To ethnic leaders: Time to go back to school

Most of the non-Burman leaders today either were born or came of age after Independence, when one of the high school texts was How to win friends influence people, written by Date Carnegie and translated by the late prime minister U Nu.

Carnegie said he had written it because “Dealing with people is probably the biggest problem you face,” quoting investigations which found out that even in such technical lines as engineering, about 15 percent of one’s success is due to one’s technical knowledge and about 85 percent is due to what he called human engineering.

One of his best quotes used in the book was written by Harry A. Overstreet: “He who can do this has the whole world with him. He who cannot walks a lonely way.

The first rule he taught was: Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.
He gave as his examples Abraham Lincoln and Benjamin Franklin, both known for their skill in handling people.

The secret of their success?

  • “Judge not, that yet not be judged” (Lincoln)
  • “I will speak ill of no man, and speak all the good I know of everybody. (Franklin)

Carnegie of course also chipped in other quotable and practical quotes:

  • Don’t complain about the snow on your neighbor’s roof, when your own door step is unclean. (Confucius)
  • To know all is to forgive all.

So when one is in the middle two groups of friends who are bitterly engaged in mud-slinging against one another, how does one feel?

“(People) cannot be happy around an agitated man,” the Shans’ foremost scholar today Dr Khammai Dhammasami once said. “If someone is agitated in this room, not yet depressed but simply agitated, then people cannot smile at all.” One can therefore imagine how it will affect the whole room when this someone flies into a rage.

To make things worse, the people who are engaged in this hate filled flak are those who have studied Carnegie and are supposedly working toward Peace and Reconciliation. Which makes one wonder whether they are fighting a war or making peace.

As all know, making war and peace are two different things:*

  • In war, there are those who win and there are those who lose. But in peace, there are only winners and no losers.
  • In war, one tries to divide the other side, so one can defeat them piecemeal. But in peace, one tries to unite all, for unity indeed brings happiness to all.

Now we seem to be doing just we are not supposed to do.
SHAN’s advice to all therefore is it’s time to come to senses and stop this madness.

As Carnegie wrote as he concluded his first chapter, quoting Dr Johnson: “God himself, sir, does not propose to judge man until the end of his days.” Why should you and I?

Indeed, why should we?

*N.D. This is not to dismiss common principles. For instance, according to pros, whether making war or peace, there is a great need to know both oneself and the other side. If you know oneself, but not the other side, for every success gained you will also suffer a failure. Similarly, if you know neither yourself nor the other side, you will succumb in every engagement.


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