FED staff together with local monks and residents, organized a ceremony in memory of Ludu Daw Ah Mar on the day of seventh day adversary of her death April 7 2008 at the age of 93.
The event was celebrated in a Mon monastery in Ban Niang village. Notable activities in the ceremony were three day (9-11 April) Non-stop recitation of Mantras by 16 monks, ordination of 5 novices and monks, anointing of Buddha statues with water and paying homage to senior migrants by presenting gifts and symbolically washing the hair and hands of revered elders.
Ludu Daw Ah Mar was a much loved figure by many of Burmese and ethnic Burmese people. (Ludu is a title that she and her late husband took; it means “belonging to the people” or “People’s”)
Ludu Daw Ah Mar was born in Mandalay in 1915 (the same year as national leader and hero Aung San) She attended Baptist missionary school before going to Rangoon university.
It was at university where she became more aware of the injustices and oppression suffered by the people, she became an outspoken activist and took part actively in the second student strike against British Education authorities on their unfair university laws.
While at University, Ludu Daw Ah Mar met and later, in 1939, married Prosperity U Hla. (named after the journal he published at the time titled "Prosperity".) Prosperity later became known as Ludu U Hla. Again after another journal he published "Ludu Journal" "people's journal” which Ludu Daw Ah Mar and Ludu U Hla established together after the first world war.
Ludu Daw Ah Mar and her husband worked tirelessly on many articles books and journals. They both worked to translate novels and texts from English so their content could be shared with the Burmese people.
She openly pointed out mismanagement of the Burmese self appointed leaders and brought to light the sufferings of the people in the hands of unskillful leaders. Both she and her husband were arrested many times and served time in jail.
Despite the adversity and harassment she suffered in her life and harassment form government officials she gave birth to 5 children wrote many articles in different pen names about various Burmese arts and crafts including theater perforating arts. Translated many books into Burmese. Including the well-known Morris Kollis' Crimes in Burma as well as translating she was also a prolific author and wrote over 30 books.
We wanted to hold a longer ceremony for the repose of her soul and her honor. However, the current situation is quite complicated there is a crackdown going on at the moment by immigration authorities on illegal workers. This includes, surprise checks and the arrests of anyone without proper documentation. We knew many migrants would want to attend the ceremony but kept it quite short due to fears for their safety.” Said, Htoo Chit the director of Grassroots HRE.
50 statues were anointed with water, 10 male and 9 female senior migrants from the community were treated in special honor and 5 novices were ordained. Daw Hmway a 95 years old woman was one of the elders singled out for special treatment. She told FED staff
“I have been in Thailand for more than 60 years. All my 12 children were born here in Thailand. But this is the first time to be treated in this way”
In his sermon, U Kummara, a Mon monk said, “it is very rare chance for a nation to have a citizen like Daw Ah Mar. we can hardly have one person in a century. I want today’s Burmese youth to imitate her in studiousness and zeal for the nation.”
Htoo Chit the director of Grassroots HRE also commented on the ceremony saying, “ I am very pleased that I could do some merit for her and pleased about today’s ceremony, in memory of Daw Ah Mar even though we are far away from home at present.”
“We have intention to include a biography of Daw Ah Mar in the curriculum at all of our Learning Centres in the future. We will work it out together with Burmese Historians and literature experts” Htoo Chit announced.