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270 Section III, U, Profile U NYO MYA, OR “MAUNG THUMANA” Reproduced from Maung Maung, “U Nyo Mya, or ‘Maung Thumana’” in The Guardian V, no. 10 (October 1958): 31–34; 52–53, by permission of Daw Khin Myint, wife of the late Dr Maung Maung. The other day U Nyo Mya, editor of the “Oway” newspaper, flew to Monywa on his way to Ahmyint, his hometown. He will be away for a few weeks, but his is not a journalist mission, but a political one. He had, since the last few months, been a member of the “Clean AFPFL”, and he is an aspirant to the Chamber of Deputies which will assemble anew. He has all these many years wielded a sharp and witty pen in the service of the country in the light that is given him. Now he feels that Burma needs more of him, the whole of him. Thus, he is going into Parliament, to raise his voice on that broader platform, to fight for justice and democracy, to be protector of the common man. Yes, if he is elected, (and he is confident he will be), he will serve not the “Clean AFPFL” only, but will see, he promised me, that the Opposition “Swe-Nyein” and others were not suppressed or persecuted. He would go into Parliament, therefore, in 03U DrMaung.indd 270 2/28/08 2:27:18 PM Reproduced from Dr Maung Maung: Gentleman, Scholar, Patriot by Robert H. Taylor (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2008). This version was obtained electronically direct from the publisher on condition that copyright is not infringed. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the prior permission of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. Individual articles are available at U Nyo Mya, Or “Maung Thumana” 271 the dual role of “Nu-Tin” supporter and “Swe-Nyein” protector. So, let both factions rejoice on the emergence of Nyo Mya the politician, the knight in shining armour. And more important still for the immediate and practical purposes, let them both vote for him and send him by a landslide victory into Parliament. x x x x x Ahmyint, in Chaung-U township, has a proud history. It was the playground of the Burmese kings and princes, the womb of many famous men. “Minletwa”, the minister who earned, by merits, the favoured recognition of Kings, Mindon and Thibaw, was the Myosa of Ahmyint. A physically strong man, an able governor, Minletwa was intensely nationalist, and he was one of the few Burmese leaders who resisted British invasion to the last. The British offered him a pension of 1000 good silver rupees per month in hoping to buy his allegiance; he spurned the offer and retired to Ahmyint to live to the end of his days as a simple, but happy, farmer. Nyo Mya is a descendant of Minletwa from the father’s side, and though one may have to look very hard these days to find traces of Minletwa in him, he promises that they are there and will reveal themselves very soon. U Wisara who gave up in life in hunger strike that gave in defiance of British rule, was related to Nyo Mya from his mother’s side. It is unlikely that U Nyo Mya, the politician, will ever go on hunger strike to the death to prove a point or register a disapproval, but then that will not be because he lacks the spirit; he is full of spirit, all right, but he has a more powerful weapon than the hunger strike, and that is his pen. U Tha Zan, Nyo Mya’s father, was an influential headman whom the villagers loved and respected, and he was a Member of the Legislative Council for several years before the war. A big, voluble, generous man, U Tha Zan gave away his wealth in many public charities; burned it away largely in alchemy, at one time buying a hill on the pagoda-studded Sagaing hills, to devote himself freely and entirely to the search for the philosopher’s stone. U Tha Zan had a huge appetite for life, and for food, and even in his old age he could eat with enjoyment twenty platefuls of the famous Ahmyint chop-suey. Nyo Mya is relying to a very large 03U DrMaung.indd 271 2/28/08 2:27:18 PM 272 DR MAUNG MAUNG: Gentleman, Scholar, Patriot extent on the reputation of the father...


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