The Voice Weekly is a regular news journal published in Myanmar language. It is focused on current Myanmar political issues. It was suspended one week along with 7 Days News for publishing Aung San Suu Kyi news on front page in November 2011.
1) What are you doing at present?
I am currently involved with a company into which I invested, Brain Child Creative Group. It is going through its early investment stages, but, in its transition, I have become C.E.O. of its subsidiaries such as Boogiezone, as well in their developments in philanthropy and community giving.
There are multiple companies being developed simultaneously, however I am confident that within the next 3 - 6 months it will garner major investments.
It is my goal to take these companies to a profitable and ethical margin but yet still stay true to the purpose of creating a billion dollar organization.
Also I am with the youth. It is these experiences that drives me. Further I have done what I can with the displaced. I am saddened to see this, this is one of the things I advocate in the US, since what people in major populations can relate with is homelessness, the big picture it means these students will have the skill sets to respond to any disaster around the world, and when this becomes a network of students internationally to me that is systematic change, an approach I want to be more efficient at.
@ ICA Displaced Initiative
2) What is the first thing you do when you get up, your first thought, your first action? What are your hobbies?
When I wake up one of the first things I do is check my email, and since I participate in STUDENTdirect's Mentorship Program I am updated via email on the developments of the groups I mentor such as ERHS Initiating Community Action.
This is very exciting for me because I provide feedback to a variety of schools and their programs. I literally do this on my phone. Once more, I am always trying to improve on efficiency but at the same time maintain integrity.
I also check Facebook messages. If I have messages from my personal account, I respond to them directly, which is a lot of people from Myanmar and in different parts of the world. This takes place morning and evenings due to the difference in time zones, but it excites me.
Then, I have conference calls with partners and board members. I do not think I rest.
Hobbies, in my imagination I like to believe that I am dancing with friends, walking on the beach or anything that is in nature, and a nice long drive, does not matter where as long as it is moving.
3) Have you ever been to Myanmar? Can you speak Myanmar language? Is your grandfather Mon ethnic or Burmese?
I was born in Yangon, Myanmar, to be specific, I came to the U.S. when I was five.
I lost my language in the process of learning English, but I still have an appreciation for the Myanmar culture, its music, words, and sounds. I am awed by the beauty of Myanmar.
My grandfather is Burmese and from the Mon state.
4) Can you do as you say because your daily routine is so tight?
Yes, my hobbies is in my imagination and sleep. I am disciplined. Spending only an hour on online instructional videos in dance helps me in many ways as well as when I do my martial arts routine. I like to have music with slides of the beach. It is funny how the brain, if unlocked, is so empowering.
Soon, I want to honor my grandfather by doing his regiment, Barbell Exercises by Chit Tun.
5) Would you tell me about your mother? What kind of mother for you and how others in your family think about her?
My mother, I do not know much about her. I would not mind sharing that with you later. It is somewhat personal and emotional for me. As my father's family puts it, her value is that she gave birth to me. What I can say is that she is my strength. I am a better Chit Tun because of her. She comes from the Shan state and, for most of her life, had to deal with my father's family, which is not an easy task. Despite her lack of education, she made smart decisions in her own way.
I am very much a common person because of her, and I take great pride in that. It makes me work harder. Our country is that of poor people, and I, too, am poor because of her. My father's family, for the most part, always treated me as a common, poor person. I was smart to observe their insecurities. Since my mother gave birth to me, both of us are poor people, but I was raised by Chit Tuns, which is very significant because that family, well, they are quite competitive and elite.
6) So did you ever have inferiority in your childhood?
I never had an inferiority as a child. I was always aware of the fact that being bullied is real, no matter the circumstances. However, that is why I feel the need to protect. By working and inspiring the youth, I could motivate them to change their culture and be the #NextGenLeaders that I envision.
In my dreams, I always felt that I was a noble person and, for the most part, live my life that way, pretty much a fairytale prince without the unnecessary material things.
Because Western culture is fascinated by fairytale and foreign lands, my advisors have made me aware that, after I leave meetings, people refer to me as the half blood prince. It is something about the way I carry myself.Even though there is some truth to it, I do find it funny.7) What is your favorite food?
Mohinga and tea leaf salad are my favorite foods. As for desserts, I am not familiar with their names. My mother is from Myanmar, and, when I do spend time with her, she sometimes prepares mohinga and tea leaf salad. Also, there are approximately 4 restaurants in California that serve food from Myanmar. My new Facebook Myanmar friends do let me know about these restaurants.8)Do you know about Myanmar country's current situation?
Yes, I know about Myanmar's current situation through a variety of Myanmar migrants that reside in different countries. Though I am running for the US Senate, I have every intention to return to Myanmar. I am Myanmar's Favorite Son, so my success in the United States means nothing if I cannot be instrumental in what must happen in Myanmar for its people.I am tired of being part of a country of money. Instead, I want to build a nation of people, and the people of Myanmar have demonstrated that well to me. I do see an amazing future. I just believe. No matter how unrealistic it may seem today, I have always overcome because what I strive and achieve is for more than just me, they represent humanity and humanities hope for a better future.
