SAVE BURMA; Day of Action 5th Oct

5 10 2007

Dear readers,In support of the Burmese people’s struggle for freedom in the face of a violent crackdown by the Burmese junta:

This blogger and fellow SG-based Malaysian blogger Satya will be staging a two-man satyagraha (peaceful demonstration) outside the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China on Tanglin Road, Singapore later this morning (Friday 5th Oct) from 11am -2pm.


[ Mahatma Gandhi – pioneer of the satyagraha (‘Gandhigiri’) philosophy; photo from Wikipedia ]

Due to the great difficulty in obtaining official approval for public protests in Singapore (the SG government is equally as uptight about public protests as Malaysia is, they’re just less triggerhappy) and the extreme urgency over the ongoing violence in Burma, we have decided to circumvent the problem of the permit by staging a very small but (hopefully) high-impact two-man protest instead.

We have prepared a short memorandum to be submitted to the Chinese Ambassador and local media, if they show up. Download the memorandum here: save-burma.pdf

Why target the Chinese Embassy and not the Burmese?

Simple: the Burmese military junta is very similar to North Korea right now: isolated, paranoid, delusional and violent. International expressions of revulsion… are unlikely to have any effect on the Burmese government.

However, the Burmese military junta is still heavily dependent on China for political, military, economic and ideological support; Burma is virtually a client state of China (as is North Korea). Chinese support (in conjunction with petrodollars) is propping up the junta as part of a new ‘Great Game’ between China and India to assert strategic influence on Indochina. Despite attempts in recent years at hedging the country’s dependence on China, the Burmese government would probably collapse if the Chinese abruptly withdrew their support.

In other words, China has a great deal of leverage over Burma if it wishes to exercise it.

Obviously, China is highly reluctant to do so, but this is where international attention and pressure can be strategically brought to bear with the greatest effect. China is vulnerable to negative publicity right now because it MUST maintain a squeaky-clean public image for the upcoming 2008 Beijing Olympics. Therein lies our leverage.

By linking the violence in Burma to China’s own human rights record and the upcoming Beijing Olympics, we can gain some leverage over China. Bluntly speaking, I believe that we – the people of the world – can conceivably press the Chinese government to take meaningful action against the Burmese junta. I do not think they can afford to have the glamour of the Beijing Olympics ‘tainted’ by association with the blood of the Burmese protestors.

It is not desirable to politicise the Olympic Games; that statement notwithstanding, the Games have always been politicised to some degree, and I believe that this is the only way to force China to take real action.

ASEAN, as we have seen, is about as useful as having an extra toe growing out of your forehead. And, short of a military action, even the United Nations has very little influence over the Burmese junta.

Which leaves China.

Avaaz, the NGO that is organising the worldwide petition and newspaper ad campaign for the Burmese people, has also identified the same strategic issue, i.e.: to move Burma, we must press China.

Press hard. Burmese lives depend on it.


Just received the followup email from Avaaz, organiser of the worldwide petition to China and the UN Supreme Council to take action against Burma over the violent crackdown. The email is reproduced below, (red highlights added by me):


Dear friends,

Today, our petition to China and the UN Security Council to stop the brutal crackdown on peaceful Burmese protesters is being delivered to the world in a full page ad in the Financial Times worldwide — but the ad was rejected by other newspapers like the South China Morning Post and the Singapore Straits Times. Our message is an invitation to China to do the right thing in Burma, not an attack — yet even that seemed too much for media that fear Chinese reprisals.

We won’t let our voice be silenced like this. We’re taking our message to the streets, in an international day of action on Saturday — details are on our petition page, and below. And we’re redoubling our efforts to make our voice louder: our petition is approaching 600,000 signatures, closing fast on our 1 million goal.The petition link is below – send this email to all your friends and family and help us reach 1 million voices by Saturday!

To organize an event for the global day of action, just follow the steps below. To attend an event, scroll down our petition page at the link above for a list of events around the world. Here’s some simple steps for organizers:

  • Choose a public place or landmark in your town, and organize friends to go there all wearing the same maroon red clothing as the Burmese monks. Tell local media about your plans, and email the details and contact information to — we will try to advertise your event on our petition page.
  • Ask people attending your event to share their feelings on this crisis and the need for action, and then tie a red ribbon or piece of cloth around fences or trees to leave a more lasting sign of your support for the Burmese.

The worldwide outcry to save Burma’s peaceful monks and protesters is one more sign of how the world is getting closer, feeling increasingly responsible to each other, and for each other as human beings. We’re bringing a voice of humanity to this desperate situation, and we must not be silenced.

