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May 28, 2020

Augean Stables in Myanmar & Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

  • Linn Aye
Bogyoke Aung San.

U Mya Sein (Pathein) (ambassador), who was a university school-mate wrote an article about Bogyoke Aung San under the pseudonym “NN” in which it was described that Ko Aung San dropped out to join Doh Bamar Asiayone (We Burmese Association), acting as the general secretary to perform heavy duties as follows—
After taking office in the organization as the general secretary, the first-ever duty for Thakin Aung San to do was like “Cleaning the Augean Stables.” [N.N: Out of the past—An intimate sketch of Bogyoke Aung San, Guardian Magazine Vol IX, No5, May 1961)
The story of Cleaning Augean Stables is the one of Greek Mythology about the legendary hero, “Hercules.” Hercules was the demigod son born to the god Zeus and Alcmane, the mortal.
Under the influence of the witchcraft of the god Hera, who was also a queen of Zeus, Hercules went insane, committing the murders of the children. For the offences he did, he consulted a medium at the god shrine. The god ordered Hercules to serve for Eurystheus, the king, for 12 years, instructing him to perform Twelve Labors of great difficulty.
The fifth labor of the twelve was to clean up the excretion from the king Eurystheus’s stables. The dung of cattle—cows, bulls, sheep, goats and horses piled up so much for being left without doing any sanitation for over 30 years, getting dirty and smelly.
Hercules managed to clean up the dirt piled up in 3000 stables in one day (or rather—just in a few hours) to perfection. Legendary hero Hercules’s way of cleaning up the dirt was none other than thrashing the dirt away with the force of the water from the diverted current of the two rivers flowing nearby.
By comparing with Hercules’s marvelous deed, U Mya Sein described Bogyoke Aung San’s great responsibilities ahead of him. In fact, Thakin Aung San performed such great duties not only in the existence of Thakin but also in the life of Bogyoke Aung San taking office as the leader of Tatmataw and in the life of U Aung San acting as the chairman of AFPFL (Anti Fascist People’s Freedom League) till his last day.
Now, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the daughter of Bogyoke Aung San has been performing the enormously great burden & duties of the country like her father, trying to get rid of the legacy of pile of trash and dirt left by the old regimes. I am likening Hercules, the legendary hero of Greek Mythology, who cleaned up the dirt from stables to our Bogyoke and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi who are trying to remove the problems of the country, only as an example. As a matter of fact, they are totally different from each other in nature, ways of occurrence and matters to be solved. Hercules was given a punishment whereas Bogyoke and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi performed the duties and responsibilities entrusted by the people.
The dirt Hercules had to clean was excretion left by cattle in 3000 stables only. The dirt and problems for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to solve are trash piled up by people for over 50 years, exceeding much more than the amount of trash in Augean Stables, hence more difficulty to clean up for its horrid smell.
And, Hercules was a powerful demigod while Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is only a human being. Accordingly, it is sure that the latter cannot manage to clean up the waste matters from stables in our country in one year period, not to mention cleaning up in one day like Hercules. It is difficult to clean up these in 4-5 years to come.
A government cannot avoid from these disgusting problems left by the former one before it, by pointing at these with its index finger, claiming that these were caused by the former ones. The government is required to deal with these to the best of its caliber. As addressed by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi at the ceremony held in commemoration of taking office of the government for one year, these problems must be solved hand in hand with the people.
In accordance with slogan or the motto, “Together with the people” if the government and the people will walk together, leaders and people need to be highly motivated and energetic. Though not strong enough as the legendary hero “Hercules” we are required to be strong-minded. Only if we have same minds and resolution, can we co-work in unity and strength.

