Min Thu Wun

Last updated

Min Thu Wun
Min Thu Wun portrait.jpg
Member-elect of the Burmese House of Representatives
for Kamayut Township
Majority23,345 (76%) [1]
Preceded byConstituency established
Succeeded byConstituency abolished
Personal details

(1909-02-10)10 February 1909
Kungyangon, Hinthada District, Hanthawaddy Division, British Burma
Died15 August 2004(2004-08-15) (aged 95)
Kamayut Township, Yangon, Myanmar
Political party National League for Democracy
Spouse(s)Kyi Kyi
Children Htin Kyaw
ParentsLwan Pin
Alma mater Rangoon University
Oxford University

Min Thu Wun (Burmese : မင်းသုဝဏ်; 10 February 1909 – 15 August 2004) was a Burmese poet, writer and scholar who helped launch a new age literary movement called Khit-San (Testing the Times) in Burma. [2] [3] He is the father of Htin Kyaw, president of Myanmar from 2016 to 2018.

{{Infobox language |name=Burmese |altname=Myanmar language |nativename=မြန်မာစာ

Khit San Sarpay was a literary movement that emerged in the 1930s British Burma, and is considered the first modern literary movement in the history of Burmese literature. The movement was heavily influenced by modern English literature, and started by young Burmese writers, many of whom were educated in Christian missionary schools. It emerged from the literary contests held by the Burma Education Extension Association. Many short stories in the modern prose appeared in the association's Ganda Lawka Magazine as well as other periodicals. Three collections—Khit-San Ponbyin-mya Volume 1, Khit-San Kabya-mya, and Khit-San Ponbyin-mya Volume 2 (1938), which were edited and selected by came to represent the emerging literary style.

Myanmar Republic in Southeast Asia

Myanmar, officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar and also known as Burma, is a country in Southeast Asia. Myanmar is bordered by India and Bangladesh to its west, Thailand and Laos to its east and China to its north and northeast. Myanmar is the largest of the mainland Southeast Asian states. To its south, about one third of Myanmar's total perimeter of 5,876 km (3,651 mi) forms an uninterrupted coastline of 1,930 km (1,200 mi) along the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea. The country's 2014 census counted the population to be 51 million people. As of 2017, the population is about 54 million. Myanmar is 676,578 square kilometres in size. Its capital city is Naypyidaw, and its largest city and former capital is Yangon (Rangoon). Myanmar has been a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) since 1997.


Distinguished career

Min Thu Wun (third from the left) Min Thu Wun.jpg
Min Thu Wun (third from the left)

Born Maung Wun at Kungyangon in Mon state in 1909, he was of Mon and Bamar (Burman) descent. He started writing poems at the age of 20 for Rangoon College (later Rangoon University) magazine. It was in university that he, along with the other students of Professor Pe Maung TinTheippan Maung Wa and Zawgyi, pioneered the Hkit san style of short stories and poems, published in the university magazine, and Ganda Lawka (World of Books) magazine which he edited, under the tutelage of J S Furnivall, founder of the Burma Research Society. [2] [4] [5] The year 1934 saw the publication of Hkit san pon byin (Experimental Tales) – a collection of short stories to test the readers' reaction, written by Zawgyi, Min Thu Wun and Theippan Maung Wa among others. The writing was distinct and novel in style using shorter sentences and moving away from the traditional literary vocabulary. [5]

Mon people ethnic group

The Mon are an ethnic group native to Myanmar's Mon State, Bago Region, the Irrawaddy Delta and the southern border with Thailand. One of the earliest peoples to reside in Southeast Asia, the Mon were responsible for the spread of Theravada Buddhism in Indochina. The Mon were a major source of influence on the culture of Myanmar. They speak the Mon language, an Austroasiatic language, and share a common origin with the Nyah Kur people of Thailand; they are from the Mon mandala (polity) of Dvaravati.

Pe Maung Tin Burmese scholar

Pe Maung Tin was a scholar of Pali and Buddhism and educator in Myanmar, formerly Burma. Born to an Anglican family at Pauktaw, Insein Township, Rangoon, he was the fifth child of U Pe and Daw Myaing. His grandfather was the first Burmese pastor of Henzada. He learnt the basic Buddhist texts at a local private school before he went to Rangoon Government High School where he won a scholarship at age 14.

Theippan Maung Wa Burmese writer

Theippan Maung Wa was a Burmese writer, and one of the pioneers of the Hkit San literary movement. The movement searched for a new style and content in Burmese literature before the Second World War starting with Hkit san ponbyin.

In 1935 Min Thu Wun received his master's degree in Burmese literature. He went to study at Oxford University, and achieved a bachelor's degree in literature in 1939. [2]

The literature of Burma spans over a millennium. Burmese literature was historically influenced by Indian and Thai cultures, as seen in many works, such as the Ramayana. The Burmese language, unlike other Southeast Asian languages, adopted words primarily from Pāli rather than from Sanskrit. In addition, Burmese literature tends to reflect local folklore and culture.

