It is as if people in Myanmar at different ends of a tug of war game. At one end, there are those who forever believe that Aung San Su Kyi is a Demi god and she only is the savior to all Myanmar problems. These people are now resorting to terrorist activities such as bombing campaigns, assassinations and arson to intimidate people from doing their daily activities. They are supposedly targeting people at the other end of the spectrum, police, military, the appointed administration and all those who are related to these institutions. This article is what the military coup leaders and USDP party would like everyone to believe. It is, however, not true at all. In fact, the very opposite of each point is true in most cases.
Here are ten reasons why this movement is doomed from the start:
1. Founded upon Hatred, Resentment and Envy
Most of those who are fighting against the government want to rid the military leaders, military related companies, their families and cronies off the face of the planet. They naively believe in lies that a General today was a General 20 years ago and he has been amassing his fortunes over all these years without doing much work. Even if his daughter may be studying overseas based on a merit scholarship, she should be punished and made to stay poor and uneducated, just because she is born out of this father, who was just a very low ranking officer when she was born. Most of the NLD supporters believe they are poor just because S General Min Aung Hlaing and others are well off. Their poverty is definitely not because of their lack of efforts or simple laziness!
The fact was evidenced by incessant social punishment of those who stood anywhere near military (related or otherwise) based on make up stories and lies, in social media during the whole months of February and March 2021. As Bill Gates rightly put, “If you are born poor, it’s not your fault. If you die poor, it’s your fault and no one else.”
2. Anti-country Movement
Pro Su Kyi supporters want to boycott every thing related to military, even it is detrimental to Myanmar, as a country. There was a serious campaign against retail shops not to sell Myanmar Beer (#1 Beer brand here). Other than increasing the consumption of imported beer and foreign owned beer brands, what good would it do for the country? There was also a push against a wholesaler, who was selling Myanmar produced organic vegetables in Singapore supermarkets, just because the owner of the company was supposedly the daughter of an ex-General. Su Kyi over the country’s economy, I suppose.
Most of the large companies in Myanmar are somehow related to the military. Most of them are being run by ex military cronies. Some are run by families and relatives of ex-military officers. But targeting them into stopping their operations through social punishments and boycotts, Su Kyi supporters are in fact, running the country economy aground.
3. Pro Destruction and CDM
From February onwards, NLD and Su Kyi supporters called for various activists to disrupt the normal functioning of our country, hoping to disrupt people and government into submission; roads were blocked with obstacles, cars were left in the middle of the roads to disrupt traffic, transformers were destroyed, arsons were common occurrences, etc.
The most destructive of all was the CDM (Civil Disobedience Movement). Doctors neglected the Hippocratic oath they had taken and avoided turning up at hospitals, consequently sending some patients to their dead beds. Court officers and clerks refused to deliver court orders and notices. Worse of all, bank managers and staff refused to turn up to do their work, causing panic among the general population, having experienced a banking system collapse more than a decade ago. What gives these people the right to disrupt people lives and destroy Myanmar’s economy! The majority of the population is beginning to realize the negative side effects of CDM movement and they are no longer willing to support or tolerate them.
4. No Institutional Back Up
NLD itself is not an institution; it is just Aung San Su Kyi and her alone. Without her there is no NLD, on succession, no continuance, no second man. There are no checks and balances. ASSK told her subordinates she must win the 2020 elections at any cost! And they carried the order out, by hook or by crook. Once she has been put under house arrest, the supporters and hard core are taking instructions and fake news from everywhere. Initially, the 1988 student activist Min Ko Naing seems to be leading the fight. Thereafter the charge was led by actors, actresses, singers and social media celebrities. The latter daily activities on social media included hurling profanities at the military and military leaders, creating fake news, instigating social punishments based on lies and slander, advocating the destruction of public properties and disruption of government services through CDM.
Later, the responsibility for leadership falls apparently under Dr Sa Sa, reportedly an Indian national. Only when Su Kyi supporters themselves realized he might not be fit for leadership, an exile parallel government was formed with a couple of ex ministers under Su Kyi’s administration, who fled the country after arrest warrants were issued for them. While many of the NLD supporters have donated to the CDM movement, the parallel government and other anti-government terrorist movement (PDF), there is no accountability for any of the donated funds and millions have been defrauded along the way. With no oversight and no institutional structure, they could not even fulfill the simple promise of continuing to pay even government staff who were terminated due to CDM movement. Many of them have regretted joining the CDM movement.
