KAO WAO NEWS No 54
An electronic newsletter for
social justice and freedom in
TEACHERS JOIN DEFENSE TRAINING
ACTIVISTS DISCUSS ROAD MAP FOR DEMOCRACY
MON LANGUAGE BOOKS SCRUTINIZED
ILLEGAL TRADE AND CORRUPTION ON THAI-BURMA BORDER
A MAN WITH A
WILL THE ROAD MAP SOLVE
HAPPY IN INSEIN
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I am glad the
State Paranoid by international pressure
TEACHERS JOIN DEFENSE TRAINING
Public schools in Thanbyu Zayat had to change their teaching schedule after all civil servants were ordered to attend the “State Defense Force” training in town.
All schoolteachers and government employees must attend the training; their normal school time has shifted to adjust to a training time according to IMNA news.
Schools are open from to in October. Civil servants in Thanbyu Zayat are divided into groups and ordered to attend the training in the Burma Army compound located about 5 miles from the city. The teachers are ordered to join the training after school hours in the afternoon.
A trader who recently arrived to the Thai border reported the civil
“In Mudon the training is from to in the morning and 1 to 3 in the afternoon. The training is done in shifts, leaving one half to teach in the schools,” he said.
The source from Ye reported that government employees in Ye also are to attend the training at the Infantry Battalion No. 61.
“When it’s raining, we learn only in the class. It’s a waste of time and money and we lose our time at work”, said a trainee from southern Ye Township.
The authorities also collect money from the civilians to cover the expenses of the training and trainees must buy a uniform with their own money.
The BA instructs trainees on how to use small arm weapons and employ propaganda mechanisms to defend the State against foreign invasion and other destructive elements as defined by the SPDC authorities.
A trader from northern Ye,
“The DKBA enters the pristine forested area in the northeastern part of Ye Township and cuts thousands of tons of trees for logging business”, said a New Mon State Party official from Ye.
The Karen armed group who surrendered to the BA receives logging concessions from the regime’s forestry department. It was reported the DKBA aggressively cuts the trees close to the New Mon State Party controlled area and even sometimes enters into the Party’s area.
According to the source, thousands of tons of logs in Pa-an Township and Battalion No. 999 of the DKBA areas are being cut down; the “Pago Yoma” range in Pegu Division is also under the logging concessions.
Businessmen who have good contact with the DKBA normally transport logs
and lumber to Mon and
To promote their logging concession, the DKBA sells lumber to Buddhist
monks at a low price to build monasteries in Mon and
A small number of civilians also cut down trees in
ACTIVISTS DISCUSS ROAD MAP FOR DEMOCRACY
Activists and politicians met in
“It was very productive. We built
more networks and made decisions to change the military regime in
It had been busy days for Banyadean and
members of Monland Restoration Council since the
Conference organizers selected
Mon delegates from
Various exiled groups based in Thailand, Canada, India, England, Japan
and other States from the U.S flocked to Fort Wayne, the residence of 1,500
Burmese community, to join this significant conference. Most delegates who work for a regime change
According to Kevin Kilbane of The News
Sentinel, Fred Gilbert, a local social worker who devotes most of his time to
assisting refugees and immigrants said it was the broad-based conference that
had ever been held in the
The Mon team also drafted a Road Map paper to present at the “Road Map
for Democracy in Burma Conference,” according to the source from the Mon Unity
League. The Road Map, jointly drafted by
umbrella organizations Mon Unity League and United Mon Fronts, implemented to
begin a tripartite dialogue in
Pon Nya Mon of MRC said, “We don’t discuss our
paper seriously, it’s only a proposal to contribute the conference as an
alternative while there are Road Maps proposed by other parties”. He told Kao Wao
that while the Mon supports the role of United Nations to bring peace, equality
and democracy on
The Mon Road Map has five steps; Transitional Period, Tripartite dialogue process, Forming an interim government, Holding new elections and Forming a newly elected government.
