Hnin Wai Nyein
The Writer
(Biographical Sketch)

The writer, Hnin Wai Nyein was born of the parents, U Kyaw Nyein and Daw Myaing in August, 1962. She obtained her B.A. degree, specializing in Geography in 1983.

Her debut short story, subtitled ‘It’s I who love all old things’, published in ‘Music News Journal’ in 1982.
She has been constantly contributing short stories, novelettes, and articles to magazines and journals so far.
Some of her short stories have been broadcast as radio plays from the Myanmar Radio Broadcasting Service.

Her first novel was published in the form of a book in 1988. One of her short stories was included in the collective short stories of Myanmar Women Writers, translated into Japanese by Japan Dido. Foundation in 2001. Some of her short stories have been chosen and published in other books of collective short stories along with other writers.

She was an executive editor for ‘Ywetnuwai Magazine’ from 1994 to 1996. She has also been an executive editor for ‘Mudita Magazine’ from 1955 untill now. She also was an organizer and publisher of ‘Manijota Religious Magazine’ from 2006 to 2007.

She has contributed over 200 short stories and articles to local magazines. She has written and published 34 novels so far.

Twelve of her novels have been interpreted into filmic versions. The most popular video movies based on her novels are ‘The Blessed Woman’ and ‘Mudita, the Equanimity’.

Currently, She has already established her own Publishing House, ‘Hnin Wai Né Win’, publishing books. She is working as a supervisor for Myanmar Insurance Service’ and also an executive editor for ‘Mudita Magazine’. 

GENERATIONALLY DIVERSIFIED ART

Hnin Wai Nyein

The topic I’m now discussing about is … ‘Generationally Diversified Art’. Not Art generation. I’m not creating ‘Art for the sake of the next generation’ that is to be handed down to my son. What kind of art I’d like to create is something of what can be contributed to the future of young children today. I’ve been a love story writer. But I scrupulously wrote stories in order that my stories will not dangerously poison the readers. I don’t think a writer can fulfill his or her responsibilities if he or she artistically creates a literary piece that drifts along the current of the modern age.

We let the reader take as he wishes after reading our literary piece, it isn’t good for us. Isn’t it good if his decision over it is destructive? I fear because I don’t want to be the one whose literature offends the others. I have written about 34 novels. They are love stories. But the portrayal of affection is there. So the exchange of reading them is possible between brother and sister or son and mother. I try hard to write my novels or create my artworks not to be superficial even though they may be categorized as common ones. As a consequence, such of what I have currently written deals with young people. I like to include gentle humour in my stories. If I am sickened, I put more humour in it. What I want to talk now is a story entitled, ‘Young people on pages’. One day I had to interview some applicants at my office for a religious magazine. The story is about the interview. The required qualifications of an applicant are to be graduated and to be skilled in graphic designing. But we forgot to add the qualification to be well-versed in Myanmar writing. And we put another fact that he or she must have a natural bent in literature. Anyway many applied for it.

There were about 35 applicants. There were also four interviewers a school teacher, a writer, a graphic designer and a press owner. On the day the interview was taking place, 10 young men arrived earlier than we did. As they were more concerned to come earlier, we gave 50 scores each straightway for their enthusiasm and diligence. After that we started to ask them questions. We gave scores for their styles of wearing dresses. Some wore jean pants and skirts. If doesn’t matter. They are currently in fashion. It must be accepted. Our questions began. We asked, “well, what are your qualifications, daughter? She immediately presented about 6 certificates to us, including a certificate of graphic designing. We asked them to show her ability in graphic designing. She said, ‘Aunty, I have learned only theorectically. But I’m afraid my knowledge is not practicable right now. She was likely to mean she was to have practical experience on the job. We had to offer her job as well as training. Then we inquired her estimated salary. She said 60,000 kyats. It is to be in consideration that her qualification is worth 60,000 kts. That is the story of the one.

