Monday, August 13, 2012

Incredible Lady

Quiet Land
by Aun San Suu Kyi (ASSK)

In the Quiet Land, no one can tell
if there's someone who's listening
for secrets they can sell.
The informers are paid in the blood of the land
and no one dares speak what the tyrants won't stand.

In the quiet land of Burma,
no one laughs and no one thinks out loud.
In the quiet land of Burma,
you can hear it in the silence of the crowd

In the Quiet Land, no one can say
when the soldiers are coming
to carry them away.
The Chinese want a road; the French want the oil;
the Thais take the timber; and SLORC takes the spoils...

In the Quiet Land....
In the Quiet Land, no one can hear
what is silenced by murder
and covered up with fear.
But, despite what is forced, freedom's a sound
that liars can't fake and no shouting can drown.

"But coolest of all is the shade of the Buddha's teachings"
Dedicated to Aung San Suu Kyi by Karen Ethelsdattar, Union City, NJ

The shade of a tree is cool indeed
The shade of parents is cooler
The shade of teachers is cooler still
The shade of the ruler is yet more cool
But coolest of all is the shade of the Buddha’s teachings


On July 19, 2012, Burma celebrated its 65th and its first state-level Martyr's Day for "Bogyoke" (General) Aun San (1915- 1937) in Yangon. Her daughter Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace Laureate (1991), was the one laying a flower wreath. Announced recently was a Bogyoke movie under planning to commemorate the hero Bogyoke’s 100th Birthday Anniversary due in three years, with Daw Suu Kyi serving as honorary Chairman, and the funding campaign for the movie has started.

Daw Suu Kyi just returned from her high profile European trip, addressing the UN ILO assembly in Switzerland, speaking as Nobel Prize Laureate in Norway, giving thanks at an Amnesty International Event in Ireland, receiving honorary doctorate at her alma mater Oxford, and meeting with Dalai Lama. Family-wise, she celebrated her 65th birthday with children she hasn't seen for years. Yes, she wouldn't have thought that taking care of her mother would keep her this long in Burma, missing her dying British husband in U.K. It was rumored she was a scapegoat for the should-be-returnee Aun San Oo, her brother, from San Diego, California. She was a housewife, mother, and hoping to study Burmese literature.

I've heard about Daw Suu Kyi's famous speech "Freedom from Fear" which started with memorable phrase "It's not power that corrupts, but fear. Fear of losing power...". Her intelligence and eloquence appealed to Burmese and brought the National League for Democracy (NLD) a landslide victory in 1990 over the National Unity Party (NUP), which is the military Junta. The Military Junta hastened to put her under house arrest and ever since she has been resisting bullying generals with the power of the powerless, fighting bravely to achieve democracy, protecting human rights through nonviolent means. She should be encouraged with the Rafto Prize and the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 1990 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 199l. In l992 she was awarded with the Jawaharal Nehru Award for International Understanding by the government of India and the International Simon Bolivar Prize from the government of Venezuela.

Now she is an icon, a fighter of Burma, and her movie about her was made in Thailand ahead of her father Aun San, which was just released in Japan very recently. The government has finally ceded, inching toward democracy, allowing her to travel and attend parliament.

Upon returning from Europe, she stood for the first time from her NLD seat toward the back of Naypyitaw parliament to call for an end to discrimination against ethnic minorities as part of the "emergence of a genuine democratic country." "Based on the spirit of equality, mutual respect and understanding," she said, "I would like to urge all lawmakers to enact necessary laws or amend laws to protect the rights of ethnic nationalities." Suu Kyi's comments came in support of a motion by a ruling-party lawmaker from the ethnic Shan state to uphold ethnic minority rights. Prior to her European trip, she had traveled Mae Sot, Thailand to visit ethnic Kachin and Karen refugees who fled war at home. I'm glad she highlighted basic ethnic issues, requiring urgent debates.

Daw Suu Kyi has been touching on Buddhism in her speeches including the recent Nobel speech. Her favorite word is "Metta" or compassion and she translates it as "loving kindness". Another one is "Mudita" - sympathetic joy. She seems to be practicing 14th Dalai Lama's teaching "Without love, human society is in a very difficult state: without love, in the future, we will face tremendous problems - Love is the center of human life". Another is "nyien chan" She explains it literally as a beneficial coolness that comes when a fire is extinguished. I was amazed that such short words have a profound connotation. The Australian National University listed the word in its language list of security as coolness - the state of ease.

The paper reported her travel plans for 2013, which includes USA and Japan. She had worked at the United Nations Building in New York and in Japan to study at the University of Kyoto during 1985-86, so she will be happy to reunite with many of her friends, I'm sure.

1 comment:

Paul Dion, STL said...

I read these wonderful thoughts about love and my mind filters them through my personal Christian spirituality. Without love there is no freedom; without love there is no hope for the community. Without love the only hope I have is for myself. That is neither true hope nor true freedom.
Thank you, Rio San for making me appreciate the relationship between my spirituality and that of Suu Kui, and also, I suppose, yours too.