“Where is Surin Pitsuwan, Asean’s leader? As a former foreign minister of Thailand, he often criticized the junta’s abysmal human rights record. Now Asean has a human rights charter. Wouldn’t it be proper for Asean to exercise its human rights principles at this sad moment in Burma’s history by clearly and forcefully condemning Burma in the strongest possible language?”

While NGOs fly here and there, across Asia and Europe, trying to ‘lobby’ ASEAN to take up human rights issues, Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is languishing behind bars.

After their countless ‘touristy’ trips, they have the cheek to ask ASEAN to interfere and seek her release. Isn’t 19 years a bit too long, to still go on engaging ASEAN? Knowing that it can’t ever bear any fruit?

Anyway, ASEAN is an economic grouping and whatever it says about ‘human rights’ is merely its PR scheme. But NGOs prefer to pretend they can still have an influence over ASEAN leaders.

But while NGOs have so called ‘consultations, dialogues and engagement’ in five star hotels and trips round the world, people like Suk Kyi can never know freedom.

These NGOs have much to blame as the ASEAN leaders if not worse. ASEAN at least is clear about their intention. They’re interested in economy, in each other’s potential to enrich one another.

But the NGOs? Their wishy washy about their roles.How can you sit on the same table and become buddies with a group of people you know for sure can only pretend to help you but never did.

Unless you are pretentious yourselves.

You can’t imagine the amount of money and trips spend on ‘ASEAN engagement’. What is the result? Nothing, and more human rights abuses.

I hope NGOs can stop prostituting themselves to ASEAN and start doing some serious work. But the point is, these NGOs get lots of money from funders – western countries alike – to carry out their nonsensical work with ASEAN.

These funders, and the countries they represent, has as much to blame as well.

Suk Kyi is now frail in health and has been recently thrown into a notorious prison on new charges. Yes, the world is protesting. But without any real measures from World leaders and so called NGOs fighting for democracy, human rights and blah blah…

Suk Kyi’s life will diminish and we have only ourselves to blame.

30 responses »

  1. thanaif says:

    Cik Susan,

    Kewarasan yang ingin diketengahkan bagaimana NGO kita dibebaskan dari imej yang mengupayakan pengukuhan dasar dan keperluan dari Amerika?

    Kewarasan tidak wajar dibelenggu oleh kehendak yang dipengaruhi oleh kepentingan umpamanya.

    Tuhan menjadi pelindung kepada seluruh ummat manusia.
    Bagaimanakah kesedaran ini menjadi proses yang membudayakan sifat kemanusiaan dari insan memberikan perlindungan sesamanya tanpa perlukan balasan dan ganjaran seperti yang dinatijahkan oleh nilai-nilai kebendaan?

    Saya gembira andai Cik Susan mengktengahkan modal insan kita yang dilahirkan oleh pengimanan dari kesedaran beragama di mana kekurangan dan kelemahan diri diusahakan pembaikannya.
    Namun masih tetap tidak dipersaingkan gender kerana masing-masing diberikan fungsi dan tanggungjawabnya untuk diamanahkan.

    Isu moral ialah bagaimanakah dibina agar penerima amanah upaya beramanah?
    Indeks di Bursa umpamanya, amanah siapakah yang digalas, khianah siapa pula yang dipaut?

  2. wits0 says:

    ASEAN has long become ARSE_SEEN over this issue – totally hopeless. It’s precisely like applying Gandhi-ian theory in the wrong context and situation. The appalling parody will continue till the cows come home with China and Japan joining hands. All are concerned with their own economic and strategic interests only. The moral dimension is pretended not to exist or important enough.

  3. […] See the original post here: ASEAN and NGO tourism […]

  4. Menyalak-er says:

    Well written and true, Susan.
    I wonder how many of these NGOs in these ‘touristy’ tours bother to talk to the common people in Yangon, who are amongst the most oppressed in the world? I had spent some time with an ex- student ‘radical’ and his freinds there who are all NLD activists, thus are ‘hard-core’ jailbirds. It is a standing black joke that the Myanmarese jails are ‘hell in heaven’! Standing room only!
    Amongst other things, SPDC(formerly known as SLORC) is guilty of murder, arbitary executions, forced relocations and labor, rapine, torture, ethnic cleansing, child labor etc. which make the Balkan War seem like a stroll in the park.
    ‘Frail’ Daw Aung SanSuChi, is the only unifying/shining symbol in this fractured nation, and Gen Than Schwe the mongrel & rogue is the opposite – ‘superstitio et prava’ – depraved superstition, who cannot allow progress.
    Yes, the NGO’s are just mewing at the rabid dogs; and I agree with wits0, with regards to ASEAN who under the insistence of Octo-kutty talked about “constructive” engagement with a pan-phobic regime which resulted in the regional block being a laughing stock of the world.

