Friday, October 22, 2010

Rangoon, Mandalay women express apathy over polls

Friday, 22 October 2010 22:53 Khaing Suu

New Delhi (Mizzima) – The following is the fourth in a series featuring opinions from a cross-section of Burmese society, inside and outside the country, on the nation’s political climate and the upcoming national elections. Mizzima reporters chose the subjects at random, however this installment features women only.

Four of the women in Rangoon and Mandalay interviewed expressed little interest in national elections on November 7.

An editor from a Rangoon-based weekly journal said that although she was interested in the election, she would not vote. A middle-school teacher from Insein Township, Rangoon Division, said that she would vote for the party that had used the “fighting peacock” logo. A woman of a military family from South Okkalapa Township, also in Rangoon, said that their votes would be arranged by the army.

The following are comments received from women in both divisions.

Doctor, Mandalay

“I’m not interested in the forthcoming election. So I haven’t decided which party I should cast my vote for. I have received pamphlets on the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and bamboo hat [National Democratic Force].”

Export company employee, Rangoon

“I have no idea. I’m not interested in the election. I understand nothing so I’ll decide which party I should support on election day. I have to work. My job is the only thing I’m interested in.”

Retailer, Bahan Township, Rangoon

“I don’t think I’ll vote. I’m not interested in the election. I’m totally dedicated to my business. I read the electoral news only superficially.”

Market vendor, Tarmway Township, Rangoon

“The election is not important to me. I have to go to market to sell goods every day. I usually sleep in the afternoon. I’ll follow the crowd. I’m not interested in politics. The only thing I’m interested in is making sales.”

Military family member, South Okkalapa Township, Rangoon

“I don’t know. I’m from a military family. I can’t say. Everything was arranged by the army.”

Middle-school teacher, Insein Township, Rangoon

“I have to work as poll staff so all of my family members have to vote in advance. But, until now, I don’t know how to cast my vote in advance. I’ve received the pamphlets of just two parties, USDP [Union Solidarity and Development Party] and the party that uses the ‘fighting peacock’ symbol. I’ll vote for the ‘fighting peacock’. I think everyone will also vote for the ‘fighting peacock’. I don’t know how many parties will contest in my constituency because I’m not interested in the election.”

Journal editor, Rangoon

“I am interested in the election. Maybe because of the nature of my job … I know about the parties and the candidates. I’ve also received pamphlets from some of the political parties. I don’t like all of the 37 political parties. I’ve decided which party I should cast my votes for [and] I’m sure that I won’t vote.”

“My neighbours don’t know too much about the election … just the information printed on pamphlets. Because of those … they know which candidates will contest in their constituency. They are not interested in the election. Naturally, they’ve only received pamphlets from some of the political parties and have to decide which party they should vote for based only on the pamphlets they’ve received.”

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