Written Story for the Special Initiative “Living the Coup: Collective Diary of Daily Life in Myanmar” by SEA Junction and Partners.
|Storyteller||CDM Medical Student|
I started writing this while I was yearning for my home and my life back there so much. It looks like another normal day, and everyone around me sees me like I am doing fine, but it is not really. I have never understood the meaning of homesickness until now. It is a brutal word for those who are away from home like myself. We do not know when we will have a chance to talk face-to-face, hug, laugh, and have every single meal together with our families under the same roof. In facts, I do not like to talk about my feelings and make my issues seem they are important, especially when I know there are so many people out there who have already made extraordinary sacrifices for our people.
If I could go back a couple of years before all these unholy events occurred, I would have done anything I could. 2021 became the worst nightmare for all of Myanmar people, and the following events destroyed all our dreams and future, including mine. I have always wanted to become a medical doctor ever since I was young, and, I would have finished in my final year of medical school for the time being. I would be starting the internship year in six months, and it would the most exciting year out of all those six years of medical university life. It had indeed been a long journey, and it was not definitely easy for all of us. I was willing to face these exciting challenges since I am passionate about my profession. Now those are just dream.
These days, everyone has lost their enthusiasm, hope, and plans in a blink of an eye. Just a few days after the military junta staged the coup, our university became the first one to declare that we would be joining the Civil Disobedience Movement. Not only did our professors, teachers, and university staff join the movement, but all students also joined in without hesitation. This made the military junta (SAC) target medical professionals more than anyone else. Day after day, the revolution became stronger and stronger. While at the same time, the military junta’s servants amped up their relentless attempt to threaten the people with violence and brutality. A year passed by and at the start of 2022, the SAC forced every government sector to push for Myanmar’s return to normalcy under the military’s administration. The SAC wanted to put on a display that all parts of the governing mechanisms are operating regularly again. That included the reopening of high schools, universities, colleges, and government offices.
It became a pivotal moment for students like us to join the Civil Disobedience Movement strongly and decisively. However, some students chose to take the opposite path from us. There is no denying that we all want to finish our studies and get a degree very soon, but I think it is not the right decision to go along with the plans set by the SAC’s regime and to stay under their administration appointed by the military junta. I am convinced that I cannot possibly continue my education under the military regime while the junta continues to commit unholy, inhumane atrocities against our people. Some friends asked me if I regret making this decision. Yes, of course, I am dying to finish my degree like others, but finishing it under their hand will be more regretful. it will become a lifelong regret that will come back to haunt me for sure. It also hurts to see some of my close friends and classmates making their decision to continue their studies under the military regime. However, I cannot say anything at all, and I found no words to describe the feeling I have as well. In the end, it is their life and there is nothing I can do about it. It makes me feel sad and empty when I see them finishing their exams and working as interns at the hospitals run by the military junta.
I feel sorry for my parents too. I am having mixed feelings of guilt, insecurity, loss, and emptiness, and depression and pessimistic thoughts have been constantly overwhelming me. But I think I am strong enough to overcome the nightmares. I still have the ones who are standing by my side, and I am very lucky to have parents who did not push me or force me to go back to study under the military regime. They also think that it is not the right thing to do. Although we did not go back to study under the military administration, we got a chance to continue our studies via an online platform with our CDM professors and seniors. I feel so grateful for this opportunity, and I sincerely appreciate their effort for giving us the chance.
Even though we live in the city, we all know that the SAC can do whatever they want and act in total impunity since they are above the law. They raid the houses, accuse family members of supporting and making financial contributions to resistance forces, arrest citizens for no reason, and demand ransom money if people do not want to get arrested. Unfortunately, that happened to my family. My father was accused of participating in campaigns for revolution against them. So, we had to move out of our house immediately to avoid the arrest. We had to stay somewhere away from our house for a couple of weeks. It was a week before I planned to visit another country with my aunt for her hospital appointment. After everything that happened, I did not want to go along with my aunt on the trip. However, my parents advised me to go along with her and to stay there for a while for my security as well. It was the most difficult time for me as I had to my family amidst ongoing chaos.
After a long, heavy decision, I decided to go join my aunt on the trip as originally planned. I left my home country not knowing when I would be able to get back home and reunite with my family, friends, and my loved ones. I have always thought that I am strong enough to withstand this kind of homesickness but instead I am not. I totally became a crybaby. It is tough to stay away from home. But I am trying to become stronger to fight this revolution, knowing that I have my family and friends who always got my back.
It may be a long journey for our people to get democracy and freedom again, but I am so sure that we all will overcome this together, especially when everyone is putting their efforts and sacrificing their futures for this cause. I can feel that this movement is going to succeed in the very near future, and all of us can go back to our mother country with freedom.
“Living the Coup: Collective Diary of Daily Life in Myanmar” is a special initiative of SEA Junction in collaboration with Asia Justice Rights (AJAR) to document how people are living in present-day Myanmar and their coping with daily security, economic and health challenges. We are asking for short stories in the form of written, photo essays or art illustration, in Burmese Language (to be later translated into English) or in English. For more background and other stories click here.
SEA Junction, established under the Thai non-profit organization Foundation for Southeast Asia Studies (ForSEA), aims to foster understanding and appreciation of Southeast Asia in all its socio-cultural dimensions- from arts and lifestyles to economy and development. Conveniently located at Room 408 of the Bangkok Arts and Culture Center or BACC (across MBK, BTS National Stadium), SEA Junction facilitates public access to knowledge resources and exchanges among students, practitioners and Southeast Asia lovers. For more information see www.seajunction.org, join the Facebook group: http://www.facebook.com/groups/1693058870976440/
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Asia Justice and Rights (AJAR)
AJAR is a non-profit organization, based in Jakarta, Indonesia, whose aim is to contribute to the strengthening of human rights and the alleviation of entrenched impunity in the Asia-Pacific region. Its work focuses on countries involved in transition from a context of mass human rights violations to democracy, where it strives to build cultures based on accountability, justice and a willingness to learn from the root causes of human rights violations to help prevent the recurrence of state-sanctioned human rights violations. For more information, see https://asia-ajar.org