A sketch of Bilat Pyan Than , from “Perfect Hostage”

May 19, 2011 at 2:28 pm 3 comments

New York furnished another family friend of even greater importance in her life. In her youth , Ma Than E had been a famous Burmese beauty. Born into a Baptist Christian family in 1908 , she gained a place at Rangon University. Then, like Khin Kyi, she enrolled at a teacher training college, before winning a scholarship to pursue her studies in England. Back home before the Japanese war, she became celebrated as a singer of Burmese love songs. During their courtship Khin Kyi and General Aung San often listened to her recordings, though it was not until January 1946 that she came face-to-face with the Bogyoke. When the Japanese invaded Burma, Ma Than E escaped to India, where she worked for All India Radio’s Burmese service, and then to San Francisco , where she performed similar duties for the broadcasting station of the US office of War information-what was to become VOA (Voice of America). The end of the war found her in London again. When Aung San’s delegation arrived for its momentous negotiations with Prime Minister Attlee, Ma Than E was sometimes invited to dine with them in the spacious , but ill-heated suite at Dorchester Hotel that the British government was paying for. She would sing her songs for the Bogyoke, and his guests, and undertake shopping expeditions on his behalf buying presents for Khin Kyi and their three tiny children.

Soon afterwards Ma Than E joined the permanent staff of the newly created United Nations. Although her job, and marriage to an Austrian film-maker, kept her way from Burma, she visited Aung San’s widow whenever circumstance permitted. To the young Suu Kyi, she became known as “Auntie Dora”-the Christian name Ma Than E had been given at the missionary school when she herself was a child. Later Suu Kyi would also sometimes refer to her as my emergency aunt.

While Suu Kyi was at St Hug’s , Ma Than E was posted to Algeria, whither Suu Kyi went for one of her summer vacations, in 1965. Arriving days after the socialist regime of Ben Bella had bee ousted by the more moderate government of Hourai Boumedienne, Suu Kyi expressed the wish to meet as many ordinary Algerians as she could. She spent most of the ensuing weeks living and working with a group of international volunteers who ran a social reconstruction project. But if Ma Than E saw less of her change than she had anticipated , she was not displeased. She admired Suu Kyi’s youthful idealism, sparing her the tedium of endless UN and diplomatic cocktail parties.


(Photo from Burma Thwe's Facebook)

The year of 1969 found Ma Than E working in the UN headquarters building in New York, and renting an apartment nearby in fashionable Beckman Place, off 49th street on First Avenue. Although the apartment was scarcely spacious, she insisted that Suu Kyi stay with her. For the next three years, despite an age difference of almost forty years, the two women lived as housemates, sharing domestic chores and preparing whenever they could find the right ingredients, Burmese food together. But Ma Than E was also supremely helpful in another way, The long journey across Manhattan to the New York University faculty building in Washington Square was not just tiring for Suu Kyi. The bus rides made her giddy. Much as she was exhilarated by the cosmopolitan bustle of New York , she found the attitude of some of its streetwise denizens threatening , so that when after a few weeks , Ma Than E suggested she take a job at the UN instead, Suu Kyi readily agreed. Her postgraduate studies could wait a while.

From the book “Perfect Hostage by Justin Wintle” , page 200 and 201

ေလွကေလး ေတးသံရွင္ အခုေန ဘယ္ေရာက္ေနပါလိမ့္။ အဂၤလန္နိုင္ငံ ေအာက္စ္ဖို့က သက္ျကီးရိပ္သာ ( nursing home) တစ္ခုမွာ ခိုလံႈေနသည္တဲ့။ အေနာက္ဘက္ထြက္၊အေနာက္နိုင္ငံသားနွင့္ အိမ္ေထာင္ရက္သားက်၊ အခုေတာ့ အသက္ ၉ဝ ရြယ္ မုဆိုးမဘဝနဲ့ အထီးက်န္ဆန္ဆန္ေနရသတဲ့။ လူေတြလာလည္ရင္ သိပ္ဝမ္းပန္းတသာ ရိွလွသတဲ့။

(ေဒါက္တာေအာင္ၾကီး -သီခ်င္းလူ ပံုျပင္လူ ၿငိမ္းခ်မ္းလူ စာအုပ္မွ)

အဲဒီစာအုပ္မွာပါတဲ့ အခ်က္ကို မွန္မမွန္သိခ်င္လို႕ ေမးၾကည့္ေတာ့ အဂၤလန္က မမစုက ေျဖေပးတယ္။

Su Su Mar

ၾကီးၾကီး လြန္ခဲ့တဲ့ ၃ႏွစ္ေက်ာ္က ဆုံးသြားၿပီ။
ေတြခဲ့ ခင္ခဲ့ပါတယ္။
စာအုပ္ေတြ အမ်ားၾကီးနဲ႕ သူ႕တိုက္ခန္းေလးမွာ..။
သူ႕ဟုမ္းက ေစ်းၾကီးတယ္ သူစုေဆာင္းထားတာေလး သုံးသြားရတာေပါ့။

ဒါေပသိ ၾကီးၾကီးက တခါ တခါ ဘိုဆန္တဲ့ အဖြားဆိုေတာ့ တမ်ိဳးပဲ
သူေနမေကာင္းတည္းက ဘယ္သူမွ အေတြမခံေတာ့ဘူး
အသုဘကို သြားခဲ့တယ္ ဆႏြင္းမကင္းယူသြားတယ္
သူ႕စာအုပ္တအုပ္ေတာင္ အခုထိ က်မဆီမွာ…။

ဒါကေတာ့ Silence and Fear ဆိုတဲ့ documentary မွာပါတဲ့ ဘိလပ္ျပန္သန္းပါ။

ွဘိလပ္ျပန္သန္း ရဲ႕ နာမည္ၾကီးသီခ်င္းအခ်ိဳ႕ ကို ဒီမွာ နားဆင္ၾကည့္ႏိုင္ပါတယ္။

မုိးေဒဝါသံဆန္း http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4M3S2RpZE0
ျမဝတ္မႈံ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCArDSmLy7c&feature=related
မိဘုရားေစာ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-gRDsO0Bvk&feature=related
လသာတဲ့ည http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ii23PaH5kJU&feature=related
ငွက္ေမာင္ႏွံ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMPUcJFWFek&feature=related
ေတာဓေလ့ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFEXKSIRocQ&feature=related
အေတြ႔ထူးသူ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdB87eFMfIs
ခင့္စိတ္ကူး http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFrgLtrP0lA
ဲျမၾကာယံ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZmx5VmrAdQ


Entry filed under: ဘိလပ္ျပန္သန္း, Sharing.

အက်င့္ဆိုး -ေရႊတိုင္ညြန္႕ ျမသန္းတင့္-ကၽြန္ေတာ္ႏွင့္ ဂ်ာနယ္ေက်ာ္မမေလး (၃၁)

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Anonymous  |  May 27, 2012 at 9:33 am

    very interesting, I have great interest in Daw Bilat Pyan Than, I can’t find uch about her life story, love to know her pre war life, for instance how she retain the name Bilat pyan and so on. love to know more

  • 2. khineshwewa  |  May 20, 2011 at 12:36 am

    Thanks Ma Shwe Mi for sharing with us. Looking forward to reading your next post.

  • 3. ခ်စ္ညေလး  |  May 19, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    Interesting piece! Thanks for posting.


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Voici mon secret. Il est très simple: On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.

Here is my secret. It is very simple: It is only with the heart that one can see truly; what is essential is invisible to the eyes.

Le Petit Prince (1943) by Antoine de Saint Exupéry


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