5. Lack of Talent and Management Skills
Since 2016, when NLD took power, the administration was beset by lack of talented administrators able to run the government efficiently and effectively. From day one, ASSK took charge of four ministries as a minister, a feat not known anywhere else in the world, for example. Many ministers put out statements that became the butt of popular jokes and utter disbelief. The only one thing that they are good at, talking, has made sure that Myanmar became the poorest country in ASEAN in 2019, in terms of GDP per capital (World Bank’s statistics). As Lee Kuan Yew said ‘Voters tend to choose those who talk good and look nice on TV. The results have been disastrous for the country!’ Q.E.D. in Myanmar!
These same people form the parallel government, take donations without accountability, and asked youngsters to sacrifice their lives, so that they can get back into power.
6. ASSK Worship
As mentioned in the last month article, NLD and Su Kyi supporters believe in the Demi-god status of ASSK. Realizing that their own survival depended on the myth of this great leader, the party hardcores and supporters joined the chorus, portraying ASSK as a miracle leader, who is almost ‘divine’. Any factual assessment of her and her government performance was countered with personal attacks, social shaming and crowd punishments.
That eventually evolves into her supporters just fighting for an individual and her party line, instead of fighting for the country. They were not afraid to destroy the country’s economy, public properties or commit arson, the activities that would only harm the nation. As long as their Demi-god is not in power, working towards the better of the country is not in their agenda.
7. Targeting Buddhism and Monks.
Since the start of demonstrations, the demonstrators ruthlessly attack Buddhist believes and Buddhist monks. Buddhist traditions are rebelled against and the monks who were respected by military leaders are targeted and orchestrated on social media. There were campaigns to hang women’s underclothes and used sanitary napkins up. Venerable monks pictures were pasted upon these. Top monks such as SiTaGu and WaSiPait Sayataws were cursed at. Even Thailand media was asking if Myanmar was no long a Buddhist country.
In a country whose majority religion is Buddhism, this caused serious antagonism among the stanch Buddhist. They may not say it out, but the detest was evidenced by having no monks or nuns or Buddhist nationalists turning up and participating in the demonstrations for pro Su Kyi movement.
8. Strength of Myanmar Armed Forces and its Resources
The best, most disciplined and undoubtedly most powerful institution in Myanmar is the Myanmar Armed forces. The hardware and software, the training in management skills and strategy, operations and command structure, all added to an all powerful institution ranked 34th in the world (the Navy itself is ranked 15th). If one is fighting a force of that stature, you would need more than just words on the facebook and a few hundred youngsters going for basic military training.
In this David vs Goliath battle, it’s not the David who is going to come out on top. Even some educated people are under the impression that NLD supporters might come out on top. Those who have been associated with the Armed Forces understood otherwise.
You would have heard of many handmade bombs going off near ward or township management offices and near schools. Even UN, who has been continually standing on the side of Su Kyi’s supporters, issued a statement urging terrorists not to target educational institutions. After the failure of CDM, they are trying to sabotage the government further through intimidation and bombing campaigns. There are even SMSs being sent to parents of school going children, warning them not to send their kids to school. What terminology would suit them, other than the word ‘terrorists’?
Many of the bombers have also died playing around with these handmade devices. A segment of population is behaving as what these terrorists wanted. Stay at home, being scared, not being able to function daily activities. If everyone does that, the terrorists would have won. Only by continuing our daily regular activities, would we have send a signal that terrorism does not work and they have failed to disrupt our normal way of life.
In Myanmar history, its military has not lost a war since its independence. It fought the communists from China as well as Burmese Communist Party (BCP). It fought various ethnic armed organizations. It may have lost some battles, but never a war. It also won against the demonstrators in 1988 (nearly the whole county democratic movement) and 2007 revolt mainly by monks. Myanmar armed forces is not going to lose this time either.
Almost everything is back to normal (other than Banking perhaps) in major cities. Yangon traffic jams are now worse than those in 2019. Businesses are looking forward to an era of growth and stability in the foreseeable future. Before long, businessmen and women who have posted pictures of themselves together with ASSK in their facebook pages would be joining the rat race into Nay Pyi Taw. Would it not be an anecdotal evidence of how short memories of Myanmar people are or of the fact that most Myanmar businessmen are good sitting on the fence and jumping onto the other side soonest it benefits them! Myanmar Insider has become a mouthpiece for the junta, and all good journalists have quit. The owner is Aye Chan, the son of Soe Thein, a USDP party member from Kayah state, and he wrote the original version of this article.