Anyeint group returns from exile in Thailand
September 19 - 25, 2011
Chaw Su Myo, a dancer in the Thee Lay Thee Anyeint group, is greeted by family members at Yangon International Airport after returning from Thailand on September 11.
Pic: Kaung Htet
THERE were both tears and smiles at Yangon International Airport last week as members of an exiled comedy troupe were greeted by family members after returning from Thailand.
Four members of Thee Lay Thee Anyeint flew into Yangon from Chiang Mai on September 11, taking up President U Thein Sein’s offer to expatriates in August to return home to work for national development.
They had left in November 2007 after performing skits that included political jokes, fearing they would be detained by the government. Leader Ko Godzilla (Maung Maung Zin), comedians Sein Thee (Than Tun) and Zee Thee (Zaw Naing Htwe), and dancer Chaw Su Myo received an emotional welcome from family and friends at the airport on their return.
Three more members of Thee Lay Thee Anyeint remain in Chiang Mai, where they are completing an arts course. “I’m so glad to get back home,” Sein Thee told The Myanmar Times.
“We discussed our plan to come back with government officials in advance. “We believed what the president said: that Myanmar people who are living abroad could return home – that’s why we are back,” he said.
“In the almost four years we were away we performed many times in foreign countries … we thank the president and want to use our art to build a democratic country.” Ko Godzilla said he expected the remaining three members of the troupe would return to Myanmar in two or three months. “I want to say to other Myanmar people who are in a similar situation to what we were, please come back to Myanmar.
Our country is developing and I’m so pleased, I want to say thanks to the government,” he said. He said the troupe would resume its performances in Myanmar when the remaining members arrived and dismissed rumours they had broken up.
“No, we didn’t break in Thailand, we will perform again soon,” he said. The four members said the Myanmar embassy in Thailand had given them assistance, including extending the validity of their passports, so they could return to Myanmar.
“We know the president said some people would have to face punishment [if they returned] but that is only for crimes and drug cases. Before, we expected that [if we returned] we would be punished,” Ko Godzilla said.
In November 2007, Thee Lay Thee Anyeint gained notoriety for performances in Yangon’s Kandawgyi Park that included jokes about the political situation following the September protests. While based in Thailand the troupe performed in Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia and United States.