A bachelor's degree or baccalaureate is an undergraduate academic degree awarded by colleges and universities upon completion of a course of study lasting three to seven years. In some institutions and educational systems, some bachelor's degrees can only be taken as graduate or postgraduate degrees after a first degree has been completed. In countries with qualifications frameworks, bachelor's degrees are normally one of the major levels in the framework, although some qualifications titled bachelor's degrees may be at other levels and some qualifications with non-bachelor's titles may be classified as bachelor's degrees.

Whilst Theippan Maung Wa was famous for his prose, Min Thu Wun and Zawgyi were best known for their portrayal of the daily lives of ordinary people and for their appreciation of nature in their poems. [4] Zawgyi became the most respected literary critic, and Min Thu Wun the best loved poet. [5]


  1. Nursery Songs for Maung Khway – 13 songs in Burmese with music and English translations by Gordon H Luce of 60 years ago were reprinted in 2002. [6]
  2. Stories for Children – his translation of 26 stories for children from around the world from 1955 to 1961 were also collected into a book in 1965. [7]

Min Thu Wun's prolific writings on literature, both classical and modern, in numerous articles were later collected into 3 important books.

  1. Pan hnin pinzi – The Tree Trunk and the Blooms (1965)
  2. Myanma sa Myanma hmu – Burmese Life and Letters (1965)
  3. Pyinma ngokto – The Tough Tree Stump (1968) [5]

Min Thu Wun explained in a book review the nature of "light" and "serious" literature. [3] He went on to create the Burmese version of Braille for the blind. [4] He also helped compile MonBurmese and PaliBurmese dictionaries. [2]

Braille Tactile writing system for blind and visually impaired people

Braille is a tactile writing system used by people who are visually impaired. It is traditionally written with embossed paper. Braille users can read computer screens and other electronic supports using refreshable braille displays. They can write braille with the original slate and stylus or type it on a braille writer, such as a portable braille notetaker or computer that prints with a braille embosser.

The Mon language is an Austroasiatic language spoken by the Mon people, who live in Myanmar. Mon, like the related Khmer language, but unlike most languages in mainland Southeast Asia, is not tonal. In recent years, usage of Mon has declined rapidly, especially among the younger generation. Many ethnic Mon are monolingual in Burmese, and the language is classified as "vulnerable" by UNESCO. The current number of speakers is approximately 800,000 in 2007. In Myanmar, the majority of speakers live in Mon State, followed by Tanintharyi Region and Kayin State.

Pali middle Indo-Aryan language

Pali or Magadhan is a Middle Indo-Aryan liturgical language native to the Indian subcontinent. It is widely studied because it is the language of the Pāli Canon or Tipiṭaka, and is the sacred language of some religious texts of Hinduism and all texts of Theravāda Buddhism. The earliest archaeological evidence of the existence of canonical Pali comes from Pyu city-states inscriptions found in Burma dated to the mid 5th to mid 6th century CE.


In 1990 he was elected as a National League for Democracy (NLD) Member of Parliament, although he resigned 8 years later under pressure from the military regime. His work has also been banned from publication. [2] A popular publication called Sapei Gya-ne (Literary Journal) was also blocked in its attempt to dedicate its June 1995 issue to Min Thu Wun. [8] He died on 15 August 2004 at the age of 95. [2]

National League for Democracy political party in Myanmar

The National League for Democracy is a social-democratic and liberal democratic political party in Myanmar (Burma), currently serving as the governing party. Founded on 27 September 1988, it has become one of the most influential parties in Myanmar's pro-democracy movement. Aung San Suu Kyi, the Special Honorary President of the Socialist International and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, serves as its President and she is currently serving as State Counsellor of Myanmar. The party won a substantial parliamentary majority in the 1990 Burmese general election. However, the ruling military junta refused to recognise the result. On 6 May 2010, the party was declared illegal and ordered to be disbanded by the junta after refusing to register for the elections slated for November 2010. In November 2011, the NLD announced its intention to register as a political party to contend future elections, and Myanmar's Union Election Commission approved their application for registration on 13 December 2011.

See also


  1. "National League for Democracy". Brief Biographies of Elected MPs. Retrieved 7 April 2012.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Aung Lwin Oo. "Burmese Literary Pioneer Dies". The Irrawaddy 16 August 2004. Archived from the original on 12 August 2010. Retrieved 30 November 2008.
  3. 1 2 Maung Swan Yi (December 2002). ""Chewing the West":The Development of Modern Burmese Literature under the Influence of Western Literature" (PDF). p. 5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 April 2008. Retrieved 30 November 2008.
  4. 1 2 3 Min Zin. "Living History: Dagon Taya & Modern Burmese Literature". The Irrawaddy July 2000. Archived from the original on 13 October 2007. Retrieved 30 November 2008.
  5. 1 2 3 4 Kratz, E Ulrich (1996). Southeast Asian Languages and Literatures. I B Tauris. pp. 18, 21. ISBN   978-1-86064-114-5 . Retrieved 2 December 2008.
  6. Min Thu Wun. "Nursery Songs for Maung Khway" (PDF). Sapei Lawka (World of Letters), NDD. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 May 2011. Retrieved 2 December 2008.
  7. Min Thu Wun. "Stories for Children" (PDF). Sapei Lawka (World of Letters), NDD. Retrieved 2 December 2008.
  8. Yozo Yokota. "Report on the situation of human rights in Myanmar – D:Freedom of expression". UN Commission on Human Rights, 5 February 1996. Retrieved 3 December 2008.

