|One man, one flag; President of New
Mon State Party dies
OVERSEAS MONS REMEMBER NAI SHWE KYIN
(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”.