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ျမန္မာ စစ္ဗိုလ္ခ်ဳပ္ ေတြ ဘာေၾကာင့္ မိန္းမ ထမီ ၀တ္ရတာလဲ


Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011
Why Did Burma’s Leader Appear on TV in Women’s Clothes?
By Robert Horn / Bangkok

General Than Shwe of Burma, the dour and taciturn leader of one of the world’s most repressive military regimes, isn’t known for his feminine side. His contempt for pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is rooted in part, most Burma analysts say, to the fact that she is a woman.

And so many Burmese were baffled earlier this month when Than Shwe and other top generals, appearing at a nationally televised ceremony, shed their dress uniforms for the Burmese equivalent of women’s dresses. “I don’t understand why the generals were wearing women’s [sarongs] but they looked very weird,” said a Rangoon mechanic, Myint Oo. Others put a more sinister spin on the generals’ sartorial selection. “It’s yadaya,” said a Rangoon-based astrologer who asked not to be named, referring to Burma’s particular brand of black magic. (See pictures of Aung San Suu Kyi.)

Burma has had three rulers during the past half-century and all have been devotees of yadaya. Gen. Ne Win, who ruled from 1962 to 1988 reportedly shot his own reflection in a mirror, on the advice of a fortune teller, to foil a foretold assassination attempt. His obsession with numerology led him to demonetize all bank notes in 1987 so new notes could be printed — all divisible by his lucky number nine. The move wiped out the savings of most Burmese and contributed to an uprising one year later. His successor, Gen. Saw Muang, was replaced after erratic behavior that included a rambling, semi-coherent nationally televised speech brimming with references to magic and astrology. The man who replaced him, Than Shwe, is reported to have seven personal astrologers, several of whom are tasked with focusing solely on Aung San Suu Kyi, according to his biographer Ben Rogers.

Astrology, superstition and black magic are common in Southeast Asia, and Burma’s rulers have rarely made any bones about their beliefs. But, in what appears to be an attempt to tamp down on all the talk over Than Shwe’s television appearance, state-controlled media outlets have now denied access to Internet pages showing him attending the Feb. 12 ceremony for the national holiday Union Day. “I suspect that the Union day web page is being blocked precisely because there is speculation over whether Than Shwe is performing yadaya,” says Ingrid Jordt, an anthropologist and specialist on Burma at the University of Wisconsin.

According to Wai Moe, a journalist with the Irrawaddy, an online magazine run by Burmese exiles, two interpretations of the the general sporting a ladies’ sarong have gained the most currency. The first is that astrologers have predicted a woman will rule Burma, and so by donning women’s clothes, Than Shwe and the other generals are attempting to fulfill the prophecy through some superstitious sleight of hand. The second, fuzzier interpretation, is that by dressing in women’s clothing, the generals are somehow trying to neutralize Suu Kyi’s power. After Than Shwe brutally suppressed an uprising led by Burmese monks in 2007, anti-regime activists launched a campaign asking people to send women’s underwear to the leader because they said the generals believe that contact with women’s underwear will sap their power. By wearing sarongs, they may believe they are cancelling out Suu Kyi’s ability to sap what they view as the virile male power that underpins their leadership. (See TIME’s top 10 elderly leaders.)

If this train of thought doesn’t appear to follow logic, it is, after all, superstition. And these stories have circulated in Burma before, particularly about former intelligence chief Gen. Khin Nyunt, who was also said to have dressed as a woman to counter the power of Suu Kyi. Though these theories appear to be widely believed in Burma, the nation’s rulers almost never give interviews, so they remain unconfirmed.

What isn’t hard to confirm is that less than four months after releasing Suu Kyi from her latest term of house arrest, the regime’s attitude towards the Nobel Peace Prize winner is once again hardening. After Suu Kyi recently reconfirmed her support for economic sanctions against the regime, a state-run newspaper ominously warned last week that she and her followers would meet a “tragic end.” She and her supporters have little reason to think they’re bluffing: In 2003, a government-organized mob attacked Suu Kyi and her followers in northern Burma, killing dozens.

Burma held elections in November 2010 to try and put a democratic face on a country controlled by its military. But Than Shwe’s notions of leadership are known to be based more on divine rule than democracy, and Jordt says his choice of dress that day may instead have to do with the fact that the patterns of some women’s sarongs are based on patterns worn by Burma’s royalty more than a century ago. “Than Shwe is simply trying to dress in the style of bygone kings. Than Shwe’s evocation of royal politics asserts a very Burmese and Buddhist idea about what the terms of political legitimacy are,” Jordt says. She added that, for some time now, Than Shwe has required that royal courtly language be used in reference to him and his wife, Kyaing Kyaing. (Read more about superstition and politics in Burma.)

If the other generals who joined their boss that day have any reservations about wearing women’s sarongs, they aren’t saying, lest they end up a victim of one of Than Shwe’s periodic purges, as happened to former intelligence chief Gen. Khin Nyunt in 2004. Whether he’s a reincarnated Burmese king, or just another old drag queen, Than Shwe’s subordinates know it’s never wise to cross Burma’s cross-dressing senior general.

