A media web page for social justice and freedom in Burma
Issue No. 77, 2004
Kao Wao Team
Mon Links
Ethnic Links
Media Links





An electronic newsletter for social justice and freedom in Burma

October 25- November 7, 2004



NMSP leaders on the campaign trail









Dear Readers,

Kao Wao would like to know our readers’ views on Bush’s re-election. Do you think the administration will apply more pressure on Burma ’s generals or should we expect more of the same, what are your opinions on the US policy toward Burma ?

We invite comments and suggestions on improvements to Kao-Wao newsletter. With your help, we hope that Kao-Wao News will continue to grow to serve better the needs of those seeking social justice in Burma . And we hope that it will become an important forum for discussion and debate and help readers to keep abreast of issues and news.  We reserve the right to edit and reject articles without prior notification. You can use a pseudonym but we encourage you to include your full name and address.



kaowao@hotmail.com; kaowao_news@yahoo.ca



(Taramon: November 5, 2004)

The New Mon State Party has not been able to contact Military Intelligence personnel in Moulmein for over two days after the Burmese dictator Than Shwe clipped its wings and now faces a different situation within its cease-fire policy with the junta, the source from the party said.

The liaison officer in Sangkhlaburi said that the party cooperated with MI No. (5) in business dealings with all concerned matters in the past, but the power struggle within the Burmese junta with the recent arrests of MI personnel and the ousting of Prime Minister Khin Nyunt has dramatically changed the whole configuration of the nuts and bolts of how things are run, the party doesn’t know whom to contact.

The departure or the collapse of MI with cease-fire groups such as DKBA may cause trouble, which mainly relies on the MI, the source from Pha An township of Mon community said.

Even the situation in urban areas has changed swiftly, the Burma Army and the MIs were the main group that violated civil rights and freedom of activities, now the people and some traders can go back and forth more freely, prior to the arrest motor vehicle police and MI informers in the street extorted money and lurked in the shadows watching the every move of civilians who looked suspicious. 

The BA, preying upon farmers’ land in the rural area, however continues to occur unimpeded and has intensified considerably compared with earlier this year; several thousands of acres, of productive Monland have been taken over by the Burmese military.

The situation in southern Mon state of Ye township is still tense, the BA continues to confiscate plantation land from the farmers and enforce unpaid slave labor; a new wave of local people are arriving in the Mon refugee camp, Halockhanee. 

“We have to wait and see, maybe for about one month, to know the steps of the SPDC, what it intends to do and where it is headed,” a Mon politician said.

The SPDC, he says, dumped the old style guns such as the G3 and is using new and modern weapons and guns bought and made in China since about two years ago, which has been more expensive for the junta, meaning that it probably plans to launch major offensives against ethnic groups.

He commented that a civil war, under the new junta, will one day take place in the near future. “If the SPDC can put a wedge between the ethnic armed groups, we will, be possibly, totally wiped out, one by one," he added. 

NMSP leaders on the campaign trail

(Taramon/ Sangkhlaburi) October 28, 2004

NMSP senior leaders have gone to meet local people from their party headquarters to ask opinion on the National Convention whether it should attend next year or not, the source from the party said

Some of Mon youth organizations suggested that the leaders should attend the SPDC’s NC while some of them disagreed, according to the feedback of the survey done by Mon Youth Progressive Organization (MYPO) last month.

The feedback from the survey of MYPO claims that the NC is just the military junta’s playing card. Most distrusted the SPDC on any political issues.

Over 9% of the feedbacks from the Mon National delegations say they did not have the opportunity to meet with the junta delegates to offer their opinions on the National Convention. Most said that the Mon National delegates couldn’t say anything positive about their future fate.

Delegates from grass root organizations at the Mon National Affairs Seminar held in eastern Ye in March 2004 called the junta’s Road Map a trap and said it should be avoided.  Representatives at the Mon leadership meeting at the Thai Burma border in May also viewed that the National Convention cannot solve the political crisis of Burma because it lacked delegates from the political parties.


(Banyar Toay and Taramon: October 25, 2004)

Sangkhlaburi -- Even though the situation in Mon state is quiet after the junta’s dramatic change of guard in leadership, the business community is concerned on how to go about their daily business dealings with the new military leaders.

