Chiang Mai, Thailand: Last night, over one thousand concert-goers filed into the stadium at Payap University in Chiang Mai, Thailand to hear performances by top artists from Burma and Mizoram participating in the Chin Famine Live Aid Concert. The Chin community of Chiang Mai organized the concert to benefit victims of the ongoing famine and food shortages in Chin State, Burma.
“We had a very good turnout last night. The performances were all top-notch and they generated a lot of excitement from the crowd,” said Freddy Lian, a Chin community leader based in Chiang Mai. “We are grateful that these talented musicians were able to bring much needed attention to the problems currently affecting the Chin people.”
The people of Chin State, Burma are now struggling with food shortages caused by the flowering and dying of bamboos in parts of Chin State starting in 2006. When the bamboo flowers, it produces a fruit that attracts rats, which has led to a rapid infestation of rats particularly in the southern areas of Chin State. After exhausting the supplies of bamboo fruits, the rats turn on the food stores and crop harvests that the Chin people depend upon for their daily subsistence. With food shortages spreading throughout Chin State, many are on the brink of starvation. There are also increased reports of deaths due to starvation.
The proceeds from last night’s Chin Famine Live Aid Concert in Chiang Mai will go to benefit relief operations in Chin State, Burma. Teams of relief workers are working to bring food aids to famine affected areas. “Ticket sales and donations received at the concert will hopefully bring some comfort to those struggling with hunger in Chin State,” Freddy Lian went on to say.
NGO workers, Burma advocates, academics and scholars, religious leaders, members of the Burmese and Chin communities, as well as many others were among those in attendance. Many in the crowd sang and danced along with the singers. The singers also received bundles of flowers from their fans. “It is a rare opportunity for us here in Thailand to be able to attend a live concert with such famous performers. It was very encouraging to see them and we hope they come back for more performances,” remarked one concert-goer.
The Chiang Mai concert is the first of a series of concerts scheduled to take place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Singapore within the next week to raise awareness and money for the Chin famine relief efforts. Performers participating in the concert series include famous Chin singers, Sung Tin Par, Zam Nu, and Sang Pi, along with Mizoram-based singers, Mimi Lalzamliani and Malsawm Tluangi (SP).
By Cer Chin
28 August, 2008