Chairperson of the Committee for Development of Rural Areas and National Races State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi attended the 68th Kayah State Day Ceremony in Loikaw yesterday.
Accompanied by Union Ministers Lt-Gen Kyaw Swe, U Min Thu, Dr Aung Thu, U Ohn Win and U Thein Swe, Deputy Ministers U Aung Htoo, U Tin Latt, and U Hla Maw Oo and officials, the State Counsellor left Nay Pyi Taw for Loikaw, Kayah State, by special flight yesterday morning.
First, the State Counsellor attended a ceremony to open the archway of the 68th Kayah State Day. The State Counsellor, together with union ministers Lt-Gen Kyaw Swe, U Min Thu, Dr Aung Thu, Chief Minister of Kayah State U L Phaung Sho, Speaker of Kayah State Hluttaw U Hla Htwe, Pyithu Hluttaw Representative Dr Khin Sithu, Amyotha Hluttaw Representative U Saw Sein Tun and town elder Daw Lusi Than, formally opened the Kayah State Day.
Afterwards, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi unveiled the archway of the Kayah State Day ceremony before the 68th anniversary Kayah State Day.
Leaders from nine ethnic tribes of Kayah chaired the ceremony.
The attendees saluted the State Flag and fallen leaders and heroes.
Next, local ethnic people entered the attendees with a song titled “Can’t live without Peace.”
Afterwards, Chief Minister of Kayah State U L Phaung Sho read the message sent from President U Win Myint to the Kayah State Day.
Next, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi delivered the speech.
(The speech delivered by State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi at the 68th Kayah State Day is covered separately).
After her speech, the State Counsellor, union ministers, Kayah State Chief Minister and officials posed for the documentary photos together with leaders of the nine ethnic tribes of Kayah and ethnic people.
Following the photo session, the State Counsellor took part in the traditional performance together with the cultural dance troupes of local ethnic people.
Afterwards, the State Counsellor visited the booths staged by departments at the ceremony.
Messages were sent by the Pyithu Hluttaw Speaker U T Khun Myat, Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, Kayaw Literature and Cultural Committee, Pa-O Literature and Cultural Committee, Danu Ethnic Affairs League (Central), Kayan Literature and Cultural Committee, Inter-Faith Group (Kayah State) and Shwe Loikaw (Kayah) Philanthropic Society in honor of the 68th Anniversary of Kayah State Day.
Following the ceremony, the State Counsellor and her entourage flew to Nganyo Village, Hsaungdular Village-tract in Dimawso Township, where they were welcomed by deputy ministers U Kyi Min and members of the Kayah State Cabinet, cultural dance troupes and local people.
Afterwards, the State Counsellor attended a ground breaking ceremony to construct the Pyitawthar Peace Pagoda in the village.
At the ceremony, the congregation led by the State Counsellor received the Five Precepts from Sayadaw Dr Zawana and presented the bricks decorated with jewels and offertories to the Members of the Sangha.
Afterwards, the State Counsellor laid the ruby brick at the site chosen and sprinkled scented water over it.
Similarly, Union Ministers Lt-Gen Kyaw Swe, U Min Thu, Dr Aung Thu, U Ohn Win and U Thein Swe, Chief Minister U L Phaung Sho, members of the Kayah State Cabinet, laid the bricks decorated with jewels and sprinkled scented water over them. Afterwards, the State Counsellor and entourage returned Loikaw and enjoyed lunch together with leaders of ethnic tribes of Kayah, religious leaders and townselders.
Following the luncheon, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi met with U Banyar of the Kayini Human Rights, Khu Tu Rae of the Farmers Union, Khun Thomas of the Youths Union, Karcil Parah, a local farmer, Ma Helen of the Kayan Women Asiayone and Khu Ri Rae of the Kayah Liphu Youth Society.
At the meeting, Khu Tu Rae requested the State Counsellor to help settling land confiscation issue and farmers who were sent to prison and are facing for land issues; Khu Ri Rae to make arrangement for another negotiation with officials concerned to settle the Bogyoke Bronze Statue issue and Khun Thomas to build a youth centre for youths in Kayah State, to establish funds and to review the youth affairs policy. State Counsellor urged the local authorities to check the cases in detail in efforts to settle the cases and make arrangements to prevent similar cases in the future.