Those who closely cooperated with the Military Intelligence are worried how they will be treated, a source from the Mon community said to Kao Wao today.

The satellite phone owners, who bribe the MI between 30,000 to 50,000 Kyats (Burmese currency) per month and vehicle smugglers, who cooperate with the MI to bring motor cars from the border, are the main groups who worry the most after the MI force was toppled by the Burma Army said Nai Ong, a Mon businessmen.

“There is no motor vehicle police on the street,” said a Mudon town resident. And without licenses, cars and motorbikes can drive freely around the area.”

“The people in Moulmein , the capital of Mon state, are talking about the power struggle in Rangoon ,” said a Mon villager from Pha An township, Karen state, who traveled to the capital yesterday.

The MIs in Mon state now are quiet as mice and the people think that they have no power.  However, the BA in the border town of the Three Pagodas Pass has still cooperated with the MI to control the situation, a town resident quoted as civil servants saying.

There are many illegal vehicles or Japan used cars along the border to transport inside Mon and Karen states, the businessmen are waiting for the permit order from the authorities.  Previously, the MI had controlled most of the business.


(Independent Mon News Agency: November 6, 2004)

Many were wounded after a bomb explosion in Kyaikkamort pagoda festival in Kamawet, Mudon Township in Mon State .

More than 20 people including an actress from the Mon Oung Sorn Performance group were injured after the firebomb blew up on the stage setting afire some curtains; the stage show was postponed until the following night.

The first bomb exploded while actress, Ms. Mi Jom Hpar Sorn, was singing at around 10 p.m on November 3 according to the eyewitness accounts.

“Two bombs later exploded on a crowded road and about 20 people were wounded, but no one was seriously injured,” Nai Jorn reported.  “At the moment, the military authorities from battalion No.209 is investigating,” he added.

“Up until now, the military authorities have not found the perpetrators, they believe it was homemade bombs,” he explained.

However, the military authorities took action on the Mon Oung Sorn Drama leader for continuing the show.  The annual festival ended last night with fears of more explosions. There was no incident like this in the crowded pagoda festival in the past.

Kyaikkamort festival started more than a hundred years ago and is one of the most popular festivals in southern Burma during the dry season.


Taramon/ Sangkhlaburi (November 3, 2004)

A DKBA solder was killed and two others were wounded in a small shootout involving 20,000 Yaba seized by Thai soldiers at about 2 p.m. local time yesterday.

During a crackdown on the Burmese side of Three Pagodas Pass town, a source close to Thai intelligence said that the wounded soldiers of Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) escaped and the Thai authorities removed the body of the soldier.

Town residents said they heard very little gunfire during the raid for Yaba (amphetamines or crazy medicine).  The DKBA soldiers are now patrolling the area around the town.  Major Lay Wing was angry that his soldiers were shot.

Last week a commander of the SPDC beat one of the DKBA soldiers and took his car keys, said another town resident. The pro-Rangoon Karen armed outfit is now under pressure from both the SPDC and Thai authorities.  The source from the NMSP said nine senior military officials of the DKBA were arrested recently but does not identify their names.


(Reported by Taramon: November 2, 2004)

The Burmese junta has seized an additional 350 acres of land in southern Mon State including family run plantations with the former farmers being forced into providing unpaid forced labour on a daily rotation basis.

According to a Mon politician who recently arrived to Thai Burma border, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) junta is building up troop base along southern Mon state to crackdown on Hongsawatoi Restoration Party, the splinter group who broke off from the New Mon State Party in November, 2001.

“Land confiscation has intensified over the last 3 years forcing villagers to flee to the border area and other places to escape forced labour and destitution,” he said. Some having no means to support themselves may decide to migrate to Thailand . “Two villages must provide force labor on a daily basis or on a rotating system to clear bushes, cut small trees, and construct the military camp,” added the politician.

“One village has approximately 200 households and must provide the labor for the rotating system. Other villages must pay for construction equipment and other materials such as bamboo and small trees,” the politician said.

Local people have now started to arrive at Halockhanee Mon refugee camp, but want to return home to their stolen land but fear reprisals and forced labour; living in the rural area is sometimes dangerous as fighting has occurred between insurgents and the BA. The Mon refugees face dismal prospects of ever returning home to their land and may have to live for several years warehoused in the camp and are restricted from leaving the camp to work freely in Thailand to support their family. 

