Thoughts about rule in Myanmar
You may not talk very much daily. You may not work a lot daily. But you think since you wake up until you go to bed.
Every morning when I pass by Pyay Road, I always wonder about it. Both sides of Pyay road are very clean and look peaceful around 8 AM. That’s thanks to YCDC. However when I come back from work around 5 in the evening, it is very colorful with rubbish on both sides. People say “Oh. That’s too bad. People are disorganized” when they see rubbish on roads. It’s right somehow. But those who said so sometimes do so by themselves. The thing is we don’t have enough dustbins that are handy and easily accessible. The government doesn’t provide enough for that matter.
Then let me think one more step. Well, let’s say we got enough dustbins provided by the government. However, we read “YCDC’s dustbins got stolen” in a journal two years ago. Don’t blame or judge the thief quickly please. For a poor person, he or she may steal a dustbin or a cup from a donated water booth. Since poverty affects education, health, attitude and personality, it’s quite reasonable that poor people steal. Then I wonder again if the government is guilty for not changing some rules quickly so that people would be free from poverty.
There can be a lot of things we can point out about discipline, as well as we may judge or blame saying that it’s your duty or it’s his duty. The problem is we have lots of gaps in obeying rules. Actually, Myanmar people are not necessarily disorganized. I think they are those people who don’t obey rules because they are allowed to do so. When I visited border towns, Ya-naung and Shwe-Li, I discovered that Myanmar people obey the rules exactly as local people do although they threw rubbish and they spit chewing betel in Mu-Se or Kawt-Thaung which are towns separated by just a river or fort abroad. Therefore, Myanmar people are not disorganized people. They break rules because they are allowed to.
We can assume that it’s because the government is very weak in training people to obey rules or providing a code of behaviours. It’s because of the lack of proper discipline in my country.
One more thing comes to my mind is about crossing road. Sometimes we see people who get arrested for not using the zebra crossings when they cross the road. At that time, what people do and advise each other on the way is like, “There is no policeman on that side, walk a bit more and cross from there”. They don’t recommend to each other to use the zebra crossing. What they think first is not to be fined or arrested. They don’t consider obeying the pedestrian rules. So it becomes alike the saying, “When cat’s away, mice will play!”. Plus, there are no traffic lights at zebra crossings and cars hardly slow down in crossing. Therefore, pedestrians have no idea when to cross and where to cross properly. Finally they just cross the road from wherever it is, as long as the road is clear of cars.
Well, you may think that finally I blame the government. Yes. There are millions of tactics to establish a project on papers but they still cannot create it practically. I know it costs a lot to establish a project for a country. But what we need indeed is the motivation to persuade public to participate or to obey the rules. Using punishment or fine to correct disobedience is not always good. So to become organized person, we need to train people since primary school. Then it will be rooted in their hearts and they will get used to obeying rules. What it’s all about is just rubbish. But it can lead to a bad society, and people will look down on Myanmar.
Our country is well known about its politeness, for being helpful, generous and its great sense of hospitality. I agree with that somehow. But what I understand by “politeness” is not only bowing your head down and giving respects to somebody higher than you at all times. I personally mean “polite” as “civilized”, not cultural politeness. We need to be fully civilized, to respect each other, to favor others and to show politeness.
But people cut the line although it says to queue up on the wall. Drivers drive crazily, using opposite way and they put the other drivers and pedestrians in danger. This shows that they don’t have sympathy. They don’t consider other people. Then we can’t say anymore that we are polite as long as we do so. Politeness doesn’t mean being rich or poor. It means mutual understanding and mutual politeness. But we still, sometimes, don’t have it in our minds. We didn’t even notice that we have been rude.
All these things happen, and have chances to happen, so it’s all because of a lack of discipline. We are not disorganized. But we are supposed to be like that.
Article translated from Popular Myanmar website by the Mingalapar Forum team