Meanwhile, Mon MP Nai Thaung
Shein and former New Mon State Party leaders in exile
urged the Mon not to support the Road Map proposed by the military regime in
At the two-day conference in
Participants and local community were joyfully entertained by M3 (Mon Modern Music) Band and cultural performance in the evening on October 12 after the meaningful gathering.
Literature and culture
MON LANGUAGE BOOKS UNDER SCRUTINY
The SPDC’s scrutiny board refuses to grant a permit for the printing of Mon books even though the contents are translated from Burmese language magazine.
A Buddhist monk in
Mon monks had planned to publish monthly magazines with articles
selected from Burmese magazines and journals for educational and entertaining
purposes for the Mon public but the Scrutiny Board in
Only a few Mon magazines endorsed by senior and revered monks are given
permission by the regime according to a source from the Mon community in
During the BSPP (Burmese Socialist Programme Party – 1962 to 1988) era, the Mon books translated from Burmese language were permitted for publication.
Three years ago it took 6 months to get permission to print but no permission is allowed nowadays. Only some publication from the cease-fire New Mon State Party’s Public Relations Department is produced at present.
ILLEGAL TRADE AND CORRUPTION ON THAI-BURMA BORDER
(News report by Banya Hongsar)
October 2003, Measot—Illegal trade, migrants
and other activities seem just part of ordinary life of local people along the
Thai Burma border areas. Myawaddy-Moulmein
transportation is one of the most practical roads for traders during raining
season. During the raining season,
Most truck owners didn’t make much of a profit during the last raining season as they are imposed with heavy illegal cash collection by Burma Army troops and other armed forces on the border route.
"We must always pay a fee to all border checkpoints and to our
drivers, we net only a few thousand Kyat," complained a track owner from
According to the truck owner, all vehicles pay at least Kyat 18,000 to
various checkpoints on the route to Myawaddy from
The local traders say that recently security forces are searching through all packages and boxes. The security officers rip open the boxes with a small knife looking for explosives and other related materials. The authorities are suspecting everyone and searching for anti-government arms forces that often use the road via local traders bringing weapons inside the country.
Traffic Control Board managed by U Kyi Win,
Director of the Board, monitors all trucks entering into and departing Myawaddy town, the other side of
Recently, the Royal Thai Government and Burmese authority led by State Peace and Development Council agreed to deport illegal migrants to return home and a "Temporary Holding Centre" was set up in Myawady town.
According to Ko Soe,
the truck driver, despite Myawaddy- Measot is officially opened for border trade between the
two countries; local traders cannot buy and sell goods. However, members of the
"They (DKBA) travel armed while driving their vehicles, so the government troops dare not give them trouble," says the local trader. “A few vehicles with registration by the DKBA have a better opportunity because the DKBA soldiers sit in their cars for protection”, he added.
Both the New Mon State Party and the DKBA are members of cease-fire
agreement camps to SPDC in
Local Immigration Officers ban all girls and young women crossing to the
border towns without accompanying male siblings. Two young girls who planned to visit their
siblings at Myawaddy were turned back to ThanPhyu Zayat on the second week
of September. Authorities assume young girls are illegal migrants to
"They earn only Baht 50-60 a day here in Measot,
Most local traders and businessmen have joined hands with the cease-fire camps to boost border trade though illegal activities. Motor vehicles crossing the border are the biggest supporters of revenue for the cease-fire camps and the Burmese troops during the dry season. Local car dealers sell used cars to Burmese traders with a common agreement on the border cross points.
A MAN WITH A
(By Bob Htaw,
Despite living a harsh existence in
Mon children’s education in the villages has usually ended at the elementary level, facing an uncertain future, children are left to play or work around the village and are often seen playing in the river close by their village. For many years now, hundreds of children are seen working on farms and fishing after completing primary school in the village. Aware of the needs of the community, migrant workers from Krong Bae village no longer rely on the Government’s educational infrastructure project in rural areas.
