A new year always allows for looking back and this could not be more true for Myanmar and 2012. Lots of things have been going on in the country formerly known as Burma. In March the government elected in 2010 in the first elections in 20 years, took office. On 1 April the so-called by-elections took place: in 48 constituencies new representatives were chosen to fill the places of those that had found a place in government and, as a consequence, had to give up their place in parliament. Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) competed this time and won 44 of the 45 seats they contested. Sounds like quite a victory, but keep in mind that the (two) houses of national and the 14 sub-national parliaments count over 1000 seats, 25% of these are automatically reserved for the military.
Thank you Sanne van Oosten for writing a blog on Brunei where you stress that people in Brunei love the regime even though it is somewhat repressive. As a former Bruneian political science student who continues to be aware of political theories and global ongoing, I would like to point out several things in regards to this piece. That is not to say I don’t agree with it. There are some points that I definitely agree with and see the reason behind the argument. As a Bruneian, I would like to point out several things to enlighten some points.
While we were eating at a restaurant in Yangon, the biggest city of Myanmar, the owner of restaurant approached us. It was during the Water Festival, Tingyan, to celebrate the new year. The restaurant owner said in joyful voice: “The people are happy more than ever, because of the political changes in the country. It’s going to be great new year, we are looking forward to the future.” Is this optimism justified?
Sherif A Rizk
Freedom of thought and belief is a universally basic human right, but because people automatically pass on their beliefs from one generation to another, the ability to think, analyse, criticize, judge, and sometimes unlearn such values so long believed in and cherished becomes very limited.