KAO WAO NEWS No. 16
newsletter for social justice and freedom in
ETHNIC LEADERS' HEALTH WORSEN
TENSION OVER STALLED UN TALKS
WLB: FUTURE PEACE BUILDER
KARAOKE SINGERS ARRESTED
FILLING THE QUOTA
NIGHTMARE JOURNEY TO
SONGRAN WATER WARS
MON EMBRACE SANGKRAN
All's quiet on the home front in
We warmly invite comments and suggestions on improvements to
Kao-Wao newsletter. With your help, we hope that Kao-Wao News will continue to grow to serve better the needs of
those seeking social justice in
We reserve the right to edit and reject articles without prior notification. You can use a pseudonym but we encourage you to include your full name and address.
Congratulation to hear the news of tension has eased among the Mon groups.
It is good news to hear that the Mon armed conflict has eased. Thanks to MUL negotiation team, all leaders and civilians who support unity and reconciliation. Please, continue for more solidarity among the movement. The time is very critical now.
(Kao Wao /
After the Songkran New Year, the
Burma Infantry Battalion No. 61 was reinforced by the Light Infantry Battalion
No. 343 based in Mawkanin, Northern Ye and Infantry
Battalion No. 29 from 14 Mile of Southern Ye Township to increase security to
build the road construction for logistics reasons. The military combinaton
force of about 300 troops were cautious, moving forward slowly to avoid
landmines and ambush attack by the KNU and HRP guerrlllas
according to a local villager. It is
The troops are very close to Halockhanee
Mon refugee camp making local villagers nervous over the intrusion of the
ETHNIC LEADERS' HEALTH WORSENS
(Based on Chinland Guardian and
The health of Mon political prisoners at
According to an anonymous relative who visited the Mon leaders
at Moulmein prison, Dr. Min Soe
Lin is having vision problems and Dr. Min Kyi Win is having breathing problems
due to lack of proper treatment. He said
the leaders were mentally quite strong and have been
expecting their release because of international pressure and the visit of UN
Special Envoy Mr. Razali to
Mon National Democratic Front leaders Nai
Tun Thein, Nai Ngwe Thein, Dr. Min Kyi Win, and
Dr. Min Soe Lin were arrested in 1998 for urging the
armed New Mon State Party (NMSP) to reconsider its position on the cease-fire
agreement with the SPDC military junta and for supporting the Committee for
Representing Peoples Parliament (CRPP). Nai Tun Thein, the Chairman of
MNDF was later released from the prison and put under house arrest due to his
age and poor health. The remaining three
leaders were sentenced to seven years imprisonment with hard labour, serving
their term at the Moulmein Prison,
Dr. Min Soe Lin is the General Secretary of MNDF and elected MP of Northern Ye Township Constituency 1, Nai Ngwe Thein is one of the founding and Presidium members of the United Nationalities League for Democracy (UNLD), and Dr. Min Kyi Win holds the post of Joint-General Secretary of the MNDF and elected MP of Mudon Township (South).
Ethnic leaders are serving long prison terms, though some
political prisoners have been released as a result of the talks between Aung
San Suu Kyi and the military junta. DVB
Radio (Democratic Voice of Burma) interviewed a family member on
Chin professor, Dr. Salai Tun Than has been detained at InSein
Prison and another Chin leader Pu Do Thawng is still in
TENSION OVER STALLED UN TALKS
The All Burma Students' Democratic Front (ABSDF), Democratic
Party for a New Society (DPNS) and Network for Democracy and Development (NDD)
jointly sent a letter to the UN Special Envoy to speed up reconciliation in
Hoping the seventh visit to
Due to lack of substantive results people are becoming wary
about the openness of the junta's commitment to national reconciliation and
civilian confidence has fallen. The 3 democratic organizations, ABSDF, NDD and
DPNS urged the UN special envoy to facilitate concrete steps and to take more
of a leading role to initiate national reconciliation in
The statement, sent out from the liberated area, recommended
Mr. Razali to strongly urge the SPDC to release all political prisoners, to
allow freedom of movement for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and freedom of existence
and association to all political parties.
