Dear Nan letter No 9

Compassionate letter 9, “Myanmar Generals’ record in the Dog-leather book of Sakya (Thagyar Min)”

 As BO AUNG DIN  in Burma Digest

Dear darling Nan,

I hereby wish a very Happy Burmese New Year and peaceful Thingyan for you and all the Shwe Bamas. Our children missed you but I missed you more especially during Thingyan because as you know we met at our University’s Thingyan festival and so Thingyan became a very important landmark or mile stone for both of us. I still remember the first Thingyan we celebrated together after our mutual friend Ko Tin Mg introduced us. I was teasing him why he was there as he is not a Buddhist. You were at his back and without even knowing me, you act as his advocate or solicitor and give excuses for him by answering that he was the secretary of Burmese Language Association of the university, that organization is sponsoring this event and Thingyan is nowadays celebrated by all the citizens of Burma.

By the way darling, are you tired or fed up of reading my compassionate letters? Kindly allow me to quote a famous saying, ‘My letters could not be written out unto their end even if all the trees on earth were pens, and if the sea eked out by seven seas were ink’. May be my favourite song ‘Want to stay together-alone only no-one else’ by Mar Mar Aye could explain my feelings. She sang about using the sky to write upon, a river as the pen and using the ocean water as ink. But in this age of ICT, neither do we need to use pens nor ink but just ‘typing’ onto the key board is enough. So I have to change or modified these into, “My letters could not finish even if my hands suffered ‘Carpel Tunnel Syndrome’. But it is your prerogative, up to you to decide whether you continue to receive my letter or not. I will stop any time if you say so.


Dear Nan, I had just mentioned Thingyan and we used to remember the joyful water festival first. But we have to think beyond the throwing of water and having fun. New Year Thingyan is a time for looking back over our shoulders about our deeds in the past year and we should use the last few days before the New Year to balance our reds in the “merit book” of Tha Gyar Min or Sakya. We should not just read the Thingyan Sar and day dream its future astrological estimates or readings the wishful expectations. We actually need to made and declare our New Year resolutions, if we want to be progressive. We should not allow ourselves to be the victim of fate as this Kamma not only depends on our past only but also depend on our present deeds. And we should make up our mind at the present to prepare or face our future.

Darling, many Shwe Bamas believed that Tha Gyar Min or Sakya comes down from his Paradise to our earth during the days of Thingyan, carrying with him two large books, one bound in gold and Dear Nan, the names of those who perform meritorious acts or good deeds are entered in the golden book while the names of those who committed sins are noted down in the dog-leather book.

Tha Gyar Min is just doing his duties and obligations entrusted by Buddha. The story goes that the Buddha before he entered the Parinibban summoned the Tha Gyar Min and entrusted him with the responsibility of seeing that the Buddha’s teachings flourish. Tha Gyar Min is there to monitor that we live according to the teachings of Buddha.

Dear Nan, we use to fast, give alms and do good deeds such as fetch water for old folks, provide them with all their personal needs, like washing and shampooing their hair and cutting their nails. There is goodwill and loving kindness all around us during the New Year. Some people spend their time in meditation, worshiping at pagodas, observing the five or eight precepts, releasing caged birds and fishes and performing various good deeds.

Please forgive me Nan, even during this ‘preaching time’, I remembered our favourite Hti Sai’s song, ‘All the birds are not happy even in the golden cages but wish to be freed and fly around.’ And my heart sank thinking about the ‘fighting Peacock Princess’ our Ah Ma Gyi Suu and of course your uncles and other thousands of political prisoners under various form of unjust detention after persecution with trumpeted charges and tried in Kangaroo Courts. This alone could be defined as GENOCIDE, according to the UNSC resolutions and International Criminal Court.

Dear Nan do you know that the most notorious criminal American gangster Al Capone (Alphonse Gabriel Capone, January 17, 1899January 25, 1947, popularly known as Alfonso “Scar face” Capone) had committed numerous crimes but was charged and sentenced with ‘tax evasion’ only and died in prison. It was because there were very real concerns about the witness able to be alive to testify as Capone had put a bounty of $50,000 on each of those witness bookkeeper’s heads. There was also some doubt that the six-year statute of limitations would be upheld by the Supreme Court from the time of committing a crime and prosecution. An appeals court had already ruled on a three-year statute of limitations for tax evasion. Then there was an enormous potential for jury tampering, both through bribery and intimidation.

