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Beauty queen who escaped Myanmar’s military and now lives in P.E.I. shares her story on Canadian tour

The Burmese model and magnificence queen who spoke out towards the military junta in Myanmar whereas on a global stage in Thailand final 12 months is residing in Charlottetown and sharing her story to elevate consciousness about what is going on on in her house nation.

Thaw Nandar Aung, 23, who additionally goes by the title Han Lay, has been in Prince Edward Island since September. This week, she was in London, Ont., to satisfy with members of the Burmese neighborhood, and shall be in Toronto on Saturday, Vancouver on Nov. 26, and Edmonton on Dec. 3 as a part of a Canadian tour.

“Since the military coup occurred in Myanmar, the individuals are dealing with so many difficulties daily,” stated Thaw Nandar Aung in an interview with London Morning‘s Rebecca Zandbergen on Thursday morning.

In September, it was reported Thaw Nandar Aung was en path to Canada, which she stated had granted her asylum, as she had feared being arrested by Burma’s military authorities.

CBC reached out to the Canadian authorities on Thursday, however a spokesperson for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) stated they could not remark “because of privateness legal guidelines” with out consent from the particular person concerned.

“Refugees and newcomers are a driving drive behind our society and economic system, and our nation has a longstanding and proud custom of serving to the world’s most susceptible,” the spokesperson stated in an electronic mail. “In 2021, Canada resettled extra refugees than wherever else in the world. In truth, over one third of resettled refugees final 12 months now name Canada house.”

Although presently residing in P.E.I., Thaw Nandar Aung informed London Morning she hopes to transfer to the southwestern Ontario metropolis.

WATCH | Thaw Nandar Aung’s pageant speech:

Thaw Nandar Aung denounced her nation’s military rulers final 12 months from the stage of the Miss Grand International magnificence pageant in Bangkok. She accused the military of selfishness and abusing energy for utilizing deadly drive to crush peaceable protests, and she appealed for worldwide assist for her nation.

Myanmar’s military, which seized energy in February 2021 from the elected authorities of Aung San Suu Kyi, has cracked down closely on widespread opposition to its rule. Critics, together with actors and different celebrities, have been arrested on costs that carry penalties starting from three years of imprisonment to dying.

Referring to media experiences in late April, Thaw Nandar Aung stated the military-controlled authorities “burned greater than 500 homes. People are dealing with so many difficulties, particularly the harmless folks. For instance, in the event that they burn the home, the folks haven’t any house to reside, no meals to eat, and a number of the folks die due to the hearth and due to the airstrikes. So many individuals are dealing with so many difficulties daily.”

Speech shocked pals and household

On her speech on the Bangkok pageant, she stated, “Everyone was shocked as a result of I did not inform to anybody that I [was going to] make that speech.

“The response from the folks, they help me rather a lot and so many media from completely different nations, they attain out to me to do interviews.”

Thaw Nandar Aung spoke to London Morning’s Rebecca Zandbergen on Thursday morning. (Rebecca Zandbergen/CBC News)

After Thaw Nandar Aung made her speech in April 2021, she continued residing in Thailand.

In September 2021, she was charged in absentia with sedition for talking out towards the military takeover on the pageant and on-line. The cost carries a most penalty of 20 years in jail. 

“I’m very impressed with Han’s stance,” stated Tin Maung Htoo, an impartial investor in London, Ont., who moved to Canada from Myanmar 20 years in the past and spent three years in a Thai jail for talking out towards the military regime a long time earlier.

Tin Maung Htoo can also be head of the Burmese Canadian Action Network, which shaped after final 12 months’s military coup.

“It’s very uncommon folks like her, in that type of trade, talking out towards this type of very powerful military regime, realizing that there could be repercussions and reprisals from the military, however she did it.”

Tin Maung Htoo, who spent three years in a jail in Thailand after talking out about military rule in Myanmar, is head of the Burmese Canadian Action Network. (Rebecca Zandbergen/CBC News)

Tin Maung Htoo is hopeful Thaw Nandar Aung will be capable to return to Myanmar in the future. She’s an solely little one whose father handed away when she was younger and she misses her mom.

“I actually fear about my mother’s state of affairs there as a result of I really feel like she’s not secure,” she stated. 

“I actually miss my mother and my household, however I by no means regret about this as a result of I did the correct manner and I did for my folks, not just for me.”



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