Goe Lavi, youth leader from Krong
Bae Mon village,
News of the situation reached Lavi, chief of
migrant workers in Samutphrakan District. Inspired to do something for his people, he
quickly organized a meeting and formed an association of migrant workers
concerned for the education needs of the community back home in
"If there is no joint-middle school in our village, children will have to walk six miles daily to attend school at Htaw Plang (Zar Tha Pyin) village, I felt something had to be done to support the community. Now the building is 95% completed," he happily added.
Over eighty migrant workers with work permits (Bart raeng-ngan)
issued by Ministry of Labor of the Royal Thai Government each contributed Baht
300 per year to the project, with a few senior workers generously contributing
thousands of Baht on top of that. The migrants are employed at a rice factory
and possess a strong work in conducting good management skills within the
community led by their leader. They make up the largest pool of uneducated,
unskilled labor in
Unskilled migrant workers have contributed significantly to economic
"We have not only built the school but we also pay the salaries of local teachers in our village," Lavi declared to Kao Wao.
Local public teachers at Krong Bae village receive a stipend from the association while
students are charged Kyat 150.00 per month (US 10 cents) of tuition fee.
Despite being financially supported by migrant workers and the local villagers,
the Department of State Education instructed the local headmen to put a sign
(on the front gate of the building) saying "State Middle School" in
Burmese text, denying the Mon language and effort in funding their own
schools. The local headmen and his team
proudly say they successfully built the school without state funding. Like many schools in
Native Mon teachers are appointed for a range of teaching programs
including Mon language and literature. The Mon National Education Department,
an organization of the New Mon State Party also conducts classes at the
joint-middle school with its own funding. There are over 150 students at the
joint-middle school with five teachers. Most teachers are from the village,
three of which have completed Degrees from
"In the past, we didn’t have a single person who finished high
school in the ‘tenth year,’ Lavi explained. The energetic Lavi,
in his 30s, has worked like superman for many years in
Living a modest life in his home village, he has endeavored to help and
guide young people for safe employment and other social works in
Shaking his head, "They don’t work for the sake of poor people but they collect loads of money for themselves."
After the New Mon State Party, a nationalist political party with its armed force reached cease-fire agreement in 1995, a few Mon villages received educational access to public schools funded by the Mon National Education Committee. However, many in the rural areas like Krong Bae village had to build their own schools and hire teachers with no funding allocation either by the government or international aid.
Migrant workers at Samutphrakan District work 10-14 hours a day to save enough money for those back home, most know nothing about Labor Union or workers’ rights. They are not trained by any Thai based non-government organizations to run community development projects or other related capacity training initiatives, neither democratic activists nor members of a political party. They are local civilians dedicated to their community and its future. "I can assure you if we don’t have jobs here, our families wouldn’t be able to survive at home," he said. Migrant workers both legal and illegal status have contributed to community development and other village infrastructure initiatives in Mon territory for years but are ill-treated or punished with immigration laws in both countries.
Despite the negative situation, they have built a joint-middle school at a cost of over Baht 400,000 under the direction of Lavi. He urges friends from other villages to organize workers into groups to run similar projects and has made himself available for consultation if workers from other villages invite him. Many migrants are not aware of educational projects in their areas despite most of villages back home have no funding for school buildings.
"I can’t understand why workers have no interest to support educating their poor children back home," he commented. "We hope to support our children to continue their studies at universities and we award them every year," he added.
Kao Wao learnt that most new schools in
The joint-middle school in Krong Bae village at Pha An Township is 80 x 20 ft. with no electricity or a water tap and is set in the middle of rice field. The project is waiting for additional cash at the end of financial year. The Association of Education Assistance not only pays for the cost of construction but for all facilities in the classroom. The lucky middle school students now only have to walk ten minutes to school from their home. The School runs its own generator for power at night, the students are able to complete their homework with the power, but the majority read their books in the candlelight.
