Burma Today Mizzima Democratic Voice of Burma Irrawaddy Kao Wao S H A N Network Media Group
One man, one flag; President of New Mon State Party dies

(Reported by Gong Ong, March 16, 2003)

Mon communities in exile gathered at Buddhist temples to pay tribute to their national leader who recently passed away in their homeland of Mon State.

In the USA, the biggest Mon community of North America, gathered at the Mon Buddhist Temple of Fort Wayne, Indiana on March 16, 2003 to commemorate the late New Mon State Party’s President, Nai Shwe Kyin.

Over a hundred Mon came to the temple on Sunday to donate food and chanted with blessing for Nai Shwe Kyin. Indiana based; Monland Restoration Council (MRC) members laid wreaths and saluted their leader in honor of his struggle for the rights to self-determination and liberation for the Mon people.

According to Nai Ponya Mon, President of MRC, the overseas Mons were impressed to have the Prime Minister of National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma joined them. Dr. Sein Win, leader of the Burmese government in exile was accompanied by his delegation to the commemoration.

The two leaders had met in the liberated area in Mon State after newly elected MPs left Rangoon to form a coalition government following the victory of the 1990 general election. They lived for a time at Karen’s Manerplaw Headquarters in the early 90s where Nai Shwe Kyin and Dr. Sein Win co-signed a historic Manerplaw agreement to form the new federal union of Burma.

Former NCGUB minister Mr. Peter Linpin and other Burmese community leaders also attended the ceremony.

In Australia, a memorial service was held in Narrabanda Buddhist monastery, Canberra on the same day, on March 16. More than fifty members of the local Mon community gathered together to express solidarity and respect to a man who fought for Mon independence, as is customary for the Mon at social occasions and funerals, they brought food to offer to monks living in the monastery.

The occasion presented the opportunity to reminiscence about the Mon movement, retired NMSP Central Committee members, Nai Pe Thein Zar and Nai Than Tin talked about their experiences with the late President during revolutionary period. A well-respected community leader Nai Banya Kim (son of Mon leader Nai Chit Thaung) also shared his experience meeting with Nai Shwe Kyin.

In Canada, a memorial service for the Mon leader was held at the Khmer Canadian Temple, Calgary on March 15. Friends and members of Mon Cultural Society gathered on the weekend to donate food to Buddhist monks and share merit with the late leader.

“He had the right qualities as a leader: courageous, honest, very well organized, and insightful, an intellectual man who devoted his entire life to the Mon movement. He founded the New Mon State Party after Mon Peoples Front surrendered to U Nu government, it was the continuing independence movement, without his influence and steely determination the Mon revolution may have died out,” said Nai Khaing Waeng in his condolence message.

Nai Cham Toik, a former NMSP member and an officer of the late President’s HSU (Headquarters Security Unit) recalled his days with the late President. “A man who revolutionized a new armed movement (surnamed ‘one man, one flag’ which epitomized Mon independence), he spoke to the hearts of us all and even though he has died the struggle will continue for Mon independence, the Mon have gathered to honour a great leader”.

Supporters, from the cold north in Finland, remembered the leader who committed his life to establish a Mon State. Dr. Tapani Ojasti, Chairperson of Finnish Burma Committee said of him, “I had the opportunity to meet Nai Shwe Kyin once in Bangkok and once at the border camp for a day of talks. He was a man of wisdom, kindness and possessed deep political knowledge of the Mon national movement. I felt honoured to having met him”.