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BurmaNet News November 22, 1995

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------------------------ BurmaNet ------------------------
"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"

The BurmaNet News: November 22, 1995
Issue #284


November 21, 1995

The Commerce Ministry will today send a delegation to negotiate 
with the Burmese government to open three trade checkpoints, 
Deputy Commerce Minister Montree Danpaibul said yesterday.

Montree said the delegation, which will conclude its mission on 
Thursday, will push for the opening of three trade checkpoints: 
in Tak's Mae Sot district, Chiang Rai's Mae Sai district and 
Ranong province.

The Commerce Ministry is also forming a new high-level body, to 
be chaired by a deputy prime minister, to resolve border disputes 
and improve economic ties with Burma. Montree said  talks with the 
Burmese government had failed in the past because Thailand has had 
too many different delegations which lacked cohesion and power, 
leading to declining confidence on the part of Burma. (TN)


November 21, 1995

Banque Francaise du Commerce Exterieur has announced the 
official opening of its representative office in Rangoon, Burma. 
The inauguration ceremony was officiated by Erik Lescar, BFCE's 
senior executive vice president and the head of the 
international division, and was witnessed by prominent officials 
including Burma's finance minister, the governor of the central 
bank and the French Ambassador.

BFCE has traditionally been very active in trade financing in 
emerging countries and has been handling French exports and 
trade transactions with Burma for a number of year.

Today, BCEF is well represented in Asean, with a branch in Ho 
Chi Minh City since 1992, and representative offices in Bangkok, 
Hanoi and Jakarta. The Rangoon representative office has a total 
staff of nine, and will continue the next phase of BFCE's 
activities in the country, under the supervision of the Bangkok 
representative office and the Singapore Branch. (TN)


November 21, 1995           Report: Nussara Sawatsawang

Burmese policy-makers led by Deputy Prime Minister Maung Maung 
Khin meant business when they visited Thailand last week. Their 
tour of the Stock Exchange of Thailand and the Tourism Authority 
of Thailand headquarters in Bangkok was not mere sightseeing, as 
the Burmese ministers wanted details of how the country 
established its exchange.

Vice-Adm Maung Maung Khin's 27-member delegation, invited by 
Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Chavalit 
Yongchaiyudh, completed its four-day visit on Friday.

The team included Hotels and Tourism Minister Lt-Gen Kyaw Ba, 
Minister of National Planning and Economic Development Brig-Gen 
David Abel and deputy ministers of energy, foreign and home 
affairs, construction, and livestock breeding and fisheries.

Burma plans to establish a share market within two years and had 
declared 1996 Visit Myanmar Year. Vice-Adm Maung Maung Khin, a  
fluent speaker of English, was an avid questioner during an 
hour-long briefing at the exchange, according to SET spokesman 
and senior vice-president Chaipat Sahasakul.

"He seemed very keen to know about our experiences when the SET 
was established 20 years ago and about the state's role in 
supervising the exchange," the spokesman said.

Given different circumstances, each country has its own way of 
handling a stock exchange, he said, citing China and Poland 
which computerised their markets from the beginning.

"These so-called emerging countries have the advantage of an 
array of choices from which they can pick the best options," he 
told the Burmese. Daiwa Securities Co is helping Burma to 
establish its exchange. Apart from helping Rangoon to draft a 
security exchange law, Japan's second-largest brokerage house is 
helping with privatisation of state enterprises and development 
of a capital market.

Daiwa plans to set up a joint representative house for brokers 
by the end of December. Chaiwat said the most important feature 
for any country moving to a market economy was to have laws on 
securities, public companies and privatisation of state-owned firms.

Shares in state enterprises would probably be the first stocks 
listed. Burma has essential laws in place since the period of 
British rule, including the Special Company Act for registering 
listed public companies. Delegates also heard of the errors, 
successes and pitfalls Thailand has experienced in tourism, 
which has long been a main source of foreign exchange.

Burma expects 500,000 foreign tourists next year, but has only 
12,000 hotel rooms nation-wide. Vice-Adm Maung Maung Khin and 
Lt-Gen Kyaw Ba asked tourism authority officials about immigration 
control aspects such as procedures for issuing visas on arrival.

Other delegates asked how immigration officers dealt with long 
queues at airports and about countries with which Thailand has 
visa exemption agreements. Visitors to Burma from countries 
which have no Burmese diplomats need written permission in advance 
from the Hotels and Tourism Ministry to obtain visas on arrival.