  5. Magnus Holm says:

    “Anyway, ASEAN is an economic grouping and whatever it says about ‘human rights’ is merely its PR scheme. But NGOs prefer to pretend they can still have an influence over ASEAN leaders.”

    Yes, ASEAN is (first and foremost) an economic grouping, but exactly because of this, they would have some real leverage if they actually decided to take human rights seriously. As to whether or not NGOs can ever have any real influence over ASEAN leaders, i do not know, but you cannot blame them for trying.

    “I hope NGOs can stop prostituting themselves to ASEAN and start doing some serious work.”

    I guess we all want NGOs to do serious work, and none of us want them to prostitute themselves, be it to ASEAN or other economic or political powers. However, I am rather curious as to exactly what kind of serious work you think the NGOs should engage in to best help the Burmese people, Susan. If ASEAN is a dead end, what road should the NGOs take?

  6. bee yong says:

    Human Rights. What is human rights to ASEAN. When human Right was globally chartered, ASEAN was not even born; the countries of ASEAN were so insignificant at that time. To ASEAN, Human Right is a Western practice while they practise it according to their needs or in their favour.
    Who is Suk Kwi to the West and ASEAN. She is just the cause for the West to stir up the stability in that part of the world while ASEAN used her name for political mileage. I doubt they give a holt who she is; she is there for a show.

  7. sloone says:

    Some NGOs have stopped being critical of ASEAN because they want the 1-3 minute dialogue with ASEAN leaders. They trail these leaders in all their meetings across the globe, just to be in the same room, and or sit on the same table. They’ve come up with thousand words submissions which are so far away from the people, those really affected can’t even feel it. Why not boycott ASEAN? WHy not come out strongly to say that NGOs cant work with ASEAN unless they see some results.

    Right now what is happening is that ASEAN use NGOs to do their PR job. And NGOs use ASEAN to get more funds to travel to meetings.

    I know, because I work among them.

  8. whispering9 says:

    In a modern day scenario, some of the NGOs are just like the traders and peddlers who sold caged birds to be released on auspicious days and religious events. They promote freedom by using cages. Her suffering and sacrifice has probably become their bread and butter. There are many like that, even in Malaysia. Sigh. Our politicians and leaders try to emulate Mandela when they can’t even help her or identify with her plight.

  9. wits0 says:

    The Pharisees and Publicans in Jesus’ day?

    Like institutions, the shine disappears fast, like with the morning dew.

  10. whispering9 says:

    Yeah….wits0. How I wish there is a modern Jesus to whip and chase after them. Susan, maybe errrrr?

  11. kittykat46 says:

    Err…Sounds to me like many groupings much closer to home.

    The poor level of governance and transparency in the government administration has meant they have to grovel to UMNO-Barisan Nasional to get anything done.

    They stop being critical of the authorities, and frequently engage in Bodek-bodek activities.

    Quite sad to watch grown men kowtow to slimeballs.

  12. wits0 says:

    It’s always been logical to deduce that since these NATO(No-Action-Talk-Only)participants know too well already that they won’t be achieving anything, therefore they might as well glean some private advantage from that known fruitless ventures. Like, for big timers, to bring their family along as every major expense is paid for.

    BN ministers sometimes do the same in bringing along their family on official visits within the country, don’t they?

    The self agended NGOs are only camp followers ; the real big timers enjoyers of those useless process are the fat elites in ASEAN, e.g.

  13. eeyaw says:

    The sorry state of Burma’s political achille heel is the junta treatment of Aung Sang Suu Kyi, just as what happened to Altantuya here. Yes, bullying of harmless woman in the name of insecurity. I pray to GOD that these ruthless people be punished in their after life. Susan, thanks for highlighting, much appreciated.

  14. Menyalak-er says:

    NGO’s have no place in politics as pressure groups. They do best helping on the ground, and not ‘dabbling’ in things that they cannot change. There are examples of NGO’s where 60-80% of the donations are used for ‘administrative’ charges and only 20-40% reach the target group. I’m not being specific about this particular scenario…
    Does the West really care about Myanmar? Or only it’s symbol?
    Is Asean really an ‘economic’ grouping? Or are the powers that be are just scratching each others buttocks?

