State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Chairperson of the Committee for Development of Rural Areas and National Races, met with local people in Nanyun and Pinlebu townships in Sagaing Region.
During the trip, the State Counsellor was accompanied by Union Ministers U Min Thu, U Ohn Win and Dr Myint Htwe; Deputy Ministers Maj-Gen Aung Thu and U Hla Maw Oo, Chief of Myanmar Police Force Police Lt-Gen Aung Win Oo and officials.
After landing at Khamti Airport, they were welcomed by Sagaing Region Chief Minister Dr Myint Naing, his government ministers, Hluttaw representatives, town elders, locals and ethnic people.
They later proceeded to Nanyun Township in Naga Self-Administered Zone in Sagaing Region by helicopters.
The State Counsellor and party were welcomed by U Kay Sai, the Chairman of Leading Body of Naga Administered Zone, officials and Naga people and local ethnic people.
The State Coounsellor held a public meeting with the locals in the Community Hall in Nanyun.
During the meeting, the State Counsellor said that transportation is one of the vital necessities for the development of a country, and that the government focuses on improvement of transportations in remote areas. The roads are bad in Nanyun area during the raining season, and that these roads must be upgraded for all year round.
Such poor conditions are still seen in many areas of the country. Good transportation is very important everywhere. The roads must be durable for the rainy seasons. The government is doing its best for for this matter.
Although the country’s transportation became developed in the past three or four years, there are still many requirements in this sector. While the country is on the track of development, the people must improve.
People are instrumental in the development of a country. If people have no strong commitment and cooperation, no nation can sustain development. Development of a country can be measured with the living standards of grass root people in that country. The situations of elite groups are not the indicators for development of the countries. The State Counsellor also said people in Nanyun areas are also the reflection of the country’s development. Local people have recognized there are many conditions to be developed in this area.
“I found many school children on the way. It is a good sign for the country. They are the signs for the future of our country. Both schools and school children must be developed. They need higher education standards,” she added, saying that education is required to have capacity for solving difficulties and challenges in life. Despite having knowledge from books, no one is said to be an educated person if they have no capacity to overcome challenges.
The country needs more learned persons, in addition to graduates. Some graduates cannot manage their lives due to weaknesses of the education system, said the State Counsellor. Different countries have different education systems. Myanmar cannot copy all the systems of developed countries.
She also said the less-developed countries can take lessons from the faults of developed nations and avoid their mistakes.
She also shared experiences in the environmental degradation due to illegal gold mines on the way to Nanyun by helicopter.
Although the forests and mountains are natural resources of the country, they are also standing as natural barriers for poor transportation and livelihoods of local people.
The State Counsellor said that while illegal gold mines are prohibited, local people need other livelihoods, reminding that people in every corner of the country are responsible for the development of their lives.
She continued to say recognizing the value of every citizen, services for health and education, and maternal health for pregnant women till the babies reach the age of two years as this period is very important for brain development of the babies. Nutrition is required for both physical and mental development.
Union Minister for Health and Sports Dr Myint Htwe was included in the trip to know about health services for local people. Children could pursue education only when they are healthy.
She also reaffirmed diplomacy lies on the front lines in national defense duty. In international diplomatic relations, the nation must be safeguarded by educated, learned and capable persons.
The State Counsellor added her support to vocational education as some developing countries are facing consequences of incorrect education systems which mainly focused on university education, instead of vocational education. Jobless graduates can also be found in many developed countries because some university degrees do not meet prevailing requirements in the world. It was also found that the countries which can sustain development are the nations that support vocational education and technologies.
While the government is supporting technical and vocational educations, people are found to prefer these educations. However, while some countries traditionally pursue university degrees, their people emphasized on these degrees, and have lesser interest in essential technologies.
The State Counsellor said that all the young people, students and parents to prefer vocational education for livelihoods. Young people in rich countries, such as Germany, Sweden and Switzerland, get the same opportunities as the graduated ones. Some technicians are earning more income than the educated ones. In developed countries, the educated ones do not get more favours than the technicians.
She concluded that the visit to Nanyun was to witness difficulties of the region and to hear the direct voices of locals although it is not possible to talk with individuals. Some questions in advance will be replied, and the prompt questions will be answered depending on the time available. The questions will be answered by the members of Union government and some others by the State government.
After the speech of State Counsellor, the local people discussed cancellation of Nanyun Township from the area of Hukaung Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, demarcation of this area with the consent of locals, legitimacy of Pansaung border market close to India, constructions of mini hydropower plant and 50-beded hospital, upgrading local health facility, construction of a school building, free access of Hluttaw representatives, civil service personnel and people to the seven villages in Takagwin area, free transportation of rice, fuel oil and construction materials from Tanai and Myitkyina townships to Nanyun, cancelling from the list of brown security area, upgrading road, agricultural projects for daily income, employment of school teachers required for 43 primary schools in Nanyun, construction of concrete roads, town hall and community hall for Naga people, and breeding of new fish species.