Regarding the Bogyoke Aung San Bronze Statue issue, the State Counsellor said she would not take a role in settling the issue as it was related with her father. However, she urged the Kayah State Government, youths and representatives from Kayah State and Union Government to meet as soon as possible in efforts to settle the issue. Following the meeting, the State Counsellor met with religious leaders, local people and townselders.
At the meeting, she expressed her delight for seeing the unity and peace among the people of different faiths and stressed the important role of the townselders in maintain peace and stability in their respective areas.In response to the reports, the State Counsellor said that the government takes account of minorities’ rights, land confiscation cases in Kayah State will be discussed as soon as possible, all the citizens are invited to participate in peace process, the Hluttaw is making constitution amendment and the government is putting emphasis on upgrading transportation.
After the public meeting, the State Counsellor, Union Ministers, the Chief Minister of Kayah State and officials had documentary photos taken together with religious leaders, local ethnic people and town elders.
Then, the State Counsellor met with the locals at the Kayah State Hall in Loikaw.
We are very glad to visit Loikaw. I also thank the locals for their rousing welcome to us. We try to visit all the corners of the country as much as possible. But we hurried up with these visits as we had not much time. We could spend only about one and half hours for the meeting like this. We understand it is not enough time to deal with the questions of people. However, we really want to interact with the people as much as possible.
It is because we want to hear feelings, concerns, expectations of people. Although it is not possible to hear all of these from the whole country in a single meeting, I have noticed that these are general issues of common people. This shows we are living in the same country. Since I entered politics, I have found that people in other countries where I visited have common expectations, concerns and needs despite slight differences depending on the geographical locations. It has proved that we all are living in a single country. Some want to live separately, but I recommend living in unity and Union spirit. If we asked common people in different areas of the country, it will be found that they have similar feeling and concerns.
For example, we noticed that the farmers from central Myanmar, like Magway, have the same concerns as their counterparts in southern and eastern Shan State, although they have different languages. When we visited northern and eastern Shan State, we had to talk with the locals through interpreters as we do not understand local languages. Actually, they expressed their feelings and concerns like those from central areas of Myanmar.
Therefore, we are living on the same land, drinking the same water and taking the same boat. On the boat, we are affected by its conditions. We also need the same resources for living. It means we are drinking the same water. Our country is an agricultural country until now. So, we must seriously consider the issues of famers, such as ownership of agricultural land. It is also the same problem for the whole country.
Regarding the expectation of our people, they demand promotion of education after infrastructural developments in transportation, communications and electricity. People from every corner of the country say they hope better education. It is a high expectation. At present, our country is one of the least developed nations in the world. We must face this reality. However, they call for better education as they have expectation of better future for their posterity. We seriously take this into account. We need a better education for the development of the country and better economy of the State. However, a correct education system is required for unity and prosperity of the country. The education system must be developed to generate capable citizens as best as we can. These capable citizens must have capacity of multiple visions. A one-sided person is not a capable person. We advise the teachers to support their inquisitiveness of our young people and students.
Why don’t the teachers like questioning from students? I draw a two-point conclusion. The first one is that teachers assume that they know better than the students, and that students are now allowed to raise questions. Students are just for listening and following instructions of teachers in the exams. The second one is that some teachers have low confidence, and they fear being questioned by students. They worry that they would not be able to answer those questions. Both of these mindsets must be changed by generating capable teachers with full confidence and good attitude to the students to get rid of worries about their capability. It must be understood that teaching-learning process is taking place between teachers and students reciprocally. Teachers can learn thoughts and idea of students.
This is also the same phenomena for the government and people. Both sides must develop capacities mutually. People can raise questions to the government. Only then, the administration can learn concerns of the people. However, such relations could help people know the government’s aims, objectives, difficulties and challenges. During the public meetings, we were asked for transportation and electricity. These are related with development programmes. We have to remind that we are working for the whole country, instead of any specific State and Region, and any single town or village. We have to fulfill their requirements proportionally. For example, the amount of food for a six-month baby will not be equal to that of a ten-year old one. They will need different amounts of food.
Fairness is considered on the proportion of demand and supply. We will supply Kayah State with all the possible supports, while we are trying for other areas. It is our duty. So I am advising all the citizens to develop a spirit of unity. The issues of roads, bridges, electricity and agriculture are common problems of the whole country. All of our people are encountering common challenges from these sectors. We must consider how to help each other who are in the same boat. We must paddle the boat to the same destination, instead of heading to the different directions.
