A foul-mouthed 70-year-old Myanmar woman living in Japan uploaded a Facebook Live video last month in which casts a curse on State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, claiming it will bring down the Myanmar government within the next month.
Throughout the 17-minute video, the woman, identified as May Myant Kyaw, deploys racist and sexist slurs to rail against what she sees as Aung San Suu Kyi’s disrespect for Buddha and Buddhism. She is particularly concerned about Daw Suu’s tolerance for the Rohingya, despite the fact that the state counsellor has refused to use the term “Rohingya” and has justified the violence against the minority by claiming there has been “violence on both sides.”
“You’ve given out NVC cards to call over those Bengalis,” May Myant Kyaw says in the video. Infuriated that Daw Suu’s is not doing more to keep the Rohingya out of the country, she casts the following curse on the government: “I swear this oath. Ever since I’ve known right from wrong, I haven’t eaten beef. I call for the failure of Daw Suu, of Daw Suu’s party, of Daw Suu’s parliament based on the power of the truthfulness of my oath.”
[Many Theravada Buddhists regard eating beef as worse than eating other animals.]
While Daw Suu is the main target of May Myant Kyaw’s scorn, the Japan resident also calls out politicians who support the state counsellor. She blasts Yangon Region Chief Minister Phyo Min Thein for having “a Muslim father and Karen mother” and, using an islamophobic slur, says the chief minister “has no shame when something is beneficial to him, like all kalars.” She also compares him to a spirit medium, a profession largely occupied by queer individuals, for following the orders of a woman.
Her misogyny doesn’t end there. Criticizing Daw Suu’s subordinates for having a woman as a boss, May Myant Kyaw says: “Men have their honor. This is an Eastern country. Only a man is supposed to go up to a Buddha statue. Men are to be given preference. This is not a Western country. [In English:] Not the lady first. All the men are the first in Myanmar. Ladies is the second post, not the first post.”
She goes on to accuse several MPs of having plastic surgery and Botox injections.
Taking offense to displays of ethnic and religious diversity in Myanmar, May Myant Kyaw says Daw Suu’s establishment of the Rakhine State Advisory Commission, headed by former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan and including a Myanmar Muslim member, was an affront to Buddha, his teachings, and the monastic order.
Later in the video, she addresses a Muslim member of the commission, among others: “I’ve said this over and over again. [Muslim democracy activist] Mya Aye, listen carefully. [Human rights lawyer] Robert Sann Aung, listen carefully. That cat shit, [Muslim commission member] Aye Lwin, listen carefully. There was not a single Muslim involved in Burmese independence. There wasn’t a single Christian or Chinese.”
This claim, of course, is patently untrue.
The violence by Myanmar security forces against the Rohingya over the past two years has split Daw Suu’s one-time admirers into those who continue to support her because of her past achievements and those who criticize her for her failure to protect the heavily persecuted minority. However, there is a small but aggressive segment of the Myanmar population that thinks the state counsellor and the NLD are not doing enough to fulfill its vision of a Buddhist-supremacist ethnostate. This segment sees the civilian government as a threat to Myanmar’s security and ethnic purity.
Clearly frustrated and enraged by the end of the video, May Myant Kyaw’s voice shakes as she addresses Buddha directly: “You have been insulted over and over again, Lord Buddha. That is why I swear this oath.”