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A famous Burmese journalist, writer and publisher. He was born on January 19, 1910 in the village Puzunmyaun near the town of Nyaunlepin, and died on August 7,1982 in Mandalay. Since 1932 he published the monthly Kyipwaye with Kyipwaye U Thein. In 1939 he married the writer and journalist Do Ama with whom he published Ludu (The People) Journal since l945 and Ludu Daily since 1946 and led Ludu, later Kyipwaye Publishing House in Mandalay. He was active in the Union of Burmese Writers since 1937, in the Union of Burmese Journalists, in the World Peace Movement, and travelled in Asia and Europe. In 1952, he took part in the Asian-Pacific Conference in Beijing, together with other Burmese writers and artists.

In 1953-57 he was jailed in Mandalay and Rangoon as a political prisoner. At that time he recorded the true stories of his fellow prisoners, depicting with sympathetic realism the lives of waifs and strays, thieves and prostitutes, drawing attention to acute social problems of Burma. In 1957, after his release from prison, he published short stories Prison and Man (Htaun hnin lutha), for which he obtained the prestigious Sapei Biman (House of Literature) Prize, in 1958 he published short storiers about child prisoners – Little Birds from a Cage (Hlauncjain twin hma hngek nge mja), which was awarded by the UNESCO Prize for Literature in 1958. In the same year his letters To My Wife and Children (Zani hnin thathami mja thou) were published. He also dealt with problems of young people – Is Everything All Right? (Aloum kauntya ye la?) and wrote novels – With the Wind (Lei hnin atu).

In the 1970s he wrote life stories of concrete people of various jobs – e.g. I‘m a Boatman (Tjunto hleithama), I‘m a horse-rider (Tjunto myinthama) about the 74 year old jockey U Maun Kalei. He also published travelogues and memoirs, 19th and 20th century newspaper materials and translations – all in Mandalay Ludu and later Kyipwaye Publishing House. He collected folk-tales of various nationalities of Burma e.g.. Burmese, Karen, Arakan, Mon, Palaun, Lushai, Inlei and many others – in 43 volumes he published altogether 1597 folk-tales.

His extensive work shows that he was one of the most prolific journalists and writers of Burma with a strong social feeling and great social community involvement.


Dagmar Bečková – Myathida

© 2008