WELCOME TO MY PAGE‎ > ‎Casiar ding‎ > ‎Chin People‎ > ‎

The Death of Morality in Chin Society

The Moral Test: The Death of Morality in Chin Society
Hre Mang
December 2003.

Abstract: It may be easier to write praising people's goodness and
achievement, but also is necessary that someone volunteer to point
out the
negative aspect of the people that might be devastating against the
well being
of the people.  This article describes the moral aspect of the Chin
and its negative impact on the people. For anyone who does really
care about
the moral well being of the Chin people, it might be interesting to
read it
and digest it and come up with his or her own thesis on the issues.
And any
comment, argument, and reflection is most welcome for further
development of
thought and knowledge.

Samuel Johnson once said, "When a man knows he is to be hanged in a
it concentrates his mind wonderfully."  There is always a powerful
force that
moves the people to act or not to act in a certain way and when that
force is
lacking the people move along any direction where their conditionally
motivated emotion lead them, just like the fallen leafs and the dust
on the
ground flying wherever the wind blows them.  Likewise, when human
faces a moral destruction and when the standing moral trend is
destroyed by any kind of historical pitfall, the people wonder like
without a shepherd in the jungle. Moreover, when such moral
accelerator is
lacking, a person acts or not act like a sick person that left an
hopeless becoming alcoholic, self-abuser, and obsess. On the other
loosing a moral control opens the exploration of human explosive
that can cause an enormous moral setback in human society.  And it
is, like a
cancer illness, very dangerous and painful for the healthy growth of
society as well as for the individuals to be grown up from such sick
environment. Moreover, its recovery is more difficult and painstaking
political and economic reconstruction. It's also worth to mention
saying, "When money is lost, nothing is lost. But when character is
everything is lost."  When political rights are lost, national
sovereignty is
lost. And when a moral trend is lost, human dignity is lost.

    Looking back to Chin history, since before Christianity was
by the western missionaries, although there were necessary social
evils, our
forefathers were well known in moral courage, moral dignity, honesty
diligence. The belief system of the society was solidly founded that
thoroughly dictated the individual's moral decision-making. In a
outlook, fear, shame, and honor were the driving force of every
individual in
the society that every body acted in accordance with the unwritten
moral norms of the society. The "fear' here does not mean timidity,
but the
fear of the society's condemnation for stepping out of the common
norms. "Shame" means, shame of the society's humiliation for stepping
out of
the common norms. And "honor" for good work and courage was also a
driving force that motivated people to act or not to act in a certain
Mostly, Chin people believed in the existence of the law of nature-
absolute truth. And breaking the law of nature was believed to be
by death by God or by the super natural being. For example, adultery
believed to be absolutely wrong and was punishable by death: death by
Tiger's bite. Likewise, murder, stealing, telling lie were believed
to be
condemnable with serious punishment. Not only the fear of the
humiliation of
the society, there was fear of punishment by God or supernatural
being. Every
action was judged by the moral standard of the commonly accepted
and by the law of nature. After the introduction of Christianity, the
people's underpinning moral principles were not destroyed but
transformed into
God-centered belief, eliminating many of the previous system's social
As the civil war had been continuing until the British colonization,
when the
British first came to the region, there was no much outside moral
among Chin people, but the traditional and ancient belief system
the standing value system.

    As a result of the lost in war and the British colonization,
people lost their national pride and their value system was changed
into self-
diminishing under the influence of the powerful western colonizers,
that whatever the westerners had or believed was superior to theirs.
course, due to the civilization gap and differences in human
development, they
were socially, politically, and economically inferior to the
westerners, but
probably not in human essence. It was unfortunate that Chin people's
land was
divided into three political regions: India, Burma, and Bangladesh
minimized the human power of the great Chin society. Although the
British must
bore the political responsibility and blame for dividing the land
into three,
the westerners' sacrifices in christianizing the society was a
paramount that has saved the Chin people from racial and cultural
assimilation. It is assumed that due to the civilization gap, the
cultural intrusion was insignificant as much as expected. On the
other hand,
the British rule opened opportunity for many Chin leaders to interact
neighboring people group, that was when the cultural explosion begun
Chin people.

