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Grateful to China in my heart

By Phyo Phyo Thuzar Mg | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-08-16 17:01

Phyo at the Belt and Road International Cultural Festival at Renmin University of China. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Since China and my country (Myanmar ) are inextricably linked by geography, history, ethnicity, culture and economy, I had some knowledge about China and its people before I came. But only after coming to study in China did I get to know the Chinese people as intelligent, innovative, hardworking and having high morality.

When I came to China to study in November 2022, I did not know the Chinese language except simple phrases such as Ni Hao and Xie Xie. I faced great difficulties during my quarantine period due to language barriers. But luckily, on the same flight coming to China, there were Chinese people doing business in Myanmar, coming home for the Chinese New Year. They spoke the Myanmar language well, and they were willing to provide the greatly needed assistance to me during the difficult time of quarantine. I was very impressed by their warm-heartedness and readiness to help.

Arriving to the university, at first, I had some insecurities about the new environment. Coming from a small and less developed country, I worried that Chinese people might look down upon me or discriminate against me. I was totally wrong. I found the people I met and ran into to be very humble, friendly and hospitable, even as the country is becoming a global super power. I suppose that is the best reflection of practising the Confucian virtue related to the inner mind-set, morality, social ethics, and respect for the community and its values.

Besides, China and my country share a long land border of more than 1,300 miles, populated largely by tribes living on both sides of the border in Myanmar's eastern Shan and Kachin States and in China's southwestern Yunnan Province. In that area, people from the two countries share forests, mountains and water.

In addition to this favourable background, China and Myanmar also share a lot of similarities in terms of religion, traditional belief and ritual such as respecting senior citizens and the ancestors of the families. The Sino-Burma relationship was under the spirit of the term "pauk-phaw", meaning kinship in Myanmar, for over 70 years already. So I felt a warm and safe atmosphere in the Chinese society as soon as I stepped on China's land.

As soon as I arrived in Suzhou, I noticed that there is no plastic rubbish or any other kind of rubbish anywhere in the whole city. All the time street cleaning workers are doing their duty dedicatedly. I was really impressed by the city's environment administration capacity. Rivers and lakes are all clean and no rubbish could be spotted in the water bodies. According to the local people's voice, Suzhou's environment is totally different from the past and nowadays the municipal government can handle and manage it well. It's no wonder if China becomes the best icon of city environmental management for developing and under-developed countries, including Myanmar.

To me, the most fantastic thing in China is online shopping. It is designed for users' full satisfaction. E-commerce platforms are a massive success in China, where annual sales are in the hundreds of billions. China is the biggest and top e-commerce market in the world as long as the government can support basic necessary infrastructure, namely Electricity (UHV power transmission 24 hrs), Internet (5G network covers the whole country), Digital Payment (Secure Mobile payment- digital wallets, QR codes on Alipay, WeChat Pay) and Consumer Rights (Fully acted Consumer protection law). Although Myanmar has made significant progress in digital development, it still faces important obstacles and challenges. I hope Myanmar could develop digital commerce like China in the near future.

Another recognizable service for the public is the transportation system. China's public transportation can cover the whole nation in the forms of subway, bus, public rental bicycle and so on. In the city of Chongqing, a subway passes through a 19-storey building where hundreds of people live and there is even a train stop called Liziba between the sixth and eighth floor of the building. It was built without having to demolish the existing neighbourhood. The Chongqing Rail Transit is very unique because Chongqing is a densely-populated but mountainous city, with multiple river valleys. No one can deny how advanced China's technology and engineering capacity is. This shows that China never excuses itself and always finds the solution to problems it faces. In my opinion, that is one of the significant demonstrations of China building good governance for its people.

I want to contribute to the socio-economic development of the people of Myanmar. I have a strong belief that I will support policymaking for my nation after studying for two years in China. I am confident I will improve my skills and become capable of working on my own initiatives and developing teamwork and communication skills and having a strong foundation in theoretical and practical thinking. Myanmar has to commit to the targets of the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals. Eliminating poverty and promoting inclusive growth is an ambitious task, one that requires rigorous strategies. To get there, we need to be inspired by and adapt from former successful lessons, such as those found in China. Accordingly, I intend to complete these critical phase alignments with our national priorities when I return to my home country.

The author is a student of Contemporary China Studies, Silk Road School, Renmin University of China, Suzhou. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

The Author would like to thank Professor Wang Zhengxu for his encouragement in writing down these personal thoughts and for editing the draft of this piece. 

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