State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, accompanied by Union Ministers Lt-Gen Kyaw Swe, Lt-Gen Ye Aung, U Min Thu and U Aung Thu, and other officials, flew from Nay Pyi Taw to Kalay Township in Sagaing Region yesterday morning. They were welcomed at the Kalay Airport by Sagaing Region Chief Minister Dr. Myint Naing, Chin State Chief Minister Salai Lian Lwal, state and regional ministers, Hluttaw representatives, ethnic traditional and cultural groups, and other officials.
State Counsellor inspects completed Tikir dam
The State Counsellor and entourage then travelled by military helicopter to Thantlang Township in Chin State. They were greeted by Vice President U Henry Van Thio, the state’s Hluttaw Speaker, state ministers, Hluttaw representatives, ethnic traditional and cultural groups, and officials.
The State Counsellor and entourage arrived in Tikir Dam project hall where U Kyaw Myint Hlaing, Director-General of the Department of Irrigation and Water Management, reported on the completed tasks and regional development performed during the project period.
The State Counsellor then attended the inauguration ceremony for Tikir Dam, which was built by the Department of Irrigation and Water Management near Tikir Village in Thantlang Township. The local people sang a song they had composed for the State Counsellor at the ceremony.
State Counsellor speaks at Tikir Dam inauguration
The State Counsellor delivered a speech at the Tikir Dam inauguration.
“I want to wish good health, prosperity, and blessings to everyone here in attendance. First, I want to apologize for not being able to make this wish in the native ethnic language. We are a country with many ethnic nationals who have diverse languages so of course there will be complications such as this. But the important thing is for our hearts to be connected.
Even if our languages may differ, if the cetana (goodwill) and loving-kindness in our hearts are identical then our country will without a doubt be an immensely joyful and prosperous nation.”
“We were welcomed with a song by the local people. The song welcomed me as Bogyoke Aung San’s daughter and it reminded me of a similar welcome I received last time I was here in Chin State. This is why I have embedded the loving-kindness and goodwill of the Chin people deep in my heart. While we can say the ThiKi dam project is relatively small, the benefits it provides can be compared to a summary of the essential components of our nation.”
Water is essential, but also a danger
“This project will bring agriculture, drinking water, tap water, and electricity and based on this it will also improve transportation. We will be able to build hospitals and schools will improve. This small project will bring water, electricity, roads, education and healthcare to the local people. This project reflects the necessary components for our entire country and by fulfilling these requirements we have shown the extent of benefits they can bring to our citizens.”
“There are five dangers or enemies in Buddhist belief: floods, fire, bad rulers, people who do not appreciate you, and thieves. It won’t be too much of a stretch to say ThiKi dam has shown us the way to overcome these five dangers. We managed to find a way to acquire water. When you think about it, having no access to water is a danger in itself too. We must be victorious on all sides against water, one of the five dangers. We must have access to sufficient drinking water, tap water, and water for irrigation. We must also protect ourselves from the dangers of flooding.”
Democracy protects us from corruption
“Light used to be associated solely with burning flames but now it can refer to electricity and the light produced from it. Providing light and electricity is also beneficial to the people. Without it, our people’s developments are greatly impeded.”
“The government are also rulers and a democratic system is important to prevent tragedies befalling on the citizens. The democratic system must be based on the people so that there is commitment from the administration. It is up to each of us to gradually reduce the number of people that do not appreciate others. People who do not have affection towards you are your enemies. But we must spread and radiate love and kindness so that we do not end up as enemies. If all of us have genuine loving-kindness towards each other then we can abolish this, one of the five dangers.”
“Thieves here does not just refer to common robbers, it can refer to crooks who steal from the nation and its people. I am of course referring to corruption. We must be free of corruption to remove those who would steal the country’s natural resources, and the possessions and wealth of the people. This is also one of the aims of democracy. Democracy presents us with opportunities to eradicate corruption. It is also one of the aims of our Union government.”
