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A beautiful heart hero who fails under tradition

A beautiful heart hero who fails under tradition

Mai Rukaw| Shwe Phee Myay

The scene of trying to breastfeed a one-day-old baby with the help of solar panels is mixed with sadness. A 19-year-old mother is trying to stop a baby from crying when her mother tells her how to breastfeed from the side.

The one-day-old baby was crying because he was hungry milk, the mother could only smile when the baby stopped crying about five minutes, after the young woman struggled to breastfeed.

The five-month-old baby was crying and thirsty, so the mother could only smile until about five minutes after the baby cried while the mother was trying to fight.

Lway Mo (alias) was not allowed to enter the village because she got child out of wedlock due to falling in love with a young man.

Her family will be allowed to enter the village only after they have been living in field tent for a full month.

Lway Mo lives in a village not far from Kutkai in northern Shan State. After unplanned pregnancy and born a baby, village officials and village elders did not allow them to stay in the village.

Village officials said the denial is a tradition that has been practiced for generations.

There is a tradition of unmarried pregnancies and childbirth, which can lead to lack of luck and other dangers for the villagers.

Lway Mo gave birth to her baby on December 28, 2020. That day is a good day. Because, that day is the Ta'ang New Year Day in 2712.

The hut where they now live is dilapidated, with earthen rafters and thatched roofs.

Due to such circumstances, Lway Mo said the villagers were discriminated against.

“In the village, no one wants to talk to me. I am very feel sad. Do not talk about problems. I want to stay in the village too. They are not paying.”

She has to live outside and clean the village, she also apologized to the community leaders, the village elders and village youth leaders. Roads in the village were paved with two car of stones to cleanse the community. In addition, the community elders were fined 100,000 kyats.

Her husband is a native of Yangon and works in Mandalay. Lway Mo told her boyfriend (current husband) in April 2020 that she was pregnant.

Before she told him, she has decided to give birth even if her boyfriend does not take responsibility. But her lover was not what she expected. After being told she was pregnant, her husband came Kutkai from Mandalay, would take responsibility.

However, he did not immediately reach Kutkai, where Lway Mo lived. Due to epidemic restrictions, 16-day quarantine was imposed in Lashio.

He was able to return to Kutkai only after passing a medical examination.

From Lashio to the village, he met with the elders and performed the necessary rituals according to the village tradition, was punished by the village along with Lway Mo.

“I'm worried about my baby. The villagers told me to stay for a full month. It is cold in this tent. I want them to return to the village.”

Kutkai Township is one of the coldest cities in Shan State. It is not only cold in winter but also cold in summer. The current temperature in Lway Mo village is up to 9 degrees.

Lway Poe Kamae Khroue, joint secretary-general of the Lashio-based Ta'ang Women's Organization (TWO), pointed out that some practices should not be continued because they oppress women.

“These customary laws that oppress women need to be repealed. In this age of progress, we need to see if the current culture is still relevant to the environment. If it is no longer compatible with the social environment, it should not be used. That is what we need to prepare.”

Most of people criticized that men living in the village have also the practice of forcing them to wear Donelaba and punish them for making such a mistake.

At present, the Lway Mo family has been allowed to return to the village. However, they were not allowed to live in his parents' house but in a tent near the house.

Lway Mo and her husband, who are full of heart, will have to go through the cold weather until January 28 with their one-day-old baby.

Translated by Mai Naw Dang| Shwe Phee Myay
Photo- Mai Rukaw| Shwe Phee Myay