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June 21st, 2012

Happy birthday to a truly wonderful lady

Although this is, at heart, an Indocentric blog (she says, writing from the Kruger Park…) this guest post concerns our neighbour, Burma.

The post belongs entirely to my daughter Anjulie, who is my guest blogger today.

Enjoy her account of a memorable day. (Lucky lucky girl)

 

Today was a good day. I overslept but wasn’t late. I made some progress on my dissertation and my job search. And I sat in the front row and watched Daw Aung San Suu Kyi speak at the LSE in her first public speaking in England since she left in 1988.

Unsurprisingly, as she entered she got a standing ovation from the hundreds of people present, and the lady chairing the session actually had to ask people to stop applauding because otherwise it definitely would have gone on for ages. Here she is just after entering the hall:

The topic of discussion was the Rule of Law and how amending the constitution is the first step towards progress in Burma. Unfortunately she only spoke very briefly, but she did answer several questions afterwards. My favourite was about how she found the strength to stay so committed through so many years of house arrest, to which she responded “Well- through all of you”. She described how in each country she has visited, she has been welcomed with open arms as if she were one of them, which was beautiful. And she ended it with “and… I suppose I have a stubborn streak!”

At the end, she was presented with a token of appreciation and an LSE baseball cap (a tradition that apparently started when Nelson Mandela visited in 2000). So here’s the photo op of the day:

And the organisers had also dug up a photograph of her father from when he visited England in 1947 (I think), because today is a particularly special day for Daw Suu—it is her birthday. So of course, we all stood and sang happy birthday to her. I can confidently say that singing happy birthday to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi with about 500 other people made me tear up, gave me goosebumps and was one of the most memorable and special experiences I’ve had.

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