With the 2015 election campaign in full swing, Burmese Facebook users have spared no time in creating political memes in time for November.
The Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), established by the military and its close associates in the lead-up to the 2011 election, has especially been hit hard, with a barrage of criticism online by users, in the form of GIFs, image memes and other comments. There’s no doubt that the USDP suffers from a tremendous image problem, because its leadership is largely composed of the same circles that ran the former military junta. Many liken it to a revolving door.
This set of campaign slogans, since being first uploaded by Facebook user Ye Min on June 26, has already been liked almost 3,900 times and seen over 10.5K shares.
As they reflect some popular sentiments, I’ve translated them below.
“Vote for the USDP to travel through a deserted town center with bamboo rafts!”
“Vote for the USDP to arrange for our Chinese kin to happily smuggle out our country’s timber!”
“Vote for the USDP so that Burmese timber can be illegally smuggled out!”
“Vote for the USDP to allow the people’s representatives to be elected by refusing and banning humanitarian relief from reaching Cyclone Nargis victims!”
(In reference for a questionable constitutional referendum held in the immediate aftermath of Burma’s worst natural disaster in living memory, a referendum in which 92% of the voters ostensibly approved the drafted Constitution and set the stage for the 2011 election. The government claimed a 99% turnout, despite millions of people displaced or killed in coastal areas by the storm.)
“Vote for the USDP to donate flaming monk robes to the Sangha!”
(In reference to over 100 Buddhist monks who were brutally attacked with phosphorous grenades by police during the 2012 Letpadaung copper mine protests.)
“Vote for the USDP so that all of Burma’s forests can be covered with ‘bald’ hills!”
“Vote for the USDP so that families can overcome the darkness of nightfall with the light of a candle in order to complete their studies.”
(In reference to the low electrification rate of Burma’s households).
“Vote for the USDP to continue producing armies that are ready to shoot and kill elderly farmland owners after their land has been seized!”
(In reference to controversial land seizures and disputes throughout the country, many of which have benefited conglomerate plantation owners and the military. The Burmese army forces soldiers to grow their own food, so they often seize privately owned land.)
“Vote for the USDP so that we can continue building primary schools that exceed international standards with momentum!”
(Pictured is a straw-thatched building housing a primary school in Kyaukkwe village, Labutta Township, in the Irrawaddy delta.)
“Vote for the USDP to let us beat up students for taking pictures!”
(In Burmese, ‘beat up’ is the same word as ‘take picture.’)
“Vote for the USDP to let Burmese youth earn money for themselves (like us), and lead relaxing lives sniffing glue bottles!”
(I think this is a reference to a government official gaffe, but I don’t recall who exactly.)
2 thoughts on “A sarcastic take on USDP campaign slogans”
Who would have thought Facebook would become the most potent political weapon in the hands of the ordinary Burmese with an android phone? The minister Soe Thane has read the riot act according to Myanmar Express posted by someone and shared on where else but Facebook.
Nice! One meme reminded me that I did study with candle light and kerosene lamp until finishing high school. 🙂