Myanmar and ASEAN

I guess the buzzword about Mynmar is ‘national reconciliation’.

Is the country split? Is there a civil war? Unarmed monks and pro-democracy protesters march peacefully in the streets, one democratically elected leader bound up under house arrest and what is needed is ‘national reconciliation’?

One wonders why ASEAN even bothers.

It is of course unfair to condemn the state of foreign policy in this region. PM Lee Hsien Loong, leading a country of far greater standing than Myanmar has to condescend to PM Thein Sein’s requests and cancel Ibrahim’s briefing. If PM Lee can’t even put his foot down on issues like this, I doubt we could have done a better job.

And with their smiling teeth reflecting their ‘commitment’ to ‘human rights’ in the form of a charter which has been described as ‘landmark’, you can be sure ASEAN is doing a good job of promoting democracy in the region.

Just think about it, hardly any one of the main ASEAN states can truly be deemed democratic. BN and PAP are totally dominant in Malaysia and Singapore respectively, Myanmar and Thailand is military ruled, Brunei is an aristocracy, Philipines even with a heritage of people power movements, just can’t get corruption out of the presidency and well…one could go on. Sure they can sign any charter they want, and sure we can certainly hope they will live up to its high ideals.

No, ASEAN need not bother with talk of national reconciliation. Those are just a bunch of words. Perhaps what ASEAN needs to do is to learn from Myanmar’s junta on how to suppress dissent, murder and torture their own citizens and still get away with it. What’s better, get your neighbors to cry,” Stop!” and silence them with and up pointed finger to their nose.


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About me

moogleBorn and bred in KL, Malaysia. Now studying for his Phd in Singapore. Learning to walk one fall at a time.
November 2007
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