For those who decide not to go to the camp and migrate to Malaysia or Thailand to look for work, face a daunting challenge in the hands of traffickers, they would rather take the risk than stay in the camp, where there is not enough humanitarian assistance. At the moment, there is no other area for people to find safety and people in southern Ye township face dangerous situation due to fighting.

Recently, satellite phones bought from neighboring Thailand and used for business and for villagers with family who work in Thailand , Singapore and Malaysia , were seized by the local BA led by colonel Than Toe.

In the evenings, beautiful women are sought out from the villages to go to the military camp and provide entertainment, such as singing and pouring beer or alcohol for the partying senior military commanders including Than Toe, says a young Mon from the area who does not want to identify out of fear of arrest.

The village headmen must use his own money or find ways to award prizes (money in an envelop) to the women singers for entertainment, he says. The women must join the commanders for hours of Karaoke singing and put up with their drunken and sometimes abusive behaviour. This has forced many of the young women to flee from their villages to find work in Thailand , where had never thought of going before and do it out of fear and necessity, according to an interview with them last month on Thai soil by Kao Wao.

They say they have no hope for the future after their land or plantations were confiscated by the junta, the new battalion that moved to the area is No. 31 based in Thanbyu Zayat town. Some Mon political analysts believe that the move is not to crackdown on the HRP but to establish control in the area first then build up Burman military influence within the surrounding Mon community.

“The military commanders of the SPDC do not want to go that area for they have no influence on the local people, so to gain control over peoples’ lives they started to found organizations such as the National Woman Affair, the USDA, and other organizations,” the politician said. “The most important thing they have wanted to do was first build a government school, not a Mon National school.”

Malaysia to recognize ethnic Myanmar Muslims as refugees


( Asia Pacific News: October 30, 2004)

After years of living as illegal immigrants, ethnic Muslims who fled Myanmar for Malaysia will be granted refugee status by the government, a news report said Saturday.
will issue documents to validate the refugee status of about 10,000 ethnic Rohinga people, The New Straits Times newspaper quoted Nazri Aziz , Malaysia 's minister for parliament affairs, as saying.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees recognizes the Rohingas as asylum seekers who claim they face persecution from Myanmar 's military rulers.

The agency has long urged Malaysia to accept the Rohingas while they await repatriation to a third country.  But Malaysia has for years classified the Rohingas as illegal immigrants, arresting and deporting scores of them.

The New Straits Times quoted Nazri as saying that identification cards would be issued to ensure that the Rohingas are not deported.

No reason was given for the government's decision.  Nazri and UNHCR officials were not immediately available for comment.

Each year, the U.N. office in Kuala Lumpur accepts hundreds of applications for refugee status from people who come to Malaysia , one of Southeast Asia's wealthiest countries, from poorer parts of the region, such as Myanmar , Indonesia and Cambodia .

Among them are thousands who have fled years of bloody separatist fighting in Indonesia 's Aceh province.




(By Banya Hongsar, Canberra )


The various political mindsets of Burma have not reached into the hearts of ordinary people after the country gained its independence.  After British colonization, the country was ploughed into the hands of the urban political elites; the military men and their affiliate civilians supported the majority Burman in ruling the diverse nationalities and their territories.  The " Union ", a failed interpretation ended up with a logo and slogan defined by military men. A new form of democratization emerged in the 1960s but it was totally destroyed in the 1970s by military men. Socialism introduced in the 1970s collapsed in 1988 with a popular mass uprising. A new form of militarization re-emerged in the 1990s under the hand of new military men, formally known as the State Peace and Development Council or SPDC.

No political mindset has emerged in any part of the country but the self-serving interests of military men who have occupied the politician’s domain in the political environment for over half a century. Over fifty million people have been divided by political trickery, a climate of fear, violent discrimination, and have been ripped apart by the military government and democratic factions in the late 1990s. A new political mindset has emerged and it is an option to overcome the weakness of political life in the country. The majority, simple and ordinary people, has little knowledge about what form of "democracy, self-determination and federalism Burma should take" in the country, while the exile and border based organizations speak out in the media.

