Myanmar PoenBurma Poen
A poet's bizarre process in Myanmar
Myanmar writer Maung Saungkha has no Myanmar president's ink on his penis." Saungkha's twenty-four-year-old dissertation became a subject of general interest on 8 October last year, when he published a brief essay entitled "Image" on his Facebook page. In Myanmar poesy has long featured politically, and many of Saungkha's writers have been imprisoned there.
Most of the campaigners who took part in the country's wide-spread pro-democracy protest in 1988 were also authors and verses. Saunagkha himself is an inter-religious campaigner and a member of a group of young people associated with Suu Kyi's group. The N.L.D. in November took on several verses to run for president, and eleven were allegedly elected to the post.
However, the emergence of Myanmar's democratic system has led to some unforeseen changes. A few years ago Saungkha could have written his poetry in a newspaper, perhaps under a pen name, in order not to be discovered - or he would not have done so: to write a poetry with the words "president" and "penis" before 2010 would have been virtually inconceivable or at least very dare.
Saw Wai, the writer, was imprisoned in 2008 for an anti-junta vers dressed up as a weak Valentine's Day novel. Under the title "14 February" the poetry sounded like something out of a poor romcom. But as the agencies finally found out, the poetry was an accrostic calling the Myanmar Yu.
Saungkha put his poetry on line and it was noted by Hmuu Zaw, the president's president's office manager, Thein Sein. A productive Facebook reader, Hmuu Zaw quickly published a scolding about the poetry in which he warns Saungkha should be ready to take the blame for what he wrote.
There is no evidence of any link between this station and what came next, but the cops showed up the same evening at Saungkha's home to bust him. Saunagkha escaped before the cops came. The use of the web in Myanmar has increased significantly in recent years. Once a luxurious commodity, in 2014 the affordability of mobile phone card was made possible after two overseas telecom companies, Ooredoo in Qatar and Telenor in Norway, introduced new network to the nation, leading to competitive pricing with state-supported Myanma Posts and Telcom.
Shortly after the new companies came, everyone seemed to be on-line, from legislators and buddhistic activists to former general and poet. Myanmar's Minister of Information was called "Minister for Facebook" because of his many contributions. Myanmar has the fastestgrowing Asian web space, according to a 2015 PEN American Center survey.
One of Myanmar's most sought-after online and offline content sites, Facebook, along with the Viber message application. Burma has a total of about 51 million people, but Facebook has made it a much smaller place. His attorney, Robert Sann Aung, entered the premises. Soon Aung is the best-known Myanmar prosecutor for humanitarian issues.
Saungkha was there when he was detained because he represented the students' militants who Saungkha wanted to take part in their trials. Soon Aung is wearing a fringed brimmed cap, chewing betelnut and carrying a bag. "Sann Aung said he wanted to find a manly magistrate to deal with the case.
I asked Saungkha's folks what they thought of the case against their boy before I left the premises. "I' m not surprising that this is because it happened in Myanmar," said his dad, U Aung Than Myint. So I asked one of Saungkha's mates, Ko Zey, what he thought of the poet.
"He said it could be any president," joining the defence arguing. He liked the poetry, though? Why did Saungkha compose the poet? Later Sann asked Aung Thein Win if he could literate music. "Sann Aung asked if he was interested in writing. "asked Sann Aung.
On January 5, Saungkha turned 24 years old. Saungkha's police chief's case was denied the same evening, and Saungkha's supporter organized a small reception for him in the court building after the hearings. Sauna kha opened the doors and liberated them in a symbolic way; they flew through the barbwire. Last I questioned him on the mornings of February 9, he said he had another poetry in detention.
He was very tardy with the attorney who stood in for Sann Aung, who was working on another case. By the time the attorney got here, the attorney of the moment hadn't called. At about 2 pm I realized that Saungkha's new poetry had already been post on his Facebook bankroll and it was split and "liked" and annotated.
His poetry describes how he excludes the special article of the draft bill from Aung San Suu Kyi's presidential term of 59 (f) on the "baldness" of an idly-identified individual. "When I asked him later if he was referring to the President of Myanmar in this book - the President of Myanmar is indeed hairless - he flinched, smirked and replied in English.