Dear Nan, thank you for reminding me on the phone to show a recent famous case. You pointed me out to the case of Malaysia’s ex-PM and ex-DPM’s power struggle and how Dr Mahathier accused a lot of nasty things on his deputy Mr Anwar Ibrahim but could not substantiate any of his wild allegations or trumpeted accusations. But he ‘successfully’ ‘prosecuted’ his deputy with the accusation of ‘corruption’ without any involvement of money. Not even a cent was changed hand. Their trumpeted allegation was ‘abuse of power’ by Mr Anwar for allegedly ‘asking the police’ to get a retraction from his accusers. Dear Nan, I wish to skip the details, as the whole world knows the whole story and who is right/wrong.

So why should we wait for further evidences as enough is already good enough. We should try to prosecute those criminal SPDC Generals first and during the proceedings we could add up other charges and evidences. Dear Nan, just see the recent proceedings of Iraq ex-President Saddam Hussein: at first he was charged with crime against Humanity for killing of Shiites but recently another charge of GENOCIDE is added.

How could those IDIOT SPDC GENERALS prove that they are right to detain Daw Aung San Suu Kyi immediately after the Depayin assault orchestrated by Kyant Phuts? How could they mitigate that they have the right to arrest your uncles, U Khun Htun Oo and other Shan and NLD leaders? Then they have to allow the UN and International Investigators to probe the Depayin incident. If they dare to jump from the frying pan into the fire let them jump!

How could they plead not guilty of arresting the leaders’ peacefully meeting together to discuss the possible participating in the first step of National Convention of the so called ‘Seven Steps of Democratization’ initiated by SPDC. Even if they wish to ask for federalism or planning to ask for separation and independence, that is their right according to Panglon treaty and the first constitution of Burma.

If one person only was arrested, they could give thousand and one excuses but arresting the leaders of the whole groups of SHANs, and the whole political leaders of NLD is their mistake and a blessing in disguise for all the peoples of Burma. And that is the good enough proof of GENOCIDE! Dear Nan, just continue to look at the political scene, according to your favourite saying, ‘Shwe Ba asa nar mae’: Shwe Ba, the hero would suffer first but win over the villain at the end of every show.

Excuse me Nan; I am swaying from my subject Thingyan. Actually one thing leads to another and at last I almost lost in the forest. But as our Burmese saying, ‘Pho Thu Daw myet si lae lay, Ei Kyar Kwe ya lay’, sorry it should be ‘san ya lay’. If the holy person goes for the rounding to collect the donations and lost his way, he has to walk around more and could collect more rice. Recently my friends came back from Mandalay and told me that nowadays as there are numerous Chinese restaurants or hawker shops mushrooming in Mandalay, Pho Thu Daws used to get donations of Chinese snack ‘Kyar Kwe ‘ more than their usual collection of rice.

Dear Nan, during the Thingyan, my favourite thing is to listen to the Than Gyats or chants. New Year is the time for people to cleanse themselves of the defilement they have collected during the year and look forward to the chance of chants lampooning and satirizing the present social, political and economical situations in our Shwe Bama. This important, exciting, thrilling and amusing traditional part of the water festival has disappeared in recent years: the Thingyan Thangyat, rhyming choruses that provide pungently witty caustically humorous commentaries on topical subjects, particularly on the government disappeared because of the strict ban by the senseless repressive and coward SPDC. It was once a way of allowing people to let off steam healthily once a year and also a way of allowing sensible governments to know how the people truly feel about them. But the SLORC is incapable of coping with criticism about its misdeeds. So we all just look at ‘the King showing off with his new clothes’ and dare not tell that he is naked afterall. Actually SPDC should allow this to know how the people truly feel about them. But the coward SPDC Junta is incapable of coping with any kind of criticism whether it is legitimate or not.

Dear Nan lets go back to Thingyan. You reminded me that it is especially important not to get angry during Thingyan or to make others angry. It is therefore considered wrong to throw water at anybody who is unwilling to be doused. You told me to forgive and forget even if others are wrong and to ignore their provocations, especially those of drunkards. I still remember your regular advice or preaching at every Thingyan to the children and me, not to get into a fight. If we win, we would be charged with assault and if lost we would landed in a hospital. Nothing is quite pleasant to start a New Year. Dear Nan, you were right for the personal small problems. But to prosecute SPDC Generals at ICC is a national affair. It is our historical noble struggle or a national fight to free our beloved country from those criminal tyrants. So we could not just keep quite and let bygone be bygone but have to fight anyway.

Dear Nan, I am lazy and just want to daydream about Thangyan we celebrated during our youthful days and avoid answering your questions. But I realized that the part of Daw Mon and U Pyu played in our Shwe Bama history is also crucial part of our religion. They give us Hinduism followed by Buddhism. We could learn a lot by looking back at them. When our Pagan first Shwe Bama village tract was in deep dark without a real religion and just struggling under the tyrant Ayi Gyi’s ‘religion’ Daw Mon and U Pyu had enlightened our forefathers with Buddha’s teachings and salvaged all of us. So Thingyan is a good time to regurgitate their history and I decided to continue with my answer to your questions.