With hope and determination,

Ricken, Paul, Graziela, Ben, Sarah, Iain, Galit, Pascal, Milena and the whole Avaaz Team.

PS – Here are some great links for local reporting on the current situation in Burma: is staffed by a global team of campaigners operating on 3 continents. We have administrative offices in London, New York, and Rio de Janeiro. Please direct mail to our NY office at 260 Fifth Avenue, 9th floor, New York, NY 10001 U.S.A.


FREE BURMA! International Bloggers’ Day in Support of the Burmese People

4 10 2007


Free Burma website:

In solidarity with the courageous and peace-loving people of Burma.

Human rights NGO’s are organising a Vigil for Burma tomorrow night near KLCC. Details below, reproduced in entirety from Elizabeth Wong’s blog:

Vigil for Burma (Friday) October 5, 2007

Posted by elizabethwong in Current Affairs, Democracy, Event, Human Rights, International, Malaysia, Politics, Southeast Asia.

A Solidarity vigil will be held this Friday night, in support of Burma’s people, who are unable to exercise their fundamental rights in their country, and to express our opposition towards the Burma military junta’s bloody crackdown on protestors.

There are now reports filing in, that hundreds have been killed and some 6,000 people are being held at various detention facilities. Thousands of monks have been forcibly defrocked and are believed to be on their way to the military junta’s deadly labour camps.


The vigil is an initiative of civil society organisations, including Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM), Civil Rights Committee of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH-CRC), Youth For Change (Y4C) and Amnesty International (AI) Malaysia.


Date: Friday, 5 October 2007

Time: 8 p.m.

Venue: KLCC (entrance nearest to Menara Maxis, opposite Avenue K)


Please come to show your solidarity. Please bring candles, candle-holders, tang-lungs, pelitas and banners. Wear your red top too.


“Please use your liberty to promote ours”
– Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, detained Nobel Peace Laureate.


For further information, please contact SUARAM (MoonHui) at 03-77843525 or Amnesty International (K.Shan) at 03-79552680.


Stand With The Burmese People

3 10 2007

Received from AVAAZ, the organisers of the international petition to the UN Security Council and especially China to stop the killing of civilians and monks in Burma:


  Dear friends,Our emergency petition to stop the crackdown on peaceful protesters in Burma is exploding, with nearly 500,000 signers from every nation of the world. But the situation in Burma remains desperate, with reports of hundreds of monks being massacred and tortured. Burma’s rulers have also killed and expelled international journalists, cutting off global media coverage of their cruelty.China is still the key – the country with the most power to halt the Burmese generals’ reign of terror. We’re delivering our message this week with a massive ad campaign in major newspapers, beginning with a full page ad in the Financial Times worldwide tomorrow, and in the South China Morning Post on Thursday. The strength of the ad comes from the number of petition signers listed – can we reach our goal of 1 million signatures this week? The link to sign the petition and view the ad is below, forward this email to all your friends and family!

China continues to provide key economic and military support to Burma’s dictatorship, but it has been openly critical of the crackdown. Now we need the government to match words with actions. Our ad paints a powerful moment of choice for China in its relationship with the world – will it be a responsible and respected member of the global community, or will it be associated with tyranny and oppression?

People power, on the streets of Burma, and around the world, can triumph over tyranny. Our strength is in our numbers, spread the word!

With hope and determination,

Ricken, Paul, Ben, Graziela, Pascal, Galit and the whole Avaaz team.

For the best local reporting on the situation in Burma, try these links:

_____________________________________ is staffed by a global team of campaigners operating on 3 continents. We have administrative offices in London, New York, and Rio de Janeiro. Please direct mail to our NY office at 260 Fifth Avenue, 9th floor, New York, NY 10001 U.S.A.

SOLIDARITY: Burma (4); Free Burma Campaign 4th Oct

2 10 2007

[ UPDATED ] 071003 . 1730

3,200 bloggers are supporting the Free Burma campaign as of this time.

[ URGENT ] 071002 . 1800

Thursday 4th Oct 2007 has been designated Free Burma International Bloggers Day in support of the Burmese people who have courageously risen in peaceful protest against their violent and oppressive military government.

In addition to the ongoing demonstrations against the violent crackdown, international bloggers will be posting in unity and solidarity with the Burmese people against the violent and oppressive Burmese junta. Approximately 1,800 bloggers from all over the world have signed on to this initiative at the time of this post.

Please go to the Free Burma website for details:

Please help to publicise this campaign and rally support for the Burmese people. Their sacrifice must not be in vain.

