Food for thought: the lost generations

I have read about the lost generation in China

during the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s it was the young cadres that were in the foremost of the people’s activities, bringing about the political changes that the leaders at the time wanted

after the power struggle was over, having outlived their usefulness, they were sent to the rural areas under pretext of rural development and kept there out of the way

when the economic and social changes occur several decades later, the new urban generation got all the advantages of education, work opportunity and fruits of the changes in economy

the earlier generation of the Cultural Revolution missed the new opportunities, being too old to catch up with the changes in lifestyle

I was 9 in 1962 and grew up under various military governments and the Myanmar’s Way of Socialism, military style

what I remembered of the earlier years was one Independence Day celebrations

there was the BoShu. Thabin on the Prome road where the Thamada viewed the various Armed forces and Civilians parading past

when I returned home and was near the KhaYayPin road on Ahlone road, the Thamada returned in an open car with full dressed guards on horses and entered the Thamada compound through the gate at the KhaYayPin road

my next recollection of the state of affairs was on 2nd March, 1962, I saw an armored patrol car near the Thamada cinema hall, with an army officer on top, with radio communication facilities

several days later, I heard my parents talking about the fire at the NyaungShwe SawBwar’s Haw at the corner of the Goodliffe and Kabaraye Phayar Lann (now Pearl Condominium, previously PyarGayHar

when I finished my education and began work, I opted to live in Myanmar, thinking it would be best for me

but things were not what I hoped for

when changes came in 1988, I had strong hopes, thinking that my children would now be able to grow up in a changed Myanmar

now, 22 years later, things have not really changed yet

those who were children in 1988 are now adults and another generation has been lost again

and those in my generation are nearly ready for retirement

we, as a nation, have lost 2 generations

the other day, I read news about: Renewed bid to fight forced labour

YANGON, 26 February 2010 (IRIN) – The government of Myanmar and the International Labour Organization (ILO) have for the third time renewed an agreement aimed at tackling forced labour.
“Neither party sought any changes and there were absolutely no issues in terms of its renewal,” Steve Marshall, liaison officer for the ILO in Myanmar, told IRIN in an interview.
The agreement will come into effect on 26 February for another year.
However, Marshall said much work was still required to ensure the proper application of the agreement.
Recently, 17 people – mostly farmers who complained about forced labour, or people helping them to lodge their complaints – were imprisoned because of their involvement in ILO cases, breaching the agreement.
While 13 were subsequently released, four are still in detention.
Under the agreement, first signed in February 2007, anyone who complains about forced labour or facilitates a complaint is protected by law.
Marshall said arrests of this kind raised “serious credibility issues” as far as the implementation of the pact was concerned.
“Although harassment of this nature is reported only in respect of a minority of cases, they of course impact on the confidence of people to complain,” he said.
The agreement will examined by the ILO governing body in Geneva in March, where it will be fully reviewed, he said.

Fears of retaliation
The Myanmar government passed a law in 1999 forbidding the use of forced labour but the phenomenon is still documented in various forms by the UN and international human rights groups.

In a farming village in Kunchangone Township in the southern Ayeyarwady Delta, men are forced to work as night guards at a nearby army post, or hand over the equivalent of US$2 to the military unit

Despite joint awareness-raising by the ILO and the government about the law, most perpetrators are from the military or local authorities.

Child soldiers
Government law states that no one younger than 18 should be in the army, but military units are under pressure to maintain their strength.
“While some kids volunteer to join up, many of the cases we get are not voluntary,” said Marshall. “In either case it is against the law.”
“A kid is walking home from the market, or home from school or at the bus stop or at the railway station, and he is approached by a broker … and either tricked or straight out abducted into the army,” he said.
The average age of child soldiers seen in cases submitted to the ILO is about 15 or 16, but there have been cases of children as young as 11.

why is it that such things occur?

even after our government had passed Laws preventing it?

are we so used to breaking Laws that they do not mean anything until one wants to use them?

even when it was said: no one is above the Law

it looks like everyone is breaking some Law or another

bribery, traffic laws, municipal laws, decency

just name it

you get away free of charge



you need to be charged


electronic law, TharThaNar Go HnyoeNwann Say Chinn

even counterfeiting law

when there was no counterfeiting, but only breaking the penal code 420

in the case of the Cameroon footballer

yes, we have lost more than 2 generations

we have lived and grew up in a closed world

usually, a country evolve from feudalism, fascism or communism to democracy

from bad to good

while the people’s communist states went downhill, the social changes in the West made lives of the people better and a far cry from the conditions mentioned in Oliver Twist

now, even in China and Vietnam, although they are still officially communist states, they have developed economically from backward states to modern ones where the people enjoy the economic development, as those in the West enjoyed with the social changes that occurred with the Labour movement

in our case, we changed from 14 years democracy to military rule, now 48 years already with 2 generations lost, and no end in sight

we have economic changes, yes

but crony capitalism is here

and the people are still poor

as seen by recent strikes in garment factory

our people are now working in Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore

many illegally and subject to human trafficking in Malaysia, Thailand and China

where torture, rape and abuse is the norm

because there are no good job opportunities here, even 2 decades after economic changes



One Response to “Food for thought: the lost generations”

  1. Kyaw Kyaw Says:

    whoever wishing the army and its present generals to change is like squeezing the bull horns for milk.
    The only way forward is playing those old patriotic army songs of those 1940s to stimulate the patriotic or nationalistic desires of those good soldiers, before the bad ones destroy our beloved country into an unsalvageable state which is almost now.

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