VOA Burmese Blog

September 30, 2010

Feature Story: Fair Skin or Tan Skin ?


Khin Phyu Htway saying her stand-up - covering herself with an umbrella from the hot sun

Kaye Lin performing her stand-up underneath the sun ( wanting to be Tan)

Light skin is highly prized in Asia, and social experts say, the reasoning behind why women desire to have lighter skin is because of social class differences. A lighter complexion means a life of wealth. Darker skin indirectly associates with a life of outdoor labor in the sun. Americans have other views on white skin- it is not in style. For Westerners, especially Americans, tanning of the skin is in fashion, and people spend long hours in the sun to get that sun tanned glow.

VOA reporters, Khin Phyu Htway and Kaye Lin report on this sociological question on the beauty of one’s complexion. What do you prefer ?  To be fair or to be tan? We’d like to know more…

In English:

In Burmese:

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Burma’s Disbanded Opposition Party Celebrates Anniversary


– VOA News

Hundreds of members of Burma’s disbanded National League for Democracy gathered in the house of the opposition group’s second leader Tin Oo in Rangoon Monday to celebrate the founding of the NLD 22 years ago.

Many party members who took part in the ceremony were successful candidates in the 1990 election, in which Aung San Suu Ky’s NLD won a landslide victory.

The ruling military never recognized the results of that election and the party was not allowed to form a government.

NLD head Aung San Suu Kyi has been under some sort of detention for 14 of the last 20 years. Last week, officials added her name to a supplementary voters’ list, meaning she will be allowed to vote in elections on November 7. However, she told her supporters last month to boycott the polls.

Aung San Suu Kyi is still prohibited from being a candidate. Her party was effectively dissolved earlier this year after refusing to register for the elections, which it says are unfair.

The vote will elect 498 people to a national Parliament and another 664 will be spread among 14 regional legislatures.

Opposition parties say they have not been able to enter as many candidates as they want because of restrictive election laws and high registration fees.

The National Democratic Force, made up of former members of the NLD, says it will only be able to present about 140 candidates compared to the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party, which will have candidates for all 1,162 seats.

Critics say the election is a sham and that the military shows little sign of giving up control.

September 29, 2010

UN Chief Calls for ‘Inclusive, Transparent’ Vote in Burma


–  VOA News

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is calling on Burma’s military rulers to ensure that the country’s first election in two decades is as inclusive, participatory and transparent as possible.

Mr. Ban met Monday with senior officials from the Group of Friends on Myanmar – 14 countries including the United States, Russia, China and Australia.

The U.N. chief told reporters the ministers he met with expressed their encouragement, concerns and expectations about the political process in Burma leading to the November 7 elections.

The Group of Friends called for the release of all political prisoners, including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, the opposition leader who is under house arrest.

Mr. Ban said he agreed that the prisoners’ release is essential if Burma’s election is to be seen as credible.

If the Burmese leadership responds to the international community’s call for engagement, Mr. Ban said, the Group of Friends is commited to help Burma tackle its political, humanitarian and development challenges, and to move toward national reconciliation and democracy.

The Group of Friends on Myanmarwas formed in 2007 to serve as a consultative forum for developing a shared approach in support of the Secretary-General’s mandate on Burma.

Mr. Ban said he will continue his dialogue with Burmese authorities in the coming weeks, including at a meeting next month of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Hanoi.

The U.N. chief has repeatedly urged Burma to release hundreds of political prisoners so they can participate in the national election.

The world community has largely labeled the national poll a sham designed to legitimize the military leadership.

September 27, 2010

Burma Says White Elephant Foretells Peace & Prosperity

Filed under: Burma/ Myanmar,elections,Feature Story,News — voaburmese @ 2:21 pm
Tags: , , ,

– VOA News

AP Photo: This captured white elephant is walking in the Rakhine state of Myanmar on September 24, 2010

Burma’s state media are hailing the capture of a rare, white elephant as a sign the country will enjoy peace, stability and prosperity under a new, elected government, as the media say it does under present military rule.

The official New Light of Myanmar newspaper said Saturday that the elephant, captured Thursday in western Rakhine state, is a source of national pride. The paper said the pachyderm is estimated to be 18 years old and is the fifth white elephant captured since 2001.

What do you think of the government’s belief in superstition, and why does the military government abide and run the country by these beliefs?

Burmese Officials Indicate Suu Kyi Can Vote in Poll


– VOA News

AP photo: Burmese pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi

Burmese officials have added the name of imprisoned opposition leader Aung Sang Suu Kyi to a supplementary voters’ list, meaning she will be allowed to vote in elections on November 7.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate had been left off the list when it was first published on Monday.

That was in line with election rules that prohibit convicted prisoners from participating in the country’s first election in 20 years. But the decision prompted a wave of critical attention from international media.

A government official said Friday that Aung San Suu Kyi, whose current term of house arrest is due to expire later in November, will not be allowed to go outside on election day. But he suggested that authorities might take a ballot to her.

Aung San Suu Kyi still is prohibited from being a candidate. Her National League for Democracy party was effectively dissolved earlier this year after refusing to register for the elections, which it says are unfair.

The November 7 vote will elect 498 people to a national Parliament and another 664 will be spread among 14 regional legislatures.

Opposition parties say they have not been able to enter as many candidates as they want because of restrictive election laws and high registration fees.

The National Democratic Force, made up of former members of the NLD, says it will only be able to present about 140 candidates compared to the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party, which will have candidates for all 1,162 seats.

Critics say the election is a sham and that the military shows little sign of giving up control.

BURMA – NUCLEAR

Filed under: Burma/ Myanmar,Feature Story,News — voaburmese @ 1:46 pm
Tags: , , , ,

– VOA News

Burma has told the United Nations nuclear agency that allegations the country is trying to develop nuclear weapons are unfounded — and that it will never seek to do so.

In a speech to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s General Conference in Geneva Thursday, the Burmese delegate, U Tin Win, said the country’s nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes.

In June, A Norway-based exile group that opposes Burma’s military government claimed that Burma has taken steps to acquire the technology and expertise needed to make an atomic weapon. The group, Democratic Voice of Burma, also said the country was still a long way from producing a nuclear bomb.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said at the time it was looking into the report.

Burma’s foreign ministry said in June the allegations were baseless and politically motivated. It said the claims were made to tarnish the government’s political image and undermine its plans to hold elections later this year.

Burma is a member of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, a global pact to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.

In May, a U.N. report said North Korea had been secretly exporting missile and nuclear technology to Burma, Syria and Iran.

Some information in this story was provided by Reuters.

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