|Dr. Thant Myint Oo.|
(author & historian)
|Aung San Oo (2008?).|
Then a first-year student in Rangoon Institute of Technology (RIT) I narrowly escaped a certain death from the army's brutal raid of Rangoon University's campus at very last night.
Back then in 1988 he was the talk of the town in Bangkok among the Burmese exiles as every meeting and gathering even in the Buddhist monasteries his name was mentioned fervently as if he would be the ultimate savior of our desperately poor nation from her troubles.
(I do not want to disclose his name here though as I still had a nagging-feeling that he could even be working for clandestine government agencies. His three-storey building near the US Embassy in Bangkok had a few back rooms where a group of Americans toiling with radio-transmitters and tele-printers and desktop-computers were working 24/7.
|UN-ESCAP Tower in Bangkok (2010).|
He just told me that the senior executive we were going to meet that day was the UN executive responsible for helping Communist Vietnam reform its economy and he was also personally responsible for drawing the Foreign Investment Law for Vietnam.
That day after going through tight security at ESACP tower and finally at the top floor Executive Offices I was introduced to Dr. Tin Myint Oo in his grand-looking office with the splendid view of Bangkok skyline. I was seriously shocked. And he was also quite surprised by meeting unexpectedly a fellow Burmese preparing a country report on Burma, I guessed.
He finally asked me to keep in touch regularly with him, after warning me not to tell anyone especially the Americans I worked for about our private meetings, and gave me another appointment to see him a couple of days later. I was on the clouds and really looking forward to seeing him again.
Then all hell broke loose by the front page article on the Bangkok Post next day.
Dr. Tin Myint Oo The Savior of Burma, Not Aung San Oo?
The full-page article basically dismissed the widely-rumoured favourite Aung Son Oo and speculated assertively Dr. Tin Myint Oo as the prospective savior of Burma. And the newspaper detailed his achievements in his long UN career and him being the well-known son-in-law of U Thant and, after citing his Vietnam reforms and his Vietnam’s Foreign Investment law, proposed him as the most suitable person to lead Burma out of her present quagmires.
By then like most Burmese back home and abroad I was as pro-American as possible even for a born-communist who had suffered enormously under a Socialist rule all his life. Fuck the Socialists and Communists and every other left-wing cunts, I hated them with my guts by then and now too.
So I thought it was a right move for Burma if Americans were really behind our Dr. Tin Myint Oo and I was even more eager to see him again next day. I couldn’t sleep well that night even without expecting a serious danger waiting for me inside the ridiculously-secured UN building in Bangkok.
Serious Security Breach of Fortress-liked UN Tower in Bangkok
The tight security was there and armed-guards and Thai policemen in their ridiculously-tight-uniforms were sternly telling everyone to go away as Dr. Tin Myint Oo was not willing to see anyone. The security men even denied that Dr. Tin Myint Oo was in his office that day.
From there I called Dr. Tin Myint Oo’s office through the internal phone system, naively of course. His secretary answered and after a few minutes silence she told me her boss wasn’t in his office and abruptly hanged up.
I was quite frustrated and thinking of going up to the top floors when two UN security guards and two Thai policemen suddenly showed up in the library and started talking to the librarian as if they were looking for someone. Four stern-looking armed-men were looking for me but I did not know.
Once the librarian pointed me to them they quickly approached me and restrained me and basically dragged me into a detention-cell like room on the ground floor of main UN Tower. I was shocked as the rough interrogation started in that brightly-lit window-less room.
Threat to kill me and feed me to the Samut-prakan Crocodiles
|Holding almost quarter-a-million crocodiles Samut-|
Prakan is the largest crocodile-farm in the world.
From their conversations among them in Thai I could roughly figure out that they thought I could be an assassin sent by Burma Army to rid of their now-very-famous Dr. Tin Myint Oo. I couldn’t blame on them as from my stocky-build and my straight-back and open-chest posture most people I run into correctly guessed I was an ex-soldier.
From my IDs they also knew I was a Burmese national but they didn’t know I was reasonably fluent in Thai as I’d been living in Thailand for almost four years by then. So they talked freely in my presence of what they could do to me eventually.