 Lt-Gen Kyaw Ba was interested in the authority's budget for 
promotion and marketing abroad. The TAT and SET offered to share 
their expertise with Burma. SET president Seri Chintanaseri recently 
offered to sponsor training programmes in Bangkok for officials of 
Burma's Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development, 
Ministry of Finance and Revenue, and the Central Bank.

TAT deputy governor for planning and development Pradech 
Phayakvichien urged Burma to sign an agreement on tourism 
enabling Thailand to help Rangoon plan and market its tourism 
industry and train its personnel. (BP)


BURMA PLEDGE: Foreign Minister Kasem S. Kasemsri has pledged
to help Burma integrate with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
and the ASEAN Free Trade Area.  The topic was reaised when the minister
paid a courtesy call on Burmese leader Gen. Than Shwe, chairman of SLORC
in Rangoon last week.  Gen Than Shwe is scheduled to attend the ASEAN 
summit in Bangkok next month.

COMPUTER HELP: The Thai Foreign Ministry's International Studies
Centre last week presented office computer equipment worth US$14,050
(350,000 baht) to the Myanmar Institute of Strategic and Internaional
Studies, a Burmese think-tank.  Foreign Minister Kasem S. Kasemsri 
presented the equipment to Burmese counterpart Ohn Gyaw.


November 1995    (Reprinted in RELIEF NOTES 1995)

     Next year is "Visit Myanmar Year."  The Burmese
military regime is encouraging tourists to come, and they hope
to attract 500,000 tourists.  Of course, everyone is  free to go,
but should you?  We at Burmese Relief Center Japan say,
"No."  If you go, you can be sure that the red carpet you walk
on was dyed with the sweat, the tears, and the blood of the
Burmese people.
     We could point out that the country isn't free; or we
could point to the innumerable gross human rights abuses; or
we might argue that the money you spend there only serves to
entrench the loathsome military junta. Our primary objection to
visiting Burma, however, is that the tourism industry rests on
slave labor and exploitation of ordinary citizens, thus directly
adding to the already considerable misery of oppressed
Burmese civilians.
     One of the most reported cases of forced labor on
tourist projects is in Mandalay.  Tens of thousands of citizens
are being paid nothing to prepare the city for "Visit Myanmar
Year 1996."  The military ordered that each family in
Mandalay contribute at least three days a month of free labor. 
Often the labor is so long and tiring that people complain of not
recovering for several days.  One young woman pointed out
that all the work could be done better by machines, but trucks
and machines use gas; people cost nothing.  The New York
Times published appalling photographs of shackled prisoners
struggling in the muck at the bottom of the drained moat
toclean, deepen, and level the accumulated filth.  Other
prisoners in chains are forced to climb hundreds of feet to the
top of Mandalay Hill, where they labor in the fierce sun to lay
pastel - colored tiles for a new sightseeing platform.
     Inle Lake is one of Burma's most beautiful tourist
spots.  In order to prevent the level of the lake from falling in
summer and to keep it green all year, the government is
planning to build a dam on the Biluchaung River.  Tourists
will enjoy the year-round beauty of the lake, but Intha and Pa-O
ethnic communities will no longer be able to grow rice
around the lake during the dry season.  The dam will flood
7500 acres which currently produce 300,000 sacks of rice per
year.  Ironically, the very people who will be so adversely
affected by the dam are being forced to work on its
construction, under the watchful eye of the army.
     In what BBC calls "the largest forced labor gang since
the Japanese occupation," the government is building  a six-lane
highway from Rangoon to Mandalay.  Most of the work is
being done by women and children, but prisoners working in
leg irons have been seen.
     Further south, the Ye-Tavoy railway has been dubbed
the "new death railway," since it is so close to the railway built
by the Japanese ("The Bridge on the River Kwai").  This
project requires over 120,000 laborers to build 110 miles of
embankment 8 feet high and 12 feet wide.  A Sunday
Telegraph article estimated that in its first six months, the
project had already cost the lives of 200-300 people, mainly
through illness and exhaustion.  This railway will enable
tourist access to the southern part of Burma, but at what cost?
     Here is a translation of part of an order dated
November 6, 1994.

     Subject:  Preparation of Railway and Railway
     Embankment by Civilians.

