State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Chairperson of the Central Committee for Development of Border Areas and National Races who was in Kachin State, Myitkyina attended the 71st Kachin State Day ceremony held at Myitkyina Sitapu Ward Manaw grounds yesterday morning together with Union Ministers Lt-Gen Kyaw Swe, Lt-Gen Ye Aung, U Min Thu, U Ohn Win and Dr. Win Myat Aye, State Chief Minister Dr. Khet Aung, Deputy Minister U Hla Maw Oo, state ministers and officials.
Northern Command Commander Maj-Gen Tayza Kyaw, Hluttaw representatives, Manaw festival organizing committee members, ethnic nationals, invited guests, local people and officials attended the ceremony together with the State Counsellor and party.
At the ceremony State Chief Minister Dr. Khet Aung read the 71st Kachin State Day message sent by President U Win Myint.
Next, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi delivered a speech.
“I’d like to extend warm greetings to our children of the Union who are here with us at the Kachin State Day ceremony. It is our national pride to have a diverse gathering of ethnic nationals in one place. Our President U Win Myint has already talked at length of the need for union peace in his message of greetings so I won’t get too much into the subject. I want you all to think about the roots of the Manaw Grounds we are gathered in. Their beginning leads back to nat worshipping. Why did they worship nats? We worship the religion we believe in.”
“Worshipping is similar to reliance. You worship nats so you can rely on them. You rely on God. But God, nats, and Thagyamin want us humans to rely on ourselves. It is the duty of all ethnic nationals to cultivate the courage necessary to rely on their own strength. Only then will we have the means to establish our country in line with the image that we wish for.”
“There is a saying that people in leadership roles have to be like the Sun and the Moon. This includes people leading in Union government, state governments, or any organization for that matter. The Sun appears in the morning and gives light. People in ancient times waited in anticipation for the Sun. They worried at night whether the light will come another day.”
“When the Sun rises it gives us light and in the cold season it gives us warmth. But direct sunlight is not so welcome. So, a leader has to be like the Sun and give off light and warmth but they must not blind people with direct sunlight.”
“In the same way ancient people relied on the Moon at night after the Sun has set. The difference with the Sun is that the Moon didn’t appear every night. The Sun came out every day but it would be blocked out if there was heavy rain or snow. The Moon, on the other hand, has different phases but we can accurately predict when it will appear next. Because we eventually managed to chart out the phases of the Moon over time, we began to associate loyalty and trust with it.”
“Likewise, leaders have to nurture trust in the people they are leading. They must keep their word and accomplish tasks they have promised to do so. Each of us are both leaders and followers in a way. We must lead when we need to and follow other’s guidance when required. If we do that, then we will get the approval of our nats or god.”
“I believe our gathering for Kachin State Day in the Manaw grounds today symbolizes our willingness to rely on one other and to give strength and take strength from each other as we walk together on the nation’s path.”
“Our ethnic races have different costumes, so it fills me with joy to see so many different ethnic nationals in their costumes in one place. This is our country, our Union. We are different from one another but each of us has our own unique charm.”
“It is this unity that has led to the formation of our Union. But this Union is not the democratic federal union we are hoping for yet. The Union government is working tirelessly to achieve this goal but we without a doubt require the cooperation of the people as well. Just relying solely on the government is not a democratic approach. Democracy is based on the people and the government relies on the strength of the people to perform its duties.” “We do not want to think that a certain day celebrates only a certain race of people. For example, Kachin State Day today is relevant to all the ethnic nationals living in Kachin State. Kachin State Day came about within the same year as Independence Day, so it will not be too much of a stretch to say today symbolizes our nation’s independence as well.”
“President Sao Shwe Thaik who attended the first Kachin State Day was a Shan ethnic national. His attendance at the Kachin State Day shows that it is a celebration relevant to all the ethnic nationals in the country. No matter what ethnic day or State day it is, it is something for everyone born in our Union to be celebrating.”
“If you ask whether the head or your little finger is more important, many will say the head is more important but if you hurt your little finger your head registers it, and your whole body registers the pain when you hurt your head too. That is why you must cultivate understanding on one another and realize that one person’s pain concerns another person.If our country achieves all-round peace, I believe there will be visible development and changes not just in ten years, like the President said, but possibly within a year. The changes will be evident within a year after the fires of internal conflicts have been quenched.”
“The responsibility to systematically bring about a firm and solid situation in ten years’ time as the President said rests on each and every one of us. The first step is the most important one to be taken on a journey. Let me remind you that the first step we have taken to establish a strong and developed Union is the peace process. “In conclusion, I’d like to emphasize that gatherings like this ought to be a joyous occasion. I want our gatherings to be energetic, motivational, and for you to feel joy in seeing another person’s happiness. Something I always take pride in is a photo that we used to have in the living room when I was a child. It’s a picture of my father together with Kachin ladies in Myitkyina. It’s not because he took a picture with ladies, it’s because of his energetic smile. He is showing us that it is joyful and pleasing to exist in harmony with other ethnic nationals. I’ve asked why my father was smiling so much. They told me someone teased him when the photo was taken that my mother would be angry when she sees the Bogyoke surrounded by Kachin ladies.”
