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Worse than my ex: Myanmars very online youth take on the junta, coup


Their indicators say all of it: Myanmar’s ruling junta is worse than an ex-boyfriend, fouler than fish curry, rejected by hundreds of thousands and extra painful than a interval.

As they flood streets throughout the nation in opposition to final week’s navy coup, a youthful technology of Myanmar protesters are cracking jokes on the navy’s expense and successful followers on social media with their vibrant, witty and infrequently express signage.

The state of affairs is so unhealthy, “even the introverts are here”, as one demonstrator’s poster put it.

“My ex is bad, but Myanmar military is worse,” stated one other.

Scorn has significantly been heaped on military chief Min Aung Hlaing, now in cost after the coup deposed civilian chief Aung San Suu Kyi.

“Our dreams are higher than MAL’s height,” learn a handwritten cardboard signal — a reference to the commander-in-chief’s diminutive stature.

“Min Aung Hlaing I hate you more than my periods,” stated one other held out a automobile window.

Pictures of the relatable, sly remarks have been shared hundreds of instances on social media, with retweets and feedback from customers in Hong Kong, the USA and elsewhere.

This social media savvy marketing campaign “is a new, creative type of protesting for Myanmar,” stated Htaike Htaike Aung, govt director of Myanmar ICT for Improvement, a Yangon-based digital rights group.

“The younger generation… are on Facebook, TikTok, Instagram and Discord mobilizing other young people,” she advised AFP.

In contrast to earlier generations largely reduce off from the world throughout the 49 years of navy rule, these youthful Myanmar protesters got here of age plugged into the web zeitgeist.

And they’re very on-line.

In a single extensively shared signal, a girl reinterpreted “WAP” — Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s sexually-explicit summer time hit — to imply “We Are Protesting Peacefully”.

Lots of the indicators are in English, highlighting the need to enchantment to a world viewers.

Social media has not solely unfold their message, but additionally linked Myanmar protesters to Hong Kong and Thai customers who’ve swapped recommendations on how you can keep protected throughout demonstrations.

Laborious hats — important gear throughout Hong Kong’s unrest — are additionally changing into a signature of this motion.

– Coming on-line –

None of this could have been attainable a decade in the past.

Earlier than Myanmar started its democratic transition in 2011, cyber cafes dotted main cities, however Skype, Gmail and Fb have been restricted underneath the military-imposed isolation.

Regardless of smartphone utilization exploding world wide, solely North Korea had fewer cell phones than Myanmar, the place SIM playing cards value hundreds of {dollars}.

That modified in 2013, when the federal government ended the state monopoly on telecommunications and SIM costs plummeted whereas low cost, Chinese language smartphones — with Fb preloaded — turned extensively accessible.

Keen to attach after years at the hours of darkness, the nation got here on-line just about in a single day and was quickly inundated with trip hailing apps, meals supply companies and cash switch platforms in an web gold rush.

Pulling the plug on all this connectivity might be arduous, if not not possible, stated Htaike Htaike Aung, the digital rights campaigner.

The navy has already tried to place a chokehold on the nation’s web, however customers circumvented a nationwide blackout in addition to social media restrictions with VPNs, overseas SIM playing cards and different measures earlier than entry was restored.

As one of many tongue-in-cheek indicators proliferating throughout the nation put it, the navy “has messed with the wrong generation”.

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