(Just seen from Malik Imtiaz Sarwar’s blog ‘Disquiet‘)

SOLIDARITY: Burma (3); Day of Action 29 Sept

29 09 2007

[ UPDATED ] 070930 . 1315

Petition has 235,000 signatures at the time of this update. Please support the petition HERE.


[ UPDATED ] 070929 . 1400

In support of the peaceful pro-democracy demonstrators in Burma, who even now are suffering as the Burmese military junta executes a violent crackdown on the unarmed civilians and monks: an NGO has organised a worldwide petition in solidarity with the Burmese people.

The petition is targeted at and will be submitted to the UN Security Council and especially Chinese President Hu Jin Tao (as China is the Burmese junta’s main ally and source of support) and will be circulated to international media networks.

The petition has garnered 211,000 signatures as of the time of this post and will be sent out as soon as it reaches 250,000 signatures.

Please support the Burmese people’s struggle for democracy and sign the petition here.


[ ORIGINAL POST ] Read the rest of this entry »

SOLIDARITY: Burma (2); Petronas Money Helps Buy Burmese Bullets

28 09 2007

[ UPDATED ] 070928 . 1745

Latest reports: 13 confirmed dead, hundreds injured, hundreds arrested and missing. Casualty figures likely to be higher than official accounts.

[ all photos below sourced from Reuters ]


above : unarmed protestors flee as police and troops open fire and baton-charge them.


above : Burmese troops firing tear gas at the demonstrators.


above : Japanese photojournalist Kenji Nagai, 50, of APF News Tokyo continues filming even as he lies wounded after being shot by troops. Nagai died shortly after.



2 photos above : 2,000 Burmese protestors demonstrated outside the Burmese Embassy in Jalan Ampang, KL this morning.

[ All photos above from Reuters News Agency, article here ]

9 confirmed dead, hundreds injured, hundreds arrested and missing in the ongoing violent crackdown by the Burmese military junta. But the Burmese people are resisting.

BBC videos of the ongoing violence in Burma/Myanmar:

Photos and latest reports at the Democratic Voice of Burma website:



Latest reports from Burma/Myanmar indicate that at least 9 persons have been killed, dozens injured and hundreds summarily arrested in the ongoing bloody crackdown by the Burmese military junta on unarmed pro-democracy demonstrators and Buddhist monks. Latest coverage from the BBC.

ASEAN has predictably remained (elegantly) silent over the bloody crackdown on peaceful pro-democracy demonstrators and monks in Burma/Myanmar… and Malaysia has been even friendlier than most, with Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar going so far as to reassure the Burmese military junta that it was “business as usual”.

Well surprise, surprise.

But of course the UMNO-BN government sees nothing wrong with the Burmese junta shooting and beating unarmed pro-democracy protestors; we just shot two of our own a couple of weeks ago in Batu Burok! Biasalah. The people are so troublesome, always demanding their rights and marching and protesting and making us leaders look bad. Let’s shoot a few and scare them all. Show them who is boss. Tembak satu dua, yang lain tu kita tembak gas pemedih mata, belasah sikit, ha, barulah mereka faham keadaan.

Besides, there’s all that business to worry about. Industry experts estimated that in 2005, just two foreign oil-and-gas firms (France’s Total and PETRONAS) alone generated about USD 1 bil in revenues (link) for the Burmese military junta. Petronas is a major presence in the Burmese oil industry and works closely with the state run Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise for exploration and extraction of oil and gas resources, providing a major source of foreign currency revenue for the cash-strapped military junta which presides over a failed state and economy. In short, Petronas is among a number of companies whose revenues are helping to prop up the regime.

I am sorely tempted to break decorum to spit on ASEAN, possibly one of the most useless and irrelevant regional groups in history. ASEAN’s ‘Non-interventionist policy’ is just a euphemism for “I’ll cover your ass, and you cover mine.” As I mentioned in an earlier reply to a comment, the problem with ASEAN is that almost every single member nation has skeletons in its own closet, and to criticise Myanmar would be to invite unwelcome scrutiny of its own questionable policies and actions.

Dare Malaysia condemn the violence in Myanmar, having just fired on our own unarmed citizens? Dare the Thai military regime — still fresh from their latest coup d’etat and now busily slapping ‘lese majeste’ charges on every dissident in sight — speak harsh words to Myanmar? Even squeaky-clean Singapore has just avoided the problem by simply regulating civil society space virtually out of existence.

The blood of the Burmese people is on ASEAN hands… and Malaysia’s.

Shame on ASEAN. Shame on Malaysia.


Excerpt from Malaysiakini: (red highlights mine)

Read the rest of this entry »