Dear Nan, you already know that our Shwe Bama villagers are of Mongoloid people, have origins in present-day Daw Tibet village, who are thought to have originally migrated from the steppes of present-day Mongolia village. They migrated 3,000 years ago to the lower valleys of the Ayeyarwady River. They are ethno-linguistically related to the Daw Tibet and the U Tayoke.

And already know that the first Shwe Bama village empire, Pagan started in 1044 AD. The most important ethnic groups at that time were the U U Bama, the U Yakhine, Daw Daw Shan and Daw Daw Mons, of which the U U Bama’s relatives were the most numerous and the most powerful.I understand that you are already aware that U U Bama kinfolk were formed by the assimilation of the three different tribes of ancestors:

Daw Daw Pyu,

U U Kan Yan and

Daw Daw Thet.

(a) Daw Daw Pyu were actually mixed-blooded as I had written in earlier letter:

The original villagers since Bronze and Iron Ages.

The villagers descended from Daw Tibet’s village.

Those migrated from U Kalar’s village.

(b) U U Kan Yan was a Mongolian and descendent of Daw Tibet’s village.

Daw Daw Thet was from Thai-Chinese group.

Dear Nan lets go back to our topic today to the early Pagan village, which was our first Shwe Bama empire/village tract. There is a saying in Shwe Bama village, if we want to discuss or talk about Pagan village; ‘we need to be armed with sticks and knives or rather machetes.’ Yes there is no consensus about the history of Pagan village and every argument leads to controversy and used to end with a quarrel. Dear Nan, now I am going into the mind field with the intention to challenge the nationalists with some radical views.

Dear Nan, I will start with Ah Yee Gyis or Aries, who were notoriously powerful in Pagan or Bagan village, before the Buddhist Religion arrived in our first Shwe Bama village. Dear Nan, why did your face became red and try to gaze away from my letter. I know my dear wife, although you already got the grand children, you are still acting like a maiden. I would start a first salvo or bombardment with this fact.

Ah Yee Gyis or Aries were related to one Indian sect or religion from Ko Kala’s village tract. The same Aris or Ah Yees from Ko Kala’s village were known for, swimming, martial arts, traditional medicine practice and the custom of sleeping with the brides on the first night of weddings. Dear Nan, I am not revealing some ‘blue stories’ or Thousand and one nights Arabian stories. I am not sure whether Ko Kalar Aries came physically here or their ‘religion’ or practice only arrived here. Never mind don’t worry dear, I just tease you with this story. Now I would like to trace our ancestors.

Dear Nan, I wish to quote our famous historian Dr Than Tun’s ‘The Story of Myanmar told in pictures’.

Dear darling, do you still remember the day you showed me the news of the fossilized remains of rhinoceros and crocodiles found in the Pontaung Ponnya regions. Padalin cave paintings are the proof that there were early dwellers in late Old Stone Age Shwe Bama village. In the new Stone Age, stones were smoothly polished to make tools and were perforated to make beads. Fire was built. There were domestications of goat and sheep, buffalo and ox and later horse and elephant. As ploughing, sowing, reaping, threshing, pounding rice, cooking rice, weaving baskets, pottery making, spinning, weaving, carrying big stone from a very far place where it was available and lifting it up to the height where they want to place it, the practice of selling and buying came into being through barter system, etc. can be imagined.

Dear darling, I was heartened because formerly, we had nothing much about the Bronze Age found in Nyaungkan, lower Chin Dwin region up to confluence with Irrawaddy. At Mon Ywa (1500-1000 BC). There are nowadays evidence of our early Shwe Bama ancestors in Samon valley south of Mandalay, Taungthaman, Amarapura Iron age 460 BC, Pyu 200BC – 900 AD.

Dear Nan, most of the historians try to visualize the human characteristics from their archaeological fossils. There were savages in the Old Stone Age from 400,000 to 8000 BC and barbarians in the new Stone Age from 8000 to 2000 BC. In our Shwe Bama village tract’s Iron Age or civilization began from 2000 BC because Iron Age was recognized as a civilized age in the history of the world.

In 2500 BC, in U Kala’s village tract villagers in the Indus Valley wrote in cuneiforms which could not be decoded. Later in 1500 BC, Aryan came to India and they later started writing in Brahmi script. Since then, they have had records written in alphabets and people were taken as civilized in the history.

Dear Nan, I wish to continue with my answer with one of our Shwe Bama’s ancestor, U U Phyu story. He arrived in Shwe Bama village area in the 1st century BC or earlier and established village kingdoms at:

Hanlin and Kutkhaing in the north,

Thanlwin coastal line in the east,

Gulf of Mataban and its coast in the south,

Thandwe in the southern west and

Yoma in the west.

