This is her third exhibit of her Myanmar photos at the library. This year, she will hang 20 framed photos of three different sizes on the wall and will also present10 additional photos from her last trip to Nat Mauk, Myanmar, where she covered the National Day speech by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the National League of Democracy, on Dec. 8, 2012.
“Nat Mauk is about 250 miles north of Yangon, the largest commercial city in Myanmar. This quiet farming town is the birthplace of her father, General Aung San, who was the hero of Burma’s 1948 independence fight against the British colonial government.
National Day, celebrated based on the lunar calendar, is a Burmese holiday commemorating the very first strike against the colonial government by a handful of Rangoon University students in 1920. This protest was considered the first step towards 1948 independence,” explains Kinue.
“General Aung San, who was assassinated in 1947, is respected throughout the country as the father of the Burmese army and of Burmese independence. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is shares her father’s charisma and his views. For example, both emphasize equality among people including the many ethnic minorities living in the country.”
Kinue reports; “In front of an enthusiastic audience of hundreds, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi gave her National Day speech in Natmauk’s town square next to her father’s statue. She spoke about a variety of issues, including education, lack of jobs, transportation, and insufficient electric power supply. Then, she asked members of the crowd to raise problems that need immediate attention. One farmer complained that the bad roads prevented crops from being transported. Another farmer complained about having to use a lantern at night due to lack of electricity, and another person complained about the poor school system. She responded by saying that the bad roads and transportation is more of a priority than electricity, as one can still use lanterns at night, and she vowed she would work on these issues as well as on improving the education problem.
Hundreds of farmers and local residents came by pick-up trucks and motorcycles to listen to Aung San Suu Kyi’s speech. Thousands of others who could not attend her speech lined up along the country road for hours under the burning sun to greet her. The crowd continued to stand even after dark when her schedule was delayed. To wave back to those crowds, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi stood on the top of the van under the hot sun and in the chilly breeze after the sunset.“
Kinue studied Burmese at the Osaka University of Foreign Studies (presently Osaka University) as an undergraduate but never had a chance to practice it or visit Myanmar (formerly known by its English name, Burma) until 1998. “When I spent 4 days in Yangon for the first time, I was astonished by the people’s friendliness, politeness, and positive attitude despite the repressive military government and harsh living standards, “says Kinue. Since 1998, she has visited the country three more times, traveling from Yangon to Bagan, Mandalay, and Natmauk. “I tried to capture the amazing optimism of the Burmese with my camera to share it with you,” says Kinue.
The photos are priced to sell with or without the frame.