     The civilians in your ... town section must take
     all required tools, one week's rations and all
     required pots and dishes together with them. 
     The person responsible ... must go along with
     them to inspect the work.  They must arrive at
     their work the evening of November 7, 1994,
     in accordance with the list below, without fail . . .
         www village            .....
          xxx village              400
          yyy village              500
          zzz village              300 
          GRAND TOTAL         11,850

Please note that all 11,850 laborers were all supposed to arrive
for work one day after the issue of the order. We have hundreds
of such documents.
     Some orders are chilling in their bluntness: "For
emergency use, we need 5 persons as servants.  The chairman
himself must bring them to xxx headquarters on 12/5."  "We
hereby inform you to come see the column commander as soon
as you receive this letter.  If you fail for any reason it will be
your responsibility, we inform you. . . .If you are absent, a
bullet will come to you."  "I'm writing an important letter to
you.... you will have to come to the meeting as soon as you
receive this letter.  The military authorities will take no
responsibility for your life if you fail to arrive."  This last order
even carried the signature of the Army Major who sent it. 
There is no doubt that these "meetings" and "discussions"
involved providing laborers.
     The Guardian has reported that 30,000 unpaid
laborers have been conscripted from local villages to build a
new airport at Bassein, west of Rangoon, to accommodate
tourist jets.  Working conditions are so bad, according to the
BBC, that hundreds of workers contracted cholera, but no
medical treatment was provided.  One refugee who escaped to
Thailand put it this way: "I had to contribute labor, arranging
for myself the expenses -- traveling, food, medicine and tools. 
All the SLORC gave was orders!"
     According to BBC, there are work gangs everywhere in
the country. The army's contention, when asked about forced
labor, is that all such labor is entirely "voluntary." 
Nevertheless, every group is accompanied by a soldier with a
gun.  There are strict quotas requiring each family to provide
workers.  Those who refuse or cannot must pay fines.  Any
resistance is brutally punished.  Rapes, beatings, torture, and
summary executions are common.
     Some say that Burma has a new look along with its
military-imposed name, Myanmar, but traffic jams don't mean
prosperity.  The country is still controlled by SLORC, the
savage junta which took control in 1988 and which intends to
hold on to power by all means.  SLORC stands for State Law
and Order Restoration Council.  What does "law and order"
mean to the junta?  Before the elections of 1990, people were
permitted to form political parties, but it was illegal to speak to
a gathering of more than 50 people.  Many organizers of the
NLD (Aung San Suu Kyi's party) were arrested because
hundreds of people attended NLD meetings.  SLORC's
explanation was the NLD organizers were breaking this law. 
There is no rational law in Burma.  The laws are made,
revised, and often ignored, simply to exploit the people.
     The military elite and their families are exempt from all
the forced labor projects.  They have access to the best food,
the best medical care, and the best education in Burma, while
the rest of the population must make do with very little.   In
Burma there is only one doctor for every 12,500 people, the
inflation rate is 800 percent, three out of four children don't
complete primary school, 40 percent of the children under 3
suffer from malnutrition, and only 2 percent of the people have
access to electricity.  To earn foreign capital, the junta set an
export target of 1 million tons of rice, effectively depriving local
people of  rice, which now costs the equivalent of a government
worker's monthly salary.  Military families, however, receive
generous rice rations which they can sell at the inflated price. 
It is significant that almost half of the national budget is spent
on the military, which has doubled to 350,000 in only 7 years.
The Burmese army hasn't swollen to that bloated size to
protect the country from any external enemy; the army's guns
are pointed at its own people.
     Since Aung San Suu Kyi's release, restrictions have
been increased on the entire population.  There is a curfew from
10 PM to 4 AM, and security has become much stricter around
Rangoon.  House to house searches, formerly conducted only
once a month, have now become a daily ordeal.  Residents are
often awakened in the middle of the night and forced to line up
in front of the inspectors who go through houses room by room
to see if anyone is hiding.  Each household must show their
census chart.  The inspectors have the right to open any safe or
a locker and to inspect any personal property.  Anyone who
questions this authority will be arrested and imprisoned.
     Forced relocations began in 1988.  In an attempt to
"clean-up" after the coup, neighborhoods that were most
actively pro-democratic were destroyed.  At that time 200,000
so-called "squatters" were forcibly moved out of Rangoon to
Hlaing Thaya and Shwe Pyi Thar.  These new "satellite towns"
were no more than roadless malaria-infested swamps or rice
paddies, without housing, running water, sanitation, or
transportation to the city and work.  In preparation for "Visit
Myanmar Year," the International Confederation of Free Trade
Unions reports that a slum-clearance program has destroyed the
homes of  a million people in Rangoon alone.  Soldiers have forced 
inhabitants into trucks and dumped them in the satellite towns.
     In popular tourist destinations such as Taungyi and
Maymyo poor people have been moved away out of the sight of
tourists.  These people had  managed to support themselves and
their families as day laborers or household servants, but now
they cannot afford the bus fare into town to look for employment. 
     The most notorious case of relocation occurred in 1989
when the entire population of Pagan was evicted.  Some
10,000 people had to move to an area without adequate water. 
Most of these people had lived in Pagan for generations, and
some of the lovely wooden homes destroyed were over a 100
years old.  Several months later, we got a poignant letter from
an old friend, hand-carried by a sailor and posted from
Thailand, in which he expressed relief that he and his wife
didn't have any children, for he feared that they wouldn't have
survived the eviction. He and his family were among Pagan's
best craft workers producing high-quality lacquerware.
     In conclusion, let us quote from a statement by the
National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma, the
"shadow" government of representatives elected by the people
in 1990, a statement with which we totally agree:
"Given these facts, the NCGUB strongly opposes "Visit
Myanmar Year - 1996" which is being promoted by SLORC.
Tourists should not engage in activities that will only benefit
SLORC's coffers and not the people of Burma.  
  However, responsible individuals and organizations who wish
to verify the above facts and to publicize the plight of the
Burmese people are encourage to utilize SLORC's more
relaxed tourist policies."