U U Pyu had built towns in:

Sri Ksetra (Pyeh) 4-8AD,


Beikthano. (Actually VISHNU from Hindi god) (Khmer troops occupied  210-225 AD)

Taung Dwin Gyi 1-4 AD,

Hanlin (Wet Let) 2-9AD, (Halingyi)

Tagaung (Thabeikkyin),

Waddi (Nga Htwoe Gyi),

Maingmaw (Pinlay)(Myittha),

Beinnaka(Pyaw Bwe)

Bilin township (Mon state)

U U Pyu established ancient village kingdom (and its language) found in the central and northern regions of what is now Shwe Bama village tract. The history of the U U Pyu is known to us from two main historical sources: the remnants of their civilization found in stone inscriptions (some in Pali, but rendered in the Pyu script, or a Pyu variant of the Gupta script) and the brief accounts of some travellers and traders fro U Tayoke’s village, preserved in the Chinese imperial history.

U U Pyu is believed to have been ethnically different from the Shwe Bama villagers, although they may have inter-married with the Daw Tibet villagers who later became the Shwe Bama villagers.

During this period, our Shwe Bama land was part of an overland trade route from U Tayoke  to U Kala’s village. U Tayoke  sources state that the U U Pyu controlled 18 village kingdoms and describe them as a humane and peaceful people. War was virtually unknown amongst the U U Pyu’s villagers, and disputes were often solved through duels by champions or building competitions. They even wore silk cotton instead of actual silk so they would not have to kill silk worms. Crime was punished by whippings and jails were unknown, though serious crimes could result in the death penalty. U U Pyu practiced Theravada Buddhism, and all children were educated as novices in the temples from the age of seven until the age of 20.

U U Pyu’s villages never unified into a Pyu village kingdom, but the more powerful villages often dominated and called for tribute from the lesser villages. The most powerful village by far was Sri Ksetra, which archaeological evidence indicates was the largest village that has ever been built in Shwe Bama. The exact date of its founding is not known, though U U Pyu chronicles speak of a dynastic change in A.D. 94, so it was before that date. Sri Ksetra village was apparently abandoned around A.D. 656 in favor of a more northerly capital, though the exact city is not known. Some historians believe it was Halingyi village. Wherever the new capital was located, it was sacked by the villagers of Daw Nan Cho in the mid-9th century, ending the Pyu’s period of dominance.

Dear Nan, lets see how written Bama language started. Finger marked bricks are found in one of TibetoBurman group occupying upper Bama i.e. Pyu old towns, Mon and India.

We found out that Pyu language started in 5AD in Southern Rakhine. At famous Mya Zedi Pagoda stone inscriptions were written in Pyu, Mon, Bama, and Pali in1113AD. Daw Pyu had written records, dated from 1st century A.D. and Daw Mon from 5th century A.D. and we, Shwe Bamas had our own written records only in 11th century A.D.

Beikthano (Vishnu) at the end of 4th. AD (9Khmer troops occupied  210-225 AD.(Taung Dwin Gyi) after which the Mons moved in, giving the cities names Panthwa and Ramanna pura.

Dear darling, in Chinese Chronicles they recorded Pyu as ‘P’aio’. But Pyu Called themselves Tircul. (Perso-Arab authours) of 9-10 AD. There are records of Daw Nan Cho and U Tibet alliance in 755 AD to defeat U Tayoke. Daw Nan Cho village king U Ko-lo-fen communicate with U Pyu.U Pyu Kings were called Maharajas and Chief ministers were called Mahasinas.

Daw Nan Cho conscripted U Pyu soldiers to attack of Hanoi in 863 AD. In 832 AD Daw Nan Cho looted Han Lin village from U Pyu. (Adapted from Elizabeth Moore, Myanmar Historical Research Journal 2004)

No archeological evidence except supported by chronicles and linguistic evidences and epigraphy for Daw Chin’s cousins U Kadu and  Daw Thet.

On Daw Pyu’s stone inscriptions, kings names with Vikrama were suffix with Vishnu. The same tradition was noticed in Gupta era India 100 BC.and in  Sri Kestia, Mon in south, Thai and Cambodia.

Statue of Vishnu standing on Garuda with Lakshmi standing on the lotus on left. And Brahma, Siva and Vishnu thrones were also found. Name, Varman name there was influence of Pallava of U Kala’s village.