    Although there were political alteration and social
moderation during
the British rule and the Burma democratic rule, the traditional value
had not been completely destroyed until 1970s and 80s. The leaders of
50s and 60s were raised up within the Chin traditional society with
traditional value system that the social cultural exchanges simply
the societal norms and enhanced the better part of the societal
elements. They
were economically poor, but rich in moral character.  However, the
generation suffered the moral intrusion of the Burmese Burmanization-
systematic racial cultural assimilation program. The Chin society was
politically, socially, and culturally unable to prevent the moral
intrusion of
the Burmese Burmanization, especially since the rule of the Burmese
(1960-current). As the Chin societal leadership system was destroyed,
social system was also completely destroyed as a result of the perils
of the
regime government system. The value system, the moral underpinning
and the whole belief system no longer exist as the moral foundation
individual decision making. The Chin people's moral trend was
forgotten and
replaced by the compromise and uncertain self-centered human
curiosity.  The
traditional sense of civic duty and moral obligation were replaced by
the so-
called "Myanmah-Ni-Myanmah-Han" that overwhelmed people with bama-
self-gratifying thought. The most precious elements of the societal
the intrinsic moral purity-was replaced by a contaminated thought

         As the valued leadership system was destroyed, there has been
commonly accepted leadership concept: who should be respected as
leaders in
the society. Many are left to wait the resurrection of the death lion
unwilling to accept any pop-up leader. At the same time, some are
left with
their painful memories of the past. Especially after 1988, people
fear to be
appointed by the regime government as the leader in the community.
appointed leader in the community only means being the administrative
agent of
the Bama armies, having no legitimate authority. In the moral aspect,
at the
worse, the younger generation has been grown up with the attitude of
toward leadership in the society, longing something better than what
have: a democratic rule, without a chance to develop a democratic way
thinking within themselves. It means, although many of our depressed
sing "Democracy" like a beautiful song, in reality, they have been
brought up
under an anti-democratic thought system. That means egoistic mindset,
the Chin traditional altruism, promoting antagonistic instead of
mutualism. That is true not only to the Chin society, but also to the
population of Burma. One of the weaknesses among the recent
activists is that the activists themselves lack a democratic
thinking: political tolerance without extreme hatred toward political
dissents, which is essential political nature for the existence and a
growth of a democratic society.  Overall, having no such moral
leadership concept within a collapsed system, people are forced by
the power
of self-survival-necessity. That, generally speaking, in politics,
and social, self-survival even with the expense of others' lives or
good becomes a very common practice, without any moral constraint,
among the
Chins as well as among all Burmese.

    Many people might have thought that the economic devastation
as the
most destructive to the society what the Burmese regime has done, but
to the moral intrusion, all other impacts are much easier to
reconstruct when
the political system is opened for such changes. However, the moral
decay that
has erupted the people's minds cannot be easily repaired. Because,
thought system is socially constructed throughout the social
evolution of the
respective society and when any particular thought system is
fixed, hardwired, programmed, and gradually framed in people's mind
it is
impossible to reframe or reprogram within a decade or two, unless the
overwhelming social cultural revolution occurs, for which kind
history has no
evidence of such event. Some might have thought that the academic
experiences in the western countries or any democratic society
corrects the moral decay of a person. But that is not true, without a
systematic transformation of a person's thought system; the
intellectual knowledge simply modifies the outward social skills. On
the other
hand, without a true internal transformation, the superficial
knowledge simply makes a person cleverer to defense his or her
stance. There
are several examples among the regime leaders, such as Dr. Maung
Maung, Bo
Khin Ngut, to name a few.   To change such fixed thought system in
the mind of
the people, it is possible only when reconstructed socially and
gradually that
takes time and requires intellectual and social capital. Therefore,
it is
predictable for the people of Burma when a new system of thought is
to be re-instituted when a democratic rule is implemented that the
nation will
face more troubles caused by moral corruption than political

The democratic fighters who have vowed to give their precious lives
for the
sake of the people of Burma proved that they are patriots of this
They delay no time to stand against the regime government and many
have paid
the price that they should be remembered with honor. However, what
was lacking
among the stronghold of the anti-regime government? People do
sacrifice any
thing they have, but not their ideas, the ideas produced by their
thought system that had been hardwired throughout the regime's
reign.   Of
course, no doubt, there are some (or many) whose minds have
overcome such thought system and think democratically, and others,
ignorance leaves them slow to learn the crookedness of the regime's
intrusion, may have remain as honest as the people of Amazon. After
been hardwired with such authoritarian thought system, it is almost
to jump out of one's mind and think independent of one's own
Even among Christians and Buddhists, who have claimed to have beliefs
in the
existence of the law of nature and of God, there are many who
happened to make
moral decision in accordance with the law of subjectivism, and,
sadly, defend
their own ideas and action even more than they would defend the
interest of
the common people. In such a way, many have gained political capital,
those capitals are spent for the defense of their own ideas and are
willing to
defense their own stance even with the expense of the best of others.
It is
always true wherever there is no moral underpinning principles in the
that every social, political, and economic capital are spent for the
of the interests of those who have chance to exploit them. And it is
very dangerous when an intellectually and morally untrained person is
left to
make his or her own moral decision, especially when such decision
would have
impact on the general public.

