March 30, 2016 will be judged by the historians of tomorrow as a significant day for the Burmese people, a day that embodied recent developments in Burma’s political landscape, a day that culminated with the swearing in ceremony of U Htin Kyaw as the country’s new president, the country’s first civilian president in 54 years.
The morning of March 22, to much anticipation, U Htin Kyaw publicly submitted a shortlist of 18 nominees for ministerial portfolios in his new cabinet, giving the world a glimpse into both how NLD intends to run the civilian government and how the military intends to run ministries under its control. Here’s a closer look at this select group of individuals. Continue reading
A few years ago, I wrote about bureaucratic bloat in Burma’s national government. At the time, Burma had 31 cabinet level ministries, well above Southeast Asia’s regional average. Turns out this is finally being addressed, in one of U Htin Kyaw’s first welcome proposals as the president-elect.
The other day, I came across something profound. Perhaps it’s been forgotten by the vast majority now, but Burma, like its Southeast Asian neighbors, once had an Indic national motto, during its short-lived parliamentary period following independence from 1948 to 1962.
On Thursday, March 26, Than Shwe’s grandson posted a Facebook photo of Than Shwe and his granddaughter. An Irrawaddy article, “Former Burma Supremo Seen in Rare Photo With Granddaughter,” first brought this to my attention.
Just Google “broken congress” (or “dysfunctional congress”) and you’ll be greeted by hundreds upon hundreds of articles heralding the demise of American democracy. It’s no surprise–Americans have a lower rating of Congress than of any other branch in government. And the average American, myself included, feel more and more powerless, more and more disenfranchised, to change a system where the odds are stacked against our favor.