A journalist from another media group informed me that I am becoming the symbol of hope for Myanmar. That makes me think at night, which made me realize that I have so much more to do and have not done enough.
I see the nobility in our children, and, if we can empower them, they will be the solution and the change that this world needs.9) I've heard you run for the senate. Why? What is your inspiration?I will become the youngest US Senator because it is now a need. I believe that, when I do, it would be admirable. Just saying the words, "I will be the youngest US Senator," inspires hope in its very nature. When you see my résumé and really do the research, then people understand what this truly means.
That is why I am doing it. It is for the change that will come about when we challenge the US Senate and introduce a new political party.
What is my inspiration? It is the historical significance, the possibilities that this may move other youth in other countries to be liberated, to challenge their own systems, to be the change for good reasons, and to do the hard work because it matters since humanity matters.
There is a lot more I can say in this regards.
Everything I do is very much calculated and thorough research has been done. It is even why major political parties, consultants, and independent political committees (Super PACs) spoke to me early in this decision.
10) Why do you decide to run for the senate? I mean you can do for the youth and next gen: as you do every day. So why? And if you can't manage to win, will you plan to run for next time?
Yes, the first two races is definitely David and Goliath. In the first election, it is more important to run with minimum resources. I am handicapping myself deliberately, but, it is for good reason. I want to be R.A.A. (Relatable, Accessible, Accountable).
Maybe the strategy for the first election may seem illogical now, but history will prove otherwise. It is more important for me to have others join this movement, to truly feel that they can challenge the Senate with the introduction a new political party, that they too can be #NextGenLeaders and #NextGenVoters. For me, true power to change and lead is achieved when I can challenge every politician in the US. If they cannot get the job done, someone younger with more understanding of the situation that will cost less and work harder will be the candidate. That is how I know that the first election was a success. In the second election, I will run as my own political party, which will be the party that I will establish and chair.
I was raised as a Chit Tun, which means we do not have the option to fail because we must show that we are the best since we are Chit Tun and come from Myanmar. This is instilled in us in at such a young age.
11) Do you have any Myanmar close friend?
I do have a Myanmar close friend. His name is Raymond Thu. He is a successful executive and investor.
12) You work for Youth (Next Generation). What I want to know is what is your view of Youth?
To me, the youth is the solution for many reasons. They just need systematic opportunity to lead and to be challenged and be supported systematically by groups that mentor them to achieve their ambitions. We can reference examples of this from different countries in Africa, South America, Eastern Europe, and Asia.
Note, when I say this, that I am not like other politicians that say this just because it sounds nice or it is good for their public relations. I say it because I mean it. I most recently resigned as C.E.O. of STUDENTdirect Charitable Foundation, something which I put a lot of effort. However, I named my successor, Cameron Coe, who I have grown to trust and believe. He is only 18 years old, and he is not the only one I can reference. Some are as young as 15 years old.
13) What do you think about Daw Aung San Su Kyi and her NLD party?
I will say this much. There is a reason why I must be the youngest US Senator.
For the U.S, Myanmar is strategic, especially when it comes to our concerns with China. Further, it shows great opportunities for economic growth besides its natural resources and the nature of its people. It is also the fact that Myanmar has been isolated from the rest of world.
At the moment, I do not trust the current government of Myanmar and what they may say. A lot of uncertainty come up. The Lady has done well. She has done her part, but I do feel the next generation must lead, form this new government, and truly shape a new nation.
I want to be a part of that, and there is so much to do. Being in the U.S. has its advantages, which is why being a billionaire and U.S. senator is very important. This is why I do not rest. My personal life must sound boring, but my life has no merit if I cannot lead and truly help my people. I am referring to Myanmar because I know I have already made a difference in the U.S.
14) As some journalist said you are the hope or hero for Myanmar youth. If you have something to say more, please.
The lesson for me is how do I help others be influential. This is something I ponder about every night. I am just one person.
This is what I mean. Through STUDENTdirect Charitable Foundation, Bola-Ige Alabi Efeshodiamhe has his own merits to show. I want him to be president of Nigeria someday. I think that presidents of many countries will be alumnus of one of my charities in the future. They will be #NextGenLeaders.
I have not been called hero, yet, maybe someday but not today.
I am just a follower at this moment, my grandfather, the Myanmar people, all this conflict, and humanity, this is what moves my spirit, how my heart beats. I am a spiritualist, so understanding energy is important.
15) Although I have already read about your family background, I love to hear it from you directly. So tell me your family background.
Not sure if you have read this, but if not, once you do, it will provide a better understanding. I describe my experiences of what my family and their background represents to me.
16) Do you have plans to come to Myanmar? If yes, when?
I do have plans to come to Myanmar. It will be once I am the youngest U.S. Senator.