Naturally enough, today there is a huge surge of post-election, Burma-related political commentary. Rather than point New Mandala readers towards the full range of sources I thought it worth picking out four of the choicest elements for some further attention.
First, I found the quote in the middle of this Wall Street Journal piece quite revealing. Sometimes we assume that all Burmese have a big appetite for their country’s politics but clearly that is not always the case:
“We’re not too into politics,” said Han Zaw, a 25-year-old dancer who was attending a male modeling contest called Manhunt II at the beginning of the weekend. Even if Ms. Suu Kyi wins, she will just be one out of more than 600 members of parliament, he said, limiting her impact.
“It’s not going to be a very big change yet,” he said of Sunday’s vote, though he added that the next election, in 2015, could be a big deal since it would involve the whole parliament. “We do think things will change someday,” he said.
Second, in an article in The Australian there was a different note of caution, and one we are likely to hear more of in the weeks and months ahead:
Ms Suu Kyi’s critics say while she is revered at home and around the world, she can be dictatorial, intolerant, inflexible and non-consultative — she’s not to be crossed, and those who do not agree with her can be frozen out.
Third, Joel Selway offers a cogent analysis of the ethnic challenges lurking in the wings. He argues that:
…reforms are bound to fail and could plunge the country back into violence unless the government addresses important ethnic divisions. Myanmar, formerly Burma, is potentially explosive because its many ethnic groups are concentrated in their own regions — a situation ripe for bloody secessions.
Finally, we have these fascinating pre-poll predictions from a number of senior Burmese commentators and political players. It is remarkable that The Myanmar Times is now able to provide such compelling coverage of unfolding events.
This is yet another sign that Burma is going to be a different country in the years ahead.