Dear Nan, in Chinese Chronicles Chen Yi-Sein instead gives an Indian derivation for Panthwa village, as the name of a Dravidian tribe settled in Daw Mon’s areas around the Gulf of Martaban. This group was later one of the pioneers in a ‘Monized’ occupation of Beikthano village, which also led to the village/city being called Ramanna-pura, linked to Mon areas of southern Myanmar (1999:77).

The Tagaung dynasty is explicitly incorporated into the story of Duttabaung’s mother and father; the lineage of the Queen of Beikthano is less consistent, but always intertwined with that of the Sri Kestra village rulers. In all of these, links are made between territorial control, royal patronage of Hindu or Buddhist sects and supernatural events.

Dear darling, the stories of Tagaung village, Sri Kestra village and Beikthano village are intimately related, with Sri Kestra village eventually dominating but not necessarily bringing an end to Beikthano village citing a hypothesis that the inhabitants of Beikthano village may have been a different Tibeto-Burman group from the Daw Pyu’s brothers of Sri Kestra (Than Tun 1965).

In giving names to the generalized references in Chinese records, Halin village is often identified as a garrison town, with Sri Ksetra village the capital of the Daw Pyu village kingdom.

Dear Nan, The brief chronicle history of Halin village cited below credits its founding to the U Kala  prince and its demise to a fire breaking out during rebellion and royal conflicts, none of it relating to other known Daw Pyu village sites.There is one reference to Halin village in the Glass Palace Chronicle, but in the time of village King Naratheinhka in the late 12century AD.  Karabaw attempted to dam the Ayeyarwaddy to the east of Halin village. This failed, and he constructed the Nagayon tank to the southeast of the village city wall. His reign was followed by 799 kings, ending with the reign of the brothers Pyu Min and Pyone Min. Although on harmonious terms at first, they eventually quarreled and Pyu Min took the life of his brother. The populace rebelled and killed the king. A fire broke out, burning down the city, and ending the village city of Halin (Myint Aung 1970:56).

Recalling the absence of Halin village in the Tagaung-Srikestra-Bagan village chronicle sequence, these successive occupations demonstrate the site’s significance in a proliferation of contexts yet to be fully reconstructed.

Little is known about the institutions which regulated Pyu society or the agricultural and

political domain outside the walled area. Comparison of the remains of walls at the Pyu village centres of Beikthano village (Vishnu), Sri Ksetra village and Halin village show a similar approach to territorial demarcation. The massive walls and gates, and offer a viable indicator of a centrally organized social hierarchy capable of mustering labour to construct and maintain fortifications. Chronicle records of the Daw Pyu, the differences in many ways outweigh the similarities between Sriksetra village, Beikthano village and Halin village. Each seems to have followed its own development trajectory, with Sriksetra village and Halin village most likely profiting from respective control of seaward and overland trade.


Dear Nan. in addition, the material culture of Daw Pyu village sites is distinct from that of Dvaravati village sites in Centraland Northeast Thai Land village. While the two areas were clearly in communication and share a number of traits from walled enclosure, stylistic features of images of the Buddha, silver coins and beads.


As documentation on the Daw Pyu increases, the conflation of a politically and linguistically distinct domain with a start and finish, can hopefully be replaced with use ‘Pyu’ in a cultural sense, similar to that which has evolved in regards to the preference of Dvaravati over ‘Mon’ for the art of first millennium AD central and Northeast Thailand.

(Woodward 2003:54).


Darling, while much of the discussion above is within a framework of the Daw Pyu’s period, reference has also been made to the growing body of new information on pre-Bagan village habitation of Upper Shwe Bama.


Prior to the 1998 excavation of the Bronze Age cemetery near Nyaunggan, Budalin township, comparative study of Daw Pyu’s artifacts looked outside the country for contemporary material from South Asia and areas to the east linked to the ‘Dvaravati’ village cultures of present day Ko Thai Land’s villagers. Analysis of the Daw Pyu’s period remained within the paradigm defined by Shwe Bama chronicles and the early history within an ethno-linguistic framework. While attention was given to population groups other than the Daw Pyu (e.g. Luce 1985), defining their presence archaeologically was not feasible, leaving the Daw Pyu in isolation as the sole or dominant root with which to define the emergence of Bagan village.


Dear Nan, despite the implications of stability and structure implied by a Daw Pyu village ‘city’ or ‘kingdom’, it is probable that relations were persistently fluid, “not state as institution, but as ‘part of a discourse of contested political claims, as an aspect of social relations, rather than as a structure in and of itself’…”(Day 1996:386).