State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

Such a claim laying stress on the spirit is attributed to my assumption that the spirit of the whole populace plays an important role in building & rebuilding up the nation, and developing the nation. Just prior to the demise of our leader Bogyoke Aung San he finally made an address to the nation on 13 July 1947, in which he said, “I want to say that you must work hard, abide by disciplines and get rid of your old and evil habits since now, if you want to savor the taste of Independence.”
The blanket-blank habit which Bogyoke expressed was meant for bad habits and evil behaviors. Bogyoke’s speeches lasted for 70 years. Yet, the current situations show whether Myanmar followed his speech or not.
If the country’s leaders, especially those who ruled the country following 14-15 years after Myanmar gained its Independence would have been qualified enough, there is no reason for our country to have plunged into the current stage. And, Augean stables in Myanmar would not have piled up dirt and problems as much as seen presently.
There emerged a lot of criticism over one-year performances of the incumbent government formed under the leadership of NLD Party that won in the previous general election. They included constructive criticism and destructive ones. This is reasonable. A government must be criticized and get ready to be criticized. The government led by President U Htin Kyaw and State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is not the kind that cannot tolerate criticism. In my opinion, I think that the incumbent regime is too good in everything, like tolerance.
It is not an easy task to perform the responsibilities of dealing with problems in political, economic, social and health affairs of the country. In all countries including Myanmar, it is not easy for the governments to rule their countries. Especially, it is more difficult for the country under the great pressure of a myriad of problems for many years, like Myanmar to do so. Simultaneously, we need to be well convinced that the ruling party-led government has not yet become the one with absolute power so that they can build up the nation as desired.
There may be shortcomings, failures and lack of efficiency in management in the performances in one-year period. However, we must acknowledge their Cetana/ true willingness toward the country though some faults and flaws were found. We should not severely criticize the government we elected ourselves out of our fondness, in such a short period of time. In other word, we should neither blame nor assess with destructive kinds of criticism.
On considering the other way round, it will be unfair if I assert that all performances Daw Aung San Su Kyi & NLD party do are good and flawless. As composed by our national poet, “Zaw Gyi” in Poet’s attitude from Peaceful land; Introduction to Aesthetic literature, it is worth considering that it is very interesting to highly eulogize a lady of beauty and a king.
Once in the past, confidential followers or disciples used to praise their leaders greatly. They always praised whatever the great leader did. They dare not say or point out the wrong, if ever. These conditions drove the country into the state of sheer desperation.
I hereby want to present some cases which became worse remarkably in one-year period when the People’s government took office. The first thing is a matter of bribery and corruption. It has been being learnt that the bribed money is bigger than ever. (Eradication of bribery and corruption is a matter to be written separately.)
Another is hate speech and rude words posted on some face-book pages. Some face-book users freely called names between each other or leaders of the governments or anyone who were not with them. They came to use vulgar and indecent usages we had never heard before. Some agitated to abolish section 66/d of the telecommunication law. Even though the law is still valid, some are writing various kinds of articles and news without restriction. In case there is the section cancelled, I guessed how much the situation would become worse. For saying so, I would not like you to think that I mean the section is very good. Despite the fact that we have already had the law, some people are writing as desired. There will never be absolute freedom in the human society. Every individual has freedom to some extent. Assuming wrongly that it is one’s right, we cannot say or insult as we desire.
I am worried as to how our country will proceed under such a kind of condition, whenever I find men facing moral bankruptcy. I remember the first of 10 disciplines for the monastery, laid down by Maha Ghandayone Reverend Sayadaw Ashin Janakka Bhivamsa—having wholesome mind is the first and foremost importance.
For the country and its people as well, “Having Wholesome Mind is the First and Foremost Importance”. Though it cannot be true practically, sometimes I happened to have daydreamed that it would be very good if we all have good mind, love our country, have good character and high intelligence.
To possess good character and qualification, we must try hard individually as well as on the whole community basis. To try to get rid of evil mind and bad habits of all people is like trying to clean the dirt of the country.
In the New Year, I pray to God for the government to successfully implement the task of cleaning up the Augean Stables in the country, together with the people.

—Translated by Khin Maung Oo (Tada-U)

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