What form of democracy, self-determination and federalism should take place in the country under the hand of military men? Hundreds of thousands of young men and women left the country for future prospects in politics, economics, and employment.

Military men are insecure about the role of civil society and are determined to crush it; the unity of each nationality is under threat as well as harmony between the communities of military and civilian, damaged by clashes of ideology. One side speaks the language of “democracy” while the other side speaks the language of “Federalism” or “self-determination”. Burma, in the next fifty years needs a political mindset to bring about justice, law and order, and the development of sound governance, political stability, and economy management. The SPDC itself has limited resources to tackle the whole crisis but it may be possible with the back up by China, India and ASEAN (Association of South East Asia Nations) The National League for Democracy or NLD, under the leadership of popular charismatic leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, has little space to confront the ruling SPDC. Border based, armed and political organizations have no alternative ways but to agree to cease-fire talks (no peace talk or no peace treaties) to the ruling Rangoon regime but they remain optimistic that the US and EU sanctions would bring about victory and a common goal. It is time to review the possibility of change with logical thinking.

Daw Suu Kyi said to John Pilger in 1996, “We are not the first people to face an uncompromising, brutal power in the quest for freedom and basic human rights. I think we have to depend chiefly on the will of our own people for democracy.  In the Buddhism we are taught the four basic ingredients of success: first you have the will to want it, then you have the right kind of attitude; then you must have perseverance; and then you must have wisdom. So we hope to combine these four.  The will of the people for democracy is there and many of us have the right kind of spirit or attitude”. How many Burmese activists and leaders have followed her message in the last ten years?

Political doctrines and clashes of ideology:

There is a clash of ideology among Burmese political elites and resistance groups in the country. First, cease-fire is a step forward to solve political issues. Second, only the NLD holds the power, making it easier to negotiate for ethnic rights. Third, a tripartite dialogue is the only option for the nation building. Forth, power sharing between Burman and non-Burman State is a positive resolution for the crisis.  Fifth, only Burma Army (SPDC) can maintain the nation, the integrity of territory and stronger of Union.

Overall, the clash of ideology remains as a strength and weakness of each actor.  Logically, the SPDC, the NLD, the UNA+ENC (United Nationalities Alliances led by non-Burman leaders and Ethnic Nationalities Council led by border based non-Burman leaders) including cease-fire groups have to return all legitimate power to the public. The whole public is to be informed about what form of political system and process that they are undertaking for the next century. Unless the leaders of all organizations are sincere and have goodwill, none of their political proposals will work nor a positive outcome will be achieved.

Firstly, the cease-fire is a tactic for all leaders of the armed resistance groups. It is not a strategy against the ruling regime, but to bargain for institutional change for the nation. Finally, the cease-fire groups’ leaders assume that the cease-fire is a soft strategy toward democratization in the country and they ended up at the unproductive National Convention in Rangoon but maintain their mandate as leaders of the ethnic nationalities. Historically, the ethnic armed groups have fought for independence but some have claimed self-determination since 1954 while a democratic force only emerged in 1990. Our Burman friends have only just recognized the suffering of the ethnic nationalities in the late 1990s. During and after British colonization, the ethnic nationalities paid a heavy price for the loss of their identity. The worse case scenario is that the unity among ethnicities has been damaged by political ideology and the clash of different political motivations in the country. The Karen-Mon border dispute and disputes on border trade at Three Pagoda Pass in 1988 was a visible strategic error of these armed groups.

The cease-fire leaders voice their concerns in local politics to solve local issues, local problems, and strengthen local community development.  The exile groups and external organizations could not assume that cease-fire leaders have magical powers to topple the SPDC. However, they have an obligation to undertake the long peace process, bring law and order, and bring to account the SPDC, which will in turn usher in a political settlement in the country. None of cease-fire leaders wish to fight a civil war while the nation is facing social and economical crises. Overall, there is no “peace accord” on the process of cease-fire talks and agreements. A new mindset will have to master a cease-fire process toward “peace accords” and “national equality”.

