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Editorial & Opinion :Aung San Suu K

Subject: Editorial & Opinion :Aung San Suu Kyi: a Thai perspective 

Editorial & Opinion 
Aung San Suu Kyi: a Thai perspective

WHENEVER I am tired and disappointed about my work and my country, especially
now that the media reform related to Article 40 is in crisis and our new
Constitution is being distorted by the authorities, I look around at other
countries, especially neighbouring countries, and try to compare the
there. I notice that they are in an even more crisis than us, and I always try
to understand their situations. 
Every time I try to do so, the first person to enter my mind is Aung San Suu
Kyi, the lady from Burma, our closest neighbouring country both historically
and politically. Whenever I think of her, I gain unbelievable encouragement
inspiration from the lady, who is still fighting for her people's democracy
under the most fearful military regime in the world. 
I was already familiar with the lady when I was a university fresher student.
At that time I was really interested in politics and social justice, and I
thought that she was a symbol of democracy in Burma. At that time she had not
been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, but I appreciated her because of her fight
for justice and freedom, especially as a female activist. I understood more
more about her great mission when I first became an NGO activist after I had
graduated. I have always wondered how she can keep her resolution strongly
despite the constant tough situation and difficulties she faces. 

Several times I tried to support her and let her support me mentally. I feel
ashamed to compare myself with her but I always wonder to myself if I were her
what would I be and how would I live? If I had to face an absolute
that never cared about others and was so cruel. If I were denied all rights
freedoms, even to travel in my country, and had only my thoughts and feelings
inside. If I must touch the terrible atmosphere, the sorrowful people who are
more than poor, and the great suffering everyday. If I could be happy only in
my dreams and had lost all my personal life, even my family affairs. If I
not give up but must take never-ending responsibility for the future of the
whole country. If it were so, how could I survive? Such a hard burden on my
back! How much patience must the lady have? 

It seems that her peaceful emotions are unlimited. We can be hopeful every
she smiles, as she did even when she recently lost her husband without saying
goodbye. Small lady with a beautiful face but so much strength of mind,
with no
reluctance to fight any abuse of power in accordance with the philosophy
described in her famous book ''Freedom From Fear''. Most human beings have
various kinds of fear: some fear failure, some fear invisible things and most
fear loss of security of life, including me. But what I have learned from the
lady is that if I can reach freedom from fear, I will be liberated and
from any chains, then I can continue my resolution pro-actively. Surely I will
face a lot of pressure, but freedom from fear will be my guiding star on the
long and dark way. So far, I can just learn from her and try to do this, but I
have not yet succeeded at all. Although the lady can go on her path of freedom
from fear now, I think that the severe reaction from the mindless junta must
threaten her practice of this philosophy almost every second. 

Currently, Thai academics, civic groups and NGOs, including me, are fighting
for broadcasting reform based on Article 40 in the new Constitution. We gained
the Constitution from the tears and blood of heroes who sacrificed themselves
in all the democracy uprisings. The main point of Article 40 is that we
have to
set up a new independent commissioner to allocate and manage all frequencies
for public use and to achieve the greatest benefit for the people, both
nationally and locally. The problem is that the authorities who control the
frequencies now do not want them deregulated, especially the military, which
controls more than 200 radio frequencies and two television channels.
most of the concessions given by the military to the music business depend
on market mechanisms than considerations of public service. The military is
satisfied with Article 40 but under the Constitution of our so-called
democratic society it must follow it. 

I am not sure whether the Thai people will be successful in this case or not,
but we have to follow and push at all levels actively, with the people's
movement outside the parliament, because we cannot leave the commitment
just on
paper as it will end up only on the table. I really agree with the words of
lady of Burma, that ''all difficulties must be resolved by talks at the table
with sincerity on all sides.'' In this case, Thailand seems to be better than
Burma. Although we are still fighting for real democracy, Burma is still so
from so-called democracy. We try to make dialogue on the table become reality,
but the lady and her movement have not yet even had the chance to have
with the cowardly military regime. 

As much as the pro-democracy movement tries to reach dialogue in the
non-violent way, on the other hand the State Peace and Development Council
(SPDC) never compromises, but reacts with violence in every way. This is
nothing different from dictatorships in Malaysia, Indonesia or Thailand, such
as the May uprising seven years ago and many previous times. However, even now

Nato is trying to resolve a power conflict with weapons; stopping violence
violence in Yugoslavia. I still believe, as the great Burmese lady strongly
believes, that the non-violent way is the best way to achieve democracy and
everything else. The lady insists on non-violence, even while being attacked
with much violence. If I were the lady, I would do this also, although I am
sure how well I could keep my emotions in check, with no right to express
myself more effectively because all channels are blocked. 

There is no need to ask about media reform: the right to express opinions in
the media inside Burma, even the right to talk personally, are controlled by
the Military Intelligence Service. One time I had a chance to meet with a
visitor from Burma. As soon as she walked into Don Muang airport she said, ''I
have the breath of freedom.'' She is not even an activist. For political
prisoners and the exiled -- how do they feel? And for the lady, she grew up
abroad and is familiar with the common freedom, exercised anywhere and
As soon as she decided to stand by her people inside her deadlocked country,
how could she remove the freedom in her memory? If I were her, I would be
hungry for freedom with unmeasurable tension in every breath. I might escape
sometime, but she won't. 

The important thing that can encourage the lady is for her to take heart from
her friends who respect human rights and believe in justice, from inside Burma
and all over the world. She knows she never walks alone, even though she
may be
lonely in her house in Rangoon. I do believe that on the long walk for
democracy she will never be isolated. As much as the dictator hates her and
movement, her supporters will increase. The year 2000 is nearly here, every
part of the world is changing. There is no longer time in the world for
such an
out-of date dinosaur state as the Burmese regime. Western countries now are
talking about social democracy and sustainable development. Asian countries
have a social movement and people's participation in politics. Why is Burma
still walking back and abusing its own people proudly? All progressive
countries, especially Asian states, have to take good care and try to change
the plight of Burma if they claim that they prefer democracy and pay
respect to
human rights protection.