Formative years of an introvert (9):The year 1949 in Thaton

By the year 1949, one year after independence, the country was deluged with numerous insurgencies of different ideologies and causes. About this time we kids started playing a new game, “soldiers and rebels”, the boys mostly, although my sister May at times took part in this exclusively boys’ game.

Previously, we used to play “police and robbers”, with the group taking the role of police chasing the other group of robbers. Now in 1949 we children started playing “soldiers and rebels” with the soldiers chasing the rebels while shouting “daing, daing” (bang, bang) at the top of our young voices and the rebels fighting back, also shouting “daing, daing”.

Before this new game started when we used to play “police and robbers”, the robbers never fought back, they just ran away, all we got to do was try to catch them. But now with “soldiers and rebels”, the rebels never gave up without a fight, and we almost always had to argue who won the “battle”.

Very soon, this new game changed its method of playing. I don’t recall who started it. The rebels in real life, in the world of adults, occupied our town Thaton,round about this time. It was a combined ethnic rebel force of Karen National Defence Organization (KNDO) and Mon National Defence Organization (MNDO), although the latter group was smaller in number. Most of the government civil servants fled the town. But my father who was an ethnic Mon, and another government official, a judge like him who was an ethnic Karen, stayed behind in the town.

Now, back to the world of us children. This time around, with our town under the rebels in the adult world, we in our children world when we played “soldiers and rebels”, the rebels had to chase the soldiers. It was a clear case of the adults’ world spreading its tentacles of lobha, dossa and moha (greed, avarice and delusion) into the innocent world of us children.