Dr Than Htut Aung
2nd of December 2015 will mark the 3rd year anniversary of my father’s passing. At this time last year, I was being tried in court. It was difficult and brutal for me even through a small offence under section 500 of the penal code. There is a lot to be said about the judges and the judiciary system in Myanmar. On that afternoon, I could not attend the charity but this year, I could donate in memory of my father.I faced the worst trying times of my life in the three years after my father’s death. I battled wicked enemies, endured crushing pressure, suffered underhanded methods and defamed. My father tried to look after me till the very end, knowing very well that I will not give in to all the challenges in 2015.
Only now, I realized that time really seems to slow down when a person is facing death when it is my father at death’s door. I arrived at the hospital in Singapore around 4 to 5 p.m. and my father, whom everyone believed will last longer, died in the span of a few hours. The last words he tried to tell me, while I did not understand at that time but after careful musings, are the words he oft repeated; “Son, be cautious”.
Father was a person who never had any objections to whatever I did in my life; be it politics or business, he was always proud of his son. Like he did not say a word against my decision to abandon the medical field of which I have dedicated my whole life to learning, he was happy with my decision to establish a business with words such as “A retiree like me can live this way because of my sons”. He was also supportive of me when my efforts as a journalist for the country and the people as the country moves forward. Every single time I faced troubles, threats, arrests and investigations he used to say “I do not have the authority to save you. I only have my virtue, strong will, knowledge and I can pray for you.” He did so every time he meditated (when my father passed, my mother took up his place doing that). I believe that the well wishes and prayers of my parents are what allowed me to do what was necessary with relative safety.
I always told father my hopes and my actions for the country. He used to say, “My son, you can do it. We are determined. You never give up. Always be careful.”Three years has passed quickly. Today marks third anniversary of my father’s passing and it is also unique. For the first time since 1990, political dialogue was held. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi officially met with the president and commander-in-chief separately to discuss about transferring administrative authority to a civilian government. Anyhow, a government led by a civilian president will be formed for the first time in 50 years.If father was alive, he would have been overjoyed and smiled while reading the news and looking the pictures. He would also be talking to me with great happiness.Father, we did it in 2015.
Not just my father, I wish for Saya Ludu U Sein Win (late renowned journalist), Professor Dr. Thein Nyunt (pen named Nyunt Wai-Kathar), Professor Dr. Aung Khin and Professor Dr. Myint Myint Khin to be—at last—able to rest in the peaceful and blissful afterlife. I wish they be delighted for the coming of dawn to the country.
In fact, my father and others were ordinary citizens. There are countless people that sacrificed their lives and livelihoods for the change that leads to the betterment of the country. To please the, we must not be contented with the new dawn but strive harder until we see the daylight.
I still remember the words of Philippine reformist and national hero Dr. Jose Rizal that I admired since my days in medical school.
It reads: “I die without seeing dawn's light shining on my country... You, who will see it, welcome it for me...don't forget those who fell during the nighttime.”