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Spectrum of colleagues pay last respects to Ohn Myint

New Delhi (Mizzima) – Veteran politician Ohn Myint who died on Friday was cremated at Yayway Cemetery in Rangoon at 4 p.m yesterday.

“There are many people at the funeral … veteran politicians, ethnic leaders, youth leaders and elders from the National League for Democracy,” a son of Ohn Myint, Htay Aung told Mizzima at the ceremony.

ohn-myint-obituary1sNLD vice-chairman Tin Oo, central committee and central executive committee members including Win Tin, Hla Pe, Than Tun and Ohn Kyaing; women’s wing members, student and youth leaders, veteran politicians, Committee Representing the People’s Parliament (CRPP) secretary Aye Thar Aung, ethnic leaders including Tsing Sian Thang, writers and journalists were present. 

Detained NLD general secretary Aung San Suu Kyi, members of the tricolour and 88 Generation Students and Youths, also sent wreaths and messages.

The message sent by the veteran politicians group said: “Ohn Myint was the colleague of General Aung San in anti-imperialist and anti-fascist struggles, educated people with his journalistic and literary skill, gave his literary and political legacy to new generations, always stood with the people and was a dedicated revolutionary against dictators.”

The message expressed their heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family, citing his constant striving for the “essential things in Burma”; national reconciliation, peace and restoration of democracy, even while suffering from ill health.

“He joined Dobama Asiayone [the ‘Thakin’ organisation, which means ‘Our Burma’] in independence struggles and … established his own publishing house in the independence era … [which] mainly published leftist books as that age demanded. Then he joined the veteran politicians group, which sent letters to the regime advising and admonishing them [the junta generals,” veteran politicians’ group member “Thakin” Chan Tun told Mizzima.

The Thakins were a Burmese nationalist group formed around the 1930s and composed of young, disgruntled intellectuals. It drew its name from the way in which the British were addressed during colonial times, as thakin means “lord” or “master”.

The remaining “Thakins” in Rangoon are also Thein Pe, Thein Maung, Tin Oo (writer Bo Thakin Saya), Tin Mya and Hla Kun. All of them are octogenarian and nonagenarian and they are still writing and lecturing about politics.

Ohn Myint is survived by a total of four sons and daughters.


Ohn Myint was born to a Sino-Burmese family in Letpadan, about 88 miles (140 kilometres) east of, on April 21, 1918, and joined the Dobama Asiayone as a 15-year-old student to start his political life.

He worked as journalist on Kyipwayay magazine, Totetyay daily and New Light of Myanmar. He then published Journal Gyaw with his mentor Chit Maung and wrote articles for it. He published leftist literature by leading the Yankyaw journal and the Kyaw Lin publishing house following the Second World War. There he published writer Thein Pe Myint’s celebrated novel, Like the Sun Rises in the East, in 1958.

When General Ne Win took power in the coup of 1958, he was detained in the Indian Ocean’s Coco Islands along with many other overt leftist politicians on charges under the Public Order Protection Act.

He energetically guided Aung San Sui Kyi in her debut to the pro-democracy movement during the height of the 1988 mass uprising. For this he was detained in July 1989 after the State Law and Order Restoration Council (Slorc) took power in a coup. He spent three and half years in jail.

As one of Aung San’s closest followers, Ohn Myint wrote articles, one titled As I Know About Him on the life of the general from his student days until his death. He was also interviewed for the Who Killed Aung San? documentary film produced by the BBC in 1997. Late in his political life, he wrote articles and met young activists to bridge the generation gap in the political movement.

He wrote Taste of Prison with co-authors; Than Tun, Tin Mya, Myo Nyunt and Aye Kyu.

The military regime sentenced Ohn Myint to prison at the age of 80 and he again spent three and half years behind bars. He had been arrested along with other former student leaders such as Dr. Maung Maung Kyaw, for assisting Aung Tun in compiling a history of the Burmese student movement.

Last Updated ( Monday, 20 September 2010 01:58 )  

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