A most auspicious mingala new year to dear dear friends of Myanmar!
The English New Year is the anniversary of Jet Ni’s father’s suicide. You might recall father ate fertilizer two years ago, when a crony businessman seized our ancestral land to make room for Mingala Hotel.
Jet Ni now works for Mingala Hotel as doorman. With tips from generous American ladies, his income is not too bad. No, no! Jet Ni can’t afford a Pajero or a housemaid. His earning is a raindrop in the oceanic expenses for his mother’s cervical cancer. Don’t fret. There are better things than cervical cancer in Myanmar.
One of Jet Ni’s aunts was killed instantly on a rainy day in July when a live overhead wire dropped on her neck at No.15 Market in Hlaing Thaya, Yangon. Two other women and a child near her were grilled alive too. The Lord Buddha, may their souls rest in peace!
Speaking of death, good news is that our government has given up on the Yangon-Naypyitaw-Mandalay concrete motorway (aka Highway to Hell). The motorway was built with forced labour by several crony construction companies. This year alone there were 408 accidents, resulting in 147 deaths and 797 injuries on Highway to Hell. Consecration of the road with the help of local nat spirits yielded little help. It’s time for foreign investors to intervene, and upgrade the system. May the Myanmar people rename the road Stairway to Heaven!
You might remember Jet Ni’s cousin Shwe Mi, the Zhang Ziyi lookalike? Shwe Mi went off with a human trafficker to China and she was married to one Chinaman after another, so we heard. Of late, Shwe Mi has been seen in the streets of Mong La. She is very popular among the Chinese gamblers. She is more sought after than tiger skin and ivory. Good on Shwe Mi. This new year, she even sent the latest Huawei smartphone for little sister Mya May.
Myanmar is a model state. Tourism is booming. Tourism promotions in Myanmar feature modeling by sexy tourist guides. Welcome to Myanmar! Everything is about beauty kings and queens. There are parties with ‘‘special sexy guests’’. Jet Ni, who is neither special nor sexy, loves them of course. Erotic capital is non-depletable and environmentally friendly. Guess what, sister Mya May in the bloom is being groomed for Ms. WWW 2015! We pray that she will go to Korea, and steal the crown like sister May Myat Noe.
The best-dressed celebrity award this year goes to Aye Ne Win, the grandson of our beloved immortal the late President U Ne Win. Aye Ne Win is paying the inheritance tax to Myanmar by serving the country as a full-time spokesperson for the Myanmar army. Given his viral popularity, Aye Ne Win might become a future Myanmar President to finish building the Myanmar nation his grandfather Ne Win has left half-done. The Lord Buddha, have mercy on his soul!
Speaking of tourism, most of the tourists who visit Myanmar are development tourists. Since Jet Ni’s village has become Aidland, everyone is now NGO. We have DONGOs, ENGOs, GONGOs, INGOs, QUANGOs, TANGOs and MANGOs, all wanting to be BINGOs. Before they become BINGOs, Myanmar organizations usually split into FINGOs. Didn’t they learn anything from the world-famous Yangon School of Political Science!
After development tourists, there were a lot of treasure hunters this year. One group was looking for the WW II era Spitfire fighters and another trying to salvage the Dhammazedi bell from the Yangon river. Now both groups realized they had been pranked by the Myanmar folks who had invented the Spitfire and the Dhammazedi stories to entertain themselves. How disappointing!
Another big disappointment was the provisional result of the national census in August! Myanmar now has a population of only 51 millions. Less people means less aid money. Does it also mean we Myanmar are dying at a rate faster than we are being born? In Jet Ni’s village at least, orphans are everywhere, and available for adoption.
