By Thomas Toe
Thousands of people lined the roads in Kawhmu township to greet Aung San Suu Kyi on an appearance at the weekend where she is due to contest a by-election for a parliamentary seat on April 1.
She made two campaign speeches.
Karen dancers performed ethnic folk dances as Suu Kyi made her first speech to a crowd of supporters at War-thin-kha village, where she has registered in the name of a poor family member to contest the by-election.
She told the crowd of more than 10,000 at her second speech, packed into a football ground at Nget-Orr-San village late on February 11, that: “The strength of the people must use for the country. Our strength must not be used [just] for ourselves, our family, but for the whole country.”
She said: “The value of a person cannot be judged only by his educational qualification but by his generosity, how much he can do for others. A person, a family or a community cannot work alone for the development of the country.”
“To get the victory, the strength and the participation of the people is essential. We all must be able to point out the real situation of our country, what need to be done and there must be transparency,” Suu Kyi said.
Myanmar’s greatest challenge is poverty, said Suu Kyi. She had seen many children along the road and “we need to do a lot for their better education. We must work for better health care also. We need to work with cooperation, for the children to acquire good spirit, to have good character and right thinking.”
U Francis 57, an NLD member and one of the 28 active members of Kawhmu district’s canvassing group for the by-election, told ucanews.com: “We have great expectation and hope for the development of [this] poor town through the help of Suu Kyi.
Francis said most people from Kawhmu township are farmers and daily wage earners, and many are almost destitute, while the local standards of education are very low. Most children quit school after primary level as their parents cannot afford to send them to higher education, he said.
If Suu Kyi is elected, said Francis, she will really work for the development of the Kawhmu people, to upgrade the educational level and health care in the township.
A resident of nearby Hnet Aw San village said the high turnout was a “reflection of love” for the woman often known simply as The Lady. “Many villagers from near and far arrived here at the football ground early in the morning. They brought their own food. Nobody sent any invitations but they came of their own free will.”