“To summarize my points, we want to safeguard our people from all five dangers. We (the Union government) wish to support the development of our citizens. In this regard, the involvement and participation of the people are of critical importance. Without public participation, no project will ever succeed. Even a small project such as this dam could not be accomplished without the local people’s participation. It also requires the government’s cooperation in the centre, in addition to support from experts and helpers as well. This is why only our collective strength can enable us to implement our dreams and aspirations.”
Change is inevitable, but we must protect nature
“I always feel content when I come to Chin State. I feel the warmth and hospitality of the Chin people and see their endurance against the region’s difficulties. But I wish to request the Chin people one thing though. Please, try to refrain from cutting down trees. Because, on my way here in the helicopter, I could see the enormous extent of deforestation in the area.I just wanted to let you know, I do not intend to compare with anything.”
“When I was recently in Kachin State, I saw the lush green forests growing strong there. I want Chin State’s forests to be the same.
Each of the local people here has the strength to make that happen and the responsibility as well. Please make your surroundings green and healthy. We cannot avoid not changing the natural environment. This dam project, for example, did not come out of nature, it is manmade. We must protect the natural environment so that it becomes a better place to live for the people and other living things in the area.
It is impossible to avoid touching, changing or leaving the natural environment as it is. We will have to make changes for our development and for the successive generations.”
“When we make changes, we must watch out for the benefit of everyone, not just the people but also for the wildlife. We have this responsibility to the Earth and the land we live on, and to the water we drink and electricity we use. We must all be accountable to overcome the five dangers and reap the benefits of our hard work.”
“As I close my speech, I have an apology to make. We were late but we have to work in compliance with the weather. This is a lesson for us. We have not completely mastered the weather yet. We have the technology to predict it but not to deter it. Thus, we have to make these considerations in our future plans. We must make pre-emptive protection. It isn’t easy to fix a problem after it has happened.
We have to make changes in our plan in accordance with the weather, and we have to make sure there are no losses on any sides.”
“Our meeting may be short but if we can establish genuine goodwill and loving-kindness within that period then it will become more valuable in the long-run. Again, I wish good health, prosperity and great blessings on all of you. Thank you.”
The State Counsellor then formally opened the Tikir dam with Vice President U Henry Van Thio, Union Minister Dr. Aung Thu, and the state Chief Minister by cutting ceremonial ribbons. They then took a documentary photograph together with the attendees.
Tikir small-scale hydroelectric power station
Next, the State Counsellor and Vice President attended the inauguration of the Tikir small-scale hydroelectric power station, constructed by the Department of Irrigation and Water Management. The State Counsellor unveiled the station’s memorial stone inscription and sprinkled scented water. Next, the Vice President, union ministers, state Chief Minister, and officials also sprinkled scented water on the memorial.
State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and Vice President U Henry Van Thio posed for a documentary photo together with local people who attended the opening ceremony.
State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi met with local people at the town hall in Thantalan. At the meeting, she said she always felt the warm welcome of Chin people every time she visited Chin State, and thanked the Chin people for their everlasting memory of her father and valuing her as his daughter. She then apologized for the delay in arriving to the state due to the weather condition. She said, “I understand well that some of the ethnic people came here from faraway villages.” She said she was afraid that the meeting time would be too short for them. But the main thing was not the duration of a meeting time, but the understanding and love generated by the event.
She continued to say that she has witnessed the degree of benefits even a small project could produce for the local people. The most important thing was to nurture Union spirit. She appreciated the degree of benefit the whole country could enjoy if the Union spirit was systematically nurtured. Every time she toured the country, she took lessons from the prevailing situations she witnessed. The government had been trying to understand the needs and to find the best means in serving the national people. Mostly she travelled by helicopter in touring both Kachin and Chin states. But during the time she was not a government dignitary, she visited Chin State by car.
She said travelling by road offered the opportunity to meet with local people all along the route. She could stop at villages and meet with locals. When she visited Chin State in 2002 Chin villagers and Chin people repairing the road warmly welcomed her. They even gave her gifts, although they were poor.
She said the present situation was different from then. However, she thought that the warmness and cordiality of the people remained unchanged. Travelling by helicopter gave her good knowledge. Every time a helicopter landed, it caused some disturbances to the environment. The high wind triggered by the propelling blades sometimes blew the roofs and fences away. Every cause has its own good and bad effects. She promised compensation for the damaged property. They should inform her if compensation was not received.
