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Burma

White Elephants Snubbed by Junta


By AUNG THET WINE Saturday, May 8, 2010


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RANGOON—Three white elephants that were caught and celebrated under the rule of Burma's former Chief of Military Intelligence Gen Khin Nyunt have been largely ignored by the current generals and the number of visitors to the elephants' venue has decreased.

Yati Mala in a recent photo at the Royal White Elephant Garden. (Photo: The Irrawaddy)
Military officials told The Irrawaddy that Khin Nyunt, who was prime minister from 2003-04, had ordered a golden palace and garden to be built to house the auspicious albino elephants, but since he was deposed little attention has been paid to the animals as their site is regarded by the current military brass as one of Khin Nyunt's initiatives.

People close to the Royal White Elephant Garden told The Irrawaddy that since Khin Nyunt was purged and placed under house arrest in 2005, the regime's leaders have never visited the site.

“When Gen Khin Nyunt was in office, division commanders, ministers and high-ranking army officers came here almost every day to observe the white elephants,” said a worker from the Forestry Department.

Gen Khin Nyunt pours sanctified water over Yati Mala at a ceremony in July 2002 at the Royal White Elephant Garden. (Source: MRTV)
During that time, well-known businessmen who were close to Khin Nyunt paid monthly visits to the elephants and fed them for good luck, he said.

“It has been six years since Gen Khin Nyunt was removed from his power,” a source close to the elephant garden said. “None of the military top brass or rich people have shown up at this venue since then. They may even be scared to visit here.”

Vendors at the white elephant garden said pictures of Khin Nyunt pouring sanctified water over the white elephants in 2002 have been removed from the garden. They said that the stone plaque inscribed with Khin Nyunt's name that commemorates the completion of the garden has also been removed.

Instead, an enlarged picture of Kyaing Kyaing, the wife of junta supremo Snr-Gen Than Shwe, blessing the elephants has been placed on the wall alongside an inscription saying: “White elephants are only found during the reign of a glorious king. It is an omen that augurs the country's prosperity.”

“More people visit here on religious occasions, but otherwise there are no more than 10 or 20 visitors a day,” said a vendor. “Before 2004, the garden was packed with hundreds of visitors every day.”

Khin Nyunt presided over a ceremony for the three elephants—one male and two female. The male elephant, now 18 years old, was named Yaza Gaha Thiri Pissaya Gaza Yaza, while the two female elephants, 32 and 15, were called Theingi Mala and Yati Mala respectively.

The elephants were found in Arakan State and caught between 2000 and 2002. According to sources from Naypyidaw, Than Shwe has ordered battalions based in Arakan State to hunt a white elephant to be sent to Naypyidaw. Local people have also been coaxed to get involved in the venture.

Members of a Rangoon-based astrologers' community said there are a total of seven kinds of white elephant, but that only four kinds existed during the reign of the ancient Burmese kings.

“This military regime is trying to catch a white elephant to let people think it is powerful and glorious,” said an astrologer.

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Natshinnaung Wrote:
11/05/2010
Myanmar Idiot 4 UMPF - Can some one bring him to a psychiatrist? He sees things like an idiot. He writes like an idiot. He thinks like an idiot.

Myanmar Patriot 4 UMPF Wrote:
11/05/2010
Albino or not, it does not matter. If people believe in it,then they belong to our king HM King Shwebomin II, who had made more sacrifice than anyone else for his moral principles.
It was the treasonous, low life, uneducated Burmese who tried to assassinate our good king's character, but they failed miserably. We will name and shame them in the fullness of time. Just wait.
Only good administration, scientists and engineers, doctors and teachers, entrepreneurs and managers, and the body of monks known as the Sangha can promote the material and spiritual well being of Burmese people. The soldiers can go back to the barracks once the country is run properly, not necessarily by politicians.
WE NEED A RADICALLY DIFFERENT FORM OF GOVERNMENT.

to wierdo UMPF Wrote:
10/05/2010
UMPF said.."Yes, the white elephants are for Shwebomin II, who reigns from afar."???

What kind of GARBAGE is this??
You should see your SHRINK immediately!!

Dr Saw Winston Taw Wrote:
09/05/2010
As long as the superstition that “White elephants are only found during the reign of a glorious king" and that "It is an omen that augurs the country's prosperity” is entertained by these ill-educated moronic "generals", Burma will never emerge from the dark ages, let alone enjoy prosperity.

Myanmar Patriot 4 UMPF Wrote:
09/05/2010
You know what. KhinNyunt had pretensions of Royalty just like his protege, the late U ShuMaung. He and former - and now late - U WinAung tried to do a secret deal with the Suu Kyi to usurpe Herzog Sen. General ThanShwe. WinAung revered ShuMaung;he thought the traitor woman would be useful after the coup against current leaders of SPDC. He is dead now and KhinNyunt in pitiful state.
Yes, the white elephants are for Shwebomin II, who reigns from afar.
Let the astrologers know Burma has a king and in reality Tatmataw is the noble servant of the nation, although it had been abused by ShuMaung. We live in exciting times. UK is in a mess. But their civil service is great.But there is potential for conflict in policy issues:the Trident, immigration, budget cuts.

With so many parties contesting in Burma's elections, how can there be a majority party and how can there be an effecitve government? A different form of democracy will emerge. Just you wait. We foresee it all

Kyi May Kaung Wrote:
09/05/2010
Let the poor animals go!

By now they won't know how to survive in the wild.

Kyi May Kaung

Ba Han Wrote:
09/05/2010
White elephants. They're just albinos and according to genetics, they are the result of a combination of weak genes. Normal animals and/or human beings are far much superior than albinos. Only idiots will cherish and revere these weak creatures.

fjg Wrote:
08/05/2010
Asian "white elephants" are not albinos. There are auspicious standards to be called a white elephant, buit "white" is not part of the standards.

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