“I wish for all the sons and daughters of the Union good health, prosperity, safe from harm, fulfillment, and peace of mind on Kachin State Day, where we gather as if reuniting with our brothers and sisters, and with joy and peace in our hearts.”
Afterwards Rev. Jone Khaung blessed the ceremony.
State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Union Minister for Border Affairs Lt-Gen Ye Aung, State Chief Minister Dr. Khet Aung, Kachin Traditional Culture Central Committee Chairman U Hton Phu Dagun and festival organizing committee chairman U Kim Yaw Tan Gun then
cut the ceremonial ribbon to open the Manaw compound for performance of Manaw dance and participated in the Manaw festival.
Following this the State Counsellor arrived at the Manaw House and met with heads of the Kachin cultural group and the Manaw festival organizing committee members.
At the meeting the cultural group members paid respects to the State Counsellor under the Kachin cultural tradition of Magun Lit program.
This was followed by Kachin Traditional Culture Central Committee Chairman U Hton Phu Dagun and Vice Chairman U Faw Yan Bauk Taung presenting Magun Lit present and 71st Kachin State Day painting to State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
The State Counsellor then took commemorative group photos with the reception group members and greeted individually the heads of Kachin cultural group and Manaw festival organizing committee members. The State Counsellor also took commemorative group photos with heads of Kachin cultural group and Manaw festival organizing committee members.
Later in the afternoon the State Counsellor met with religious leaders and representatives and representatives of ethnic nationals at the Palm Spring Hotel.
At the meeting KBC joint secretary Rev. U Ze Khaung, Roman Catholic Diocese secretary Father U Luan Daung, State SasanaNugaha Association Chairman U Nyunt Shwe, Kachin State Peace Metta Group Vice Chairman U Khin Aung,
All Myanmar Gurkha/Hindhu Dhamma Sub-Group (Myintkyina) Chairman U Lop Bahadur, Jinghpaw national secretary Duwa In Baw Bun, U Sai
Myint Kyaw from Taisa national and Bama national chairman U Than Naing explained about matters they want the government to do.
In response to the explanations, the State Counsellor in return explained about matters that can be handled immediately, matters that can be handled quickly and matters that need to be handled taking time. She spoke of her gladness in receiving the explanations that were given openly. She took this as showing the trust they had on her. Matters can be resolved only when it is discussed openly. She also spoke of her happiness in seeing people of different religions and ethnics living in harmony and peace. This is the union spirit and she’ll handle the matters raised as soon as possible.
She added that she will not give a promise unless she is doing it. The Union Government promises only what they can do for the states and regions. And it will be done fairly and equitably among states and regions
covering the whole country. Cooperation and participation of today’s representatives are important for Kachin State unity. She spoke of her appreciation for giving the time to come and concluded the meeting by thanking for openly discussing about requirements.
Later in the evening the State Counsellor arrived to No. 1 Basic Education High School Malikha Hall and met with grade ten students of the school, grade one students attending Sumprabum Hall, grade two students from Padauk Hall and KG students from Cherry Hall and enquired about teaching/learning situation, progress in education, availability of teaching aids and teaching/learning sports and arts.
She then went to the Palm Spring Hotel and met with Kachin State government members. At this meeting the State Counsellor provided instructions and guidance on fulfilling matters raised by the people, religious leaders and ethnic national representatives she had received on this trip.
The Union Ministers and the Deputy Minister who participated in the trip then explained about their work programs. The State Counsellor provided additional guidance on the work programs and concluded the meeting.
Afterwards the State Counsellor and party attended a dinner hosted in honor of 71st Kachin State Day by the Kachin State government.
The dinner was attended by Union Ministers Lt-Gen Kyaw Swe, Lt-Gen Ye Aung, U Min Thu, U Ohn Win and Dr. Win Myat Aye, State Chief Minister Dr. Khet Aung, State Hluttaw Speaker U Tun Tin, State High Court Chief Judge U Tu Ja, Deputy Minister U Hla Maw Oo, state ministers, Kachin cultural group, Manaw festival organizing committee members, Kachin Traditional Culture Central Committee member, ethnic nationals, ethnic national cultural troupes, invited guests and officials.
After the dinner, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Union Ministers and states ministers presented fruit baskets to ethnic national cultural troupes that performed during the dinner and took commemorative group photos. The State Counsellor then cordially greeted the guests in attendance.
(Translated by Zaw Min/ Zaw Htet Oo)