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9 Comments
  1. joe #

    ဘာလို႔နယ္သာလန္က ပါလာရျပန္တာတုန္း ဘာဆိုင္လို႔လဲ ကိုယ္ဘာသာမေက်နပ္တာနဲ႔ နယ္သာလန္က ပါလာျပီ
    အဲဒါပဲ လူေတြမ်ား သိပ္ျပီး ေဒြးေတာ္လြမ္းခ်င္ၾကတယ္ ငါကလဲ အဲဒါမ်ိဳးဆို သိပ္ေသာက္ညင္ကပ္

    March 4, 2011
  2. mp3 #

    ရာသီလာလို့ ထမီဝတ္တာေနမွာေပါ့။

    March 1, 2011
  3. Twenty One #

    ဘုရင္ရူးသန္းေရႊ…လစ္ဗ်ားနိုင္ငံက..ကဒါဖီကိုအတုယူးထားပါ…အားက်ထားပါ…မင္းကိုလည္းမၾကာခင္..တို ့လူငယ္ေတြ
    စည္းရံုးမွဳ ျပည္သူေတြအင္အားနဲ ့ျဖဳတ္ခ်ျပီး…ေနသာလန္နိဳင္ငံ..ႆဟိုသ္စစ္ခံုရံုးမွာအေရးယူစြဲခ်က္တင္မယ္..အခုအာဏာ
    ရိွတုန္း..နိုင္ငံေရးလုပ္သူေတြနဲ ့ဆႏၵျပေတာင္ဆိုသူ..ျပည္သူေတြကိုေကာင္းေကာင္းရက္ရက္စက္စက္သတ္ထားေနာ္..
    ေနာက္ျပီး…ျပည္နယ္တိုင္းမွာတုင္းရင္းသားျပည္သူေတြလည္း..လက္နက္အားကိုးနဲသတ္ထား…သန္းေရႊမင္းအာဏာလက္
    လႊတ္ရမဲ့ေနမွာ…ထမီ၀တ္ျပီးမင္းမိန္းမေနာက္လင္ယူထားတဲ..တရုပ္ကိုေျပးမယ္ တရုပ္မွာအဆင္သင့္လုပ္ထားတယ္ဆိုတာ
    တို ့လူငယ္ေတြ..သိပါတယ္…လႊတ္ေအာင္ေျပး…မင္အတြက္တရုပ္ဟာ…နတ္ျပည္မဟုတ္ဘူးဆိုတားလည္း…ေရရွည္စဥ္းစား
    လိုက္ပါ…လူမိုက္ၾကီးေရ……….!….

    March 1, 2011
  4. ဗိုလ္ခ်ဳပ္မႈးႀကီး သန္းေရႊ #

    ကဲ… သိပ္မဆဲၾကပါနဲ႔ကြာ…. တို႔ဗမာေတြက ယဥ္ေက်းတဲ႔သူေတြပါဟ…
    ခ်ိတ္ထမီကို ၀တ္ခ်င္လို႔ ၀တ္တာမဟုတ္ဘူး… သားတို႔ရဲ႕ ေနာင္လာေနာက္သားေတြအတြက္ ဘဘတို႔က ရိုးရာယဥ္ေက်းမႈအေမြအႏွစ္ ထိန္းသိမ္းတဲ႔ ဘဘ လို႔ သမိုင္းမွာ မွတ္တမ္းကမၺည္းတင္ခံခ်င္လို႔ေနာ္…. အဟိ….

    February 28, 2011
  5. zin #

    ျမန္မာလုိသာဘာသာျပန္ေပးစမ္းပါဗ်ာက်ဳပ္တုိ႔လည္းဖတ္တတ္တာမဟုတ္ဘူး

    February 28, 2011
  6. mp3 #

    ႀကိုင္ႀကိုင္ဝတ္ခိုင္းလို့ျဖစ္မွာေပါ့။

    February 28, 2011
  7. ဘဘသန္းေရႊ … အထက္က comment က ကိုယ္တိုင္ဖတ္ျပီးေရးထားတာလား။ ဒါမွမဟုတ္ တစ္ဦးဦးကိုေမးျပီးမွ တင္ထားတာလား။ ဘာပဲျဖစ္ျဖစ္ ႏိုင္ငံ႕ေခါင္းေဆာင္တို႕မည္သည္ အေ၀ဖန္ခံႏိုင္ရမယ္ေလ။ အဲလိုၾကမ္းတမ္းတဲ့ စကားလံုးနဲ႕ အႏိုင္မယူခ်င္ပါနဲ႕။ ဘာသာတရားအားျဖင့္လဲမသင့္ေတာ္သလို လူမႈေရးရႈေထာင့္အေနနဲ႕နလဲ သိမ္ဖ်င၉္းလွပါတယ္။
    ဓားေကာင္းတစ္လက္ျဖစ္ဖို႕ မီးျပင္းတိုက္ျပီး တူနဲ႕နာနာ ထုရသလိုပါပဲေလ ။ အင္း အရာအားလံုး ဘဘအတြက္ ျမဲေနပါတကား ။ ။

    February 28, 2011
  8. မင္း၀တ္ခ်င္လို႕၀တ္တာအေရးမၾကီးဘူးကေယာက်္ားသိပ္ခါက်တယ္ကြ ေခြးမသား

    February 28, 2011
  9. ဗိုလ္ခ်ဳပ္မႈးႀကီး သန္းေရႊ #

    ၀တ္ခ်င္လို ့၀တ္တာ ကြာလီးပဲ

    February 28, 2011

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