If  you decide to go to Burma, we hope you will at least
become well-informed of the current situation.  We suggest two
guidebooks: Burma--The Alternative Guide, by Burma Action
Group UK; and Guide to Burma, by Nicholas Greenwood;
both available from BRC-J. (The purchase price of these books
goes directly to the refugees on the Thai/Burma border.)  For
more information, please contact Burmese Relief
Center Japan, Tel: (07442) 2-8236; Fax: (07442) 4-6254;
e-mail: brelief@xxxxxxx


17 November 1995

Now, it is a well known fact that in early June Major Karn Yord had deserted the
MTA to form a seperate army named SSNA ( Shan State National Army ) . After a
while they made a ceasefire agreement with the SLORC and were trying to gain
favours from it like the other former ceasefire groups. But, in September, the
SLORC said that it would recognize SSNA as a legitimate ceasefire group only if
SSNA accept the following 4 conditions :  SSNA
(1) must not recruit any new member nor enlarge it's territories.
(2) must not buy or gather any more arms and ammunitions.
(3) must not take part in political and military organisation.
(4) must not make any contact with any other group without SLORC's kmowledge and

Whether SSNA has agreed to these conditions or not is yet to be known. However,
since October , Karn Yord has opened up an office in his native town of Pang
Long with 3-4 members of MI (Military Intelligence) accompanying him every

But the SLORC is still suspicious of him and has reportedly said to him that his
mutiny is a bloodless one. Desperate to gain favours from the SLORC, Karn Yord
is said to have signed an agreement with it at Pang Long promising to prove his
sincerity by fighting Khun Sa.

That is why battles between SSNA and MTA broke out in mid-October in Kong Lone
areas, Southern Shan State. Prior to the battles, the SLORC has reportedly
provided them with 20 sacks of rice, 2 tins of cooking oil and 2 sacks of beans.

Who knows if travel expence, canned meat  and fish, army Rum are not included.


November, 1995   By David Devoss

(This article is excerpts(deleted only well-known facts) from the Asia Inc,
Online November Issue & full article is on URL:

Burma's military leaders still have no taste for democracy, but they've
heartily embraced capitalism and foreign investment.
Three years ago, Iain Glover moved to Burma, intent on starting an
electrical-supply business. Selling sockets, switches and other electrical
services seemed a good idea, since most of the country's wiring dated from
the days of Thomas Edison. But the 45-year-old Australian engineer began to
have second thoughts when he went to register his company.  "There were 60
people sitting at 30 desks," he remembers. "Files yellow with age filled
bookcases covered with dust. The only thing moving was the ceiling fan."
Glover's apprehension deepened over at the Myanmar Investment Commercial
Bank. For him to open a U.S.-dollar account, the bank needed to keep the
original of his corporate articles of association. Fair enough, thought
Glover, who produced the requested document. But when he tried to open an
account denominated in kyat, the local currency, a second bank official
demanded the same document for his files. "I can't give it to you because
he's got it," said Glover, pointing in the direction of the first employee.
"Original means one and only."  Glover eventually got his kyat account
after hiring a former classmate of the second banker to be a sales
associate. Today he supplies 15 retail outlets, manages an office staff of 30 and
oversees 70 subcontractors who help him install high-tension wire, air
conditioning and other electrical systems. Says Glover: "My sales are up 50
percent this year, and by 2000 I expect to have revenues in excess of $20
million. The economy is booming. I love Myanmar."

