According to Myanmar calendar, each month has its particular festival. Most are related with religious events. As per Myanmar’s nature of being in the habit of giving freely, many kinds of donation attend Myanmar festivals. Of them, soup kitchens are commonly found almost in all seasonal festivals. “Oxford Advanced American Dictionary” defines the word as a place where people who have no money can get soup and other food free. Thus, I think it will be suitable to render it in Myanmar as စတုဒီသာ meaning four directions. Nowadays, it is very pleasant to see the poor as well as well-to-do people come to join the community event for delicious meal. This custom can be said to date back many years ago in our nation. It is customary for us to provide food and other necessary commodities to flood, fire, quakes and storm victims at the time of any disasters. This kind is home-to-site (soup kitchen) delivery, to coin a phrase.
“Going on a 7-day fast or going without water for a morning period will put you to a sure death”, as a Myanmar saying goes. A scarcity of drinking water is still a ubiquitous problem in dry areas of our country. There seems to be an element of hyperbole in claiming that we had ever experienced a severe drought in our arid zone so much so that there was no enough water to extinguish an outbreak of fire in a village of our home town, some two decades ago. Now water shortage problem has been solved out to some extent, thanks to the governments’ efforts, Samaritan groups in the country, NGOs and INGOs.
Some people used to say proudly that there has been no one who has starved to death in Myanmar, as the country is the one which has been producing much paddy. And the plan to alleviate poverty is being implemented. Undeniably, yet, high unemployment rate, increasing commodity prices—legacy left by previous regimes, are still difficult problems for the incumbent government to solve in a short period of time. But there are many orphans and decrepit old people left in the lurch by their families because of their poor conditions. They are greatly in need of much help from us for their survival.
Institutions and foundations performing social activities are mushrooming these days. Wonderfully enough, most of those activists in the philanthropic works are youths and middle-aged ones. In this age when most are claiming “Self, self, self”, the obliging younger generation is depicting their noble inner self. If we can ignite their hidden capacities and lead them to a paradigm shift on life, I dare say that everywhere will be full of active citizens and their activities will help our government build the country into a Modernized Democratic Federal Union. In fact, each and every one of us is responsible to actively and voluntarily participate for the betterment of our society, believing in the importance of emergence of Samaritan activities such as soup kitchen more and more in the time of our government’s nation-building.