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No Threat to Public Interest

No Threat to Public Interest


The Problem with Conception


The conception, our leaders and activists perceived, based on the recent social political development, is seriously under question and needed all prudent and honest citizens’ serious review. Traditionally, before the British occupation, the Chin people were controlled by the collective conscience-the regime values-of the respective regional clan based society. The citizens’ submission to societal leadership was out of question. The social contract, although there had been social evils within the society, was based on mutual exchange of interests. Collectively, the society provided leadership, safety, and social economic means for happiness and survival of the citizens. Since then, the regime values (commonly accepted norms and principles) were created out of day to day social interaction in response to the needs and demands of the members of the society.


Since the British occupation, the social structure was destroyed-the regime values were partly abolished, and reframed with the “rulers and the ruled” social structure imposed by the western style feudalism.  However, due to the supremacy of the British colonizers, there was no remarkable resistance from the citizens against the British’s appointee’s tribal chieftainship although they paid undue respect and taxes, in spite of the ruling against their wills. Since then, the role of the collective conscience-regime value-was subdued under the order of the tribal chiefs. The consequential impact on the Chin people was mental deposition with authoritarian leadership concept, and caste classification, which impact still remains in the minds of some young generation, especially whose forefathers paid undue respect and taxation to the British’s appo! intee tribal chiefs.   Out of such social and political ill feelings, the Chin pioneers and leaders anticipated a movement to end the unjust laws of the society that followed by the declaration of the Chin National Conference held at the Falam city, right after the establishment of the Union of Burma.


Unfortunately, there were no ideological transformation or enlightenment during the short rule of democratic government lead by U NU who himself was by no means a democratic minded leader. Contrary to the democratic principles, U NU was the one who announced Buddhism as a national religion which revealed his in-depth political aspiration to establish one “people one nation” by Burmanizing the rest of the ethnic groups by means of religion, politics, and social reconstruction. Therefore, the Chin people, during the rule of U Nu, had no other means to transform the underlining leadership concept in the society.


At worst, after failing to implement his strategy to establish ‘One Nation One People Policy” in the country Burma , U Nu was terminated by U Ni Win, a military dictator. From their personal perspective, no doubt, they (the Burmese military leaders) were true nationalists, volunteers, national leaders, whose concern was the interest of the people, as they did actually sacrifice their own best-life for the cause of the nation.


Turning to the point to the Chin people’s societal leadership concept, lamentably, our mental deposition and psychological structure are still influenced, deposited, and hardwired by the authoritarian leadership concept of the pass history. When the Chin people, not only the Chins but all Burmese citizens, say “we want democracy”, it is comparable with Christians who say “we want to be holy as holy as God is.”  Many, including myself, claimed to love democracy and extremely against the military dictatorship-authoritarianism, but many times, we ourselves follow the principles that are contradictory to the basic and fundamental principles of democracy.


In reflection to the recent Chin people’s political movement, the concept of leadership as well as the concept of serving the people and nation has been astray from the basic underling principles of freedom and democracy. Some, if not all, have thought holding guns (old AK47 or Chinese made M21) at hands and hiding in the jungle is equal to serving the nation, and therefore, they ignorantly assumed that the people owe them some credits both economically and politically, demanding the undue respect and material contribution.





Democratically saying, any public institution is legitimate only when formed by the will of the people by voluntary association. No public institution have a legitimate authority to make any public related decision or impose any public policy upon the general public simply by claiming that it represents the public interest; which the SPDC brutally and inhumanly has been doing. 


Some might have taken as granted by saying “this is a revolutionary period, so public consent is impossible at any matter. Therefore, as long as the central goal of our movement serve the public interest, our actions are justified even when it appeared to be worse or equal to the acts of the tyrants.” The question here is, can authoritarian practices bring democracy? Or symbolically, can a female crow give birth a chicken? If yes, the Burmese military (spdc) will definitely bring democracy one day in the Union of Burma . So, no reason to struggle for us.  


Hence, as long as the public consensus is impossible, there is no means to legitimize any single individual or group or party’s arbitrary action against the will of the people. Until and unless the public consensus is possible on any issue, any individual, organization, or party’s status is simply being contested for the public trust and confidence to whom they (the public) will one day eventually vest certain power. Regardless to the historical and political context, no individual or party or organization possesses a legitimate authority to exercise a coercive power against the will of the people. In other word, by declaring to be being a democratic fighter or pro-democratic activist, no individual or party can claim upon the public as though the public owe to him or her certain respect or material contribution.


