Book chapter in 'Totalitarian/Authoritarian Discourses: A Global and Timeless Phenomenon?', edited by Geert Crauwels, Lutgard Lams and Henrieta Anișoara Șerban (Peter Lang, 2014)
There is an urgent need for a critical debate on mass tourism in Myanmar, particularly the viability and frailty of the Myanmar Responsible Tourism Policy that is soon to be framed by the Myanmar Tourism Master Plan. ‘One of the most fascinating aspects of travel in Myanmar is the opportunity to experience a corner of Asia that, in many ways, has changed little since British colonial times,’ says the Lonely Planet. It remains to be seen how this place of authenticity will be reshaped by mass tourism as a force of globalisation in the near future, and how the state of Myanmar will responsibly respond to the challenges brought about by mass tourism.
The report is available for download at Responsible Tourism in Myanmar .
Addendum: Speeches of Aung San Suu Kyi Translated by Ko Ko Thett (pp 59-108) in Teaching Democracy, The Program and Practice of Aung San Suu Kyi's Concept of People's Education by Franziska Blum (2011)
E-book available online.
Published in 1938, when the Burmese independence movement was about to take an unexpected turn under the leadership of the young thakins, 'Political History of Burma (myanma pyi naing ngan yay yazawin)' seemed to have gone unnoticed in the hurly-burly of the days. Yet the book arguably is one of the earliest, if not the earliest, the most original, and an underappreciated treatise on Burma's nationalist movement of the 1920s and 1930s. Its significance lies in the fact that the book was written by someone who had not only witnessed the unfolding of the history but was part of it.
Abstract: In terms of state making on coercion and repression, power invested in a military clique, non-conformity to international norms as well as proximity with China, Myanmar is often seen in parallel with rouge state North Korea. The SPDC certainly is the most responsible for much of Burma’s woes and human rights violations, and therefore it is rightly seen as the biggest roadblock to democracy. Nonetheless there exist other hurdles to democratization in Burma. The hurdles are multi-layered, interrelated and act as major impediments to progress towards genuine democratic reforms in the country. I call them ‘paradoxes and parameters,’ external and internal contradictions, cultural and historical preconditions, much of which have been overlooked in media reports as well as in papers of specialist interests by Burma scholars. This essay sets out to explain such paradoxes and parameters.
Published as CD ROM by National University of Singapore; Asia Research Institute (ARI); International Centre for Aceh and Indian Ocean Studies (ICAIOS) (Banda Aceh); Institut Agama Islam Negeri (IAIN)/8Ar-Raniry & Syiah Kuala University
Abstract: The planned 2010 elections by the Myanmar regime in their ‘Road Map to Democracy’ has put the Burmese opposition and ‘ceasefire’ ethnic insurgent groups in a double bind. Recent draconian punishments, up to sixty-five years prison term, to dozens of prominent dissidents are proof that the Myanmar military government will not permit any dissent on their path to ‘disciplined democracy.’ Taking part in the elections sponsored by the regime does not just mean the recognition of the ‘Road Map’ and the tacit acceptance of a flawed constitution which safeguards the interests of the Myanmar military establishment. For the 1990 election-winning party National League for Democracy, taking part in the elections means the party gives up its long-held 1990 election victory. On the other hand, the NLD might be altogether outlawed if the party does not take part in the elections. Ceasefire groups are expected to disarm and become political parties to contest in 2010 election. It is likely that the SPDC’s 2010 election law, expected to be announced as late as in June 2009, will proscribe any party that is not registered under the new law.
In contrast, in Aceh, the Helsinki Memorandum of Understanding enabled the establishment of local political parties and the participation of independent candidates in elections. The 2006 successful election of regional leaders has been considered an element that has strengthened the peace process. Aceh will hold parliamentary election in April 2009, in which local political parties will contest for the first time in Indonesia's history. The courage of Indonesian government to allow these changes has been a key to the sustainability of peace process. Will the same go for Myanmar after the 2010 general elections? The paper looks back at the not-so-successful history of dissent of the NLD and other stake holders in the face of sheer state repression and analyzes ‘the 2010 election dilemma’ of the Burmese opposition in light of the Aceh peace process, in which the role of elections has been a decisive factor.