Written by U Ne Oo on 2002-03-14

With recent events surrounding reported 'coup' and the illness of Gen Ne Win, there have been some observers questioning relatively muted responses -- expecting leadership challenges etc.. -- by within army rank-and-file. Some answer as to why someone wouldn't getup and consolidate its political position, or why anyone may hesitate to do so, can be possibly found within the complex cultural, social and political factors such as the 'value to loyalty', 'religious teachings and tradition' and the 'political non-openness or apathy'.

To have some perspective of the 'cultural factor' in connection with this situation, I have translated few paragraphs from the teaching of Sayadaw Ashin Hsandadeika, a relatively young & bright monk who resides at Shweparami Monastery, Kaytharla Mountain in Thaton. Judging from his biography, the Sayadaw himself appears to be a 'straight and narrow' Buddhist clergy man, though there are reports that the monk has been promoted favourably by SPDC (creating rivalry with existing revered monks etc..).

It needs to be stressed that the story itself is certainly not SPDC's propaganda piece -- this one comes straight from Buddhist scriptures. But, as one of our netters had rightly noted, the rumors of the death of Gen Ne Win have came out almost every year over the last thirty years. I would rather leave it to the netters to a judgment as to how much this story line has fitted into current political context.

In his little monograph (about 80pages B4), the Sayadaw is discussing on the subject of "Analysing Your Own Mind" as an important way to reach Nirvana or some state of higher beings. There are four method for analysing mind:

(1) analysing one's own mind by oneself;
(2) letting analyse one's own mind by the others;
(3) analysing others' mind by oneself;
(4) other people analysing their own minds.

Following, the excerpts from Sayadaw's monograph pp-17.



There is a good example of attainment of the higher-beings (steps toward Nirvana--ed) by analysing other people's mind in a correct way. In this example, one has achieved Nirvana because of his analysis of others reaches to a deeper level of "vipassana".


Once upon a time, the King of Varanasi had suffered a great illness. The illness of the King was so severe that everyone thought he was already in his death-bed.

While the King had been under such illness, his cabinet minister concluded that the King will surely die. Therefore, the ministers, together with their families, had abandoned the country for another kingdom to make living. These ministers went out to serve the kings of the other countries.


Contrary to the predictions, the King of Varanasi has recovered. As the King could not find his ministers, he asked the palace staffers whereabouts of his ministers. The staffers told these ministers went abroad to find work.

The King then got into thinking that " ...these people (his ministers) are not my true friends. When I was having power and being able to grant privileges, they have surrounded me like no other ministers could have. Once I am in incapacity and in a crisis, these people just leave with no consideration given to me whatsoever".


The people of great wisdom tend to judge others not simply by their word or action. Wise people make judgment of another person based on the true state of mind of the other which is reflected upon the words and actions. Being a wise person, the King took note of the fact that there had been a lack of genuine goodwill on the part of his ministers.

A true friend is thus the person who has a genuine goodwill toward you. When judging a good friend, one cannot do justice simply based on the superficial things like words or actions. One must look into the deeper level. As such, the goodwill for a friend must also come from one's true inner self. [Sayadaw explain the word 'friend' as the addition of two words 'friend=mate+swe', which is in Sanskrit equivalence of 'goodwill+person'. --ed]


The King thus noticed the ministers' lack of genuine goodwill(toward others) and selfishness. As such he is able to comprehend the human beings' selfishness and the nature of lacking goodwill.

Although the ministers went out for work, they were not provided with position or privileges as much in other countries. Once the ministers heard the King of Varanasi had recovered, they return to Varanasi to serve the King once more.


The King then thought that the minister's behavior may be one-off case. He therefore try to test his ministers by pretending to be seriously ill. The ministers again abandon the King and Varanasi to work in the other country. The King has tested his ministers for 4 times. Every time, the ministers has shown no consideration of him or the kingdom, but just abandon the country.


The King then went into deep thinking. He realized that in his life he cannot possibly avoid the people seeking only for opportunity such as have been displayed by his ministers. One could of course remove such opportunist ministers. But there has been no certainty that new ministers appointed will not be the same. The King had also thought that he, in this life, surely is saved from the sin of adopting such an opportunist mind (in relating with the others). However, he is concerned that in 'another life' he may have fall into adopting such opportunist mind.

The only certainty to avoid such sin is to find the ultimate object of attaining Nirvana through vipassana. Since the King decided to follow through vipassana, and since he is of great wisdom, he has reached to a state of higher being: the 'Rahanda'.


With best regards, U Ne Oo.


