Ugly Pages of Ours (V)
by Soe Nay Lynn


Part [Five]

I simply want to be rich. So also do you all. It is, I believe, very natural. Certainly no one wants to be poor. I must say that poverty is the most terrible disease of all. Now cheer up man, Deng Xioaping has joined us. He has even said, ‘to get rich is glorious.’ Then we can say we are in the same boat. Ok, Mr. Deng Xioaping you are quite right on this point. Every one has right to try to get rich in proper ways. Don’t want to intervene, anyhow.

If you are not too forgetful, you will remember that you are often asked for money or food by various sizes of beggars of both sexes, whenever you are in a teashop or restaurant. Don’t you think it is an unsightly scene? Whenever I experience it, I feel very sorry and as if I had some responsibility for something.

Everyone, I think, should have a house to live in, enough food to eat, enough clothes to wear. No, no, I am not trying to ruminate on either socialism or communism. All the iron curtains have been removed and we all clearly saw what was really happening inside them, what a great swindle!

I can’t help feeling that we have been defrauded for many years by the bombastic words of both socialism and communism. Well, let’s not cry over spilt milk. And it was not genuine milk, you know?! Millions of people were and are forced or coerced to drink that specially fabricated milk. You must like the taste of that milk. It was and is and a must. No alternative.

Well, comrade artists let’s make a picture under the guidance of the revolutionary committee that know nothing about painting. Right? Try to think of it. How wonderful the picture will be. Its colours, subject, rhythm and harmony must be consonant with revolutionary needs. Any objection? Now study the instructions between the lines, what! Ah, they must have made a mistake.

This is not for painting. This is for shoe producing. But it doesn’t matter. It won’t be very different. That’s all. Some satirical humours were very risible and disappointing too. How horrible to think that people could do nothing without being instructed. But don’t worry almost all of it has gone. They at last, couldn’t manage to cover or conceal the carcass of an elephant with a hide of a goat.

Being a socially competitive species, humans compare themselves with the people they see. It is natural. They want to see how other people live their lives. And then they look back at their own lives and make comparisons. As a matter of fact people are different right from the start. Whether you like it or not you must accept the reality.

Do you want to know the cause of those differences? Try yourself. Every religion has its own explanations and solutions. But this is not the thing I want to discuss. Look, in any case people, at least, should have the right to reap what they have sown. No government has the right to interfere with it. No matter how powerful a government is it must not be above the people.

Yet in totalitarian states, governments always try to deprive the people of their rights in the name of nationalism, patriotism, national culture and national integrity. Although this napkin of rhetoric has been made dirty and creased they are still making. As you know they have relished using the phrase ‘for the people sake’ as a pretext. Speaking incessantly of that pretext they have been feathering their own nests.

In this matter I shouldn’t be surprised, should I? A human being is a human being. He must have avarice, anger and illusion. He who preaches to humans must not have avarice, anger or illusion, they will never be successful. We cannot hope everybody can live as an ascetic or a hermit. And it is unthinkable that any religion can clear away all of our political, social and economic problems.

There are problems and trouble associated with any human society. There can be no perfect human society. Yet by compariosn, democratic societies are more enjoyable and livable. What we desperately need is political freedom, social freedom and economic freedom. Without them, what are we supposed to gain?

Let me tell you what I am really feeling. Sometimes I look around me and I find myself alone, spiritually alone. I am not with people who want to live as they are designed, molded and shaped. And as you know, it is very hard to suppress the wildly struggling righteous indignation. Sometimes I feel as if my heart has been squeezed.

Most people have built up a tolerance to the oppression. The trouble, I believe, is that our society has become a society of collective irresponsibility. No one is accountable. They would stand still and let whatever happen. I can’t help remembering one of the quotations from Arthur Mee’s Black book.
He writes
 ‘A wise man in Athens was asked when injustice would be abolished. When those who are not wronged feel as indignant as those who are’ he said.

It would, I believe, be different if the greater part of the people of our country really loved truth, justice and democracy, if they had righteous indignation. And I am not so sure if the nature and the world is impartial. At the best of my experience people who are honest, upright, just and kind are generally bullied, tortured, confined, executed and at least degraded.

They are not given a chance to live long. They, in many ways, die early. You would probably want to accuse me of being a pessimist. But I have reasons for my point of view. Instead of explaining to you at length, I’d like to recommend to you the history of the world. You will find enough facts in the chapters written about witch-hunts.

My friend and short-story writer Maung Daung once said in an interview that in wood-cutting, straight and fine trees must be felled first. What a good ironic simile!

The future cannot be foretold. I can’t imagine why I do want to be a straight, fine, big and shady tree on a mountain top.

By Soe Nay Lynn
* Note: Ugly Pages of Ours: (Part 5 of 8).

(1) Click here for (Part 1 of 8).

(2) Click here for (Part 2 of 8).

(3) Click here for (Part 3 of8).

(4) Click here for (Part 4 of 8).

(5) Click here for (Part 5 of 8).

(6) Click here for (Part 6 of 8).

(7) Click here for (Part 7 of 8).

(8) Click here for (Part 8 of 8).