Or they correctly guessed that I understood some Thai and they tried intentionally to scare me a Burmese man, for Thais historically hated us Burmese in general. Thailand has never been colonized by white men in her whole proud history except the Burmese for more than 50 years in 1569 and then again by King Bayinnaung in 1767.
They talked in Thai about taking me out to shoot me and then dump me body at the Samut-prakan Crocodile Farms. By then I was shit scared as I’d been hearing the widely-circulated rumours among Thais of the death-squads from Thai Army and Police kidnapping the left-wing political activists and killing them and feeding the bodies to the Samut-prakan crocodiles.
The small room without air-conditioning was also stifling hot and soon I got sweats coming out of my forehead and dropping onto the concrete floor between my feet while I was being scared to death by four armed-Thais as they forced me to stand nearly-naked almost two hours inside that little room.
Saved By a retired Thai Police-General
I was almost relieved with faint hope when the closed-door was knocked from outside and the Thais opened the door and saw a calm-looking old Thai man in business attires standing at the door. He entered and told the Thais to get out and then politely asked me to put my cloths back on. Surprisingly his face was so familiar to me as if I met him before somewhere.
So I immediately asked the name of his nephew and gladly found out he was one of my classmates and a closed friend. He was from a very old and established Thai family and as a westernized-Thai he has a Christian nick name. In Thailand the official names of Thais are so long and cumbersome that every Thai has a short nick name.
Once I told him of me being a friend and classmate of his nephew and also his Christian nick name the old man suddenly kind of relieved and excused himself and quickly disappeared out of the room.
|Thai policemen in Bangkok.|
When he came back in about half-an-hour later he was all smiles and told me that he made a couple of phone calls and one was to his nephew my Thai friend. The other one I guessed was Dr Tin Myint Oo even though he didn’t disclose to who the second call was. He said he accepted the fact that I was who I claimed to be and I had a genuine appointment at UN-ESCAP that day with Dr. Tin Myint Oo.
Anyway he let me go free after seriously warning me to stay away from the UN and Dr. Tin Myint Oo as it was in the interest of my own safety. He also added that in the interest of the national security of Thailand too, even though he didn’t explain why it was so.
My Visa was not Extended and I was Forced to Leave Thailand
That was not the end of my story. During that last month in Thailand I did finish my Country Report on Burma and was paid 40,000 Bahts (almost US$2,000). But after the ESCAP incident plain-cloth policemen from the Special Branch of Royal Thai Police were trailing me and watching my every move.
One Thai police officer who could speak Burmese even blatantly approached me at a bus-stop while I was waiting for a bus and introduced himself in fluent Burmese as SB Detective so-and-so and asked me how I was doing. They really wanted me to know I was being watched closely.
My year-long non-immigrant visa was expiring by then and when I tried to extend my stay there the Thai Immigration rejected straight away without telling me their reason even though last four years they kept on allowing me to extend every year. To this day I still wonder why they kicked me out of Thailand.
Unfortunately Burma by then was totally closed to international air travellers and I was basically trapped in Thailand. Fortunately I already had had skilled-immigrant visa for Australia in my Burmese passport and in December 1988 I landed at Sydney Airport as a brand-new immigrant under the skilled-immigrant category. I had nowhere else to go and my dear girlfriend was pregnant.
ASSK: The Last Legacy Candidate and Accidental Hero
In 1988 she was back in Burma temporarily to look after her ailing mother Daw Khin Kyi the widowed-wife of late General Aung san.
Widely accepted by the people of Burma as the father of Burma independence Aung San was the founding father of Burmese army and also his untimely death in the hands of U Saw’s assassins has left a ever-lasting political legacy. Even the dictator General Ne Win had to use Aung San’s legacy and in 1963 Ne Win proudly declared that his Burmese Way to Socialism was the continuation of Aung San’s Socialist policy.
|US Navy's Seventh Fleet in Burma's waters.|
|ASSK's criticizing U Nu's forming a parallel government.|
|Burmese politicians' failed attempt to form a unified|
caretaker government in September 1988.
(U Nu and ASSk in the middle of front row.)
|Dr. Tin Myint Oo at second-left of second-row (Michigan University - 1955).|
|Dr. Tin Myint Oo with U Thant's family at UNGA.|