The Last Purchase with Losing Currency


The latest reported arrest of General Ne Win's son-in-law together with three of his grand sons may as well be an attempt by the Office of Strategic Study to make a 'stage-managed' announcement of -- or at least a preparation for -- the death of former dictator. We all are aware that last year Gen Ne Win went to Singapore for heart failure. He therefore is in a serious health situation who could have died at any time.


It is of no doubt that Gen Ne Win has served as a 'stabilising factor' for the Burmese junta. This fact is quite true regardless of Gen Ne Win is not running the country/army in a day-to-day basis. With his political influence on the military elite, Gen Ne Win can at least wield 'stabilising' power: a kind of power "..he might as well have, but choose not to use, to make someone do something...". As such, Gen Ne Win's presence, or in a sense has he been alive, served those within junta to quiet-down the leadership challenges.

It is to be noted that Gen. Ne Win is useful for the junta only so long as he is alive. Once he died, there is no use of him or his influence. Even Gen Ne Win's eventual death -- which this is one likely scenerio -- the junta has to manage politically. For example, the news of the death of Gen Ne Win shouldn't be coming out to general public as a 'shock' or 'excitement'. If junta were to announce such a death at all, it should be released to the public slowly. On the one hand, Gen. Ne Win's family -- especially his notorious grandsons -- are of disgrace to the public. The junta needs to distance itself from this infamous family once they are off-use.

The events in Rangoon are therefore an indication of Gen. Ne Win and his family no longer hold any 'political currency' for junta. This is likely because of eventual death/or near death of Gen Ne Win. In this case, the OSS has to 'alert and charged-up' his own camp for possible coup or challenges. Current events fit well with this scenerio.


So far as economic privileges of Gen Ne Win's family -- particularly daughter Sandar Win- is in concern, we are aware that she hold export licence for fish and prawn. Regardless of current circumstances, we should be looking for export ban on fish and prawn -- which will hit junta's pocket well. This must be precisely what we'll be focusing at this stage.

With best regards, U Ne Oo.


YANGON, March 12 (AFP) - The family of former dictator Ne Win planned to take top junta leaders hostage in a military coup aimed at derailing democratic and economic reforms in Myanmar, junta officials said Tuesday.

After arresting Ne Win's son-in-law and three grandsons Thursday for allegedly planning the takeover, the junta for the first time said Ne Win and his daughter Sandar Win were involved in the plot.

"They (the family) resented the economic and political changes this government has been implementing to turn this nation into a democracy," deputy chief of military intelligence Major General Kyaw Win told reporters.

But he said the conspiracy hatched by the influential family would not disrupt historic 18-month-old talks between the junta and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi which are aimed at paving the way for political reforms.

"This failed coup by members of the previous first family will not derail the ongoing dialogue," he said.

Kyaw Win said the junta's top-three -- Senior General Than Shwe, army chief Maung Aye and military intelligence chief Lieutenant-General Khin Nyunt -- were the targets of the coup plot.

"Using military troops, they were going to raid the homes of the three leaders by overpowering security at the gates and take the three people hostage," he said.

"Then they would take them to the house where Ne Win lives, and the old man would say that anybody who would agree to the conditions set down by him would be chosen leaders of the new government," he told reporters.

Anyone refusing to the demands would be held hostage at Ne Win's Yangon residence, he added.

The family of Ne Win, who remained extremely influential long after he stepped down from power in 1988 after a 26-year rule, have parlayed their extensive contacts and influence in Myanmar into a sizeable business empire.

But Kyaw Win said they had grown frustrated at the lack of economic privileges extended to them in recent years as Ne Win's influence declined.

"They had political aspirations but they will have no political future in this country," he said.

Since the arrests, Ne Win and Sandar Win have been held behind a heavy military guard at their sprawling lakeside residence, but so far no charges have been laid against them.

The junta gave only the bare details of the plot Saturday when it announced the arrests of Sandar Win's husband Aye Zaw Win and their adult sons Aye Ne Win, Kyaw Ne Win and Zwe Ne Win.

But Kyaw Win Tuesday gave full details of the alleged scheme, saying the family had tried to enlist the support of friendly elements in the military, but had been betrayed by an unidentified former military commander.

He also confirmed the sacking of four top figures -- the nation's chief of police, the air force chief of staff and two of the country's 12 military commanders, in the wake of the scandal.

"These people were approached by the son-in-law and three sons with intentions of recruiting them into the plot," he said.

"We have no evidence that they were involved in the plot and they are still under investigation, but as they hold very sensitive posts, they will not go back to their posts."

He said that an investigation uncovered witnesses who reported that Sandar Win and her family held several meetings at a Yangon hotel and their business offices last month to plot the scheme.

Equipment including rubber batons, traffic police signals, uniforms, and boots confiscated at the business offices were displayed at the press conference.

Analyse your own mind by Ashin Sandadika