Saw Wai

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Saw Wai (Burmese: စောဝေ, pronounced [sɔ́ wè]) is a famous Burmese poet. On 22 January 2008, Saw Wai was arrested by Burmese authorities for publishing a poem that secretly criticized Than Shwe, the head of Burma's ruling military junta. The poem, titled "February the Fourteenth" was published in the Rangoon-based Achit Journal (Love Journal). If the first letters of each line of the poem were put together, they read "Power Crazy Than Shwe" in Burmese.[1][2]

In 1988, Saw Wai was fired from his job at the government communication office for taking part in the 8888 Uprising.[3] Until the time of his recent arrest, he headed White Rainbow, a group of artists and writers working to raise money for AIDS orphans.[3] Saw Wai is well known for his romantic poems[4] and is also a performance artist.

On 28 January 2008, Saw Wai's wife, Nan San San Aye tried to see her husband in Insein Prison, but was denied access.

On November 11, 2008, National League for Democracy (NLD) spokesman Nyan Win said Saw Wai was sentenced to 2 years imprisonment for publishing a poem mocking junta head Than Shwe in the weekly Achit Journal ("Senior General Than Shwe is foolish with power").[5][6]

On May 26, 2010, Saw Wai was released from prison.[7] When PEN Myanmar Center was established in 2013, Saw Wai was one of the founding member. He was elected to the board at by-election in 2014 and acting as a secretary since then until 2016.


  1. ^ "Burma poet held for secret insult". BBC News. January 23, 2008. Retrieved May 23, 2010.
  2. ^ Poet arrested for writing "Power Crazy Than Shwe"
  3. ^ a b MacKinnon, Ian (2008-01-25). "Poet held after coded attack on Burmese leader". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2008-01-28.
  4. ^ Weaver, Matthew (2008-01-24). "Burmese poet arrested over cryptic verse attacking general". Guardian Unlimited. London. Retrieved 2008-01-28.
  5. ^, Burma blogger jailed for 20 years
  6. ^, Myanmar blogger jailed for 20 years: opposition
  7. ^ Irrawaddy: Jailed poet released – Ba Kaung

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