Burmese PM’s Daughter Camera Shy on Her Wedding Day
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Burmese PM’s Daughter Camera Shy on Her Wedding Day

By MIN LWIN Thursday, February 5, 2009


Opulence was the order of the day last Saturday, as Burmese Prime Minister Gen Thein Sein’s daughter Yin Thuzar Thein married Capt Han Win Aung at a government guest house in Naypyidaw, in a ceremony attended by the country’s top generals and some of their closest business associates.

According to one of the guests at the event, the bride and groom were showered with gifts worth billions of kyat—or millions of dollars—including jewels, luxury cars, houses and deeds to valuable real estate.

Burma’s military rulers and their cronies are no strangers to ostentation, but on this occasion, there was at least some attempt to show restraint—by refraining from announcing the wedding in the state-run media.

Guests were also expected to rein in their usual enthusiasm for photographic trophies. Although the newlyweds had the good grace to put their guest’s largesse on full display, no cameras were permitted to record the spectacle.

It was not without reason that the regime decided to exercise self-censorship: Two and a half years ago, a video produced on a similar occasion angered the country’s mostly impoverished masses by giving them a rare glimpse of the excesses of Burma’s ruling elite.

In July 2006, footage of the nuptials between Thandar Shwe, daughter of the Burmese regime’s supreme leader, Snr-Gen Than Shwe, and Maj Zaw Pho Win was leaked to the exiled media and soon caught the attention of the international news networks.

A bootlegged DVD of the wedding reception, replete with images of riches unimaginable to most Burmese, quickly became a hot item on the streets of Rangoon. Possession of the DVD, dubbed “Night Bejeweled with Diamonds,” is a crime punishable by imprisonment.

At the time, sources told The Irrawaddy that the wedding itself cost around US $300,000. By some estimates, the value of the wedding gifts—including luxury cars, houses and land—ranged as high as $50 million. (See “Popular Outrage Sparked by ‘Wedding of the Year’ Video” http://www2.irrawaddy.com/article.php?art_id=6297)

The guest who attended last Saturday’s ceremony confirmed that the newlyweds and their powerful parents were anxious to avoid similar speculation about the extent of their personal wealth. 

“The wedding ceremony was relatively low key because they didn’t want the news to be leaked to outside media,” the source said.

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