"SLORC is much better than the old civilian and socialist governments,"
insists Khin Shwe, 44, a hotel developer in capital Rangoon, now officially
called Yangon (see "Bucking the Odds in Burma," Asia, Inc., September
1993). "Life can be difficult for people in the city because inflation is
over 30 percent, but the paddy price is up and peasants are happy."
Rangoon's leaders ask to be judged by their present policies, not past
actions, and by this standard Burma is indeed a relatively attractive place
for investors. Its unambiguous laws, written in English, are refreshingly
brief. The 1992 Forest Law can be read in 15 minutes. The Foreign
Investment Law consists of 13 pages. Vietnam's investment code, by
comparison, fills 150 pages.
Burma's investment law allows foreign companies to repatriate profits and
withdraw assets upon completion of business. It also contains a government
promise never to nationalize or expropriate assets. "It's not like going
into Vietnam, where you have to invent the law," explains Richard Neville,
executive director of Hong Kong's Kerry Securities. "Burma has British law 
and international accounting principles; [accounting firms] Coopers & Lybrand, 
Price Waterhouse and KPMG have been there for years."

The simplicity of Burma's laws, and the impartiality with which they are
usually enforced, have attracted more than $2.5 billion in foreign
investment since 1989. About half has come from Western companies that
searched unsuccessfully for oil onshore before discovering enormous
reserves of natural gas 140 kilometers off the southern coast in the Gulf
of Martaban. The field being developed by Total SA of France at a cost of
$465 million (Burma's single largest foreign investment) contains an
estimated 6.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. It should produce
hard-currency revenues of $400 million a year once a 400-km pipeline to
Thailand's Ratchaburi province is completed in 1997.

Burma's lack of infrastructure will deter investors dependent on modern
amenities. Roads in the northern state of Kachin are so bad that it takes
15 days to drive from Myitkyina to Putao, a distance of 200 km as the crow
flies. Burma's lack of electricity is even more debilitating. Though the
country has a population of 43 million, it can
generate only 838 megawatts (MW) of power. By comparison, Singapore
generates 3,000 MW for a population of just 3 million. Only 800,000 Burmese
are hooked up to the national power grid and their electricity supply is
uncertain, especially during the March-through-May hot season, when
Rangoon's demand for air conditioning causes the ancient wiring strung
along Prome Road to glow cherry red.
Rangoon desperately wants development assistance to improve its crumbling
infrastructure, but not if the loans are linked to Western-style democratic
reforms. "The West isn't that important," says Set Maung, SLORC's
67-year-old economic adviser. "We certainly don't need advice from America.
U.S. 'experts' sent to Russia have produced nothing but economic chaos.
Because of their guidance, Russia has 800 percent inflation and a
1,500-to-one exchange rate. We don't need that here."

For the moment, Burma is content with the investment it gets from Asia.
South Korea's Daewoo Electronics has several factories producing air
conditioners, televisions, circuit boards and kitchen appliances for both
domestic consumption and export. Hong Kong investors operate six garment
factories in addition to the Strand, Thamada and
Inya Lake hotels. Thai companies, with investments totaling $418 million to
date, are active in mining, tourism and commercial property development.
For years Japan followed America's lead and officially discouraged
investment. That policy softened with the release of Aung San Suu Kyi.
Today Japan's Official Development Assistance Program is poised to
reinstate a $10 million aid package that includes a major expansion of
Rangoon's international airport. Mitsui & Co. already is
active. It plans to build a 200-MW power plant plus an $18.5 million
industrial park in the Rangoon suburb of Mingalardon. Says Mitsui Project
Manager Rocky Irie: "In Japan there's a saying, 'When the signal is red,
it's okay to cross if everyone else does.' "

No country is more bullish on Burma than Singapore, which seems to have
made the country's development a national priority. Singapore's Trade
Development Board (TDB) sponsors quarterly trade missions to Rangoon.
Entrepreneurs who decide to invest are allowed double tax deductions for
the cost of subsequent business trips. And when new ventures open, the TDB
sponsors half of the initial marketing and advertising budget.  "Since
Singapore is fully developed, it must look beyond its borders for
investment opportunities," explains Myanmar Hotels International Managing
Director Tony Child, who initially came to Rangoon as the executive
director of Sun Hung Kai Securities Ltd.'s fund-management division.
"There's only so much Singapore can do in Indonesia and China. In Myanmar,
opportunities are unlimited and the authoritarian environment feels familiar."

Singapore's Keppel Group and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. (OCBC) both have
started $30 million investment funds. OCBC's Myanmar Growth Fund will
target financial-services, information-technology and transportation
ventures. Among other projects, Keppel's Myanmar Fund will help finance two
hotels being developed by Keppel subsidiary Straits Steamship Land Ltd.:
the $80 million Sedona Hotel Yangon in the capital and the $50 million
Sedona Hotel Mandalay in central Burma.