Darling, as I had mentioned, existing chronologies present a sequence of capitals for a Daw Pyu village kingdom. As yet, there is no sense of how and when different elements, particularly royal and monastic ones, were introduced into the society. The population densities were centres of authority, protection, teaching and sustenance but the degree of competition and movement of individuals between nodes is not yet clear. Bonds to place, of birth and livelihood, balanced the sense of boundary implied by brick walls, with steady mobility between the two contexts. In a prehistoric paradigm, this means considering the movement of peoples between villages and the flow of traders and religious figures across the landscape. In this way we do not lose a spatial referencing that accommodates cities, their rulers, priests and monks, and the makers of finger-marked bricks.


Dear Nan, the other version of the migration of our ancestors that I got from the official Glass Palace Chronicles is:


Invading U Tayoke villagers and U Mongo villagers from the north destroyed Tagaung village. The last village head or king of Tagaung village, Bhinnaka Raja run away and died later. His followers, Tagaung villagers split in to three divisions. One division founded the nineteen Shan States at the eastern part. Another division moved down Ayeyarwady River and combined with Muducitta and other Sakiyan princes from Ko Kala’s village and the other groups of Daw Pyu, U Kan Yan and Daw Thet.


The third group stayed in Mali village with the chief queen Naga Hsein, a Sakiyan from Ko Kala’s village. She was the queen of the Sakyiyan king Dhaja Raja migrated from Ko Kala’s village. On the way he founded Thintwe’ village. Then they founded the upper Bagan(Pagan) village.


Dahnnavata captured Thambula, queen or head of Daw Pyu’s village. But Nanhkan village or queen of Daw Pyu’s village had driven out the Ko Kan Yan’s villagers, who lived in seven hill-tracks beginning Thantwe’ village.


Village King Dwattabaung, direct descendent of Abi Raja from Ko Kala’s village, founded Thare Khit Taya in 443 BC. It was said to be self-destroyed in 94 AD. The history is half -mystical at that time.


U  Talaings migrated from the Talingana State, Madras coast of Southern India. They mixed with the new migrants of Mongol from U Tayoke village. There were Daw Pyu’s cousins migrated from Andhra and Orissa villages of from Ko Kala’s village tract.

That Daw Mon’s mighty village Kingdom extended from Lower Shwe Bama village tract (Pathein village or Bassein, Mawlamyine village or Moulmein, Tanintharyi village or Tenasserim, Tanyin village or Syriam), U Thai Land village and Daw Cam Bodia village.

King Anawrahta of Bagan village (Pagan) conquered that Daw Mon village Kingdom of King Manuha, named Suvannabumi village (The Land of Golden Hues).

Two princes named Thamala and Wimala (Shwe Bama version of Ko Kala names-Thalma and Vimala.) established the Bago village in 573AD. Tabinshwehti (Taungoo Dynasty) conquered it in 1539 AD.

The First Union of Shwe Bama village tract is credited to them as they are the ones who first founded the Union like present Shwe Bama village tract between 4th century A.D. and 9th century A.D. The cultural exchange between Shwe Bama villagers, U Kala, U Tayoke villagers and other South-east Asian villagers are obvious.

Dear Nan, we have to consider the arrival of Europeans and gaining cultures from them, how gunpowder, gun and canon play an important part in politics in our Shwe Bama villagers. The new species of plants and the new faiths (Hindism, Buddhism, Christian, Islam, etc.) that we get from them must be must be considered. We must accept that we have got both the advantages and disadvantages in dealing with foreigners (Chinese, Indian and European)

U Tayoke village tract head Kublai Khan’s Turkish soldiers, commanded by Nasrudin, the son of Yunan Governor attacked and took over Burma in 1277 AD. Tartars at first took strong hold in Bhamo (Burma) for a few years and later destroyed Bagan (Pagan) in 1287 AD. Interestingly those Turks give the U Tayoke the name we called in Shwe Bama language.

U Tayoke and Ko Mongol’s invading war remained not yet fully documented in our Bagan village era. But Asan Kaya, Raja Dirit and Sihasu records are already completed.

We now know how Min Gyi Swa, Min Gaung, Min Ye Kyaw Swa and Raja Dirit fought against each other. And the military strategies, defensive and offensive actions in war changed due to the extensive use of guns and canons were seen. New economics and new religions because of the relation with western countries started from the 15th century A.D.

Dear Nan, I hope you already knew my habit of parroting or just informing you what I happened to know by chance. Sometime I just mentioned or write about anything I heard or read in the newspapers or books. All that I mentioned are not because I supported the idea or believed that it is an irrefutable truth. I just mentioned casually, sometimes light heartedly, sometimes as a joke to irritate you or sometimes just wish to highlight a controversy welcoming a heated debate in our platform or stage, Burma Digest. In Burmese ‘Pwe sue aung loke thee’. I hope that then only more people will notice or read our Burma Digest or there may be better hits on this web page. I already knew that this web page, Burma digest is a popular space to be visited by Shwe Bamas abroad but I hope to see more progress. Dear darling that radical ideas came into my mind because I rarely have a chance to read any feed back from our readers or from SPDC. If we could even attract our oppositions, radicals and SPDC, of course there must be decorum, mutual respect and some politeness from all the sides, to refute what we wrote; it may be a great progress.