Reflecting the current Chin resistance movement, the CNF, ZRA, CNLD, NLD, or any political party or organization possess moral or legal authority to make any public related decision on behalf of the whole Chin population. Particularly, if the Tidim and Tawnzang district citizens, who identified themselves as Zomi, voluntarily pledge to support the CNF and consent with its principles, the CNF, then, may only claim moral authority to represent the interest of the people of the two constituencies, but nothing more, and at the same time, expect certain respect and material contribution from them. But if the CNF, with the support and consent of the two constituencies, goes further and demand the same to the Falam and Hakha, all other district local citizens, it goes beyond the vested moral or political authority. That violates its social contract between the Tidim and Tawnzang local c! itizens and the CNF and is abused of the public trust, unless their fundamental goal involve controlling the whole Chin society by means of coercive power. That analogy applies to all political parties and organizations. This is a real talk that always irritate some politicians’ ears. 


Many politicians hate the real talk,” said a philosopher, “because they usually rely on their illusive superficial political rhetoric to lull the general public and to manipulate the available opportunity for their political advantages.” Are we? I guess not!


Therefore, the Chin people are in need of serious reflection on their leader’s political screen-public policy and decision making model- as well as their (citizens’) own civic engagement as responsive citizens.



Decision making model


The negative side of the Chin traditional hierarchical social order to the people’s decision making model is authoritarianism, not only because of bad leadership but also because of the reluctant and irresponsive citizens. It may be correct to say, as much as the SPDC hates its opposition, the Chin leaders and political parties hate their critics. If a person is democratic or authoritarian can be derived by observing his decision making model. Another negative impact of the 40 decades rule of the Burmese dictatorship is the citizens’ withdrawal from civic engagement in public issues, fearing reprisal from the above leadership. Thirdly, the social or political organizations, regardless to its side or nature, are extremely hostile to dissents or opposite ideas. Therefore, it is collateral damage when the attitude of the public organizations are hostile to dissents and opposite ideas, at ! the same time, when the citizens fail to engage in any serious public decision making, not contributing their intellectual, political opinions, social capital or material dues. It is sad to say, the civic altruism is death within such kind of social structure.


Sometime ago, one Chin young man once said, “if my friend is wrong, I have to stand with him. Because, if he is right, then many people will like or appreciate him that he doesn’t need me at that time as a friend.” Although this statement reflects his true friendship relationship, it also says something about the decision making model of many Chins. In short, personal relationship dictates many minds. It may be appreciable at individual level, but if this model is generalized for any public issue, it would be publicly condemnable as unethical decision. As citizens of immature society, there have been no clear and transparent lines between private matters and public issues in the minds of many. It’s because, the Chin society has lost its “regime values” and many are ethnically and morally unclear about what is right or wrong when dealing with public issues, not able to distinguish! between what is subjective and what is objective. Many also based on religious moral ground when to decide right or wrong. But, unfortunately, unless one studies the Biblical principles extendedly, the Biblical principles are not crystal clear regarding the public agendas as its central focus is spiritual rather than social or political contracts. Whatever the rational ground one might take as basis for decision making, failure to know the extent of generalization leads many to face serious conflicts with others outside their own regional context.  


As mush as a person who never traveled outside of his home town might be ignorant to assume “all the people of the world eat Ngapih (Fish-pickle) with as taste as he does”, a person who never exposed his mind to the opposite ideas may also be ignorant to make assumption to deny the possibility of the existence of any idea better than his or his family members or party-men’s. However, such ignorance no one should condemn as long as he or she never generalize his or her internal decision on any public issue that would have consequential impact upon the general public.  His subjectivity is limited by his own physical limitation. Even though it might be wrong to expect a cognitive or normative high level decision making process all the times, it is essential to be aware of the extent of one’s subjectivity. Due to the ethnic setting in the C! hin society, segmented structurally, these things are extreme matter in public agenda decision making for this kind of historically crucial period of resistance movement. 


Civic Engagement


In any public discussion or decision making process, or any public related common activity, civic engagement must be welcome whether it be in a form of criticism or advice or voluntary contribution. It is good to be aware of that wherever or to whomever the general public can not voice their opinions, leave alone its internal doom by its own self important against the law of nature and the common norms of the society, the general public will never be willing to voluntarily contribute their share to the common activities for the common cause. Therefore, for the sake of protecting and promoting the progress of democratization within our own society, as much as the SPDC’s repressive behavior against civic engagement and participation in any public decision making is condemned, we the Chin people must condemn any such similar or comparable action among us. Any public organization that is h! ostile to public criticism is not a democratic organization and, may be contrary to its self proclaim principality, is an authoritarian which is a threat to the growth and development of  civic engagement and participation-the essential elements of a democratic society. The public leaders, should always look opportunity where and when the public open space can be set up where every citizen should feel free to voice his or her concern and interest. In stead of threatening, every public leader, social or pro-democratic activist must encourage, persuade, and guide civilians toward civic engagement.







Some may wonder why, what political party collects money from the people, whether at gun point or as voluntary contribution, is called ‘tax”? No individual in the world is liable to pay tax to any organization, government, or political party to which he or she is not a member or with whom he has no social political or economic deal. It is a donation when paid as in kind contribution, but is robbing when collected at gun point which the poor and helpless citizens pay out of fears and tears. In description to the second point, it is politically correct to say, it is immoral, unethical, and illegal, comparable to the heinous act of the catholic priests’ child molestation (child sex abuse), vastly publicized in the American public media.


