September 23, 2017

“Sow an act and you reap a habit. Sow a habit and you reap a character. Sow a character and you reap a destiny” Charles Reade

  • Kyaw Myaing
  • People these days talk a great deal about the fact that Myanmar is on a very challenging, exciting and important journey towards a modern democratic federal republic. Another way of saying this is that we are in a period of transition from a quasi-military dictatorship to a democratic republic. We are sure that all of us want this transition to be smooth and without bloodshed.
    To carry out a transition successfully is not going to be easy. Nobody said it was going to be easy, anyway. There will be pitfalls, challenges and cynics as well as critics. This is to be expected of course. The NLD party went to the polls in 2015 fully aware of the challenges and opportunities.
    The Union government has made it quite clear that the goal of achieving internal peace is the top priority. It has established the NRPC – National Reconciliation and Peace Centre in Nay Pyi Taw with a branch in Yangon. A Peace Fund has also been initiated. These are important steps in the right direction. We all know that peace is a necessary condition for development.
    Before we achieve peace we all need to get rid of our bad habits. There are many things we need to do, and the first thing is to do away with our old bad habits. Regarding good habits and bad habits there is saying which is worth noting:
    “Sow an act and you reap a habit. Sow a habit and you reap a character. Sow a character and you reap a destiny.” Charles Reade
    General Aung San talked about the need to have discipline and to get rid of our bad habits in one of his speeches.
    If we wish to build our country into a modern, developed democratic federal republic, each of us need to do some soul searching and make a critical appraisal of ourselves to filter out the bad habits in our systems and get rid of them as quickly as possible.
    Like good friends and bad friends, we need to get rid of the bad habits and keep the good ones. Training young children at home is the duty of both parents. When the children reach school going age, they become the responsibility of the teachers. To become a modern country does not mean only having high-tech machines, skyscrapers and modern transportation systems. Of course, all these are important but what is more important for our citizens is to change the way they think, the way they view things and the way they behave at the work place and in public.
    When we imitate people from other developed countries, we should make a careful selection of what should be imitated and what would not be useful for us because of our culture, traditions, our weather and our environment.
    For example, one of the things we should definitely imitate is to line up at the bus stop. Lining up before we board the bus is efficient, fair and makes it easy for everyone concerned to get to their destinations in time. Another bad habit which needs to be corrected as soon as possible is to line up in front of the elevators. This is one characteristic of a developed and modern country. Whoever came first and is at the top of the line should be the first person to board the elevator.
    Another thing worth mentioning is the bad habit of littering public places such as platforms, drains and the back lanes of apartment buildings. A very good start has been made in Sanchaung Township. Thanks to the combined efforts of citizens committees and municipal workers, the streets are cleaner and the back lanes have been cleared of garbage and wastes that had accumulated over the years.
    A citizen’s duty is not only to go to the polls at every general election or by-election. Our duty does not end there. If we all want to live in peace and enjoy a good life, it is the duty of each and every one of us to assist the government by giving feedback and also by participating in all public service projects and initiatives. We cannot get rid of bad habits by pointing our fingers at others. The change will begin from within us and starting from each of us. We have all voted for change, now is the time for each of us to work on changing ourselves.

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