People of 2006
covering burma and southeast asia
Monday, July 15, 2019
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COVER STORY

People of 2006


By The Irrawaddy DECEMBER, 2006 - VOLUME 14 NO.12


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(Page 12 of 12)

A pornographic VCD featuring a woman who bears an uncanny resemblance to the singer has been making the rounds in Rangoon since late 2005. The disc—its origin is unknown—features a woman engaged in explicit sexual acts. The scenes have been spliced together with official photos of the singer and selections from her hit songs.

Sone Thin Par has reportedly appealed to the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Myanmar Women’s Affairs Federation to take action, though authorities have so far done nothing. Even the Myanmar Musicians’ Association, of which Sone Thin Par is a member, has shied away from the controversy.

The only action Burmese authorities have taken is to compel the distraught young singer to perform a song in support of the military-led National Convention. Wearing ethnic Chin traditional dress—and a noticeably long face—Sone Thin Par performed her song on state-run MRTV channels for broadcast across Burma.

—Ko Thet


Thxa Soe

Hip hop Burmese-style

Fed up with the mimicry of Western pop sounds in the discos of Rangoon, Thxa Soe has won acclaim at home for creating Yaw-tha-ma-mhwe, or mix.

Thxa Soe, who studied sound engineering and electronic music in Britain, teamed up with friend DJ Jay in a bid to woo young Burmese ravers with their experiment. They successfully mix Western electro-dance rhythms with Burmese traditional music, using ancient rhythms and instruments, particularly from the supernatural ritual, Nat Pwe.

Now Thxa Soe is working to complete an album for release before the water festival in April, 2007, and to launch the websites of the Myanmar DJ Association and Myanmar Hip-hop Association, in which he is actively involved. He also plans to publish a book on Burmese hip hop music.

—Yeni


Athletes

Mya Thaung Wai

Road warrior

Mya Thaung Wai is Burma’s first prize-winning woman rally driver. The 34-year-old business executive took two prizes in the Asia Cross Country Rally 2006, covering a distance of about 3,000 kilometers (1,800 miles) across Thailand and Laos last August.

Mya Thaung Wai, the daughter of a military officer, won the First Ladies Award and a second prize for completing the course, which not all competitors managed to do.

She first took up off-road driving as a teenager and says she spends a lot of time behind the wheel on the road in her job as managing director of an export-import company and employment agency, PM Company.

—Yeni


Event of the Year

Maj Zaw Phyo Win & Thandar Shwe

‘Royal wedding’

“The Wedding of the Year” took place in July, but it became the talk of the country in early November—following the clandestine release of video footage of the lavish ceremony.

The wedding of Thandar Shwe, daughter of Snr-Gen Than Shwe, to Maj Zaw Phyo Win was not a modest ceremony in Burma, which is ranked as one of the poorest countries in the world.

Rangoon sources said the wedding cost an estimated US $300,000. Estimates of the cost of wedding gifts—including luxury cars, houses and land— ranged as high as US $50 million.

Images of the wedding shocked people in Burma and abroad. The video footage drew worldwide headlines and was shown on CNN and other international news channels.

Pictures and video images of the ceremony held at the Zeyathiri government guesthouse in Rangoon showed Thandar Shwe wearing a variety of jewelry—mostly diamonds—and her groom, more casually dressed.

The video clearly demonstrated the ruling junta is out of touch with Burmese reality, political analysts said.

But weddings have political implications, too. In 1983, Burma’s feared spy master Brig Gen Tin Oo was sacked for “misuse of funds and state property.” one charge against him was his son’s lavish wedding, which was held in Bangkok.

Army leaders who were threatened by Tin Oo’s rising power and his closeness to the late dictator Gen Ne Win were finally able to bring him down through corruption charges.

After seeing the wedding video of Thandar Shwe and Zaw Phyo Win, many Burmese wonder if the video’s release was the work of “internal destructive elements,” who may have had the intention of damaging Burma’s untouchable absolute leader and his family.

—Yeni



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