It could not be described as gender-balanced, but there is no doubt that Myanmar’s parliament had a stronger female presence than ever before when the lower house sat for the first time this week with a new NLD majority in a historic day for democratic progress.
I always thought fathers who have daughters would be supportive of women’s rights. After all, would they want their girls to face the same unfair practices their grandmothers did?Our dear leader of Thailand has proved me wrong
More than one ancient creature in Vietnam met a demise of sorts at the outset of 2016. The death of the first last month, a giant softback turtle that had inhabited Hoan Kiem Lake in the centre of Hanoi, deeply saddened Vietnam.
Set up five years ago, Myanmar’s National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC) was part of a charm offensive mounted by President U Thein Sein’s quasi-civilian government that succeeded in attracting international publicity and funding. Any legitimacy it may have held has taken a battering since.
Yesterday marked a significant moment in Myanmar’s history: Members of parliament, chosen by the people at the landmark elections in November last year, took up their posts in the expansive parliamentary complex in Nay Pyi Taw. For the first time in more than half a century, the people of this glorious land – and the world – witnessed a transfer of power from one elected hluttaw to another.
With historical changes afoot and optimism sweeping Myanmar, it is a momentous time to be here. Many are hoping for a meteoric rise of the country’s economy over the long term. The numbers certainly point to such potential, as Myanmar’s gross domestic product per person stands at about US$1200 compared with neighboring Thailand’s $5778 and the overall average among Association of Southeast Asian Nations members (ASEAN) of about about $3800 (World Bank).
All the speculation about who will hold the nation’s top jobs should come to an end this month. With newly elected legislators taking their Nay Pyi Taw seats, the specifics of further compromises between the National League for Democracy and the military will become clearer.
The first truly democratically elected hluttaw will be sworn in on February 1. Most probably a civilian government will then come into office at the end of March. These are historic milestones for Myanmar, but we should not forget that both were born out of the 2008 constitution, which was drafted by the former military junta to meet their political needs.
A friend , who works with women here, mentioned to me recently that someone she knows working in the UN had complained to her about this column.
When the people of Myanmar went to the polling stations last November, I bet they shared the same overwhelming sentiments that swept over Indonesians back in 1999. Like their Myanmar cousins, Indonesians too were at the dawn of a momentous change – their biggest ever since breaking away from colonial rule.