On the other hand, any individual or political party or institution has absolute rights to beg from the people both material donations as well as financial contribution. At the same time, any citizen is entitled with freedom to contribute his or her own in-kind donation or membership due to any organization. No one should bother with these inalienable rights of individual, unless his or her contribution conflicts with public interest.


Why forced money collection will not save our people and land from harm?

1)                  If the general public do not at will;

Whatever the public willingly pay is worth to count toward national movement. In contrary to democratic principles, whatever is collected at gunpoint for which the poor and helpless local citizens have to pay out of fears and tears will one day bring a curse to whoever consumes that monetary or material collection. It is destructive to the Chin people’s unity, national movement, hindering the general public’s willingness to participate in the national movement as well as to engage in any public issue.


2)                  The mount of collected is too small;


What the local citizens out of fears and tears can contribute is a little money compared to the expenses the Burma democratic movement received from foreigner donors. Some argue that “we want their (local citizens’) participation in the resistance movement. However, by forcing local citizens to participate in the national resistance movement by means of coercive power, not to mention forced recruitment, is nothing less than the Tyrannical acts of the SPDC. Therefore, whatever the party or organization, collecting a single penny at gun point is the public enemy and must not be tolerated.



3)                  The manner of collection usually threatened the public opinion upon the national resistance movement;

One may take the helpless local citizens’ materials or money by force, as the SPDC usually does, but it will never win their hearts. Rather, such uncivilized movement will only increase the pains and sufferings of the people, distancing the public from the resistance movement.  For unity sake, every individual or party should restrain themselves from their political aggressiveness not to interfere the public interest while claiming to serve it.


4)                  The collector’s ignorant above his or her own limitation, politically and socially.

The money collector(s) should also be aware of their own limitation of moral and political authority. As mentioned above, one’s own regional context also must be taken under consideration. No party or organization can effort to implement any public policy equally and fairly throughout the Chin state or wherever the Chins reside. In that case, any party may be tempted to use money collection as a tool to discriminate any particular locality unfairly. Moreover, the political and moral limitation, having no solid ground to impose any public policy, not to mention the so called undue taxation, upon the general public should be always aware of when acting upon any public agenda. Any action that posts a threat to the general public or even to a single poor and helpless citizen, whether it be because of monetary collection or forced recruitment or forced labor, is a threat to the health of th! e society and is a public enemy, creating hostile environment among the general public.


Armed Resistance


Many misunderstood the terms to believe national revolution equal to holding arms in the jungle. In Burma , the non-Burman ethnics have been experiencing more than 5 decades of armed resistance which costs thousands of innocent lives and enormous national opportunity. More than 17 ethnic armed groups have negotiated with the SPDC. So, the Burma armed resistance movement posts no more threat to the military regime. Nevertheless, if anyone or group of people is willing to hold arms to fight against the Burmese military government, let no one condemn it. However, no one should try to arm himself or herself at the expense of public interest, which would mean self contradictory and pervasive against the healthy social and poli! tical environment of the whole Chin population. At worse, by means of armed force, no stupid political party or organization should try to persuade the general public to participate or engage or contribute their share to the resistance movement, which would equalize them to the SPDC. There should be much more advanced strategy to fight against the Burmese regime and to persuade the general public. If no one knows the way, in stead of threatening the public interest, none better do anything to get things worse.






I, a little bit, concern about my contribution here, that some may feel offended by the contents of this brief note. Not that I fear reprisal or any kind of threat from anyone but I, contrary to my intention, may contribute to someone’s confusion over national revolution-the ethical, political and moral dilemma-“whether it be right to impose my own feeling and thinking to others who do not share my stance.” By no means, I am to discourage them. But my intention with my long note is this, if we are to revolve against any political tyranny, social cultural evil, or any destructive element of the society, we cannot use the same tools of the one we oppose. If we fight for a democratic rule, we must act accordingly. Unfortunately, in politics, there is no Jesus to pay for the sins of the sins of the politicians. In order to charge or award the politician, the people will count every single ! act, for the final day where all people will speak against or in favor of any politician. Hence, the word of Jesus is applicable that “what you sow you will reap.” The reverse question someone, pointing at the current political situation, may ask, “is that we sow we now reap.” Lastly, let’s open our minds and hearts and join our souls together against any thing that is a threat to the public interest and the health of our society, and to contribute at least our heartfelt prayers for the cause of our people and nation. Our society has been sick, that no one, within our capacity, shouldn’t be allowed to spread any deadly disease to increase the fears and tears of our helpless and desperately poor citizens, especially those who are in far back home. May the good God increase the good hearts of our people.


Thank you,


Hre Mang