It is undeniable that unity matters most for national development. Unity has become more important for a country like Myanmar, which is made up of many different cultural and ethnic groups. Exactly speaking, there are 135 diversified national races. Such a diverse country ought to be dependent upon a more natural or broader understanding of ‘unity’ that holds us together irrespective of race, religion or lines on a map. In fact, unity is built upon the principles of love, kindness and loyalty to one another.
What is ideal is that people sharing the same religious faith and sharing the same cultural mores have an easier, built- in basis for unity. In this juncture, it is worth noting that shared interest is also extremely important because such ideals aid unity in both good times and bad times. In retrospect , if one casts a brief glance at the history of Myanmar, one will find that Myanmar was able to free itself from under the yoke of the British Empire in 1948 because the entire popular mass of Myanmar was united in driving out the common enemy despite the existence of significant differences between and among the ethnicities. It would not be inappropriate to say that this was the initial driving force that brought unity among all the nationalities in the country. But what will happen in the absence of common interest?
Although it cannot be created out of thin air, those in power can create the conditions under which common interests can evolve on their own. Everybody must understand that we are still one nation and we can only succeed together.
If one casts a glance at Singapore, one will see that the common interests of its citizens include healthy business practices. Such being the case, its leader and its people focus their society to a large extent on business practices free from corruption i.e avoidance of cronyism. Today, their common interests results in benefit. They have also matured with rules and regulations to avoid much of the intense social strife that can be found in neighboring counties.
Even if we cannot create a common interest we ought to have fair rules and regulations that will bring benefit to the common people. If we have the rules and regulations that foster common interests among us all, we can be quite certain that Myanmar will stand tall in the region.
Currently, what is our country’s common interest? Democracy? National Reconciliation? Federalism? Act 436 to amend that constitution? Peace? Economic Development? Poverty reduction? So many questions are without answers.
Mired in stubbornness and outmoded concepts, Myanmar is still losing its way. How do we go forward? The Global New Light of Myanmar encourages all stakeholders to ponder over these questions.