see Maung Htin in the palace. Since the very advent of the publication of the newspaper, the King himself ordered newsmen to disclose of the truth if the king and the queen were proved guilty. To his great surprise, he saw Maung Htin, noting that the lad was too young.
Yadanarbon & Ko Vajira
When U Thott, senior clerical staff of the royal court, came to know that Maung Htin’s remuneration was only 15 kyats per month, he made the salary raised up to 60 kyats per month. Some figures such as Kinwun Mingyi, Yaw Atwinwun U Po Hlaing perused the weekly newspaper which was published 4 times every month, praising Ko Vajira’s works highly. After working for the press for two years or so, Ko Vajira resigned from the job on the pretext of suffering a sore on his arm to return to the Khinmagan monastery. Such a condition was assumed to have been attributed to tangled royal affairs.
Just after the demise of King Mindon, King Thibaw ascended to the throne. Freedom of expression in the newspaper was not any longer broadly granted as before, and the king and the queen were not like the previous ones. So he seemed to have decided to live far away from the press. From this event, we can see that the then public of Po Vajira’s time of running the press seemed to love freedom
of press.
Glass-Walling
Ceremony for paying obeisance to the doyen news media men for the third time was held in the Yangon City Hall on 10 December, 2016. As regards outlooks of the media-men toward the press media world, they disclosed, “Freedom of press has been granted, like a house with the door open. But when a man enters the room, assuming that the door is open, he happens to collides with the glass wall with a great thud. Now we are marching toward a democratic state. We have had a civilian government. It is being said that we have had openness. Yet, we are as if being separated with a glass walling. Compared to the previous time, the condition of Myanmar press media world went to the state of operating in the restricted way.
Progress achieved
One of the veterans named U Mya Shwe also said, “Paying to the respect to the aged will bring about auspiciousness, good health and wealth, intelligence and might to those who pay. Thanks to this meritorious deed, he is said to be liberated from “Apaya—the four nether worlds, according to the Buddhish canons. Compared to the past, the condition of the present Myanmar press media world has developed considerably. These days, internet and face-book can be said to have occupied numbers of readers reading print media, but these news sources cannot be proved true. They are mixed up with true and false ones, whereas newspapers report their news covered by their correspondents. In the previous time, we ourselves had to go the places of news sources. On arrival at the place, reporters had to write the news based on the information collected from the persons in question. Now that people post the news as soon as it has been heard, some may not be true.”
Abide by the media ethic
As for the outlook toward the media world, Hanthawady U Ohn Kyaing stressed, “Today can be said to be the extraordinary one. I am now 88 years old. The mayor had made a solemn promise verbally that an event for a paper reading will be held. We demanded for it for the sake of posterity, completely not for us. We had had freedom of press, but we need to follow and exercise it, on one condition that we should not write news and information randomly and in an unrestrained way. In addition, newsmen need to carefully study the criminal law and the penal code. At the same time, I want to urge them to do so. All are required to follow the media ethic adopted by our veterans.”
Newspapers tell history.
We will never think that it will be wrong if we claim that newspapers tell history and newspapers can be called “The mirror of life,” as it reflects lives of people throughout the history. Newspapers always warn people and bring about light to them. Our Mandalayians love, admire and value newspapers. The first thing in the morning, dailies go into their hands. News media work seems to be easy and superficial in outward appearance but it is quite different from that supposition. With the passing time, newsmen have been working for the news.
It is the work of presenting news & information taking places everyday in the country, to the public as rightfully and promptly as it can. Hence, a newsman is required to be quick at covering news, astute and able to distinguish which kinds of trees or plants they are, just by seeing barks. In other word, he must be equipped with knowledge.
Read a lot as much as one can
Ceremony for paying respect to the doyen journalists for the 3rd time had been held. Suck a custom is only in Myanmar. Sayarmagyi Daw Kywe Kywe expressed her opinion, “Presently, news media world has developed much though numbers of readers decreased. I am not really satisfied with the people. Due to the lack reading, crimes are committed more than ever. On account of scanty knowledge, they are easily deceived. Human trafficking is in fact
attributed to having little knowledge. Knowledge is acquired from newspapers and literature. So, read a lot. Being well-read can save us from deceit and it will give us medical knowledge.”
However it is, in the time of our younger generation of journalists the current of Myanmar literature is casting light over them, like the shining sun at dawn. Let me conclude my writing here by presenting an appealing letter by Reverend Ledi Sayardaw, who had composed over 60 treatises.
Pretended mind,
Boast is high up to the sky.
Compose just to believe!
Hyperbole over-exceeds.
Dirt in the interior,
Only in the outside is clear.
Avoid challenges from behind.
Pretenders depict only one side.
Sweet as the wording tasteful,
As if the flavor of honey juice.
Temperament is bitter like Neem.
If chances are in favor,
Excessively one will savor.
Little frightened of nether worlds,
In life circle doomed to failure,
Assuming the Present as Nivarna
As per usual, saying impermanence.
Such villains who cheated and exploited people with sweet lies, as if slicing meat thinly with a sharp knife have come to a close desperately. Last but not least, I would like our literary fellows to exert our concerted effort in developing Myanmar literature for the sake of our younger generation.
Translated by Khin Maung Oo (Tada-U)

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