  15. wits0 says:

    When NGO’s are in politics here, only the gomen sponsored ones are vociferously heard with impunity. Another gomen tool.

    MahaKutty’s “Contructive Engagement”? Recalls the so called, “Constructive Criticism” that the gomen in past decades claimed it accepted and permitted?

    All criticism are destructive to the vainglorious and roguish, ler! Kok tok isn’t something new but has been long been the bumno’s signature tune.

    Radio news became rubbish around the mid sixties. Just those invariable litany of daily quotes of figures about expenditure the gomen allocated on this and that projects.

  16. Kancilandak says:

    Not to compared Aung Sang Suu Kyi is demokrasi ikon, Altantuya is Russian mafia come illegally to extortion on Malaysia govement secret. This two very ekstrim very diferent people.

  17. This suki is obviously fighting a losing a battle.

    To come out triumphantly from this deadlock, just simply fed the no-soul junta some poisonous mushrooms and let them go to hell.

    The Su Ki san will be the new order in Myanmar!

    The solution is KISS! (Keep it simple sis..)

  18. monsterball says:

    There is nothing to comment… when nothing can be done..by commenting.
    Powerful Nations met at the UN Assembly years ago…talk so much..agreed by majority ….she is a political victim in her own country..thereafter…each on his own….as each seem to say…there is nothing to benefit…to save her.
    Starting from USA…see how fast they responded to save Saudie Arabie from Sadam Hussein…all for oil..nothing else.
    So what will US benefit to say Aung

  19. CYC says:

    Difficult situation needs difficult approach and solution. Myanmar is an extreme case where the people are too poor to even feed themselves for far too long. There are no more burning aspiration for change, it simply died off.

    I think its time the Myanmar people stop depending on outside forces for help. Instead they should engage self help. Rise those youth spirit among the comrades to fight the junta. Your future is on your hand. The people in around the world has succeeded, so can you too. Evil will never triumph at the end.

  20. wits0 says:

    The U.N. Must Stop Enabling the Burmese Regime

  21. Menyalak-er says:

    Wits0, the UN acts as an NGO in Burma. They haven’t got a clue on how to deal with the junta.
    Neither does anyone – e.g. when Petronas supplied oil to them way back in the late 90s, the paid up partially in beads! hahaha…
    The repression of their own population is so bad because of the threat of ‘tribal nationalism’ – the people have no way of uniting and fighting back.
    The unofficial death toll ‘student’ riots is more than 3,000 and in the aftermath rotting bodies floated in Inya lake, within sight of Daw AungSan and the river.
    To deal with the Tatmadaw (Armed forces) requires the services of non less than Naif’s guruji and other sorcerers!

  22. wits0 says:

    O’Bummer who loves the UN so – Like Jackie Paper loves Puff – isn’t likely to do anything(more).

    Besides Burma is regarded as under the sphere of influence of China, India and Arseseen. What would the US jeopardize relationship with China over Burma?

    So it’s actually disingenuous to draw the US into the picture by quoting Desert Storm 1 as MB has done. The US also has a defense agreement with the Saudis. Imagine the US drawing flaks from all these enablers of the military junta of Burma! No gratitude is clearly likely anyway.

  23. CYC says:

    China, India and Asean countries being its immediate neighbors should shoulder the social and humanitarian responsibility in helping Myanmar to solve the crisis. China being its closest ally must exert its influence on the regime to free Aung San Suu Kyi. Otherwise, China will never able to emerge as the “Big Brother” in the region irrespective how mighty its economic muscle grows.

    Aung San suu Kyi has shown us what Gandhi has done before. Resistance with non violence act, what a strong yet compassionate woman she is. However, i really can’t bear to see her suffer further.

  24. Menyalak-er says:

    Hi CYC, sorry to inform you that the SPDC denies that there is any crisis. You are to look at reality, and must not wish unrealistically.
    The ‘crisis’ that is you mentioned is strictly in your head, for you may not ‘see’ Daw AungSan.
    For your information, the CCPC in Beijing are powerless to act against the SPDC, due to lucrative ‘underground’ trade deals (amongst which is teak, jade, gold & rubies). India also favors such ‘constructive’ engagement. ASEAN countries are very good neighbors, ever since the former Special Ambassador, his Eminence from Malaysia was chucked out.
    SPDC only welcomes NGO’s which bring cash in USD and Euros.
    They may only leave the country, after donating every single penny to the Glorious Bamar Union.

