‘Royal Wedding’ Draws more Fire
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Wednesday, December 19, 2018
Burma

‘Royal Wedding’ Draws more Fire


By Shah Paung Thursday, November 2, 2006


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The furor over video footage and photographs of the wedding of the daughter of Burma’s junta chief Snr-Gen Than Shwe continues to spread in and outside Burma.
 
The video and images have circulated in Rangoon in the months since the July wedding of Thandar Shwe, the youngest daughter of Than Shwe, and Maj Zaw Phyo Win, a deputy director at the Ministry of Commerce.
 
A link to the video was posted o­n Tuesday by The Irrawaddy, o­ne of the first media organizations to pick up the story. Further reports emerged o­n Thursday from regional and international news agencies.
 
“While some people [in Burma] can’t afford to buy rice and live o­n hta-min-yay (surplus water drained off while cooking rice), it’s shameful to spend so much money o­n this wedding,” o­ne resident in Rangoon told The Irrawaddy.
 
The video footage was taken in early July and shows the bride decked out in a variety of jewels—mostly diamonds.
 
“I wonder if a single diamond [that the bride wore] might be able to feed a city,” a Thai journalist said, while an Asian diplomat, who viewed the footage o­n The Irrawaddy website, called the ceremony “outrageous.”
 
The video also shows the newlyweds passing out envelopes to their guests. Traditional Burmese weddings often close with the married couple passing out packets of money or other expensive gifts for their guests.
 
“People are saying that [Than Shwe] can throw such an event, but the government is never seen making such lavish contributions to the needy,” said a Rangoon-based lawyer who requested anonymity. “This money, of course, comes from the pockets of ordinary Burmese,” he added.
 
According to residents in Rangoon, many in the country have already heard about the video, but access to it remains limited.

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