It also urged for the immediate termination of human rights violations
and the withdrawal of the
WLB: FUTURE PEACE BUILDERS
The closing ceremony for ‘Women as Peace Builder
Facilitation Skills Training' was held in a liberated area on
The WLB (Women League of Burma), an umbrella women
organization, prepared the women training on
Mi Kyaik Soi
Norn a Mon mathematics teacher and Mi Hongsa Norn from MWO (Mon Women's
Organization) shared their views on the situation of women in
About a hundred people gathered for the closing ceremony with speeches by Mi Su Pwint from Burma Women Union, Ms. Shirley Seng, from the Kachin Women's Association of Thailand and widow of Kachin Leader General Zau Seng, and Khin Ohnmar of WLB. The workshop concluded with traditional and colorful dances from the ethnic nationalities.
KARAOKE SINGERS ARRESTED
(By Kaowao/ Mahachai,
Five migrant girls holding registration cards were arrested
for singing Karaoke songs at a fishing community near
Thai policemen patrolling the area on their evening shift on
According to their neigbours, the Tavoyan girls were singing at their own apartment and enjoying the traditional New Year during their holiday but unfortunately were singing too loud and in Burmese, alerting the police to take advantage and extort money from the migrants.
FILLING THE QUOTA
(Kao Wao/ Samutsakhorn,
According to the Bangkok Post on
Sgong, a 28 year old registered worker from
The owner of the factory kept Nai Rorn Sgong's original registeration card having only the photocopy to prove his registration. He was arrested at random only to meet a quota imposed by the Thai authorities, said a community worker who knows Nai Rorn Sgong.
NIGHTMARE JOURNEY TO
In early March, 13 bodies, including five children, were found inside rice sacks, under sacks of fertilizer and animal waste at a garbage dump in Muang district of Prachin Buri province. There were no signs of murder or marks on bodies.
Burmese banknotes and some short notes written in Burmese were found on the bodies. Some were wearing Longyis, Burmese sarong, so police assumed they were immigrants. A few days later, police found a link to the human trafficking gangs arresting Boonta Pumi 42, a job broker, together with two Burmeses, Mathui and Thong. Warrants of arrest have been issued for three other persons. A 15- year old Mon girl, Mi Cho, was one of the few survivors and was sent to a remand home in Nakhon Pathom province.
"I live in the
They walked for three days and and
spent three nights in the jungle from their village to Myawaddy,
the Burmese town opposite Mae Sot district in Tak
province. "When we got there, some strangers greeted us. They said they
could take us to
"It was very hot inside and I was very thirsty. It was difficult to breathe," said Mi Cho. Some time during the next day, when the truck stopped and the tarpaulin was removed, 13 out of the original 16 men and 16 women had died. Mi Cho's sister was one of them.
Commander Wichit Samathiwat of the Thai Institute of Forensic Medicine said the 13 died of suffocation. This was verified by autopsies.
Three men and seven women aged between 18 and 30 had died, two other victims were boys and one was a girl. The bodies were stuffed into rice sacks and left in a 100- rai dumpsite in Tambon Nonthorn, Prachin Buri. Mi Cho said that they were never put in gunny sacks and were never ill-treated during the journey. Police say the blue-black bruises on the bodies could have been caused by asphyxiation and the combined body heat of 32 people. Mi Cho never smelled the stink of fertilizer: only roses.
Mi Cho says they were sent off in groups, in taxis, to various destination after the 13 would-be workers were found dead. She was put in a taxi with a man and taken to a vegetable farm in Nakhon Pathom, where one of her sisters was working. Two days later police arrived at the farm and took the two sisters away. They were questioned at a police station before her elder sister was released.
