Monday, September 25, 2017

New Year awash with symbolism


Actress Daw Tin Tin Nyo celebrates Thingyan with her grandchildren. (Seng Mai / The Myanmar Times / April 11, 2012)Actress Daw Tin Tin Nyo celebrates Thingyan with her grandchildren. (Seng Mai / The Myanmar Times / April 11, 2012)

This year’s Thingyan is awash with symbolism.

Whilst we are all looking forward to the excitement of cleansing each other with water over the coming days, it would be imprudent to take this act at face value only. Instead, we should all take the time to pause and contemplate our lives and the future of our country, even if this is just for a moment.

For many, the anticipation of seeing an era close and a more democratic one begin offers a refreshing change.

The arrival of the new year, of course, should be a time of excitement and expectation as we prepare to unwind for a few days, see friends and family, and exchange greetings and gifts. Some among us may also resolve to be better people in the coming year.

But how do we resolve the disparity between our apprehensions and our expectations of something better in the days ahead?

Part of the answer lies in looking beyond current challenges to consider our greater desires for extended peace, economic prosperity and hope in a better future together. An ‘us’ and ‘them’ mentality is no longer viable; the future is about our nation speaking with each other, not just one part of it speaking down to another.

A fresh social contract between the people and our new government is what we yearn for. Only when we sit at the same table and speak as equals can we hope to resolve the problems we face effectively. Achieve this and then things can be said to have altered for the good.

In the midst of our New Year celebrations – a time of devotion, sacrifice and spiritual renewal – let us aspire to this and return to what is right and good because it is our failure to respect others that engenders so much of our social and personal disquiet.

This holds true, as well, in matters of commerce.

The values of trust, honour and reliability are at risk of buckling under the weight of our greed and ambition, leading to a reluctance to belong and to contribute to our communities.

The great hope is for responsible government to take root and for capitalism to be regulated fairly so that a closer relationship between the creation of wealth and its stewardship for the common good can be achieved.

Myanmar people are optimistic by nature and there is a sense of positive energy radiating in the air that brings with it hope for the emergence of good governance and leadership by our president, cabinet and parliaments. After all, they are elected by us and are obligated to serve their country.

As we head into New Year 1373 let us reflect on the kind of society we want for ourselves and our children, and on how we can work together to achieve it. 

In this spirit, The Myanmar Times extends its best wishes to every household in the hope that the New Year will bring happiness, health and prosperity to all. May this coming year ease our apprehensions and restore our confidence in others and in ourselves.