There have been a lot of numerological campaigns over the past year. Of course Mother Suu’s ‘‘436 Campaign’’ is not as successful as the Vulnerable U Wirathu’s ‘‘969 Movement.’’ In March our Vulnerable U Wirathu was again accused of inciting an anti-Muslim riots in Mandalay. There was even a night curfew over Mandalay and the howling serenaders at Mandalay suburbs went quiet for a while. We in Myanmar love The Vulnerable U Wirathu for his campaign against the Bengalis who want to be known as Rohingyas. Thanks to the Vulnerable U Wirathu, the ‘‘Religious Conversion Law’’, that will require any interfaith couple who want to get hitched to first get the consent from the state, awaits legislation. How cool is that?
Talking of the Vulnerables, in June there was a national furore when 300 armed troops raided Maha Santisukha, the ten-story-brick-and-steel behemoth in Yangon. The complex is Myanmar’s largest Buddhist learning centre, at least, in size. It also doubled as a film studio! The authorities stormed the building to delouse Buddhism. Even the Minister of Religion went down with Maha Santisukha.
We need 100 percent purified Buddhism more than ever. Some foreigners are too much. In November, a Kiwi called Philip and his two Myanmar collaborators were arrested for dressing the Lord Buddha head in DJ headphones in the promotional poster for their restaurant bar. In light of their horrid karma, a sentence of four years to each of them may be too lenient. Some locals are too much too. Author Htin Lin Oo, Mother Suu’s information officer, is now in jail for hurting the Buddhist feelings when he spoke against the proposed Religious Conversion Law. Mother Suu has aptly dismissed the blasphemer from his post.
The peace process has never been in better shape. Everyone in the process is getting wealthier and more peaceful. The Myanmar Facebook brims with appreciations for the government’s efforts. In October, investigative journalist Par Gyi was tortured and killed by the Myanmar army for poking his head too much into the process. In November, 23 rebel cadets training at a Kachin Independence Army (KIA) base near Laiza in northern Myanmar were killed when they unfortunately happened to be in the target practise area of the Myanmar army. In December a woman protestor at the Chinese copper mine near Monywa was killed by a rubber bullet. The Lord Buddha, may their souls rest in peace!
A most spectacular event in November was the Norwegian royals’ visitation of Mandalay. His Norwegian Majesty and the Queen wanted to experience what the British saw in 1885 when they sailed up the Irrawaddy to occupy Mandalay. Of course dozens of shanty dwellers on the Irrawaddy bank in Mandalay had been displaced so Her Norwegian Majesty the Queen could take bright, beautiful and boring photos from the royal barge.
The British conquered Burma with Maxim guns. The Norwegians, with Telenor. After his Norwegian Majesty’s visit, thousands of Myanmar mobile phone users switched from MPT (Myanmar Post and Telecommunication) to Telenor. The third operator Ooredoo (formerly Qatar Telecom) is popular only among the Myanmar Muslims. Personally Jet Ni would be delighted if His Norwegian Majesty annexes Myanmar and makes Myanmar a tropical province of Norway. That will do good for the Norwegians, who in increasing number are frozen to death every winter.
The transition is from the rule of terror to the rule of error. The rule of terror is by arms and ammo. The rule of error by experts and expertise. Someone said the Myanmar experts only take after their American godfathers, Walt Rostow, Samuel Huntington and Lucien Pye, who had found their way from the academe to the US government. But we Myanmar very very love to follow the Americans, especially Mr. Obama! Warmly welcome again Mr. President!
This letter already quite long long. Let me end here by assuring you that 2015 will be a great year – it is the birth centennial of our national hero General Aung San, Mother Suu’s father. We look forward to partying all year round. The general election in winter 2015 will be entertaining too, provided there is no military coup afterwards.
Of course, Jet Ni is very upbeat about Myanmar’s democratic future. After all, everyone today is proportionally represented. The Myanmar have President Dr. U Thein Sein. Bengalis have Dr. Zarni. Old buildings in Yangon have Dr. Thant Myint-U. The Chin have Dr. Sakhong. Dead people have U Kyaw Thu. The Rakhine have Mother Suu. Long live Mother Suu!
With lots of mingala metta for 2015,
Jet Ni (Kyak Ni)
Hotel Zone 24 (Gyobingone Village)
Ko Ko Thett