NLD of­fi­cial in a pickle over photo com­ment

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - SI THU LWIN sithul­win@mm­

Al­ready in the midst of a scan­dal, a Pyin Oo Lwin town­ship of­fice head may soon find him­self in le­gal trou­ble as well af­ter he posted sex­ist re­marks on a Face­book photo of his col­league and a re­porter.

A NA­TIONAL League for Democ­racy of­fi­cial from Pyin Oo Lwin could face le­gal ac­tion af­ter com­ments he made online re­gard­ing two lo­cal women caused sig­nif­i­cant of­fence and a mi­nor scan­dal.

U Thein Zaw, a town­ship-level ex­ec­u­tive and trea­surer, re­port­edly com­mented on a group photo fea­tur­ing an NLD col­league and a DVB re­porter.

“He wrote that he will send the women in the photo to a goodar,” said NLD mem­ber Daw Cherry Win. “I did not know the mean­ing of goodar at first. Later I learned it means brothel,” she said, con­firm­ing that she was now seek­ing le­gal ad­vice on the mat­ter.

U Thein Zaw says he re­grets any of­fence caused and in­sists the post was meant in good fun.

“I teased them like that with a very friendly man­ner. I used to tease oth­ers at our of­fice,” he told The Myan­mar Times yes­ter­day.

But Daw Cherry Win said the com­ments are no laugh­ing mat­ter, and the spat is the talk of the town.

“The dig­nity of the women in this photo has been dam­aged … Ev­ery­one in the city is talk­ing about it,” she said.

“Ev­ery­one asks us whether we will re­spond or not … Peo­ple said his words de­mean women and de­grade the dig­nity of women,” said Daw Cho Cho Aye, a vil­lage NLD ex­ec­u­tive and one of the sub­jects of U Thein Zaw’s barbed re­mark.

Daw Cho Cho Aye said it is one thing to make such com­ments in per­son, but that post­ing them online was be­yond the pale.

“I wouldn’t be an­gry if I had been ver­bally teased at the of­fice, be­cause all staff treat each other like their own sis­ters and brothers. It is very ap­palling that he wrote on online.”

She said she would not pur­sue le­gal ac­tion her­self, for the sake of har­mony in the of­fice.

“We have to do work to­gether in the fu­ture. If other peo­ple want to sue him, I will help them as a wit­ness,” she said.

U Thein Zaw said he feels the whole or­deal has been blown out of pro­por­tion.

“I al­ready apol­o­gised to them online. This small mat­ter is made big­ger be­cause peo­ple keep adding fuel to the flames,” he said, adding that he had al­ready learned a valu­able les­son.

“I my­self have a brusque man­ner. I won’t tease like that again,” he said.

Sev­eral online com­men­ta­tors in Myan­mar have re­cently found them­selves serv­ing time for social me­dia re­marks. Jokesters pok­ing fun at the com­man­der-in-chief, in­clud­ing a woman who made com­par­isons be­tween his uni­form and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s htamein dur­ing last year’s election cam­paign sea­son, re­sulted in the Face­book poster’s im­pris­on­ment with hard labour on a defama­tion charge.

– Trans­la­tion by Win Thaw Tar

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