Another one was asked. As it was a magazine on religion, she was asked how to receive a Buddhist monk who visited our office and she said she was going to greet, “Your reverence, please, sit down or please, raise your steps”. I continued, “Well, how would you host a Buddhist monk in our absence?” She said, “I would say to him to have a coldrink, venerable sir”. That was the extent of her knowledge. In practice, the vinayadhuras or those, who are on restricted rules of the order, never take coldrinks after the lunch. They only take water. May I share my religious knowledge as much as I have? If we offer a cold drink to the monk who never has such practice, it means he will feel thirsty because he happens to unavoidably take a cold drink. We should not easily say anything to the Buddhist monks as they have restricted rules of the order. And then I asked her a question about a word that is mainly used in our religious magazine. The word means the place where the Buddha attained His Buddha hood as well as our previous state’s concept, the middle way.

The word majjhima, is a religious term. I asked her, “Please, spell the word majjhima, daughter.” She spelt it as myeik-chi-ma. I asked her only to write the spelling of it even without defining it. We all even amused to see it. Next, we asked another one. As he graduated in Myanmar literature, the designer-interviewer asked him to spell jatippothi. Let’s see! Because of this, the interviewee darted a sideglance at the interviewer. After that, the Myanmar literature graduate sternly got it down. It was like that: jarinbothi. Well, what do we have to continue asking? They don’t even know anything about Pali Pattha (Pali the words of Buddha; Pattha: the derivative of Nipata, collective term for the 547 birth stories of the lord Buddha in His former existences), concerning with religion. It is also too difficult to know Myanmar literature. There is depth and profundity of the difference between Ahshin Janakabhivamsa and Shin Janakabhivamisa or bhaddanta. It is not easy. How can we appoint them as members of staff of a religious magazine? After that, we only chose the questions that best suit them. We didn’t want to provoke their such and such drawbacks. Instead, we inquired their strengths.

When the girl was asked what sort of future prospects she has, she answered she was going abroad and she wanted to go if there were chances.  She added that she was also being trained how to use internet and e-mail. So we said it was OK.

Here is the story of another one. When I asked him what her long term progress to be made was, she told me she was also going abroad. She was learning spoken English. I asked how long she thought to work with us and her answer was that she would work as long as she was pleased or before she went abroad. We could only say, ‘Oh, my goodness’. Another one clearly mentioned that he only wanted to apply for the post of a staff member. He added that he was illiterate when it came to computers and took no interest in it. He knew computers not practically but theorectically, He said to me, ‘I need more time, Aunty’. As usual, we said, ‘Oh! My goodness’.

Another one was a History graduate. So I asked if he took an interest in Myanmar and World History. She said, “As I’m the maker of my own history, I’m not interested in any area of history”. She said it with a chuckle. Even though she said so, I, as a writer, shamelessly queried him about one more thing. She was asked from which country the current secretary General of the United Nations came. I also said it was the country popular among the young people here like you. She responded she absolutely had no idea. In reality, I gave her the clue that it was Korea. I even mentioned the name, ‘Bankimoon’, just for her knowledge. But then she said she took no interest in politics. I went on saying to her that we had to know about the world leaders so as to enrich our knowledge though it was not offending us for no knowledge of Bankimon. As it is not offending, we must know Chegwebara, Castro. Apart from Communist leaders, we must know Gorbachev from Soviet Union, the socialist state and the reason why soviet Union collapsed.

In this story about an interview, the writer draws a conclusion that the writer herself comes to know her weaknesses. Thus, what she thought, is the story, was that she would appoint them if they had no degree, as mentioned in the notification. The applicants brought many sheets of paper. Even though we were querying them from the papers, we were, at the same time, giving scores behind the papers. There was the meaning that we were giving the scores of empathy. Another fact is that all the interviewees grabbed the chairs and sat on them without asking for permission to any of the interviewers. They did not know they should sit on the chairs only after asking for the permission. When they were asked, they knew only by theory and not by practice. No one is there to be angry with. We have to be angry with ourselves. I made up my mind that the required facts should have been first mentioned in the notification.

The applicants must:

(1)   be well-versed in Myanmar;

(2)   not be the ones who take more interest to go abroad;

(3)   have practical knowledge of any certificates submitted;

(4)   know Myanmar, preferably with knowledge of Pali;

(5)   be a confirmed reader (the one who has already had literary knowledge)

(6)   be good at spelling words

(7)   take an interest in the nature of work.

If so, will there be any more chances for those mentioned above to come to this place?

Thanks.

Translated into English by Maung Win War

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