Time to rule without division

The first time I learned about the existence of the Arakanese, or Rakhaing as we call them, was when I started to graduate from reading comics to reading novels in the early 1950’s. One of them, Pan Phwet Tan (Riddle Game) written by Tetkatho Nandamit, has fortunately survived the onslaughts of Alzheimar up to this day.

In it, a Rakhaing local was teaching his visiting Burmese friend what to say to a girl he loved. “If you want to tell her you love her, you must say Pinley Dammya (Sea Pirate) And if want to ask her to love you, you say Padonma Ta-nga letnet (Lotus, fisherman’s weapon).”

Of course, his Burmese friend couldn’t make head or tail of them and begged him to explain to him what they meant. The answers were:

  • Pinlay Dammya (Sea Pirate)
    • The sea is wide (“kye”)
    • The pirate robs (“taik”)
    • “Kye-taik” reversed is “Kyaik-te” (Love you)
  • Padonma Ta-nga Letnet (Lotus, fisherman’s weapon)
    • Padonma is lotus (“kya”)
    • A fisherman’s weapon is a net (“paik”)
    • “Kya-paik” reversed is “kyaik-pa” (Please love)

When I grew up and had occasion to watch the Arakanese dances, especially Shein Daing, I came to love them. I even fell in love with a Rakhaing girl in those days, though the romance did not amount to much.

But as I grew older and learned more about the troubles the Rakhaing people were facing I felt sad for them.

People are of course different from each other.But that doesn’t mean they have to hate each other. My wife and I are different from each other, but that did not prevent us from loving each other. Why can’t people be the same?

Is it because we see things differently? If there is fish to eat at home, my wife automatically goes for its head and I of course for its torso. And we love each other all the more because our likes are different. Why can’t people be like that?

Of course, in Burma, things, bad enough by themselves, have gone to worse, because the rulers think the only way these people will be made to remain under their rule is to keep them not only divided but farther apart.

It goes without saying a house divided cannot stand by itself. If the rulers want to keep on ruling it, it is going to be a house that is burned and ruined. Sooner or later, they are going to find they have no more houses to rule.

The only way they can hope to rule forever is to turn this house into a home. A home, as we all know, needs friendship and warmth to nurture it, not threats, punishments and wars.

And friendship and warmth must start from the rulers. Only then it will spread to the whole country, Burman, or non-Burman, Arakanese or non-Arakanese. By that time, nobody need to say or hear the Three Main Causes, because a country that is imbued with friendship and warmth for each other can never fall apart.


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