Day Two. Tuesday, 9 January 2017
How does the sea become the king of all streams?
Because it lies lower than they!
Tao Teh Ching, Chapter 66
John C.H.Wu translation
Today, our friends go over what they had learned yesterday. And here are some of their comments:
What the Tatmadaw wants is Unity in Uniformity, the kind some scholars liken to a melting pot, and what the Abhidhamma calls Sampayutta Paccaya (Supporting each other by merger).
What we want, on the other hand, is Unity in Diversity, the kind some scholars liken to a salad bowl, and what the Abhidhamma calls Vippayutta Paccaya (Supporting each other while maintaining each’s identity, like matter and spirit)
Challenges facing EAOs
While, with the unpopular USDP government, it was easier to negotiate, it has become a real challenge negotiating with the popular NLD government, although it has been outwardly singing the same tune with the EAOs: constitutional change to fit in with the aim for establishing a democratic federal union.
Dr Sai Oo
In the afternoon, I have another meeting with the Pyidaungsu Institute Yangon (PIY), led by Dr Sai Oo whom I have known for more than 20 years as Sai Lao Leng.
Though it has only 5 permanent members (one of whom deals with the dreary but essential administrative details), 1 part timer and 1 intern, it has done quite a lot last year: research, strategic studies, publication, capacity building trainings, and providing technical assistance to the EAOs’ JICM, JMC and UPDJC.
This year, with the PI Chiangmai having been downsized, the PIY will be hunting for more researchers, they tell me.
On the publication side, a few booklets are expected to come out in a few months: Federal Glossary, Comparisons of 3 Constitutions (1947, 1974 and 2008) and 3 Draft Constitutions (AFPFL, NCUB and FCDCC), and Compilation of Bilateral Ceasefire Agreements, to name a few. “We are also working on the local government systems that we hope will answer the current calls for new statehoods,” says Sai Oo.
We have dinner with him and his newlywed wife in the evening.
I haven’t much to say for Day Three, except that I make a call at the office of one of the brightest young scholars who used to work with The Irrawaddy in Chiangmai. He is hoping to pick my brains, but the day ends up with me doing that to him.
Day Four is also good. The traffic in the city has become wonderfully less congested during the 4 days I’m there. I ask the driver what’s causing it.
“It’s the Japanese,” he says. “They’ve been helping the city fathers with a better traffic light system. Thanks to them, you’ll be at the terminal in a few minutes.”
And so I am.
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