Dozens of Singaporean companies are up and running. Indeed, 33 Singaporean
ventures are in the process of pumping $548 million into Burma's economy.
In addition to developing a 200-hectare, $100 million industrial park near
Rangoon, Singapore Technologies Industrial Corp. has budgeted $500 million
to modernize Mandalay's airport. Though not yet approved by Rangoon, that's
good news for Techmat Holdings Pte. Ltd., which controls Air Mandalay, the
country's only reliable domestic carrier. Yet another Singapore company,
Asia Pacific Breweries Ltd., is to underwrite 60 percent of the $35 million
needed to build a new brewery just outside Rangoon.
"For Asian capitalists, Myanmar is the last frontier," says Ho Chin Beng,
Rangoon representative for Singapore's DBS Bank. "That's why we
Singaporeans are inserting ourselves into every economic niche we can
find."  With $200 million invested in new hotels, the majority share of Air
Mandalay and a 50 percent stake in Myanmar
Airways International, Singapore companies should receive the lion's share
of tourist dollars generated during 1996's Visit Myanmar Year.
Unfortunately, the military's ungainly presence makes the promotion's
success far from certain.
Although ethnic insurgencies along Burma's border are largely contained,
the military remains on alert. Every evening the television news is
preceded by film clips of soldiers creeping through forests and jumping off
trucks. The following morning it's the officers' turn for publicity, as
Southeast Asia's most boring newspaper, New Light of Myanmar, yet again
pictures a pontificating general addressing a conference or inspecting an
empty field zoned for development. Even more anachronistic are the red
banners fluttering at major intersections that proclaim in stilted Maoist
jargon the supreme indispensability of Burma's military.

The army's ham-handed propaganda and needless battlefield regalia often
detract from its accomplishments. For example, in three years as minister
for hotels and tourism, SLORC's Lt. Gen. Kyaw Ba has streamlined the
issuing of tourist visas and claims to have attracted $800 million worth of 
new hotel construction and increased the number of Rangoon hotel rooms 
from 500 to 4,000. But 40 years in the infantry have left their mark on the 
60-year-old general.

His ministry office looks more like a bunker. Heavily armed recruits guard
the door, though the only apparent threat to life comes from cars careening
around nearby Sule Pagoda. Kyaw Ba may be the only tourism minister in Asia
whose appointments secretary wears camouflage fatigues, opens mail with a
bayonet and complements his steno pad with a revolver and concussion
"I had no background for this job when my ministry was created in 1992,"
admits Kyaw Ba. "I came from the Kachin state, where I was the regional
commander for eight years. When I first met the Philippine ambassador
shortly after my appointment, I told her to do all the talking because I
had nothing to say. Now I've had a chance to read lots of books and have
plenty of ideas."
SLORC generals are often accused of being rigid and unsophisticated. Lt.
Gen. Myo Nyunt, chairman of the national convention responsible for
drafting a new constitution, has little more than an elementary-school
education. Before 1988, the only foreign travel that SLORC's chief of
intelligence, Lt. Gen. Khin Nyunt, had made was to the Soviet Union.
Unfamiliarity with different cultures combined with a general distrust of
the civilian bureaucracy has produced a homogeneous group of micromanagers
who ignore the world market when arbitrarily setting commodity prices,
force local banks to pay interest lower than the inflation rate to dampen
competition, and waste time on minor personnel matters at their weekly
While acknowledging that his peers have no formal economic training, Kyaw
Ba says SLORC compensates for its deficiencies by methodically studying
issues before arriving at decisions. "It's always been illegal for foreign
companies to provide domestic air service," he says. "But when Techmat
offered to buy two new ATR-72s and start Air Mandalay, we accepted the fact
that Myanmar Airways' aging fleet of Fokker F-27s was slowing economic
development. We can be flexible when Myanmar's future is at issue."