Darling, you had said before, “Counting the ballots is better than cracking the heads.”  Let me modify or think beyond that, or apply this to another area. I hereby wish to propose that, ‘we better fight with our pens rather than fighting with live ammunitions’.

Fighting as a gentleman on the Internet is much better, more desirable and humane than fighting on the real battle field. Although I may be seen as a coward because of these words, after all the real battle ground is also not a level playing field for us. In the Shwe Bama village compound, anyone talking, speaking, writing or even possesses the papers against the SPDC or Daw Than Shwe would be arrested and prosecuted or more correctly persecuted.

Yes darling, do you remember the famous case of a gentleman, a representative of few western countries, arrested for using the unregistered Fax Machine? (I wrote about him in previous letter.) And on the real battle front, at the border areas our freedom fighters are outnumbered. Their ammunition, transport, organization, intelligent networks and equipments, budget and etc. are also not able to compete with SPDC’s strong forces. Guerrilla warfare in the Shwe Bama village itself is also almost impossible.

So we have only one easy option, ICT warfare or propaganda warfare on internet. And it is relatively safe and quite effective. But because of heavy censorship on Internet contents, it may be less effective inside the Shwe Bama village itself; until and unless those opposition radio stations actively promote and inform regularly on most of the opposition Internet contents. We are sad that there is some intense rivalry and competition every where among our various opposition groups. We should make all the articles bilingual, in Burmese for the general population, in English to attract and explain the foreigners to persuade them to support us. We need to translate all the information vice versa. I had seen a lot of second and third generations of our Shwe Bama Migrant’s children out of touch with our Shwe Bama language. Most of them could still speak fluently in Shwe Bama but could not read nor write in Shwe Bama well enough. Surprisingly most of them still love our Shwe Bama country, they care about our country and interested in all the things Shwe Bama. Dear darling, just look at our youngest daughter, although she could speak Shwe Bama language fluently, she could not read or write in Shwe Bama language. But her love for Shwe Bama is on par to all of us.

Dear darling, I hope if we could attract all of our people in the free outside world to participate in the open discussion, discourse, dialogue or even a heated argument, it would be beneficial for all of us as it could definitely lead to more mutual understanding.

Dear Nan, thank you for the valuable advice you had secretly given to me. Because of your desire to promote unity through mutual understanding and reciprocal respect and of course, as this is the official aim of the Burma Digest, with the support of the Burma Digest team I could write and send some letters to you. But dear darling, do you notice that in my letters I purposely try to put in few controversial sensitive words or ideas against some of the groups. I am even surprised my letters were not censored by Burma Digest team. I salute them from my bottom of my heart. This shows their maturity and their true spirit or commitment; ‘wishing to stay colour blind’, that is against all kind of racial and religious discriminations.

So dear Nan, please may you kindly understand me for provoking the radical ends of the spectrum like a rebel rousers in this letter and my future few letters. With each weekly letters I wish to probe more and more deeply into Shwe Bama village history. I hope our readers could judge and treat Burma Digest as the one site of revolution that would sparks a thousand ideas. We want ideas, not only moderate but even from the extreme end of the spectrum, we need all the possible views. Then we must judge or compare our notes with the universally accepted, UN recognized facts. All of us may not agree to all the facts but we have to make a consensus, and once the decisions are made, we all have to accept them as our guiding principle for the benefit of our beloved Shwe Bama country. Even if 95% of Shwe Bamas don’t get what we are writing…the remaining 5% who get it will definitely have an impact on our society.

Dear darling at the time of our Shwe Bama New Year and Thingyan, I wish to present you with the wise advice of the Dalai Lama, our cousin Buddhist (Mahayana) leader.

Dear darling, I told you in my very first letter that I even wish to spend my last days of my twilight years and like to even die in your Shan Land but when I have to change my wish now after I read Dalai Lama’s words which came out from his heart and vibrated right into my heart because of harmony of the feelings:

“In Tibet, I would have been a prisoner, a puppet leader. But it doesn’t mean I ever forget about Tibet. I never stop thinking about it, and I tell the refugees that if they can, they must return one day or the Chinese will have won.”“But the Tibetans always say: wherever you feel most comfortable, that is your home. Whoever shows you greatest kindness and comfort, they are your family. So I am happy to die in India.”


Although we all Shwe Bamas missed home, wish to return for retirement at old age or even die or wish to breathe the last breath at the homeland, most of us have no choice but to stay away from our beloved Shwe Bama Paradise for a long time.

