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Remembrance ceremony honoring Mon leader Nai Nonlar held on 26th anniversary of ‘88 uprising

Reported by: > A remembrance ceremony was held on the morning of August 8th in honor of the late Nai Nonlar, former chairman of the New Mon State Party (NMSP). The traditional ceremony, where attendees paid tribute by offering meals to the monks,

was held at the Three Pagoda Pass Monastery in Three Pagoda Pass (TPP) Town, Sangkhlaburi, Thailand.

Nai Nonlar unexpectedly passed away on August 8, 1989, while giving a speech at the first anniversary of the 8-8-88 Uprising, in honor of the pro-democracy movement that took place 25 years ago. Nai Nonlar fell down and experienced a heart attack while delivering his speech, and passed away. Nai Nonlar was 72 years old, leaving one son, one daughter, and four grandchildren.

“What I, myself, experienced is that after the uprising in 1988, lots of students came to the Three Pagoda Pass [area]; for the All Burma Students’ Democratic Front (ABSDF) to be founded and for the students to live there, as vice-chairman of NMSP, Sayar Nai Nonlar, had helped [ABSDF] a lot at the time,” said Nai Tin Mon, chairman of Mon Literature and Culture in TPP Township, during his speech at the remembrance ceremony.

Nai Tin Mon continued that the TTP-based ABSDF had invited Nai Nonlar to give a speech at the first anniversary of 8-8-88, held on August 8, 1989, and that he had witnessed Nai Nonlar passed away as he had a heart attack while giving a speech on the main stage.

“The speeches given by Sayar Nai Nonlar included [the notions that] one has to study political issues, if one wants to get involved in politics [as a politician], and [that] if one wants to work for his/her [people], he/she will reach the goals if he/she is also in unity [with others],” remembers Sayardaw Ashin Hongsar-Rajai, abbot of TPP monastery.

The Sayardaw continues that Nai Nonlar’s message to help the people highlighted that one must implement within the boundary, one must fix within the boundary, and one must live one’s life within the boundary.

For the years of 1981-1987, during the period when the NMSP broke into two factions, the late Nai Shwe Kyin led the NMSP faction based in Wengka Village, while Nai Nonlar led the NMSP faction based in Three Pagoda Pass. When the two factions were once again united, Nai Nonlar was appointed as vice-chairman of NMSP at the reunited organization’s first conference in 1989.

With the coup d’état, staged by General Ne Win, Mon leaders were arrested and jailed by Gen. Ne Win’s government, in November 1963. Nai Nonlar was jailed for 10 years at Moulmein Prison, along with other Mon leaders, including the late Nai Aung Htun, Nai Htun Thein of the Mon National Party (MNP), Nai Ngwe Thein of the MNP, the late Nai Chan Mon, Nai Thein Maung, the late Nai Kon Balai, the late Nai Kyaung, and Nai Tin Aung of the MNP. Following his release in 1973, Nai Nonlar joined the NMSP.

The August 8th remembrance ceremony honoring Nai Nonlar was [also] held in his birthplace of Hanee Pa-daw Village, Mudon Township, Mon State, by a local Mon culture group.

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