တင်ထွန်းဦး (Tin Tun Oo), a Myanmar, media entrepreneur, owns Swesone Media Company that has a staff of about 60 employees. Swesone Media Company publishes Thuta Swesone magazine, Pyi Myanmar journal, Arrawjan magazine, and Good Health journal. The owner sponsors the annual Thuta Swesone literary award.
Recently, his journal, Pyi Myanmar, conducted an interview with Joshua Chit Tun, the young Myanmar American who has his eyes on the US Senate.
"Pyi Myanmar Interviews Joshua Chit Tun"
1. Let us know more details about your plans to adopt a child from Myanmar. Why do you want to do so? What kind of kid will you adopt? How will you raise him or her?
When I have accomplished my ambitions, I will adopt a Myanmar orphan. To understand, you have to experience, and, when I look into the eyes of that child, I will grow to understand what must be done. You can learn a lot from a child.
Further, I feel a strong need that this must be done because an elderly, white man, who I owe so much, raised me instead of my father. I will create a foundation that will bear my guardian’s name to help orphans. There is so much that I want to do, but, as long as there is a plan, resolve, and a just cause, I know it can and will be done.
I want you to know that I am moved and understand the responsibility that I must do better to ensure a better future for Myanmar when I see their children. It is a sense of belonging that I cannot explain.
My children will be raised properly. At a young age, they will be instilled with a sense of noble duty. They will have a role someday in the Chit Tun Group or Chit Tun Foundation, so they will be educated to manage such organizations. As long as they fulfill those responsibilities, they could pursue their ambitions.
They will not be spoiled but challenged and driven. These two elements are important so that they can lead and do what is right. It will also teach them discipline. My biggest concern is that they will consume gratuitously.
2. We know that you have an educational foundation. Do you have any plans or wish to let that involve in our country's education reform? You may know that a lot of students in jails or trialed in court who were peacefully protested for education reform. What is your opinion on this? What do you want to say to the student unions in Myanmar?
We are creating and developing proposals for education and leadership for Myanmar's youth.
I will highlight the details of these proposals that are relevant to your questions and the resources that I can mobilize that will help move these initiatives forward. At this stage, I need community organizers, student leaders, and educators to join me at STUDENTdirect International.
STUDENTdirect Charitable Foundation will be part of this process. Technology will be paramount to advance educational standards as well as making education more accessible. I am not an expert in the educational standards and accessibility in rural areas as opposed to those in urban areas. Further, we are looking into how education is distributed. We will spend time to look into this issue. The current proposal does not yet involve the arrested students.
Private and nonprofit groups will become more strategic to improve education. Through Chit Tun Group, I will be getting more involved.
In regards to student unions, I admire their resilience. I want them to get organized and to be prepared for what is to come. In many ways, they are doing things of that which I can only dream. They motivate me to work harder and strengthen my resolve. High school students should get involved with Initiating Community Action (ICA). University students should get involved with #NextGenLeaders.
The proposal will be shared to large international groups, foundations based in USA, as well as celebrities who promote education and systematic change in order to ensure a brighter future for children around the world. In addition, the proper media groups will be notified as well investment groups that focus on education and technology.
My interest for education reform does not only concern Myanmar and USA but also other countries in Southeast Asia.
Strategies to implement our proposals are considered after they are adequately researched. Afterwards, organizations will follow the strategies to achieve the objectives in the proposal. Students will be part of this solution since true change takes hard work via community effort.
3. I haven't heard you talk about your mother. Is she also from Myanmar? Please let us know more about her. Even though you lived here until you were 5 years old and your aunt is from Myanmar, why can you not speak in Burmese?
My beautiful, young mother is 46 years old now. She gave birth to me when she was 16. I was born on August 20, two weeks before her birthday. That must have been quite the birthday surprise.
She is from the Shan state. Since her father is Thai, I also enjoy Thai food culture as well as those from Myanmar.
Much of her is a mystery to me. I do not know much about her family. She has done well for herself for a woman who was uneducated and was raised in a village. Because of her, I fight for what is just.
4. Have you come back to Myanmar? Do you have relatives here? Does your family communicate with them? Are you single or married? If you are married, tell us more about your spouse. If you are single, tell us more about your relationships?
My father’s family does not reside in Myanmar, but it will be nice to make a trip to Myanmar and enjoy the food, culture, and music.
I am single because I am pursuing my ambitions. My community of friends that want to progress humanity makes it feel like I am always loved, so I do not prioritize committing to a long-term, romantic relationship, which helps me keep focused. Since I like anime and Korean dramas, they are some of the things that I enjoy with friends when I spare a moment.
5. Did your parents separate?
My father died when I was 8 years old. My father’s family always cared for me, and I would see my mother on occasion.
6. What is it like to be an independent candidate? How do you wish to encourage other independent candidates like yourself?
In the US, we have a two party, political system, so I had to understand what were my options. To run independently, the key was to formulate from where the resources would come, which is why I have JBM Community consult me.
Their consultation has proven to be effective and allows me to run the race independently, but we do not know where I will stand during the primary elections and the general elections.
I am getting voters to be familiar with #NextGenLeaders. I have definitely used YoungINC.LA to coordinate. These concepts and platforms have given my campaign success.
It takes discipline and determination to put everything you have at risk, but, for me, I enjoy it because I believe change is necessary. To those independents that think that change is necessary, they must continue to fight.
I am sure JBM Community would love to hear from them.