The Impact of Leadership, by Dee Rivers Part Five

The Impact of Leadership

by Dee Rivers
​Part Five


Myanmar: From Mayhem to Miracle

"May a myriad good things with vigour have a chance; may the peacock have its call and dance."
-- Thakin Kodaw Hmaing, 1920

Hidden, hurting, hard, and harrowing -- such are the typical backstories of the places from whence come leaders who enter Transformational Leadership Development (TLD) training.

Typically for TLD there is considerable familiarity with a country’s culture and history, but on occasion the opportunity occurs in a land that has been so isolated and unknowable that the first outreach seems like stepping into a mystery dream.

Think Myanmar: True appreciation of the magnitude of the TLD miracle in that mysterious country necessarily begins with a bit of history.

For most of the Ages, the full-flare, dancing peacock, emblematic of Burmese sovereignty, graced the country’s flag and currency -- notwithstanding its replacement by the Japanese with a red-sun-on-white during occupation or its usurpation by a modified Union Jack during England’s colonization.

Mostly, though, the bird of royalty survived, in some form, through unrelenting upheavals of tribes and kingdoms, lesser tribes and lesser kingdoms, city states, takeovers, vassal states, invasions, assassinations, occupations, rebellions, colonization, coups ... and dictatorships.

In Hmaing’s beloved nationalistic poem above, the peacock is a metaphor for democracy. 

There is not time enough here to render the flag lineage of Burma/Myanmar; suffice to say that the historical flaps over the country’s flags (and its name) provide a timeline of repeated turmoil -- from 13th century King Wareru who galloped down from Indo-China and planted his golden hinthar standard firmly in the Pagan Kingdom, to October 2010, when the latest tri-stripe-and-star flag, symbolizing solidarity, peace and tranquility, courage and decisiveness, was introduced, implementing the 2008 Constitution. 

Similarly, the contentious narrative path of the country’s name reveals elements of its arduous plod toward democracy. To wit, the country’s previous name of Burma derives from the Bamar people -- the majority tribe, and minority groups consider the name exclusionary.

So it was that in 2010 Myanmar, once Burma, became the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, reflecting the new constitution that, after the mayhem of countless embroiled centuries, bestows the intention of democracy.

Every conflagration of the country’s political evolution has brought this moment.


See the final installment of this 6 part series on leadership Impact on February 18th, 2016