Burmese Python auctions dinner date for charity

The auction centre on Nawaday Street has seen many high-priced goods items pass through its doors. A portrait of Aung San Suu Kyi once fetched upwards of $15,000, while a Kachin dress sold for $1,000.

Aung La Nsang signs a pair of fighter gloves at the auction. Aung Khant / The Myanmar TimesAung La Nsang signs a pair of fighter gloves at the auction. Aung Khant / The Myanmar Times

In a country with an ever growing wealth gap, charity auctions rare.

Last weekend, auctioneers raised more than K5 million for Shingni N-Bat, a Kachin organisation working to help Kachin IDPs and orphans at the Thuka Yeik Myone Orphanage in Yangon.

Organised by mixed martial arts icon Aung La Nsang, the charity was held for over 50 guests and local media on March 31.

In addition, 13 of Aung La Nsang’s personal items such as winning gloves, boxing jerseys, pants and more were up for the bidding. Items ranged from K50,000 to K1,000,000.

“I’m very grateful for this opportunity,” said Aung La Nsang at the beginning of the auction.

The 31-year-old fighter, also known as the Burmese Python, was born in Myitkyina, Kachin State, before moving to Yangon and then the US for school.

“All these items are close to my heart,” he said, gesturing to his training gear on display. “But more important are the people in Kachin state who needed our help as well as the orphanages in Yangon. This is an opportunity for us to make a difference for these people.”

Not only were the auction items some of Aung La Nsang’s favourites but also items that marked milestones in his career.

The gloves worn during his fight against Michael Pasternak at Thuwanna Stadium in October 2016 started with a bid of K200,000 and sold for K1.2 million at the end.

The gold medal he won in the 2014 “North American Grappling Association Tournament” in Virginia fetched K1.6million from a local fan.  

Perhaps the most coveted item, however, was a private dinner with the Burmese Python himself. When the dinner prize was announced Aung La Nsang came on stage, clad in a dress shirt and slacks.

Unlike on television or during tournaments, Aung La Nsang was markedly giddy with excitment, a stark contrast to his more serious and strong-wielded game face.

The dinner was auctioned  off to a couple for K900,000 who also purchased some of his memorabilia items. The couple can bring up to two friends and enjoy dinner with Aung La Nsang at Sorabol restaurant.

 “This is the first time in my life I’ve done something like this,” Aung La Nsang said during an interview with The Myanmar Times ahead of the auction. “So this is a little bit of helping out with what I have. I’m not rich but I’ll do my best. All contributions will go towards people in need.”

A plethora of other clothing all with Aung La Nsang’s autograph were also up for the bidding.

Though the auction items are important to the fighter, ultimately he said he can “understand the feeling of being hungry and homeless. That is what really matters to me over material things.”

The charity was organised by Aung La Nsang and Ko Min Thu Win, the marketing and operations manager of Shopmyar.com, an online retail company.

“There have been many difficulties putting on this event,” Ko Min Thu Win said. “The most difficult part is the bidders but Aung La has many fans and people were interested in him.”

Following the charity event, Aung La Nsang visited refugees in Mainar IDP camp in Kachin state on April 2.