Vicky Bowman, the diplomat who caught the Burma bug

As a British diplomat fresh in the country in 1990, Vicky Bowman dove enthusiastically into Burmese culture, mastering the language and making friends among the dissidents that operated, surreptitiously, in Yangon’s arts and literary scene—at a time when encounters with foreigners could earn locals heavy police harassment.

UNFC and State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi’s desperate move

What has happened on March 30 when State counselor Aung San Suu Kyi hurriedly issued a statement on the heels of her televised speech assessment of the first year, anniversary of National League for Democracy (NLD) coming to power, is a desperate move to show or take credit that her administration is achieving positive result after all.

ETHNIC ALLIANCE IN THE LIMBO: UNFC disintegration accelerated by NMSP moves?

For weeks, since the Panghsang or Pangkham meeting of seven, non-signatory of Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs) at the United Wa State Party/Army (UWSP/UWSA) headquarters, in February, the further existence of the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) has been called into question, as its two strongest members, the Kachin Independence Organization/Army (KIO/KIA) and the Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA) were participants of the gathering, where “a new peace process approach”, rather the present NCA-based negotiation pattern was advocated, with the formation of “political negotiation committee – interim” poised to negotiate with the government, on a new track.

NAMING PROBLEM: A bridge too far in Mon State?

With the United Nationalities Alliance (UNA) taking up position on the naming of the bridge as “Bogyoke Aung San”, in Mon State known as “Thanlwin” bridge, the controversial issue has taken an active spin, which was followed by a massive protest on March 19 Sunday,  to keep to the old name that is preferred by the local people.

A Costly Sideshow to Reform

As the National League for Democracy (NLD)-led government prepares for another round of historic peace talks later this month, ethnic Mon leaders are planning the second protest in as many weeks over the party’s policies. But the anger simmering in the state has nothing to do with disarmament, profit-sharing or other intractable issues of multiparty peace negotiations. No, the thing that the NLD has done to upset a broad swath of the Mon people is to name a bridge.

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