I remembered, it was a gloomy day. It had rainfall too. We were picked up by the SHAN founder: Khuensai Jaiyen. He drove us to an old house at outskirt of Chiang Mai. Sai Yawd Lao sat at the front, Sai Yee Phong Murng and I sat at the back. The car heading into the village, the street was zigzag. It was about five-minute drive from the main road.
Khuensai said “Although there are many streets and zigzag, don’t worry…soon you will remember. Wherever we are, we have to adapt to local. As saying, have you ever heard? “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”. We have arrived, you can get off. And then, we got off the car and entered the house.
We entered the old house. We could see the pictures of revolutionary leaders such as Sao Tzang Yanghwe, Mo Heng (Sao Korn Jurng), Sao Hso Hten, Sao Puen Tai and Shan State national flag (Yellow, Green, Red and white circle in the middle).
I still recall, the first person greeting me was a sister with long hair. She walked out from kitchen. I found out later that she was a housekeeper and cook for the staff. At the office, only had a female worker and she was a cook.
At the time, there were reporters writing in English, Shan and Burmese. Although there were different positions such as layout and financial, but there was no woman. I was told that there would be 2 female workers. Another woman who will be joining and myself. We would work together.
At the time, at the office had only 4 computers. While I practiced writing news, I wrote on paper. After other staff left the office, I had the chance to use computer.
I don’t mean that I was the first woman joining the SHAN. There were many women worked at SHAN. They included a well-known human right activist Nang Charm Tong, Nang Sri Lar from SWAN (Shan Woman Action Network), Nang Khaming (Nang Myanadi) DVB reporter, and Norway based DVB Nang Kham Keaw.
However, I’m the only woman who have worked with SHAN for over a decade and until now. There also many women who came after me and left SHAN then work with other organizations and further for their education.
For woman right and to empower woman roles in media. Now, SHAN has 11 women out of 18 staff. It means women is over 50%. SHAN treat gender equality, no discrimination on man and woman. Management team include women and decision-making also woman can play the role. I personally proud and appreciate my role.
Last but not least, for the SHAN to move forward, to be independent media, people media and make the voice of the people, I will do my utmost.
Nang Yae Hom, Editor (Burmese/Shan)