Union Ministers U Ohn Win, Dr Myint Htwe, local government ministers and Director-General U Ko Lay Win replied the discussions.
The State Counsellor concluded the discussions, making remarks on more interactions between the local government and its people, the needs of permissions for possible access to the restricted areas, cooperation between the local government and its people, friendly relations of local people to the health workers and teachers, mutual respects among different faiths, being proud of own land, responsibility of local people and the government’s assistance to the locals.
The State Counsellor and party returned to Khamti, proceed to Homalin Township by a special flight and travelled to Pinlebu Township by helicopters.
During the meeting with the locals at the Sport Stadium of Pinlebu Township, the State Counsellor said: “I have a strong reason of paying a visit to Pinlebu. The representative of Pin lebu reminded me that many years ago, I had made a promise to pay a visit to Pinlebu. I had made such a promise, so I came here to keep my word because I believe it is very important that we representatives must abide by our promises. Personally speaking, I never make a promise lightly, or casually. I believe that before I speak a word, I must value the word. Especially, concerning the affairs of our people, I never make a promise off-handedly, without considering whether I could really do something for soothing the people or for solving an issue.
I always remind the members of my party, as well as the members of our governing body: As long as they could not keep their word, never say it to our people. Otherwise, we will lose the trust of our people. The moment we lose their trust, it’s quite hard to get it restored. If we really want to carry out the duties of the state, securing the trust of the people is the factor of crucial importance for everyone of us.
Without the trust of the people, no governing body or political organization can do good for the country. Some people might underestimate the people. If you excuse my expression, they even look down on the people. They misconceive that they can win the votes of the people if they make a solemn promise that they will fulfil whatever the local people claim for. I’d like to stress the fact that I never belittle our people’s power, but I value and respect our people, for I am well convinced that our people have never failed to exercise their prudence in times of crisis.
If there is something we can do for the fulfilment, we will do unfailingly because the happiness of our people is the happiness of our country. However, there might be some matters beyond our caliber, and if we just make a soothing promise just to please the people, and do nothing, this would be an insult to the people, which we would never do so. Showing no respect to the people means an insult to the people.
I’ve come here because, first of all, I hold the natives of Pinlebu, our people of Pinlebu, in high respect.
My second reason is I want to make close contact with my people all over the country. However, that isn’t possible in practice. Of course, getting close to all over fifty million people is out of the question. But I’m trying my best. This morning we managed to visit Nanyun, one of the far flung areas of our country. If compared, Pinlebu isn’t that far. Not very much isolated like Nanyun. But if we set out from Nay Pyi Taw or Mandalay or Yangon, this region is still hard to reach. Because it is hard to reach, we have managed to come here without fail.
In our mass gatherings, we hope to get informed of the main issues that our people are faced with so that we can try our best to get the problems solved. But this doesn’t mean things are settled right away on the very spot. There are challenges of our country. If we all want to solve these challenges, we must work together.
That’s why I always remind our people. You are the one who should start. Our individual performances and endeavours are very important for our country. It isn’t the matter of age. Whether you are young or old, you have the caliber to do something for the interest of our country. That’s why I’d like you, young and old, including our children and students, to think what we can do for our country.
First of all, I’d like you all to stand united. Only when we stand united can we make progress. To make sure we all are united, we must have the right mindset. We should adopt the positive attitudes towards each other, we should be equipped with the full spirit that we shall join hands and work for the progress of our country. Then our country can make quick progress. If you look at the far-flung areas like Pinlebu, the areas haven’t as yet developed as they should have. So what could be the yardsticks of progress? The first yardstick is perhaps how far the local people are living in safe and secure conditions. It is important to be not only physically safe but also emotionally secure, whether you are indoors or you are going outdoors.
Another yardstick is the guarantee for your survival to start a new day. When the morning comes, you must have a good breakfast, shelter, clothes and food, and if you have a family, education for your children. Thus, it is very important to be emotionally secure. Another thing is the guarantee for jobs. Quite a large number of our citizens remain unemployed.
On the way to Pinlebu, I noticed many young students along the road. This sight always gives me blissful feelings, indeed because this scene proves that our children are eager to learn while their parents are willing to give education to their children. I’d like our children, as well as the parents, to note that education plays an important role in every country. Education is the future of our country. Only if we could produce wise people, there’s the guarantee for the future of our country. Here, I’d like to explain a little bit. ‘The wise’ doesn’t mean ‘graduates from universities’. Wise people are those who can solve the issues that they encounter in life.
