Top Ten Essay from Purrfect Essay Competition
by Jasmine Swe
The world is not a very good place to live in. Racial, economic, gender and social inequalities are omnipresent. War and other man-made disasters ravage entire nations. The climate crisis pushes us to the brink of utter destruction while the people sit idly by and watch it happen as if it were a freak show. On top of all that, 2020 has given us the coronavirus pandemic. Global morale is down to the nethermost regions of both the human conscious and the unconscious. At times, it seems almost preposterous to even think of what’s to come, let alone be sanguine about it. But the dreamer that I am, I like to envision the future of my country Myanmar and the world.
To avoid becoming a dewy-eyed optimist, on the other hand, there is one imperative thing we must avoid. As the character Wanda Pierce from one of my favourite tv shows — BoJack Horseman — puts it; when we look at something through rose-coloured glasses, all the red flags just look like flags. So get rid of those glasses. See things as they are so we may know where we’ve gone wrong and what we’ve done right. Inasmuch as being able to identify problem areas is crucial, it’s not enough to bring about actual, sustainable political change. The next game-changing step is arriving at a strategic, well thought-out agenda to solve those issues.
Myanmar is a democratic state still in its infancy. Almost as many things have been done as there remain unaddressed issues. In light of the results of the 2020 election, we know the incumbent NLD government will continue to take charge of the country for the next 5 years till 2025. As a politically active university student, I have my own concerns and hopes pertaining to the trajectory of my homeland in the treacherous paths of the international political landscape. My concerns are big, but my hopes are bigger.
When I think of 2025, the first and foremost question that comes to mind is: Will the civil war be brought to an end? It’s undeniable the ongoing 72-year long civil war as old as Myanmar’s independence has done horrendous — perhaps even irreversible — damage to the nation’s unity as a whole. The longer the peace negotiations go on, the more lives lost and homes pillaged of our sisters and brothers in the Rakhine, Kachin, Kayah, Karen, and Shan States. The majority Bamars have done unspeakable injustices to the minority ethnicities in the past, and it is only sensible we right our wrongs by agreeing to the reasonable demands of the ethnic armed organisations (EAOs), such as the founding of a federalist and decentralized government. Both the military and the EAOs will have to work with such abstract and intangible concepts as trust to attain visible and sustainable changes to the country’s peace process.
I also hope Myanmar in 2025 will be a fairer place for people from all racial and economic backgrounds. Various indicators evaluated by Human Development Reports (HDR) under the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) puts Myanmar in the Medium Human Development range. Much can be and should be done to elevate the living conditions of marginalised groups such as the Muslim minority, ethnic and religious minorities, low-income families, migrant workers, disabled persons, and prostitutes. It devastates me to an ineffable extent that humans, with all their technological advancements, are utterly blind without the lenses of racism, sexism, and religious discrimination. Appearance-wise, humans of differing races resemble each other much more than distinct breeds of dogs do. It is, then, a marvel no less than the Grand Canyon we are not able to see past such mundane disparities in humans.
As essential as nationwide peace is the emergence of an organized plan to counter the climate crisis, the spectre that haunts the entire world. More and more developed countries — including the US, South Korea, and the EU — are putting forward agendas to decarbonize by 2050. The Myanmar government, too, should prioritize to come up with a similarly ambitious but also pragmatic strategy to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions at some point in the near future. As Myanmar is mainly dependent on biofuels for its energy supply, reaching net-zero will prove a daunting challenge. The government and business sectors should come together to create clean and renewable energy sources, and put an end to the construction of more environmentally nocuous infrastructure like gas-powered plants and the wildly unpopular Myitsone dam. Ultimately protecting the earth amounts to protecting ourselves. If we do not stop recklessly plundering the resources Nature has bestowed upon us for our own gains, the boon will soon turn to bane as we realise we cannot eat money.
We, of course, cannot dismiss the role of citizens in the nation-building framework, and put all the responsibility on the government alone. The problem with the majority of people is that they behave as if they lived in Utopia. They claim they couldn’t care less about politics even as it shapes and mandates their livelihood right under their nose. No one can afford to be apolitical, since existence itself is a political entity. It is our civic duty to uphold the authorities to the standards we have set for a free and just society. It is our solemn obligation to aid them in working toward achieving peace and prosperity. If there is no cooperation between the people and the government, Myanmar shall fall back into the abyss of totalitarian dictatorship which it tried so diligently to escape. We now have a republic. And we will continue to, if we can keep it.
And the time to begin fulfilling our citizenship roles is now. Start working now, and we will harvest the fruits of our commitment by the time another election comes around in 2025. Will we have a better Myanmar by 2025? With enough perseverance, yes.
Growing up in a small town and a lower middle class family, Jasmine was acutely aware of the plight of the majority and the injustices of the capitalist structure since her tender years. She can be seen doing absolutely nothing that would elevate her worth in the job market—or grant her doodads with which to decorate her résumé —while she isn't busy with chores around the house. Oh, and she loves animals.