Both in societal and individual level, the impact of the moral
intrusion has
caused an enormous moral decay. The acquisition of power and wealth
become the
central tendency of many individuals with the end goal for self-
like ancient hedonists.  Especially among the exiles, where people
don't feel
moral or legal accountability to the society they refuge, there is
more chance
to explore lack of moral constraint. There is no moral constraint not
to tell
lie or to do anything whatever would please them by acquiring
opportunity or
social or economic means. As there is no moral system that closely
them, as long as anything is legally, socially, and politically
people would do anything to satisfy the curiosity of their human
Politicians exploit any social and political capital to advance their
political opportunity, and even religious and social leaders would
advantage on the goodness of their God and lack of societal moral
force for
self-advancement. Although these are not completely bad, as all
people have
similar kind of human natural behavior, it is very important to have
a very
powerful moral underpinning principles for those people who have a
national historical challenge for system change, and for those people
society is comparatively immature, lacking the contemporary
intellectual means
that would help individuals see things in the context of time and

In individual level, many have become defensive rather than proactive
and live
by the negative aspect of life instead of enjoying the best part of
it. So
then, for many, life becomes burdensome rather than a privilege to
enjoy and
to promote happiness for others. For many children of this generation
been brought up within an antagonistic social environment where their
and hearing from their families and from the society influenced them
with the
negative aspect of their social leaders, religious leaders and
leaders, and the negative impact on their own family economically,
and politically. For, commonly among Chin people, it is mistakenly
that when parents and elders let their children hear the badness of
the negative aspect of others, they are framing and constructing the
mind set
of their children with antagonistic mindset which eventually builds
whole attitude filled with hatred and angriness that mercilessly eats
the most
precious moral beauty of their children. And when they are grown up
under such
influence, they can no longer see goodness in others, and even cannot
bear the
goodness of others. It means when they see good things in others
internal faculty disagree with what is supposed to be happening in
others. In
that sense, hatred and anger becomes part of their human attributes.
It is
unpleasant to see that many take mistakes as destructive for
themselves as
well as for others instead of utilizing it as a learning privilege
and self-
discovery and self-realization. On the other hand, it is also common
defensive people lack acceptance about their mistakes for their
psychological inconveniency causes fear that makes them feel every
mistake as
destructive and unwilling to accept as it is. Moreover, as a result
negative mindset, there is always a compelling force to tell or do
about the badness of others. Many people do not aware of the danger
angriness and hatred that consume the fat of human mental faculty
which is
essential for an individual's personal and intellectual growth that
leaves the
individual with a pessimistic view on others as well as upon himself
herself.  More than hatred and anger, nothing disrupts the
internal mental and intellectual development. When a person's mindset
filled with hatred and anger, his or her mental faculty is impaired
eventually loss capacity to judge any particular object with
Therefore, it is unfortunate and regretful that the regime
government's reign
has double impact on the people: the direct moral, social, economic,
political damages and the consequential impact among the people

Here comes a moral challenge to the Chin social, political, and
leaders: where are you heading? Like Aristotelians, some leaders seem
believing in moderation as the best, which, they think, potentially
please the
most. It is more important for leaders of the society, for they are
persons to say "NO" when a person kills an innocent or when a person
that is not his or hers, and ect. And they are special persons to
say "Come
on! Let's go and do something," while others reluctant to do anything
they expect something in return for personal gain. However, when
leaders lack
moral force to direct people and themselves toward particular
direction, and
lack moral courage to say "NO" to any destructive action in the
society that
society is ruined or ruining. On the other hand, that is the
expression of the
regime leaders' moral behavior, to say "NO" when only their status
quo is
threatened or potentially threatened and to say "Let's do" only to
promote the
goodness of their existence. So then, as everyone is a leader,
leading at
least himself or herself, where are we heading? What force compels us
do or
not to do anything? The most powerful thing that man can possesses is
not guns
and bullets but the moral force that directs him or her toward a
direction and stands against any driving force and overturns history
down. And the most precious thing that man can loss is the moral
force that
would leave him or her move along any driving force around her or him
uncertain end.

May the good and powerful force be in you to dictate your decision-
making and
directs you toward a certain end.