No matter how many graduates we have, if they can’t solve the problems they encounter, if they are not equipped with the problem solving skills, this is not the wise. This is just ab act of learning or schooling. I’d like our people to be wise, sagacious people so that we can find the right path to face our life to the best of our abilities.
A country has to go through many epochs, many phases. This country will stand till to the end of the world. And nobody can predict how many issues we will be faced with. In this world, even the wealthiest countries cannot escape from issues. One issue after another keeps on coming, of course. In a developing country like ours, we have our own problems. But we should not remain in despair for this.
I have been to many countries all over the world. I have been to the biggest, richest cities, but I am glad our people have the advantages that the people of those cities do not have. Of course, they have advantages in some aspects while our people have advantages in others. I’d like you not to let go of your advantages. For example, the world has acknowledged, from their records that there is no other country in the world whose people are as generous and ready to share as Myanmar. Even then, our country is included among the least developed countries of the world. Despite being one of the least developed countries in the world, our Myanmar people are at the top of the list of generosity and benevolence in humanitarian aids. I think this reveals the reflections of our loving kindness and generous nature.
What I am trying to say is the will to share among ourselves. This will is I think the most important aspect of our personality for our community. We share the good things we have. Then, if there are any sorrows, there turn up people who share our sorrows. In this world, in life, there’s always give and take. If we share our loving kindness, we can stand against the issues, we can make progress and we can build a developed country.
As I have been engaged in politics, some interview me how I face any hardships or challenges, how I overcome my apprehensions about these issues. The best thing about my life is I have a good company of friends and comrades who never fail to show their loving kindness. As long as there are people with comradeship ready to sacrifice everything together, it isn’t hard for me to face any hardships.
My example here is: you have fear and anxiety if you walk alone in the deep forest, but if you have a companion, your worries subside a little. As you all know, walking all alone in the dark is different from waling with your companion. Even if he is a stranger, you feel relieved, don’t you? You have a friend, who joins hands with you and who helps you up again when you fall. Then no matter the path lies in darkness, no matter the path is a challenge, you find it more relaxing to walk forward.
Especially, children and youths should adopt this kind of attitude — the positive mentality like compassion and sharing good things among yourselves. Then our country will always make progress and stand in peace and prosperity. If we fail to adopt positive mentality, no matter the country may be rich, our people will not able to enjoy true happiness.
Now I’d like to talk a little bit about politics. Some people think that if somebody wants to do politics, he or she may enroll himself or herself in a political party. But politics is a concern for every citizen. Political affairs are the affairs of the state. The affairs of a country are a concern to all those living in the country, even a concern to those living oversea. If you still have a concern about this country, if you still have some attachments, you keep on studying, from a far distance, what’s going on here, and share the joys and sorrows together.
As you all know, when last month I went abroad and defended the case forwarded to the ICJ, many Myanmar people living abroad came there to support us, to stand with us. In fact, may of them are holding the Myanmar citizenship, but their loving hearts are still with us.
They came because they felt it’s time to show their blood brotherhood in times of crisis. It’s almost unbelievable because those who gave their support are not millionaires, but they spent their hard earnings, took all the troubles to come and support us. They show they are still in love with Myanmar. If we still keep this kind of attitude intact, our country will reach the status in which the world acknowledges the greatness of Myanmar. For this goal, each and every individual should strive to the best of their abilities.
I’d like the people of Pinlebu to strive to the best of your abilities. Never think this way, Ours is just a little town of no significance. Of course, every town, every village is of great importance. Every individual person living in towns or villages is playing an important role. Keep self-respect intact. Take the right track. A valuable thing will never be cast away in the dust. A stone of no value will be cast away, but never a diamond.
So if you respect and value yourself, you’ll take good care of yourself. First, by keeping your virtues intact, this means you respect and value yourself. But sometimes, we may make mistakes. Things may not turn out as you have expected. But never give up your hopes. Every one has the right to strive for your hopes. The key is strive to the best of your abilities, make endeavours. You may fail this time, but keep on trying with a hope in your heart that you will succeed next time. Only then can our country make progress. I often keep on saying, I wish for the progress of our country because our country must make progress. This is an obvious point when you come to a place like this, like Nanyun. There remain many regions in our country that need further development, where we need progressive people. That is why we should help each other. The government alone cannot do everything. Some people may give promises causally, saying that they will do their best, and solve the issues, but do nothing finally.
It is only through the collaboration of the local people that, through phase after phase, our country can make progress. So when we receive a warm welcome of our people, we feel very much heartening because there’s a strength among the people in unity. It’s very heartening to see you all assembling and attending this ceremony actively and unitedly, and you will, I believe, face the issues that our country may encounter.
During our visit, I always encourage the local people to forward questions, on the ground that I’d like to listen to your voices. I am sorry we’ve come late so we have no much time to read out and answer all the questions coming from the people of Pinlebu. But we will respond to all your questions. You may write to us and send your questions, too. We’ve opened a centre for complaints.
