SACRAMENTO -- Aung Sun Suu Kyi is
AsiaPacificUniverse.com's person of the year
for 2003. The Nobel Prize laureate grabbed
headlines throughout the year while in
Suu Kyi once again brought Myanmar into focus
when she was arrested on May 30. She has spent
over half of 2003 under house arrest.
captivity has focused much heat on Myanmar's
government and in December they announced that
Suu Kyi's opposition political party would help
draft a new constitution in 2004.
The main competitor for person of the year honors
in 2003 was Nepal's King Gyanendra.
The Nepalese monarch had a roller-coaster year in
2003 after dumping the elected government in
the previous year. His personally-selected
Prime Minister resigned and near the end of the
year student riots against his actions were rampant
in the capital.
However, the drama in Myanmar seemed to draw much
more international attention. Many nations
issued official statements calling for Suu Kyi's
release and for Rangoon to make steps towards
Suu Kyi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 holds
something of the same mystique and bearing as
Nelson Mandela. Like the South African freedom fighter
she has managed to survive under great odds.
She is the daughter of the late BUrmese nationalist
leader General Aung San who fought to free his
country from British colonial rule.
In early December, the Alliance for Reform and Democracy
in Asia, a united front of Asian democracy activists
selected Suu Kyi as the symbol for their movement.
The year 2003 has been a tough one for Suu Kyi. In addition
to her detention, she lost her spiritual advisor Bhaddanta
Vinaya, one of Myanmar's most distinguished Buddhist monks.
Judging from her history, she is one that can never be counted
out. For many the future of Asia can be seen in the face of this
year's person of the year, Aung Sun Suu Kyi.