Related Research Articles

University of Yangon University in Myanmar

University of Yangon, located in Kamayut, Yangon, is the oldest university in Myanmar's modern education system and the best known university in Myanmar. The university offers mainly undergraduate and postgraduate degrees programs in liberal arts, sciences and law. Full-time bachelor's degrees were not offered at the university's main campus after the student protests of 1996. The bachelor's degree was re-offered from 2014 on, to the best students in the country. Today degrees in Political Science are offered to undergraduate students, as well as Postgraduate diplomas in areas such as social work and geology.

Zawgyi (writer) Burmese writer

Zawgyi was a distinguished and leading Burmese poet, author, literary historian, critic, scholar and academic. His name, Zawgyi is literally a mythical wizard from Burmese folklore. He was one of the leaders of the Hkit san movement in Burmese literature searching for a new style and content before the Second World War, along with Theippan Maung Wa, Nwe Soe and Min Thu Wun. His first hkit san poetry,Padauk pan, was published in Hantha Kyemon pamphlet.

Ludu U Hla Burmese writer

Ludu U Hla was a Burmese journalist, publisher, chronicler, folklorist and social reformer whose prolific writings include a considerable number of path-breaking nonfiction works. He was married to fellow writer and journalist Ludu Daw Amar.

Articles related to Myanmar include:

Maung Maung President of Union of Myanmar

Maung Maung was the 7th President of the Union of Burma, and a well-known writer.

Tin Moe Burmese poet

Tin Moe (1933-2007) was a Burmese poet.

Myanmar National Literature Awards are awards presented to a Burmese author who has published a particularly lauded piece or body of work. There are awards for forms of writing ranging from poetry to novels. Many awards are also dedicated to a certain genre of fiction or non-fiction writing. Most literary awards come with a corresponding award ceremony.

Thu Maung Burmese actor

Thu Maung was a Myanmar Academy Award-winning film actor, singer as well as a distinguished writer and director. Throughout his film career, Thu Maung acted in over 40 films. He was born in Rangoon, Burma to parents U Thadu, a well-known author and director, and Daw Khin Nyo. Thu Maung was educated at St. Paul's High School. In 1966, he was admitted into the Government Technical High School, where he subsequently obtained a diploma in diesel engineering in 1969. During this period, he began writing poems and short stories for the Yuwadi Journal. In 1970, he published his first short story, Thanakha Yay Kye Kye (သနပ်ခါးရေကျဲကျဲ) under the pen name Oke Soe in the Wut Hmone Journal.

Myo Min was a Burmese academic, journalist and writer, who wrote under the pen names of Nwe Soe, U Myo Min and Myint Win. He was one of the founders of the Khit-San Sarpay movement, the first modern literary movement in the history of Burmese literature. He was the longtime Professor of English at Rangoon University and later at Yangon Institute of Education. He also served in several academic and research organizations, including the Burma Historical Commission, the Burma Research Society, and the Burma Translation Society. For his services to the country, he was awarded the honorary titles of Wunna Kyawhtin in 1954 and Thiri Pyanchi in 1961 by the government.

The Burma Education Extension Association was a Rangoon (Yangon)-based educational organization founded by JS Furnivall to promote "the intellectual advancement of the country", and the predecessor organization to the Burma Translation Society.

Ganda Lawka was a Burmese language monthly magazine published by the Burma Education Extension Association. The magazine was a sister publication of The World of Books, the English language monthly started by JS Furnivall, and "welcomed modern Burmese prose, original ideas and criticism." It was edited by a succession of young Burmese writers, including Zawgyi, Min Thu Wun, Sein Tin, and Nwe Soe.

Htin Kyaw Burmese politician and scholar serving as the 9th President of Myanmar

Htin Kyaw is a Burmese politician, writer and scholar who served as the 9th President of Myanmar from 30 March 2016 to 21 March 2018. He was the first elected president to hold the office with no ties to the military since the 1962 coup d'état. The second son of scholar Min Thu Wun, Htin Kyaw had held various positions in the education, planning and treasury ministries in prior governments.

Hteik Su Phaya Gyi Burmese princess

Princess Hteik Su Phaya Gyi is a Princess of Burma and most senior member of the Royal House of Konbaung. She is the daughter of Princess Myat Phaya Galay and the granddaughter of the last king of Burma Thibaw Min and Supayalat.

Burmese Declaration of Independence

The Burmese Declaration of Independence was officially promulgated on 4 January 1948, marking the end of British rule in Burma. The date is now celebrated as Independence Day, a national gazetted holiday. The document was jointly penned by Zawgyi, Min Thu Wun, Ohn Pe and Win Sein, and translated into English by Maung Maung, U Thant, Khin Maung, and Khin Zaw.