It was a warm and sticky Friday night when investigators swooped into
one of this provincial capital's back-street brothels searching for women and
children trafficked from neighboring
Local migrant advocacy groups say the Chiang Mai raid, like other actions taken against human trafficking, had netted Burmese women voluntarily engaged in prostitution. Now, they say, those women may be worse off than before.
These groups accuse the US-funded anti-trafficking task force that led the raid of steamrolling women's rights and treating all sex workers as victims. "The women didn't feel like they were rescued because they lost their money.... They felt like they were trapped," says Hseng Noung, of the Shan Women's Action Network (SWAN), who interviewed ethnic Shan women detained in the raid. "Being forced to work physically is one thing, but these women were forced to work by their situation."
As concern mounts over the global scale of human trafficking, which the
State Department has called "the emerging human rights issue of the 21st
The State Department defines human trafficking as modern-day slavery
with victims who are forced, defrauded, or coerced into sexual or labor
exploitation. According to their figures, the
But researchers and field workers who know Thailand's entrenched sex industry say that cases of outright slavery, where women are sold into bondage and forced to work, are dwarfed by desperate stories of poverty and exploitation. Many are more wary of the gung-ho brothel busts that land women in detention than of the traffickers who profit from the trade.
"It's our aim to concentrate on victims of human trafficking, but
it's not always possible ... because of the intermingling of different groups
in a sexual establishment," says Ben Svasti,
coordinator of Trafcord, a joint task force formed
Angered by recent raids, SWAN and other nonprofit groups that assist migrant women and sex workers are balking at the prospect of working with Trafcord, which relies on local tips to uncover abuses.
Mr. Svasti says he recognizes the concerns of these groups but insists that women's rights are protected as much as possible.
The next big step, say campaigners, is to bring to justice criminals who
profit from human trafficking. Traffickers who go unpunished
typically round up more women to replace those who have been rescued.
Only by squeezing the criminal networks that supply bonded labor can
But the rescued women on their way home to
WILL THE ROAD MAP SOLVE
(By Lawi Weng)
The word "road map" has become familiar among the Mon people
within the last few weeks because some people in our movement are trying to
write their own road map called the Mon Road Map. Some people in our movement
show that their road map can help to solve problems in
Who invented the concept of road map?
Can the road map solve the problems in
Who invented the word "road map" for
For instance, in solving the conflict in the
In reality however, the Burmese military is not willing to solve the
problems. They don’t want to ever have democracy in
Mon people should not let Khint Nyunt stay in power for long. Will Khint Nyunt be happy if he sees the Mon road map? Are we neglecting the tripartite dialogue? While the military government extols their position, don't follow them. We are not dictators like the junta.
(Lawi Weng is a Mon
student of Foreign Affairs Training based in
HAPPY IN INSEIN
Mr. Min-chol Kang, a North Korean national, is happy with his imprisonment in the notorious Insein prison and hopes to spend his remaining days there.
Imprisoned for life in 1984 for his role in the terrorist attack against a delegation of South Korean in which 17 South Koreans were killed shocked the world. The unforeseen attack embarrassed and angered the Burmese people, who today have forgotten the incident.
The attack took place on October 9 before a memorial service at
Three North Koreans were involved in the attack and were caught immediately by the Burmese police, they resisted arrest with one being shot and killed, one was later hanged and Mr. Min-chol Kang was sentenced to life in prison.
With the exceptions of medical checkups from time to time and an
official visit by a South Korean government representative in 1993 in which Mr.
Kang said he felt no remorse for what he did, Mr. Kang is forbidden to have
visitors. Recently the South Korean ambassador was turned down a visit with Mr.
Kang but according to authorities he behaves well and is healthy. Mr. Kang is
concerned of his future, a right’s activist was quoted as saying, “but he is
happy learning English and studying Buddhism”. Mr. Kang has had no contact with
“Many Burmese people criticized him for committing such horrible terror
in their land, but some commiserate with him by saying that he is probably a
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