President Who?

People constantly tell you to do something in life. It is easier to get up and do something, or anything, than doing nothing. Do you ever happen to be put in a situation where you can’t do anything? Will you stick with the situation and endure your self-doubts, or quit? That is one tough question.

As many of you can agree, it is not easy being a Myanmar citizen; we often wake up to coups or a change in presidential positions. Like yesterday, I woke up to the news that our president resigned via a scanned official letter on Facebook and my boring news feed was suddenly filled with assumptions and speculations. It was quite a hype since I was kind of bored with some debates and trolls about film industry these days. Now people are speculating who our next presidents will be. It is always fun to read people’s guesses, and it’s more fun when their guesses are wrong.

This whole excitement on social media reminds me of the day NLD parliament proposed their choice of presidential candidates. It was in early March 2016. Just like today, there were countless posts about upcoming president. If the constitution did not forbid Daw Aung San Suu Kyi with some specific nonsense clause, we wouldn’t be in this guesswork. People wrote their long ass hypotheses on who should/would/could become presidents but U Htin Kyaw was certainly not in the picture, in fact, people did not see it coming at all. Before he took an oath, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi publicly stated that she would be above the president so people knew it would undermine a president’s authority, power with confusion in protocol. However, he officially took the office on April 1st 2016, there came our ninth president since the Independence in 1948.

What fascinated me was his decision to take the place even when everyone knew that he was just a pawn in this political chessboard. People described him as a puppet of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi when she created herself an unusual position called “The State Counselor.” Does this man not have ego? Or greed?

Power can be a dangerous thing one can have. It can twist your mind, corrupt your soul and cloud your decisions. A taste of power can change people in a blink of an eye. Past two years, I came across to many conversations that were very critical to U Htin Kyaw’s authority, in fact, some sounded like taunting his position, and even memes on Internet were not kind to him as well.  So I tried putting myself in his shoes and wonder how I would feel or do. I did realize that it would not be easy for a man of morals to have a title and do nothing. As a younger and stupider human being with temptations to feed my ego, I would probably go against the State Counselor and do something or anything to prove people that I was not a puppet. It required a humble and devoted man for this position and U Htin Kyaw was one, but now he decided to quit. It is quite funny to see people posting on Facebook saying how sad they are about the news but then again, they were the ones who were very critical to him before he made this decision. (Moral lesson: people will always have things to say at any circumstances no matter what one does.)

Although U Htin Kyaw owes us an explanation for the cause of his resignation (he could give a farewell speech), we are more excited for a new candidate that the parliament is supposed to appoint within a week. According to the procedures, the parliament will propose a new presidential candidate, then the members will vote to choose among the newly proposed candidate and two current vice presidents, and the one who gets the majority of votes will become the president. As for now, Facebook gurus and self-proclaimed political analysts are putting their two cents on a new president and speculations are flooded on our social media feeds.

Political moves are too obvious around here. Pyithu Hluttaw Speaker U Win Myint resigned from his position on the same day which made people tipping him as a new president. I, for one, have always loved him for being very vocal in the house. He is quite well known for stopping when a member discusses off-topics or takes too long in a session, and he also doesn’t hold back when he thinks the MPs are not being fair to the public. He frequently lectures the MPs in the house to work harder for justice, and for the people who they serve. On the other hand, being such a great speaker in the house, will his resignation from the position weaken the parliament, which is already very ineffective in most people’s opinions? What if the presidential position ties his hands from making actual actions like lecturing the MPs in the parliament? What if this position takes away the changes he could make through the parliament? Personally, I think U Win Myint is too costly for the position of a pawn.

As for now, everyone on Facebook can’t wait for all these formalities to be done and find out who our new president is. But then again, will he be just another puppet or will there be any secret political moves that we can’t see? A puppet or not, we are still flipping the pages of undemocratic constitution so the real question is what can a citizen expect from all these changes? Anyway, it is going to be quite a show next week so things are at least less boring on Facebook these days.

One thought on “President Who?

  1. Love the writing. Couldn’t agree with you more. I was expecting a farewell speech. Now I wonder The next President will be elected on April Fool’s Day like U Htin Kyaw was elected.

    And I wonder why they let all these resignations happen on the same day. This doesn’t interest me long enough as Mudra’s Calling even. How sad.


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