In the 1950s and early 1960s, there were several daily newspapers in Burmese (e.g. Kyemon, Myanmar Ah Lin, Yangon, Tun Nay Zin, Mahn Daing, Botathaung) and English (e.g. The Nation, Guardian). There were also a few evening newspapers.
We will cover the following :
- The Nation
- Guardian Publications
- Working People’s Daily
The Nation was one of the early English newspapers published in the Union of Burma.
- Edward Michael Law-Yone founded and served as Chief Editor.
- The Nation was shut down in May 1963.
- U Law-Yone was imprisoned for five years.
- In 1970, he moved to Thailand.
Continued publishing The Nation in Thailand.
- Finally moved to the USA.
- Children : Marjorie, Hubert, Byron, Wendy
- Guardian Daily newspaper in English
- Guardian Magazine (published monthly)
- Guardian U Sein Win (Early Journalist)
- Daw Khin Swe Hla (Assistant Editor, moved to WPD)
- U Soe Myint (Chief Editor, moved from WPD)
- P. Aung Khin (Assistant Editor)
U Khin Maung Zaw (KMZ, EC76) wrote :
The late Chief Editor of Guardian and Working People’s Daily (English) U Soe Myint was my father-in-law. He was an accomplished musician and played several instruments.
He was the eldest son of U Thein Maung, known to many by his pen name Htin Lin, who translated many books into Burmese in those days. U Soe Myint’s siblings include U Soe Win (RIT EC70, ex-UCC, ex-PTC), U Kyaw Zaw (GBNF – RIT EP72, DCA) and U Khin Zaw (ex-UCC Cupertino, CA, USA).
In honor of his great grandfather, my son is named Htin Lin.
Dawlay’s Family Circle
Daw Khin Swe Hla founded “Dawlay’s Family Circle”. After she moved to Working People’s Daily, several male editors (e.g. P. Aung Khin) continued as “Daw Lay”.
Uzin Bobby Myo Tun (A69) wrote :
I worked very closely with P. Aung Khin (Paul) in the preparation and editing of the Guardian Daily’s Sunday Supplement page ‘Dawlay’s Family Circle’ in the mid-1960’s. It was great fun compiling shorts on regular features such as ‘Popular Fallacies’, ‘Birds of Burma’ and filler jokes. I learnt much on proof reading of dailies from those days. I also wrote some short stories for the Sunday Supplement and the Guardian magazine. P. Aung Khin, endearingly known to most as Uncle Paul, wouldn’t let me compete in the Scrabble tournaments. Instead, I was asked to be one of the judges on those occasions. Those were the days! Thanks for bringing back those memories.
Daw Lay’s Circle sponsored “Essay Contests”.
The winners include
- Errol Than Tun (Uzin “Bobby” Myo Tun, A69)
- L R C Truitwein
- Tin Maung Maung Aung
- Hla Yee Yee (MEHS61)
- Winsome Ba Thike (MEHS61)
- Katherine Ba Thike
- Scrabble was played at the Guardian premises (on weekends).
- Saya Des Rodgers, Nelson Rodgers and the Tiger Scrabble Team (U Tin Shwe, U Ba U) are some of the regular players.
- They also played Scrabble at YMCA.
- In July 1969, my poem “Men on the Moon” (honoring the Apollo 11 mission) was published in the Guardian.
- In the 70s, at the request of U Soe Myint, I wrote articles on Computers and Computer Applications for the Guardian.
Working People’s Daily (WPD)
The BSPP Government introduced two newspapers :
- Loke Tha Pyi Thu Nei Zin (in Burmese)
with Shwe Oo Daung as Chief Editor
- Working People’s Daily (in English)
with U Khin Maung Latt as Chief Editor
Successors : U Than Saw, U Ko Lay
U Khin Maung Latt
- Number One told the Chief Editors that there would be no censorship for the editorials.
- One day, Number One asked U Khin Maung Latt if he wanted to be an Ambassador.
- Daw Khin Myo Chit responded, “Ko Latt can go back to teaching”.
U Than Saw
- U Than Saw succeeded U Khin Maung Latt as Chief Editor.
- U Soe Myint (Assistant Editor, eldest son of U Thein Maung) married Aida Than Saw (daughter of U Than Saw). U Soe Myint later moved to Guardian and became Chief Editor. He is the father of Daw Khin Khin Latt (spouse of U Khin Maung Zaw / KMZ).
U Ko Lay
- U G. Ko Lay (RUBC Gold) was Chief Editor at the time when I wrote poems and translations for WPD.
- Father : “Motley” Ko Ko
- Spouse : Daw Nyunt Nyunt Win (Physics, Registrar of RASU).
WPD Sunday Supplement
The Sunday Supplement published translations (e.g. of modern Burmese short stories).
The translators include well known authors and scholars such as
- MMT (former Chief Justice U Myint Thein)
- Tet Toe (U Ohn Pe, author and lexicographer)
- ZMT (former ambassador U Zaw Myint Thein (a) U Zaw Win)
- Sao Hso Holm (English Honors First Class, LLM, son of Arzani Mong Pawn Sawbwa Sao San Htun)
Translation of Short story
- I was the exception.
- Daw Khin Swe Hla (who started “Daw Lay’s Circle” in the Guardian before moving to WPD), wanted to encourage aspiring writers.
- She requested me to translate “Nge Thay Loe” (a short story by Saya U Thu Kha).
- I received fifty kyats for my translation “Still So Young“.
Pen name : Maung Hlaing Phyo
- Saya U Thu Kha was given fifty kyats for his original work.
- WPD published poems
- WPD published my poems (e.g. Our Unity)
Pen name : Maung Hlaing Phyo
Translation of Poem
- WPD also published translations of Burmese poems.
- WPD published my translation “To my alma mater“.
Pen name : Maung Hlaing Phyo
- I received fifteen kyats for my translation of the poem.
Beginning of Censorship
- After the Coup D’etat in March 2, 1962, the Revolutionary Council and the Government took complete control of the news media and the newspapers.
- Most newspapers were shut down.
The Nation was one of the earliest.
U Law Yone was detained.
- Finally, only four newspapers were left.
- Two new newspapers (Loketha Pyithu Nay Zin and Working Peoples’ Daily) were added to bring the total to six : four in Burmese and two in English.
- The News Agencies (e.g. AP, Reuters) could only send the news to the newly established NAB (News Agency Burma).
- U Ohn Pe (Tet Toe) headed NAB.
- He was succeeded by U Kyaw Min (Min Kyaw Min).
- The news were censored.
- The uncensored news were translated into Burmese.
- The NAB news were then distributed to the six newspapers.
- Later, two groups of three Chief Editors (one from English and two from Myanmar newspapers) were formed to review and censor the articles and poems submitted to the papers.
- It was an example of collaborative pre-screening.