Secondly, the view that the NLD holds the power to legitimize the country is unrealistic. Many non-Burman political organizations remain doubtful that the policy of the NLD toward the rights of the ethic nationalities, self-determination, federalism and power sharing between majority and minority people will become a reality. However, the NLD must remain the leading opposition party to the SPDC while it has no own-armed forces. Unless, the cease-fire leaders and border based armed groups back up the NLD, the SPDC will exploit every opportunity to terminate the role and mandate of the NLD in the country. The NLD has to play a pro-active role for “equality, unity, reconciliation” between the SPDC or Burman military men and non-Burman military men for better communication.

Thirdly, a tripartite dialogue is an option the UN has supported which passed a resolution in 1994. The ruling SDPC rejected the resolution and still denies any political access to NLD, UNA (former United Nationalities League for Democracy) in the country while it receives a cease-fire leader from time to time to talk on civil war issues rather than political settlement. Military men are always ready for a fight and are all to eager to wipe out their opponents through a military offensive.  In the case of Burma, Former General Ne Win and Gen Saw Maung held talks with their opponents but no political settlement was ever brought up at the table.  The current leading Generals of the SPDC received the Karen Leaders with strict rules on the table. Politically, tripartite is a diplomatic solution, but logically, it is just a carrot but no stick game. Over the last fifteen years, the SPDC is in a strong position, while its opponents (NDF, DAB, ENC) are in a weak position both militarily and politically. However, the international campaign on Burma and the role of Thailand based organizations have united to bring about a political solution while they demand that the media groups play a stronger role.

Fourthly, a power sharing between Burman (SPDC+NLD) and the non-Burman nationalities (UNA+NCUB) or the National Council of Union of Burma is an alternative political settlement in the country. This theory rests on the silent voice because no one dares to express his or her views in the exile community and in the opposition faction out of fear of being accused as "pro-SPDC".  To be frank, the National Democratic Front or NDF have sought "equality" and "Self-Determination" in Burma for over half a century.  Regardless of who holds the power in Burmese politics, Burman political elites only grant a de facto power to non-Burman nationalities if there is no massive military and political campaign in the country. Furthermore, unless the opponents have both political and military capacity to challenge national affairs, the SPDC will remain a key player in future Burmese politics.

For example, the current ruling Army Generals in Mon State only allow the Mon community leaders and politicians to practice their language, culture, and social events in community life while no single Mon leader has legitimate power in the decision making process in the State's Affairs.  Furthermore, none of the New Mon State Party leaders and the Mon National Democratic Front has the legal power to launch policy and the implementation of State's Affairs. Generally, the outsiders see that a Mon leaders rule the State but logically the military men and its affiliated politicians rule the State.  A potential of power sharing between Burman and non-Burman leaders is a dream, but it will only come true when the SPDC collapses in the future.

End of Part One



(By Lawi Weng)

It is no doubt that Karen National Union is one of the strongest armed ethnic groups among the democratic forces fighting against the central government for decades. The KNU has adequate political skills and many well-educated Karens are taking the leading role. The KNU is committed to bringing about democracy and human rights in Burma and many leaders are genuine politicians.

When I visited Mae Sot, however, and discussed with some members of NLD (National League for Democracy) and ABSDF (All Burma Students Democratic Front) about the rolling system of KNU party, I was informed that the KNU is politically shortsighted because they have sentenced to death many NLD and ABSDS members. When the KNU laid death sentences against these people, they didn’t check or investigate whether these people are really spies or not.  After they got information from someone, they quickly killed those who were reported as members of the military regime’s spy wing according to friends from the NLD and ABSDF.

When I was at the NLD office a friend told me about a man who was tortured by the KNU, the KNU soldiers beat him.  He added that his friend was under arrest for two weeks and some NLD leaders appealed to the KNU to release him. He escaped from being killed by the KNU, but now he suffers from trauma from what KNU did to him.

The action of the KNU doesn’t comply with the United Nations principles.  It is a shame that even though most members of the international community are against the death penalty, the KNU is still practicing it.

The people of Burma and the international community condemn the regime’s death sentence to Zaw Thet Htwe (Sport Magazine Editor) and other activists accused of plotting to assassinate the Burmese generals.

Hongsawatoi Restoration Party soldiers and Colonel Pan Nyunt did not plan to assassinate the KNU leaders. Instead of plotting, Mon soldiers tried to be friends with the KNU. But the KNU soldiers killed about twenty Mon rebels and took their money last May by tricking them for arms purchase.

