Tuesday, April 6, 2010

New light at the end of the Myanmar tunnel

It's occasionally entertaining (and equally depressing) to take a look at the New Light of Myanmar, the junta's official English-language newspaper.

You can enjoy the political slogans that are strategically positioned throughout the paper in pull-out boxes with titles like "People's Desire" and "Four Social Objectives".

These slogans urge the people to "oppose those relying on external elements, acting as stooges, holding negative views" and "crush all internal and external destructive elements as the common enemy".

There are also instructive aphorisms like "anarchy begets anarchy, not democracy" and "riots beget riots, not democracy". And brilliant headlines such as "Make right decision: correctly choose people’s representatives with vision to shape nation’s better future".

It's so over the top that it almost seems like it must be a satire.

Then there are the news stories, the like of which are just not available anywhere else.

For example, yesterday's NLM broke the 'news' that staff from the British and US embassies in Yangon visited the headquarters of the National League for Democracy, the opposition party led by Aung San Suu Kyi, 31 times during March alone.

During these meetings, the embassy officials apparently presented members of the NLD central executive committee with "large and small envelopes".

The fact that the NLD "adheres to the instructions of the US and British embassies in Yangon" therefore draws "widespread criticism and watchful eyes from the public". Here's the full story:

US, British embassies frequent NLD 31 times in March

YANGON, 5 April-The National League for Democracy (NLD) stays in touch with and adheres to the instructions of the US and British embassies in Yangon, thereby drawing the widespread criticism and watchful eyes from the public.

It was reported that in March 2010, staff from the two embassies visited NLD on West Shwegondaing Road in Yangon for 31 times and that during the visits they held meetings with NLD CEC members, and presented the latter large and small envelopes.

The NLD, in case you are not aware, have decided to boycott the upcoming elections, which are likely to be anything but free and fair. And anyway, if the British embassy were channeling secret funds to anyone in Myanmar, it would more likely be the "reform-minded" NGOs close to the junta that some Western observers believe ought to be tapped up.

Meanwhile, via last Thursday's NLM, I also learnt that the junta has launched a new international satellite TV channel. Myanmar International TV is the "best way to see real Myanmar apart from first-hand visit", we are told. It will broadcast "all day round in North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, China, India and Indochina".

Part of the reason the Ministry of Information is launching this channel is presumably because Voice of America and the BBC are "sowing hatred among the people", while Radio Free Asia and the Democratic Voice of Burma are "generating public outrage".

As the NLM reminds the people: "Do not allow ourselves to be swayed by killer broadcasts designed to cause troubles."

The most recent NLM stories are posted here and the full PDF archives are online here thanks to Myanmar's permanent mission to the UN.

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