Sunday, June 8, 2008

Who is Mad? Is it Than Shwe?

Waving to the People of Burma

Which of us is mad? Is it Than Shwe? Or has listening to the stories of policy being determined by numbers, astrological charts, reincarnated kings and entrails finally affected our thinking?

We were all amazed here that the regime did not receive a larger percentage of the vote at the recent referendum. We always note the precision of the regime's figures, especially for a country that often simply makes them up. So we laughed at the 92.4% win, noting that they must have learnt something, avoiding the absurdity of announcing a 99% vote for their constitution. Then a friend pointed out that Than Shwe came to power, after ousting Saw Maung on the 23 April 1992. What is the connection you may wonder? Well April is the 4th month of the year, so if we transpose 4.92 we get surprisingly 92.4. Is this Than Shwe's lucky number? Is it the number that the Senior General believes denotes his win over Saw Maung and his ascendancy to the throne, now that the country has a new constitution designed to allows him to rule in perpetuity?

Can this be another example of policy making that would miraculously improve, if sanctions were removed. Surely, the Senior General is not as backward as we are making out!

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