I read that Adolf Hitler had killed about 2 million Jews when he was in power, killed them in gas chambers. Germany was defeated in the First World War and in order to gain support from the German people, he raised nationalism and made scapegoats out of the Jews. He killed the Jews and sent them to the concentration camp by the trainload. But for the KNU, what is the intention to kill the Mon rebels?

The Mon splinter group and Colonel Pan Nyunt don’t like the brutal regime. They split from the NMSP (New Mon State Party) to fight against the military regime and to protect the Mon people. The KNU and the Mon splinter group are in the same boat. Both of them are comrades and they should fight the military regime together.

The KNU should be aware who is their common enemy? Are they the Mon rebels or the Burmese troops? The KNU should know that discrimination, killing, or racism is difficult to exist as the world today is linked with the media. The KNU tried to cover the crime of killing the Mon rebels but the reality is they cannot be covered and the Mon patriotic monks and people will demand for fair and full investigation.

The military regime in Burma loves power and they kill the innocent people for it. They sent thousand of political prisoners who against their power to prison. They put Daw Aung San Suu Kyi under the house arrest in order to keep her from getting power. But I can’t understand why the KNU killed the Mon rebels, what do they want?

The KNU has been fighting with the military regime for over fifty years. They have strong military strength and they have some achievement from fighting. Some people are proud that the KNU is brave and they are always ready to sacrifice their lives for their people. Some people named the KNU soldiers as freedom fighters. But, if we look at the action of killing the Mon soldiers, NLD members and ABSDF, they are (killers). 

The Iraqi militants use suicide bombs and they kill many people including American soldiers. They might believe that in order to protect their country from American invasion, the best way is to use suicide bombs. If they use small guns, they couldn’t fight the American troops.

But in Sudan, Sudanese militias use guns and kill and rape people. Some people who survive from the killing have their faces cut up with knives as Sudanese militias say they mark a sign on the face of people who are slaves. It is terrible and doesn’t make sense to the world. It is also unjustified using guns and killing and raping people. The KNU has more weapons and the Mon splinter group doesn’t have enough weapons. This was why the KNU could kill the Mon rebels like Sudanese militias kill the Sudanese black people.

The former Iraqi dictatorship Sadam Hussein and Yugoslavian regime Milosevic face trial in court because they killed innocent people. No one can predict that Burma will change soon. When Burma does, KNU leaders will have to face trials like Sadam Hussein and Milosevic. No one will forget the past.

I believe that KNU should help or bring out soldiers who killed the Mon rebels as MUL (Mon Unity League) and MNC (Mon National Council) demanded. If KNU still neglects what the Mon urge, the KNU is not sincere in solving the ethnic conflicts.

NDF (National Democratic Front), NCGUB (National Coalition Government of Union of Burma) and NCUB (National Council Union of Burma) should investigate the crime. If they don’t, the Mon people’s lives are threatened.  I strongly believe that political issues should be solved on the table to show its sincerity towards the movement for democracy and peace.

The views express here are solely the opinion of the author. (Kao Wao’s Editor)

Posted by


Email: kaowao@hotmail.com, kaowao@telus.net

Tel:  + 66 7 169 0971              ( Thailand )

Tel:  + 1- 403 - 248 2027        ( Canada )



Online Burma Library -- http://www.burmalibrary.org


Kaowao Newsgroup is committed to social justice, peace, and democracy in Burma . We hope to be able to provide more of an in-depth analysis that will help to promote lasting peace and change within Burma . Editors, reporters, writers, and overseas volunteers are dedicated members of the Mon activist community based in Thailand

Our motto is working together for lasting peace and change.






                                                                    Copyright 2004, Kaowao.org. All Rights Reserved.

Online Archive

Previous Issues

Issue No.69
Issue No.68
Issue No.67
Issue No.66
Issue No.65
Issue No.64
Issue No.63
Issue No.62
Issue No.61
Issue No.60
Issue No.59
Issue No.58
Issue No.57
Issue No.56
Issue No.55
Issue No.54
Issue No.53
Issue No.52
Issue No.51

History of South East ASIA

khom Homepage
Shwe Hinthar Store
Guest Book

Pocket Bikes
Free Web Counter
Pocket Bikes