If SLORC is slow to make decisions, it's partly because it is often taken
for a ride by outsiders. When Thailand banned commercial logging in 1989,
SLORC offered Thai timber companies concessions in Karen, Kayah and Shan
states. The deal seemed to make sense. Burma couldn't harvest its timber
along the border because of the insurgents. Why not let Thais do the work
and collect a percentage of their profits?
Unfortunately for Rangoon, Thai companies took a second look at the numbers
and decided they could make more money working with the guerrillas.
Together they began clear-cutting enormous tracts of forest. As a result,
many of the mountains east of the Thanlwin (Salween) River today are
stippled with stumps.
SLORC was bamboozled again in 1991 when it gave a Thai company with one
trawler a license to fish for shrimp off the Tanintharyi (Tenasserim)
Coast, the southernmost part of Burma. When Brig. Gen. Maung Maung became
of livestock breeding and fisheries the following year, he noticed the
company was enjoying remarkable success. "The investigation took time
because we have no navy to speak of," he remembers. "But eventually we
learned that the company in question was fishing with not one boat but 35.
Each boat had the same registration number and carried crews with identical

As in other countries run wholly or partly by the military, SLORC members
and their families have discovered the benefits of "khaki commerce."
Myanmar Economic Holdings, the Burmese partner in 13 foreign joint
ventures, is
operated by retired and active army officers. The son of intelligence chief
Khin Nyunt owns the Living Color clothing boutique in Rangoon's Scott
Market. The minister of trade's daughter operates May Department Store on
Merchant Street.

The family of Gen. Ne Win, the xenophobic architect of Burma's failed
experiment with socialism, has experienced the most profound
transformation. Four years ago, Ne Win's daughter Sanda was a major in the
army's medical corps, while her husband, Aye Zaw Win, earned $15 a day
repairing machines on government fishing trawlers. Today Aye Zaw and Sanda
Win aggressively travel the capitalist road. Together they control six
companies that import Renault buses from France, distribute consumer goods
from Thailand and manage Rangoon's Nawarat Hotel, in which they have 20
percent equity.
The Wins' most important company is Associated Business-Consultancy
Services Ltd. (ABCS), which matches foreign investors with local partners.
Officially, ABCS is located in a wooden shack behind the Nawarat. But the
couple conduct most of their business in the hotel's boisterous Zawgyi
Lounge. "ABCS was the first private company to be incorporated by SLORC,"
beams Aye Zaw Win. "Our registration number is 0001."


November, 1995


TITLE       A Burmese appeal to the UN and US  
AUTHOR      Win, Kanbawza.
PUBLISHER   Bangkok  : CPDSK Publication, [1994?] 59 p.
SUBJECT     United Nations--Burma., Burma--Politics and government.
            Burma--Economic conditions.

TITLE       A Report on the location of Burmese artifacts in museums
AUTHOR      Blackburn, Terence R.
PUBLISHER   Gartmore, Stirlingshire, Scotland  : Kiscadale, 1994., 79 p.
SUBJECT     Art objects--Burma., Burma--Antiquities--Catalogs.

TITLE       Australia's relations with Colonial Burma  : 1886-1947  
AUTHOR      Selth, Andrew.
PUBLISHER   Clayton, Victoria  : Centre of Southeast Asian Studies, Monash
University,1994. iii, 22 p
SUBJECT     Australia--Foreign relations--Burma., Burma--History--1824-1948.

TITLE       Burma debate.
CORPORATE   Open Society Institute. Burma Project.
PUBLISHER   Washington, D.C.  : Open Society Institute, 1994-v.
SUBJECT     Burma--Periodicals.

TITLE       Burma  : encountering the land of the Buddhas.
AUTHOR      Everarda, Ellis.
PUBLISHER   Stirling, Scotland  : Kiscadale, 1994., 114 p.  : ill.
SUBJECT     Burma--Description and travel--Pictorial works.

TITLE       Burma in revolt  : opium and insurgency since 1948
AUTHOR      Lintner, Bertil.
PUBLISHER   Boulder  : Westview Press, 1994., xv, 514 p.
SUBJECT     Minorities--Burma., Opium trade--Burma.,Politics and
government--1948-Burma--History--Autonomy and independence movements., 
Ethnic relations.

TITLE       Burmese crafts  : past and present  / Sylvia Fraser-Lu.
AUTHOR      Fraser-Lu, Sylvia.
PUBLISHER   Kuala Lumpur  ; New York  : Oxford University Press, 1994.
SUBJECT     Art objects--Burma., Art objects, Buddhist--Burma.

TITLE  Comparative study of the two military juntas: Thailand and Burma : a
            Burmese perspective. - 2nd ed.
AUTHOR      Kanbawza Win.
PUBLISHER   Bangkok  : C.P.D.S.K. Publications, 1994. 74 p.  : ill.
SUBJECT     Military government--Burma., Thailand.

TITLE       Culture shock!  : Burma
AUTHOR      Saw Myat Yin.
PUBLISHER   Singapore  : Times Books International, c1994. 207 p. : ill. ;
SUBJECT     Etiquette, Description and travel, Social life, customs in Burma

TITLE       Hard travel to sacred places
AUTHOR      Wurlitzer, Rudolph.
PUBLISHER   Boston  : Shambhala, 1994. v, 161 p.  ; 20 cm.
SUBJECT     Wurlitzer, Rudolph--Journeys--Cambodia, Thailand, Burma.
            Buddhism--Cambodia, Thailand, Burma, Description and travel.