The State Counsellor said while the helicopter was descending, she saw the collapse of the archway. From the sky, she saw the people waiting for her behind the archway. They were singing and holding her portrait. Although the archway collapsed, the portrait never fell. This meant that everything which was under the protection of the people never became feeble or falls. No government could be successful, without public support. A government, without any public support, could not truly represent the people or serve the people.
She said they were welcoming her with a song. She could know the meaning of the song as its verses were translated to her. The song meant that they were welcoming her, with trust, as the daughter of Bogyoke. Her mission was not accomplished even if she ended poverty and the pains of the people. All must make inclusive efforts to free the entire country from poverty, worries and pains.
She said the country was now in its early stage of development. She would refer to one of the post-World War II quotes of her father, saying, “Our country is reduced to ashes, so if others are walking, we must run to catch up with them.” Now we must do the same.
She said as the country lagged behind development, all must run faster than their neighbours and advanced countries to catch up with them. All the people must have the desire and resolve to run while others were walking. All must make a resolve to strive hard with endurance. All need power and capability to realize the resolve.
All the people must combine their strength to generate energy. No one gained or lost in generating energy, as everyone has his own value and weaknesses and advantages. All should know this. Pointing a finger at others’ weaknesses, without realizing his own, is not a good habit. All must build self-confidence based own their own strength. National development does mean financial prosperity, it really means the happiness of the people.
She said development of a nation depends only on intellectual and physical strength and the degree of security felt by the people. Whatever growth the GDP is gaining and figures are showing, the real indicator is the degree of happiness and the mental and physical security of the people. A person must strive for his own happiness as it is not for granted. So, each and every one of the brethren of the Union has his own duty. They must nurture themselves. The most important requirement for a government to successfully serve its duties is to listen to the public voice. It must know the public desire. People must have trust in the government to express their wishes. If they think that punishment will come for expressing something that the government dislikes, they would never voice their feelings again. Right or wrong, the people should express their wish. Some thought that the government would do everything, that they are already dutiful just by the casting the vote in favour of the government. The government as well as every person must be dutiful.
She said her main wish was to listen to the people’s voices. So she wanted to hear their voices after her speech. She wanted to hear their questions, worries, hopes, problems. But she could not settle them all at once. In fact, public discussion, debates and coordination are the foundation of the national force. She trusted that the people attended the meeting with the spirit to serve the country. Fatherly figures of Chin people were also included in the persons who greeted her before the meeting. She valued their goodwill and cordiality. Nothing was more valuable than the love and goodwill of the people. Although Myanmar was rich in natural resources, she placed greater trust in human resources. The country was formed with citizens. She would give more time for the public to express their voices and requirements. She would look into the requirements to the most possible degree. If an immediate response could be made, she would seek the way to solve it later. They should present their voices from the bottom of their hearts. They should not present their voices with the intention of criticizing or hurting others. Discussions or questions should lead to the betterment of their condition and the community.
Then local people presented requirements for development. Union ministers and officials looked into their requirements sector wise.
The State Counsellor presented 100 rice bags and 100 viss of cooking for the local people through a townselder. She also cordially conversed with the attendees.
At the Pyidaungsu villa in Reedhorda, she presented 100 rice bags and 100 viss of cooking for the local people through the officials.
Hwangol ethnic people entertained her with a Chin traditional dance during the visit to Reed Lake in Ward 1. She cordially greeted the ethnic people.
Reed Lake near Reedhorda in Chin State is located 2997 feet above the sea level. Its width is about two miles. Discovered in about AD 1500, the lake is an internationally renowned priceless tourism destination and a sacred place. At a public meeting in Haka, the State Counsellor explained the government’s endeavours for national development in detail. The Chief Minister of the State and officials looked into the sector-wise requirements presented by townselders and local people. She presented 100 rice bags and 100 viss of cooking for the local people through the officials, and cordially conversed with locals who attended the meeting. — MNA (Translated by TMT, Zaw Htet Oo)