Written Story for the Special Initiative “Living the Coup: Collective Diary of Daily Life in Myanmar” by SEA Junction and Partners.
|Giving Up my Student Life for Democracy
|20-year-old Burmese Youth
I am 20 years old Computer Science Student living in Yangon.
As a student of University of Yangon, which has a long history of political significance, I have been fairly involved in political discourses since my second year of university. But the difference between ordinary people and people like me who were lucky enough to have been exposed to such discourses s that the former thought, including my peers, our country has really transitioned into democracy since NLD won the election (in 2015). They thought students should be kept out of politics since the country, which is wrong because peace was only in major cities. I disagree with that since I have learnt the history of political struggles in Burma.
I did not join the movement for the sake of joining itself. It is just that I sympathize with my fellow comrades who are fighting in the mountains and in the cities. I will feel guilty if I go to school while others are struggling. After all, I know the education the SAC (State Administrative Council formed by juntas after Coup) is giving does not really make us educated. It is a mere illusion to make themselves seem like the legitimate head of the country.
Some students come from rich families and they can attend online classes in peace and even go abroad if they need and/or want to. However, some people are struggling due to the lack of access to the internet. The military has increased the charges for mobile data and WiFi and fiber internet is not available everywhere yet, at least at a low cost. People need education but not everyone is able to access it because of war, poverty, and geographical reasons. Education is not cheap here even with access to the internet because of economic reasons. I am a bit concerned about it.
I have not thought much about my future education yet. As a Computer Science major student, I can find resources on the internet such as Youtube. Some of the ideas of future education do not really bother me much right now. I know it is a privileged position for me and sometimes feel guilty.
Although I have heard of the education provided by Interim Education Institutions provided by National Unity Government (NUG) such as Spring University, for the reason above, I think I do not really need it right now. I do not feel regret of joining Civil Disobedient Movement since it can make me feel that I am with my friends who are against military coup and fighting for democracy from jungles, rural areas and unban and I am also contributing in this revolution by doing as much as I can.
This story was originally published as interview format in “From our Place to the Front Line” initiated by a group of undergraduate students from Fulbright University Vietnam and Yangon University (UYSU) , rearranged and edited by SEAJunction. The stories they collected highlights the extreme violence in Myanmar, which has not been fully covered by international media. Their information can be found here and Facebook.
“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/ and follow us on twitter and Instagram @seajunction
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.