TITLE    Inked over, ripped out  : Burmese storytellers and the censors  
AUTHOR      Allott, Anna J.
PUBLISHER   Chiang Mai  : Silkworm Books, 1994.,124 p.  ; 19 cm.
SUBJECT     Burmese fiction--20th century--History and criticism.
            Authors, Burmese--20th century--Political and social views.
            Burmese fiction--Authorship--Political aspects,Psychology in
literature, Censorship, Burmese fiction--20th century--Translations into
English.,m Burma--Politics and government--1988-

TITLE       Mandalay  : travels from the Golden City.
AUTHOR      Strachan, Paul.
PUBLISHER   Gartmore, Striling  : Kiscadale Publications, 1994., xii, 226 p.
SUBJECT     Burma--Description and travel.

TITLE       Mawchi  : mining, war and insurgency in Burma
AUTHOR      Crozier, L. A.
CORPORATE   Griffith University. Centre for the Study of Australia-Asia
PUBLISHER   Queensland  : Centre for the Study of Australia-Asia Relations,
Faculty ofAsian and International Studies, Griffith University, 1994., 113 p.
SUBJECT     Crozier, L. A., Australians--Burma., Insurgency--Burma--Mawchi--
History.  Mawchi (Burma)--History., Burma--Politics and government--1824-1948.
  Burma--Politics and government--1948-

TITLE       Mountbatten  : the private story
AUTHOR      Hoey, Brian.
PUBLISHER   London  : Sidgwick  and  Jackson, 1994., x, 272 p.
SUBJECT     Mountbatten of Burma, Louis Mountbatten, Earl, 1900-1979.
            Admirals--Great Britain--Biography., Viceroys--India--Biography.

TITLE       Return via Rangoon  : a young chindit survives the jungle and
Japanese captivity.
AUTHOR      Stibbe, Philip.
PUBLISHER   London  : Leo Cooper, 1994. xv, 232 p.
SUBJECT     World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--Burma. World War,
1939-1945--Prisoners and prisons, Japanese., World War, 1939-1945--Personal 
narratives, English.

TITLE       Thailand  and  Burma handbook.
PUBLISHER   Bath, England  : Trade  and  Travel Publications, 1994-v.
SUBJECT     Thailand, Burma--Description and travel--Guide-books.

TITLE      Twilight over Burma  : my life as a Shan princess, foreword by Bertil Lintner.
AUTHOR      Sargent, Inge.
PUBLISHER   Honolulu  : University of Hawai Press, 1994. xxiv, 216 p.  :
SUBJECT     Kya Seng, Sao, Sargent, Inge., Shans (Asian people)--Kings and
rulers--Biography. Shan State (Burma)--Politics and governemnt.


TITLE       Burma the golden
AUTHOR      Klein, Wilhelm., Pfannmuller, Gunter.
PUBLISHER   [Bangkok]  : Insight Topics, 1995. 168 p.  : col. ill.
SUBJECT     Buddhism, Description and travel--Pictorial works.
                Religious life and customs--Pictorial works.

TITLE       Constructive engagement in the Burmese context
AUTHOR      Kanbawza Win.
PUBLISHER   Bangkok  : CPDSK, 1995., j, 210 p.
SUBJECT     Burma. SLORC, Democracy--Burma., Politics and government--1988-

TITLE       Cultural sites of Burma, Thailand, and Cambodia  
AUTHOR      Dumarcay, Jacques. Smithies, Michael, 1932-
PUBLISHER   Kuala Lumpur  ; New York  : Oxford University Press, 1995. xi,
SUBJECT     Monuments, Antiquities, Civilization--Burma.Thailand.Cambodia.

TITLE       Freedom from fear  : and other writings
foreword by Desmond Tutu ; edited with an introduction by Michael Aris. -
AUTHOR      Aung San Suu Kyi. Aris, Michael.
PUBLISHER   London  : Penguin Books, 1995., xxxi, 374 p.
SUBJECT     Aung San suu Kyi, Burma--Politics and government.

TITLE       Norman Lewis omnibus  
AUTHOR      Lewis, Norman.
PUBLISHER   London  : Picador, 1995. 834 p.
SUBJECT     Lewis, Norman--Journeys--Asia. Indochina--Description and travel.
            Burma--Description and travel, India--Description and travel.

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