Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Shortwave Radios Sell for Premium in Sittwe After Daw Suu's Arrest

Sittwe (Narinjara): The price of shortwave radios has been increasing recently in Sittwe markets after Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was arrested on 14 May, 2009, said a town elder.

"I went to a store at Sittwe market two days ago to buy a Chinese-made shortwave radio but the prices had increased at least 20 percent as many radio buyers crowded the market," said the elder.

The price of a Chinese-made shortwave radio was previously only 2500 kyat, but it has recently increased to 4000 kyat.

"Despite the price increase, I bought a Kubo branch radio for 4000 kyat that day because I need to listen to news about Daw Suu broadcast by foreign-based radio stations. At present, every Burmese wants to know about Daw Suu after her arrest. I realized why the radio prices have increase at least 20 percent recently in Sittwe," he said.

People in Arakan State are very interested in the current situation of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi after the government arrested her. Many people have been buying shortwave radios to listen to news through foreign-based Burmese media stations.

Ko Hla Maung from Pauktaw Township said, "As we want to know about Daw Suu's situation after her arrest, we need a radio. In our village, everybody owns a shortwave radio. Without radio, a person is not caught up with modern times in our village."

A store owner from Sittwe said, "Most radio buyers are from rural areas of Arakan and they bought radios through some traders who regularly come to Sittwe for business purposes. It is the radio era of Burma."

According to a local source, many families in Arakan State have two or three radio sets in their home and each family member listens to their own set everyday without fail.

A town elder said, "State-run newspaper and radio in Burma have never published such news about Daw Suu or other important news related to opposition activities. So we depend on foreign-based radio to listen to accurate news on such topics."

There are four foreign-based radio programs that are popular in Burma - the BBC, Voice of America, Radio Free Asia, and Democratic Voice of Burma. Homes are noisy with the radios every morning and evening with residents listening to the latest news of Burma.

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