Mi Cho was sent to the remand home in Kamphaeng Saen district of Nakhom Pathom. "I miss my parents and my village very much" she said. Her wishes will soon be realized, said one of the officers. She will be sent to court for sentencing within a month, then returned to Mae Sot and released.
Given another chance, would she return to
SONGKRAN WATER WARS
(By Lita Davidson in
In Chiang Mai, streets were packed to overflowing capacity with people, trucks, and motorcycles converging into a twisted mass of wet skin and metal. Plenty of water was on hand as people climbed into the back of pickups arming themselves with high-pressured water guns, buckets, jugs, and hoses, to team up along the moat to haul buckets of water into barrels in the back of pickups. For 3 days the moat was the scene of trench warfare out of the back of a pickup. Along with the stored water and large blocks of ice, provisions of alcohol were thrown into the plastic barrels. Men took center stage in the primal carnival, dancing wildly to loud disco music while swilling back alcohol and doing the Thai hula hula with swinging hips and exposed wet bellies. Roving gangs in the thousands wanting more of a thrill raced on the highways in pickups with people hanging dangerously off of tailgates and on top of roofs to scout out victims, motorcycles with 2 or 3 people to a bike roared along beside them.
It has been said there is a fine line between comedy and tragedy. From the beginning to the end of Songkran about 821 people were killed with close to 80,000 injuries. That's comparable to two Boeing 767s taking a nosedive into Chiang Mai with no survivors, a tragedy. Only in this case no one is assigned blame and since it is party time all is forgiven, a comedy show. As one foreign observer noted after witnessing a motorcycle death "What do you expect when millions of people (the actual number is about 61 m) take to the streets." Most of those deaths are motorcycle fatalities, as most don't care to wear motorcycle helmets. Most of those injured are men.
Peace to all water revelers.
(Kao-Wao / Chiang Mai,
Burmese exiles joined in the annual celebration of the Songkran Water festival from April 13 to 16, gathering at
local temples and venues at various locales in
In Chiang Mai a small
MON EMBRACE SANGKRAN
(Based on MRC and Kao-Wao,
The Mon community of
Food was served to the monks and devotees received New Year Chanting and blessing water from the monks. Part of the tradition requires participants to line up in a queue to purify the Buddha statue and the monks with ornaments and perfumed water. After, all guests and hosts were served with the traditional Mon Sangkran food of dry fish, which is mixed with sour mango. All teenagers and adults were gleefully throwing water at each other while others were singing and dancing to Karaoke songs.
The Mon communities at Thong Phapum and Sangkhalaburi gathered at temples and private homes donating Sang-Kran food and paid respect to monks, relatives and elders who went to the temple for blessing and donation.
According to Venerable Dhamma Dinna, the Abbot of Mon Buddhist Temple in Indiana, most of the Asian countries, Monland, Burma, Thailand, Lao, Cambodia, Vietnam, India, Nepal and Srilanka change the Cula or Jula era in accordance with the Lunar calendar. In fact, the word "Sangkran" is decended from Sanskrit or Sakkata word of "Sakranti". It means "Transition" from old to new or from old year to New year. The Mon adapted the Sanskrit word ?Sakranti" to "Sang-kran" in Mon. The Thai pronouces it Songkran and the Burmese call it "Thinkyan".
KAO WAO NEWS GROUP
ABOUT US Kao-Wao Newsgroup is
committed to social justice, peace, and democracy in
SUBMIT YOUR NEWS If you are an organization or individual who is committed to the same principles as Kao-Wao please use this eNewsletter as a tool to disseminate your views, articles, and issues pertaining to social justice and political, social and cultural freedom. We are open to any organization but please ensure to source your material either through email contacts or website. To ensure that it is widely read, you can use this email: firstname.lastname@example.org to tell others about this newsletter, and to let them know about your work, events, and public debate.
Remember that the quality of news depends upon YOU.