  25. CYC says:

    Menyalak-er, thanks for your reminder. i do understand why those countries mentioned reluctant to intervene. one word – greed. And Asean reduced to a mere economic caucus with no teeth to bite, how u hope to be taken seriously by US? How long should we tolerate such brutal regime that care only to enrich themselves while ignore the plight of its citizen even when the cyclone strike and killed thousands.
    Democracy and capitalism won’t solve the present day crisis but merely waiting to strike the jackpot of wealth when the regime collapse.
    Myanmar people while being too kind and soft must stand up and be counted. show them as what filipinos and indonesians have done – whack the dictator pants down. And never allow US to share your fruits of success thereafter… they are thieves without moral.

  26. wits0 says:

    CYC, the Gandhian style application of non violence protest in Burma has already been tried in ’07 and failed disastrously. The blood (and literally, the brain matters)of the monks in the streets testify to this. Admit it, blind application of Gandhi’s idea does not work in a wrong situation but a populist misconception is a die-hard thing. It’s become a taboo.

    For any hope of Beijing bringing down the Burmese brutal regime, that SPDC regime would have to be stupid like the murderous Khmer Rouge was in Cambodia in the seventies – in picking a fight with the Vietnamese neighbour. The SPDC is not so dumb as the Khmer rogues.

    If Arseen is itself admittedly greedy, why keep calling the US or anyone else that?

    I think your viewpoint and prejudice has become cyclical like resembling a rodent within a caged ferris wheel. The US is doing the right thing in staying away since the “integrity and sovereignty” mantra of Arseen is such a holy one. In actual fact, that “sovereignty” may have no “integrity”, so to speak.

  27. paraquat says:

    Many observers agree that a start could be made on at least ending ongoing human rights abuses if oil and gas companies operating in Burma use their influence with Burma’s ruling junta, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC).

    Current investors in Burma’s oil and gas industry include companies from Australia, the British Virgin Islands, China, France, India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Russia and the US.

    Those companies are funding the Burmese dictatorship.


  28. CYC says:

    wits0, i have no intention to segregate Us and Asean countries where greed is mentioned as the subject matter. Read between the lines , please. i m actually torn between adopting a wholesome act or revolutionary struggle to end the crisis lead by Burmese themselves. Having said that, i don’t mean external assistant can be ignored. But, the question is when will the hero arrive? It is not an epic, but certainly a leader or a group must emerge to lead.

    U and i surely concern with the trying situation in Myanmar that lead us to this discussion. No point bashing each other.

  29. penyaputoyol says:

    Najis afraid to promote tourism in Penanti…PPP upset…

    K’tan PPP appeals to PM to contest in Penanti

    PASIR PUTEH, 20 May 2009: The Kelantan PPP wants Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to reconsider the Barisan Nasional’s (BN) decision not to field a candidate in the Penanti by-election in Penang.

    Its chief Datuk Nik Sapeia Nik Yusoff said it was the BN’s responsibility to contest against any opposition candidate in the area in line with the principles of caring for the people’s well-being.

    “I feel that it is not appropriate for us to give an easy victory for the opposition. The government’s role is to ensure the people’s interests are taken care of,” he told Bernama.

    Najib announced on 18 May that the BN would not field a candidate in the by-election as it did not want “to dance to the opposition’s tune.”

    “I am appealing to the prime minister to field a candidate… if we don’t contest, it is as though we don’t want to fight for the people there,” he said.

    The nomination is on 23 May while polling is on 31 May.

    The seat fell vacant following the resignation of incumbent assemblyperson Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin of Parti Keadilan Rakyat. — Bernama

  30. billauchris says:

    Sentencing a poor helpless lady to house arrest for umpteen years for no other fault than emerging victorious in a general election is not only cruel but unjust and inhuman.

    What has the world been doing or done to secure the freedom of this this helpless lady? What are ASEAN countries doing? In my view, what ASEAN countries are doing or have been doing or have done for Aung Sang Suukyi are definitely and glossly inadequate. In fact , by having Myanmar as one of its country member, it is an embarassment to ASEAN leaders.

    Now an American tourist was recently caught swimming across the Inya Lake to meet with Aung Sang Suukyi and the military junta is trying to drum up excuses to prolong her house arrest.
    What sort of humans are the Myanmar military junta? Shame, shame, shame!!!

    The Nobel Laureate has suffered enough. When her busband passed away in UK, she was not allowed to attend his funeral. This is indeed an inhuman and senseless act.

    The super powers must secure her immediate freedom right away. She must not be allowed to continue to decay and die in house arrest for a crime or offence she did not commit.

    May the whole world pray for divine intervention to secure her fredom from the despot military government of Myanmar.

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