If there are 10 persons on the boat, they all must put their efforts in moving the boat forward. If they divided into two groups of fives and paddled to the different directions, the boat will not move on. Even if one person was doing the opposite, the boat will not get a momentum to some extent. As we are in the same boat, we must try in unity by making a common agreement on the destination. So, all of our citizens need to consider about the destination of our country. As we are heading to a genuine democratic State, we all must concentrate on it. This advice is for the whole country because many people do not try to identify the needs for our Union.
I often suggest please consider at least once a day about the requirements for our country. This consideration will help for the development of our country.
If the requirements could be identified, plans for handling these issues could be imagined in the next step, followed by implementations. It is not for the development of a specific State, but for prosperity of the whole country. I also request to make collective efforts for the development of our country.
During the question and answer session, the submitted questions included road constructions, electricity supply, tele communications, markets for local agricultural produce, compensations for seized lands, irrigation for villages, release of confiscated lands, requirements of urine and kidney doctors, upgrading hospital in Dimawhso, assignment of a doctor for Shadaw Township, establishment of Myanmar Economic Development Bank in Dimawhso, wrong naming of Lisu people as Lishaw, and citizenship application system.
The five persons who won lots for questioning from outside the Hall raised queries about construction of inter-village road, expansion of village areas, construction of water retaining wall and religious building, appointment for civil service staff to locals, compensation for lands, release of arrested persons for land disputes, and protest against a dam on Thanlwin River.
Union Ministers U Min Thu, Dr Aung Thu, Deputy Minister U Aung Htoo, ministers of State government and Permanent Secretary Dr Thet Khaing Win discussed possible immediate actions and long term plans.
The State Counsellor concluded that the questions have shown poor relations between the State government and the locals, and advised more interactions with common people to fulfill their needs.
She also discussed the appointments of locals for the public services, land compensation and release of confiscated lands, consequences of national level projects and benefits for the local residents.
After having the documentary photos taken, the State Counsellor visited Buddha Park in Loikaw and paid homage to the Buddha Image.
Then, the State Counsellor attended Japan-Myanmar Friendship Cherry Trees Planting Festival to mark the 68th Anniversary of Kayah State Day.
I am very appreciate for organizing the Japan-Myanmar Friendship Cherry Trees Planting Festival on the Kayah State Day. The first Japan-Myanmar Friendship Cherry Trees Planting Ceremony was held in Nay Pyi Taw in January 2017. Cherry trees are significant in Japanese culture. These flowers represent beauty and elegance. Although these flowers bloom only a short time, they are very beautiful. Good persons are sometimes compared with Cherry flowers. Even such persons did not live long in life, they could lead their lives beautifully.
The planting ceremony is to demonstrate that our country and our national people value elegance, beauty, loyalty and capacity to lead their lives attractively. The festival also represents friendship relations between Myanmar and Japan as the two countries have co-existed friendly for many years. Both of us encountered the good and the bad. However, we emphasized only the positive points to strengthen our relations.
Therefore, Cherry planting ceremony represents friendship relations of our countries. It has proved to be a successful establishment of friendship relations between the two countries with different cultures, different countries and different people. It also reveals that our national people need to build peace, friendship and stability each other.
I also express thanks to all the dignitaries at the festival. The Cherry trees will not bloom overnight. It will take a certain time. It was also leant that researches were carried out for some years to be able to grow cherry trees in Myanmar. Our country has different soils and atmospheres from those of Japan. Research works would need a lot of efforts for successful grow of Cherry trees in this country. We must continue working for the bloom of Cherry flowers. We must also try for it. I hope Cherry flowers will give good lessons for us. These trees will not surely bloom next year. It took some years to grow Cherry trees, and then the flowers will turn out. We would enjoy the beauties of these flowers in the future. So, the festival is organized to mark long-term friendship relationship between Myanmar and Japan. I also wish to organize such auspicious events to honour Kayah State Day in the future.
After the Cherry trees planting festival, U Ye Tun Oo, the member of National Tourism Development Committee and the Myanmar-Japan Tourism Promotion Committee, expressed thanks. Then, the State Counsellor, Union Ministers, the Chief Minister of Kayah State and officials had documentary photos taken and grew Cherry trees at the designated places.
The State Counsellor and party arrived back to Nay Pyi Taw by special flight in the afternoon.