Interview With Burma’s Chin Female Rock Singer Sung Tin Par
23 October 2009 [CG Note: Her on-stage singing talent wows the audience in the whole country of Burma, and yet her off-stage warm-hearted and humble personality surprises the people around her. After making enormous efforts in raising awareness and fund for Chin mautam victims by performing voluntarily in Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia last year, Sung Tin Par once again took the sweat out of the concerts, along with other Chin singers, in Denmark, Norway and Germany.
Born in Rangoon to Pu Sang Nawn, of Vuangtu, and Pi Nawn Tang, of Hriphi, Sung Tin Par led her childhood life full of adventures as her father, who was then a police officer, had to move from one place to another. She attended her nursery school in Hakha, 3rd Grade in Falam, 4th and 5th in Kyang Kung of Irrawaddy Division, 6th in Myang Mya, 7th and 8th in Hakha, and 9th and 10th in Rangoon.
Engaged in April 2009 to Chin architecture student Sang Za Lian aka Aung Aung, who is currently studying in Japan, the 30-year-old famous rocker is set now to perform in a series of Chin Food Aid Concerts in the US for nearly two months.
During a one-month long tour in Europe to perform in a series of Chin concerts organised by Chin Communities, Van Biak Thang did the following interview with Sung Tin Par.]
Chinland Guardian: How did you find the Europe tour?
Sung Tin Par: It has been great. And the credits should go to those who are responsible for organising the concerts and the Chin people in Europe who work so hard for this tour to be successful. We just came to be a part of the team on what the Chin people in Europe have already done. So, we all are healthy and happy to see each other and the concerts went well.
Chinland Guardian: What made you decide to come all the way long from Burma to Europe, particularly for these concerts?
Sung Tin Par: Actually, I have heard and read the news about the food crisis, and seen some pictures of the Chin people suffering from mautam. I always believe in collaborating and sharing with others what each of us can do to make a stronger and bigger voice. Even though I have never been to the mautam-hit areas, I could understand the difficulties of being hungry to some extent. So, saying this in mind ‘if what I can do can be of even a little help to those who are suffering’, I decided straight away once I got the invitation.
Chinland Guardian: During this Europe tour, what were the things that made you feel disappointed and happy?
Sung Tin Par: I have nothing to say in terms of difficulties and hardship because what we came across during this tour were, I reckon, just minor and too small to mention. Things that made me really happy and proud of were the unity and efforts made by the Chin people in Europe when dealing with any issues particularly including taking good care of us, being responsible for the success of the concerts and their generous contributions toward helping the Chin victims of food crisis.
Moreover, we had not only the Chin but also other people from Burma participating in a series of concerts, whether small or big, organised by the Chin people in Europe – we used to be only the invitees but now we are the inviters. And I felt really happy when I saw Chin people living in a better standard with good houses and environment.
Chinland Guardian: Tell us more about yourself in singing and music in general.
Sung Tin Par: Well, I clearly remembered getting involved in singing and dancing while I was at nursery school. And I started singing more seriously in my 4th grade. The very first time I sang a song in public was on Father’s Day at Karen Baptist Church in Kyang Kung. And also in Myang Mya, I kept on going to church, and getting involved in church activities such as singing and acting in a drama. I would say my Sunday school teachers were the one who first taught me on singing.
In 1997 just after passing the 10th grade, I had a singing lesson from U Saw Nuh as colleges were closed at that time. With his encouragement to gain experience, I joined a singing competition held at Golden Butterfly Hotel and unexpectedly won the first prize by singing Maria Carey’s Hero. And later, I won another first prize in a competition organised by U Saw Nuh. In brief, that was how I moved on until today. To tell the truth, I become what and who I am today only by the grace of God.
Chinland Guardian: The effects of mautam are predicted to last longer for years to come and the long-term survival of the Chin people now becomes an important issue. People have been working on this issue and will have to work even harder. What would you like to say to those working both outside and inside the country and especially to those who are suffering from mautam food crisis?
Sung Tin Par: Even though I have never seen with my own eyes those who have been suffering from this mautam food crisis, I know how difficult when we feel hungry. I grew up in Chin State and I could still remember the happiness and satisfaction we got when we had meat curry for dinner like once a week or once a month.
I have great sympathy for the mautam victims as they now have nothing to eat. Only my feelings of pity and sympathy will not do any help to them unless actions follow. The amount that I can share may be very small but if we all contribute collectively then the amount we share will become bigger, meaningful, helpful and useful to the people. It is important that we believe in what we can do as part of the team. As this mautam effect might not end immediately, I would like to tell the mautam victims not to feel weak but to feel strong and to remember that they are not alone. And I would like to let them know that all the Chin people across the world love and care for them.
I believe we will win this battle not only for the present time but also for the long-term survival if we all work hard and take it not just as emergency issues but as our own duties and responsibilities.
Chinland Guardian: Thank you for your time and especially for taking this kind of voluntary action for the Chin people.
Sung Tin Par: Thank you. Honestly, there is nothing to mention in regards to what I can do. It is too small. I want to say my heartfelt thanks to the Chin people in Europe for their generosity, greetings and presents in addition to taking good cares of us during our tour. I am fully aware that people are much better and kind to me beyond my expectation and I am convinced how proud I am to be Chin.