Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar’s great hope fails to live up to expectations

A year after her party sweep to power, the Nobel laureate faces inquiries over her leadership and stillnes on persecution

It was never meant to be this way.

The script called for the cause actor, a Nobel trophy win, to seize command of a country, delivering serenity where there was conflict and prosperity where there was poverty. A nation arising as a result of years of military dictatorship was to become a lighthouse of hope not only for its cowed population but also for much of a fractured and turbulent south-east Asia.

But like many political dramas especially over the past 12 months the script has not been followed by Myanmar and its de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.

Now, a year since one of the worlds most well known hostages of conscience take power in the specially created statu of state counsellor, the talk is not of progress.

Instead, it is of drastically escalating ethnic conflicts that have simmered and sporadically explosion for decades; a new Rohingya Muslim insurgency that has stimulated an army crackdown some mention may amount to crimes against humanity; a rash of online defamation examples that have fostered a terror over freedom of expression; and a repressing existing legal framework that allowed the generals to prison so many still being in place. And all the while, Aung San Suu Kyi is accused of persisting predominantly silent, doggedly evading the media.

Interviews by the Guardian with more than a dozen envoys, psychoanalysts and current and former advisers divulge annoyances with a top-down government is difficult to be dealt with immense challenges. Aung San Suu Kyis questionable leadership style, her powerlessnes or unwillingness to transmit a eyesight, and her reluctance to express their views against the mistreatment of minorities have raised the question of whether the popular narration is misplaced.

And although some protect her, saying it takes time to right the wrongs of decades, others ascertain a fundamental misunderstanding of the status of women herself.

Many of the people who led awareness-raising campaigns[ to free Aung San Suu Kyi] are the most on the liberal side of the range, one envoy put it. I see shes closer to a Margaret Thatcher.

Its a stark compare to the Aung San Suu Kyi who, during 15 years of house arrest at her lakeside villa on University Avenue in Yangon, stood on rickety tables and delivered lectures about human rights over the gate.

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Aung San Suu Kyi in 2010, when she was freed from 15 years of house arrest. Photograph: STR/ EPA

And she was electric, said David Mathieson, a longtime Myanmar researcher for Human Rights Watch who is now an independent consultant. She was funny. She was informative. She was principled And I think its regrettable that shes not doing the equivalent of that now.

Sole decision-maker

Five hours north by car from Yangon, Myanmars dystopian capital Naypyidaw stands surrounded by densely forested mountains.

It is here, in the so-called Abode of Kings supposedly built to insulate Myanmars generals from assault, amid a landscape of deserted 20 -lane superhighways and grandiose inns, that Aung Sun Suu Kyi lives her life in power.

The 71 -year-old is a disciplined sovereign. Her habit, established during imprisonment, is to wake before dawn and meditate in the members of this house she shares with her pet dog and a small retinue of maids.

She has breakfast with an adviser, often Kyaw Tint Swe, a former ambassador who expended decades defending the juntas actions.

An aide, Win Htein, supposes Aung San Suu Kyi eats every little. The amount of food she is taking is like a kitten, he said. She doesnt eat carbohydrates. Fruit and veggies. No pork, or mutton, or beef. Merely fish.

Her few indulgings include a vast wardrobe of luxurious silk longyis and evening cinema regards, musicals being her favourite. Win Htein recently gave her a imitate of La La Land.

But predominantly she works. And there is a lot of work.

As well as government counsellor a position created to get around the military-drafted constitution that bars her from the presidency she is foreign minister, minister of the presidents office and chairmen of several committees.Widely described as a micromanager, she pores over records after hours. A generator close to the attorney generals role supposes she asks to see a imitate of every draft bill before it is submitted to parliament. Pastors regularly pass decisions upwards.

The problem is there are no policymakers in her cabinet, said Burmese political psychoanalyst Myat Ko.

People who know her mention Aung San Suu Kyi invigorates both devotion and fear. She is variously described as charming and charismatic, and sharp-worded and autocratic. She feels like a real leader, one envoy said. Intelligent, quick-witted, quite funny. At the same time, he added: I would say that she has appeared to be very keen to be the sole decision-maker to have no chance of establishing rival power centres.

Echelons above her subordinates in stature, the government counsellor is often depicted as living in a bubble, surrounded by a cabal of advisers who are too nervous to convey hard truths. A Yangon-based psychoanalyst working on the peace process said bad news often does not reach her.

In gathers, she used dismissive, tyrannical in a number of cases, denigrate, said a senior aid proletarian who, like many others interviewed for this story, insisted on anonymity because he works with the administration. The government, he said, has become so centralised, there is complete fear of her.

A bumpy transition

This is not the administration many wish for when the International league for human rights for Democracy( NLD) took over the government last year following victory in the 2015 election. The circumstances of this seismic transformation in Myanmar has admittedly been far from ideal for cohesive, effective government. The army has retained command over key ministries as well as the security forces. But such elections and delivery of power from the previous military-backed government were smooth.

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