Wherever I go, we open a centre for complaints. People may or may not make complaints, if they wish. But every letter of complaint reaches our office. So whoever writes a letter of complaint may take it for granted that his or her letter always finds a reader who reads closely and responds. This kind of trust among ourselves can give us a chance to join hands.
By the way, as I could observe the audience before me, there are many children attending this ceremony. So I might say something to these children. I’d like to urge the elderly people to wait from behind, and make the children be educated and wise, not for the sake of individual, but for the sake of our families, our communities and our country. Another thing is take good care of their health. Parents, who are responsible for their health, may provide nutritious food to your children depending on your affordability. But any way feed only the nutritious food, and not the snacks lacking nutrients. For example, I might recommend Phee-gyan banana, as well as peas and beans. Only the nutritious food please.
The children should cultivate the good eating habits. I’d like to raise a warning. Please don’t get angry with me, sellers of betel quids. I go against chewing betel. This is my fiorst priority. This doesn’t mean I do not care the lives of the sellers of betel quids. I always find a solution for this kind of making a living. Selling betel is still allowed. Otherwise, the sellers and the growers will find it hard for a living. But I warn you that chewing betel is injurious to your health. This spoils the beauty of your teeth. So I’d urge you to chew betel. Besides, spitting the betel liquid makes the environment dirty. Please don’t do that.
Another thing is avoid from drinking alcohol. Especially, boys and men. As they grow up, boys might have a taste of drinks. There’s no reason to do so. Just a waste of money. It affects your health, too. Smoking is a waste of money. It affects your health, too. I often say, smoking is like burning your notes. Burning the notes is a waste of money, but smoking can affect your health besides a waste of money. So please avoid from smoking.
And another thing is the narcotic drugs. It’s very important for our youths. Even if you can give up the drug, it affects your health. So our youths may keep the basic healthy habits. And I’d like to warn you against playing computer games that can get you addicted, like gambling.
In developing countries, the young people addicted to the games have to seek help from the psychologists.
If you are so much addicted to something, then it becomes a disease. Play the games, but not too much. Our children must be educated, and healthy so that we can hand over our country to the hands of the future generations. Such a boon is quite an extraordinary boon for us. If we can do so, how happy we’d be. The future generations can then feel safe and secure to live such a peaceful life. So youths, take good care of your health, learn education as much as you can. The most important thing is give a helping hand to each other. Love should be there among yourselves. And I’d urge the adults to stand a good model to our youths through cooperation and collaboration.
From my visits, I have noticed some common needs among the places I have visited. For example, road, electricity, healthcare, education, sometimes cultural problems. These I promise we will fulfil to the best of our abilities as soon as possible.
Another thing is the complaints related to administration such as the unfairness and lack of support. For this I take the responsibility. This is the responsibility of the government. I’ve been stressing the fact that the authorities concerned are responsible for serving the people with love and compassion.
I am so glad that the national races in Pinlebu are living in peace and friendship among yourselves. This is very heartening for us. As you all know, some regions in our country are still lacking peace. Still fighting in armed conflicts.
I’d raise a challenge, and this is if you really have the abilities, you must have power to march towards your goal without resorting to the arms. If not so, you are lacking something. So if you want something, you should try it out with the exercise of wisdom, and not with the means of violence, without hurting any others. I wish our people to adopt this kind of talent and courage among yourselves.
As I have said earlier, I have been to many countries in the world, as well as the richest cities. But I never felt dejected for having our country remain one of the least developed countries. I always thought there remain many more things to do for our country. I also believe we have the power to emerge from this present situation to the progressive state. So never feel rejected. Never let the thought occur in your mind that yours is just a little town for every individual citizen is an invaluable asset to our country. Every individual is a hope for our country.
Nobody knows who will come in and support our country at what time. So have belief in yourself. We value you, and you value yourself. I’d like to remind the members of the Regional Government, our administrative body and the Hluttaw that we should be in close contact with our people. We must go down not only to the township level but also to the countryside, and listen to the voices of our people, fulfil the needs of our people to the best of your abilities so that the people will have trust and respect on the mechanism of our administration. So we will strive on, and I’d urge you all people to strive on.
After the speech of State Counsellor, three students asked for upgrading village roads, fighting against narcotic drugs and routine garbage collecting system, which were replied by the Sagaing Region Chief Minister.
The State Counsellor made remarks on people’s participation in fighting against narcotic drugs and the active role of administrative officials in serving the public. The locals also discussed infrastructural developments in the area, and the State Counsellor advised the State government ministers and officials to address the issues.
After the meeting, the State Counsellor and party left Pinlebu for Homalin by helicopters.—MNA (Translated by Aung Khin/ Dr. Zaw Tun)