The wise religious leader continued:

” You have bigger homes, yet smaller families.

You have endless conveniences — yet you never seem to have any time.

You can travel anywhere in the world, yet you don’t bother to cross the road to meet your neighbours,” he said.

I think the Dalai Lama is right when he said that we don’t count our blessings and realize how much we truly have.

“Too many people have given up on marriage. They don’t understand that it is about developing a mutual admiration of someone, a deep respect and trust and awareness of another human’s needs,” the Dalai Lama said.

I think the Dalai Lama is right when he said that we don’t count our blessings and realize how much we truly have.

Dear Nan, as I am preparing this letter to send to you through Dr Tayza, he e-mailed me. His e-mail is different from Bo Tayza’s heavenly sophisticated e-mail to our friend Maha Bandula but coincidently we all are almost on the same theme and on the same side of the political divide. Sorry for twisting my tongue to just impress you my dear, basically we are comrades fighting the SPDC Junta. Actually our dear doctor just reminds me that he and his friends from Burma Digest have been concentrating all their efforts on convicting SPDC of four main charges: (1) being a threat to regional/international stability, (2) genocide, (3) drug trade and (4) nuclear ambitions. Their aim is to get UN Security Council action urgently on SPDC regime. And they also want justice to be done by bringing SPDC generals to International Criminal Court in The Hague on these four charges.

He mentioned that, Milosevic of Serbia was put on trial in The Hague. Saddam Hussein is on trial in Iraq. And last week Robert Taylor, a dictator from Africa was also put on trial for crimes against humanity. The time will come soon for SPDC generals to stand trial for their crimes and their crimes are too numerous, so they will focus mainly on the four main charges described above.

Dear darling, we just need to compare our notes. Next week Tha Gyar Min or Sakya would come down from his Nat Pye or Paradise to our Shwe Bama village tract during the days of Thingyan.  As all of us know that the names of those who perform meritorious acts or good deeds is entered in the golden book while the names of those who do not behave properly or committing sins are noted down in the dog leather book. I am afraid his book bound in gold would be left with many empty vacant pages but the other book bound in dog leather would be full with our SPDC Generals, their followers, supporters and corroborators’ names.

So dear Nan, please tell your SPDC Generals the following facts:

(Note: Don’t angry Nan, I understand that you have no connections with SPDC but I am 101% sure that once my letter was sent through Burma Digest, the SPDC spies would definitely ‘peek’ into the letter. And I wish to request those gentlemen to translate and give the full report to their Ah Ba Senior General Than Shwe so that he could review his latest condition or position at the edge of the Ah Thu Yar Gauge.)

The facts that we wish to reveal to SPDC Generals are: This is the time to seek forgiveness, to repent, to regret, for salvation and for redemption. Instead of just releasing the fish and birds, release Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, U Tin Oo, U Khun Htun Oo and all the political prisoners. Instead of donating your ill gotten booties, give back the country you looted from the NLD and opposition. Instead of continuing governing Shwe Bama which is not yours and give back our independence. If not they would be charged soon in the International Criminal Court in The Hague on the crimes against humanity and genocide.

If they still have some sense of dignity, they should learn from their fellow ‘dictators’ from ASEAN, Dr Mahathir (Malaysia) and Thaskin (Thailand) who bowed to the discontented citizens and relinquish their posts of Prime Minister-ships. Now the whole world knows that the SPDC Junta is trying to cheat the whole population of Myanmar, ASEAN, UN and the rest of the world.

So we all wish and pray that during the auspicious Thingyan, the SPDC Generals would just remember the Dog-leather book of Tha Gyar Min and repent, ask forgiveness from all the citizens including NLD Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, all the oppositions and prepare to retreat to the barracks, where they belong, according to the promise given by General Saw Maung, their previous leader before the election. Many of the top SPDC Junta leaders should go for retirement and spent their last precious time on earth with meditation and prayers.

Dear SPDC Generals, New Year Thingyan is a time for looking back over your shoulders about your deeds in the past years and you should use the last few days before the New Year, to balance your reds in “merit book” of Tha Gyar Min or Sakya.

The choice is yours. If not, once you are going to be charged in the International Criminal Court of Justice in The Hague, you would know the grave consequences. And even if you could able to avoid that fate, acting like Hitler or Milosevic by deciding to die, you all should understand that once in the hereafter, you have to face the judgment of God or your Kamma. Even at The Hague, you could still show off your colour like Saddam Hussein or Milosevic by arguing your own case with an attack, but in the hereafter you could not argue anything if your deeds are already recorded in the dog-leather book of Tha Gyar Min.

Good-bye darling

Yours with love

(Ko Tin Nwe)



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