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April 02, 2020

Carpe Diem, my boys! But, be prudent!

Time consumed a year and a day of our Myanmar Calendar. Every individual wish to have peaceful life and future from the new year onward, praying that misfortunes and unlucky things in the last year will vanish with the oMuFefa& (=the water poured on each other as a symbol of lessening impact of the summer hot season’s scorching heat). Undeniably, each of our lives is a mixture of happiness and sufferings. We try to relieve our sufferings in our own ways, during the Water Festival. Most elders and some younger ones go to monasteries and meditation centers doing meritorious deeds whereas most of the youths visit about entertainment pavilions in cities and towns. Our ways to refrain ourselves from worries and sufferings are in fact brief. To put it simply, our minimal attempts do not help us liberate from our actual problems to the full. After our summer retreat, we usually return to our original fold. That is to say, we the elders have to engage ourselves in our daily routines for our survival again, with the younger busying themselves with preparations for their future and hopes.
During my free hours, my mind wandered about, especially to my childhood days, my school life, my contemporaries, my career, my family and the society I was involved. As a boy, I was recognized to be at the top of the educational totem pole. Though being indulged by well-to-do parents, I managed myself not to go astray. Like my peers, I had had an ambition. However, I failed to accomplish the edifice of my hope. I would not like to ascribe my failure to bad luck. Some of my inferiors and juniors acquired impressive educational attainments. Some could create wealth to some extent. Why? We need to deploy our resources—abilities, talents, skills and opportunities. They did, unlike me. There was no jealousy conceived towards them in my mind. Their gain was not a fluke, and they did not achieve their present status overnight, by dubious ways and means. I respect and admire them for their willingness to help our society by contributing tidy money to philanthropic organizations, monastic educational institutions and medicinal aids to the needy. Much as we could not afford to do ourselves likewise, we were never conspicuous by our absence when it came to giving voluntary labor in their unadulterated donations. Almost every day, we can get such a vicarious thrill or something out of watching news media. In fact, we all prefer seeing the best news of its kind. This is the very basic nature of humans who want peace and happiness.
During the years prior to my middle school days, I had ever seen my brothers and my seniors taking active part in the Scout and Wolf Cub activities such as weekends’ town-wide sanitation work, giving aids to the old and etc., hand in hand with their fellow members, under the guidance of teachers. As far as I know, there lived in our native-town, Tada-U, the then All Burma Scout’s Vice or 2ndnd Commissioner Dr U Hla Gyi. Occasionally, he made us gather at his house to show foreign movies and give some snacks. Somehow we loved him, but later we came to know we liked his charming face and his generosity. We regarded those scouts to be our ideals in our minds, hoping to emulate them in our mature years. Unluckily, the practice ceased to exist at that time. I firmly believe in the importance of those organizations. We can say for sure that these activities can implant love of collective works and helpfulness in us and simultaneously get rid of selfishness from us. Now is the time when we are marching towards a democratized nation. There can be seen many youths giving voluntary work and humanitarian aids to sufferers and people in need nationwide. Last year saw the reactivation of the Scout activity by the government. Scout is an organization that trains young people in practical skills and does a lot of activities with them, for example camping. In my opinion, the Scouts is not a secluded organization. The government should encourage all interested youths to join such organizations and activities so that our country will abound with selfless citizens in future.
As a sexagenarian, I want to claim that we, especially our younger generation, are having a better world. When and why? We always say that future belongs to youths. We were youths, but we groped in the dark. Due to living in the backwater of the advanced technology and surviving under the suppression and news blackout imposed by the then government, we had gloomy days of more than half a century and lost our future. We were not left to starve to death but we did not have the education we deserved. Despite that we held our education bona fides, we had to experience uneasiness of unemployment. Free as we were from the above-said unemployment, we found it difficult to be in a right post because of anointed candidates on the priority list. Knowingly who created these, we had no chance to and dared not disclose it. Fear governing us drove away our desire to disclose our hopes and dreams. A bad system ruined not only the future of every individual but also that of the whole country. Now is not the time when we should blame to each other. We all are responsible for taking part in building up our nation into a democratized nation.
Youths are surely to replace the aging generation. In other word, they will lead the country to the nation of the utmost peace and prosperity. To be able to do so, the leaders-to-be must be equipped with skills and qualifications. Ways of ruling a country is not like that of a family or a camp. In dealing with household affairs, a household leader has responsibilities to solve its problems. A leader of a country, being the one of millions of nuclear families, will have innumerable duties to perform. Here I want to adopt a well-known catchphrase of Hillary Clinton who will run for US presidency in 2016. Everyday we, Myanmar people need champions and I want you to be those champions. Rome wasn’t built in one day. And we need thousands and thousands of champions to lead our country in their respective sectors.
Carpe Diem, my boys!
An opportunity cannot reach you for two consecutive times. Youthfulness, enthusiasm, activeness and daring are the things of youths. We had already had these qualities. We can no longer attain those. So we, the elders, must acknowledge the role of the younger. Plus, we must be ready and get ready to hand over responsibilities to them. Mother Teresa once said, “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin”. Quite right in saying so! We should not look mournfully into the past. There also is a noteworthy saying of Mahatma Gandhi that the future depends on what you do today. Throughout our history, we had many heroes and unsung ones whom we will keep in our minds. You will belong to those kinds. You should not forgo an opportunity to take part in the nation-building. Carpe diem means “seize the day” or “pluck the day as it is ripe”. Ii is generally rendered as follows: take advantage of the opportunities arising in the day. Here I would not like you to misconstrue advantage of the opportunities as self-interest. A leader-to-be needs to fortify his or her attitudes—moral, spiritual and intellectual ones regarded to be criteria. Moral bankruptcy can reduce anyone to a man of disgrace and dishonor. Deterioration of these abilities begets inexorability of bribery and corruption, thus ruining our society. On our side, we should help best practices develop among younger minds. Recently, there was a literary debate between two writers seen on face-book pages.
Frankly speaking, we welcome such a kind. I cannot help acknowledging astuteness of the young writer, but I am afraid it would be tantamount to attacking ad hominem. Only if we have mutual respect and understanding between the two generations, can we go smoothly to our destination. The elder should not despise the younger. Thus the latter should not challenge our respected savants. I firmly believe that such a learned-cum-experienced person as Sayargyi can share invaluable knowledge and advice to us all. We need leading young persons of great charisma, persuasiveness and ebullience in every field. Prudence will lead you to success.
I remembered a few lines in a primer which reads as follows:
Cart-wheels are stuck,
In the mud.
Help push it on to the land,
Too heavy to lift up from the swamp?
With concerted effort in unison,
It sure will be in motion.
On our way to a democratic nation, we are now facing deteriorating situations. To overcome these, we are to work hand-in-hand even with those holding views of polar difference. Nation-building is not a one-man mission. We need to recruit, or rather produce more and more active citizens. With the advent of the Myanmar New Year, I want to urge that our leader embryos make their own capacity-building, share their knowledge, relay the practice of performing their duties conscientiously without procrastination to their juniors. I want to repeat one more time, “Carpe Diem, my boys! But, be prudent! Then, it is just a matter of time before we reach a peaceful and prosperous country.
May all citizens have a promising future each!

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