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A Tribute to the Late Daw Khin Kyi, beloved Wife of General Aung San - 2003-01-07


It has been 14 years since Daw Khin Kyi passed away in 1988.

Born in 1912 in Myaungmya, Irrawaddy Division to U Bo Nhyin and Daw Pwa Su, Daw Khin Kyi graduated from the all-female ABM High School in Kyeemyindaing and completed a diploma in nursing and midwifery from Dufferin Hospital (Women’s Hospital).

She served as a senior staff nurse in Rangoon General hospital, reknown for her dedication and kind heart during World War II.

Aung San and his comrades suffered great physical hardship on their march with the BIA; malaria and exhaustion sent many of them to Rangoon General Hospital. Aung San and a number of his colleagues found themselves cared for by a group of dedicated doctors and nurses providing medical care against great odds.

Aung San was celebrated for his stern looks and impenetrable moods. Combined with his growing reputation as a hero, his physical presence made him an object of awe to the junior nurses who hardly dared approach him.

Therefore, he came under the care of the senior staff nurse, Ma Khin Kyi-- an attractive young woman of great charm whose dedication to her work won the respect and affection of patients and colleagues alike. She handled Aung San with firmness, tenderness and good humor. The formidable commander-in-chief was thoroughly captivated. It is rumored that his shyness and sense of mission kept him away from women.

Aung San was strait-laced to the extent that when he was offered a woman during a trip to Tokyo by Suzuki, presumably out of a sense of Japanese courtesy, he was deeply shocked and wondered if the older man was trying to demoralize him.

After a brief courtship, he and Ma Khin Kyi (later known as Daw Khin Kyi) married on September 6, 1942.

It is said that, “Daw Khin Kyi, in marrying Aung San, married not only a man but a destiny.” Aung San married a woman who had not only the courage and warmth he needed in his life’s companion, but also the steadfastness and dignity to uphold his ideals after he was gone.

Theirs was a successful union and the soldiers, who had not been entirely happy at the idea of their adored young commander getting married, respected his decision.

Marriage brought out the gentler traits in Aung San’s character and he proved to be a loving husband and father. To have by his side an understanding companion who was able to share his hard and dangerous life undoubtedly strengthened him for the momentous tasks that lay ahead. (Reference: Freedom from Fear, Author Aung San Suu Kyi)

Daw Khin Kyi left her career to become involved in politics and social welfare. Later, she became the director of MMCWA, a welfare association for women and children. She was commended for her highly disciplined management skills. She refused to accept perks offered by the government to the families of the late Martyrs.

She was an elected Member of Parliament from 1947 to 1952. She was appointed as President of the Women’s Association in 1958 and was appointed as an Ambassador to India in 1960.

Although Daw Khin Kyi had a stroke on March 28,1988, she was well-aware of the pro-democracy demonstrations in Rangoon. She was deeply saddened to learn the death of RIT student Ko Phone Maw. After her second major stroke, Daw Khin Kyi died peacefully in December 1988.

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