Aung San Suu Kyi – Speech at Monash University

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Aung San Suu Kyi spoke at Monash University.

Aung San Suu Kyi speech at Monash University(photo obtained from

I heard about it through friends and was disappointed to discover that the tickets were sold out. I persisted and even went to the effort to contact someone on Gumtree who had posted her tickets for sale. She replied to inform me that hers had already found a new home – but Monash had just announced a new wave of tickets.

I was very happy to hear this and in my excitement bought a whole lot of tickets which ended up requiring a fair bit of marketing to connect to appreciative owners.


It was great to be there on the day and sit in her presence, hear her talk and get a sense of the impact her life has had by observing how much she meant to people in the audience.

I was a bit disappointed though.

Certainly not at her, but at the speech. There was no story to it. There were very few background details of how it was and how things have changed in Myanmar. Maybe I should travel there or at least watch the movie!

I did keep in mind that it was ‘only’ for the presentation of an Honourary Doctorate.

And I’m sure that Suu Kyi has done many passionate and moving speeches at the times when it was most needed – the hallmark of a great leader!


This is the official video recording of the speech:


So… what did I learn?


I learned about the importance of having your say.


In Burma, people didn’t get a chance to vote and they could be imprisoned in horrible conditions or even just shot for voicing and taking a stand for their beliefs.

We don’t have this in Australia. In fact, voting is compulsory.

Obviously we as a country are at a different stage of development and don’t have the same basic lack of human rights and freedom for the future.


I did leave with some questions for Australia.

Yes, we can vote without fear of attack of imprisonment… but do our votes really contain the freedom to choose what we’d like for our future?

From my perspective, the two main parties are pretty much the same. There might be about 10-20% variance due to their headline policies. But as the parties swap about every 4-12 years, a lot of this variance is ironed out over time with a lot of money wasted and powerful initiatives stunted in the process.

Once a politician is in power, they often follow popular opinion instead of making the hard choices. I am aware that many of them are not scared to make the hard choices. But if the majority of their party members are uncomfortable, they will be usurped and their choice will not stand.


Therefore, it’s the way we in which we live and how we choose to spend our money on transport, healthcare, leisure and food that makes an impact. 

If people stop investing in a business, it won’t survive. If we invest in businesses in line with our values and the life and living we want to create for all people, then we create lasting change for the better.


The irony is that it’s the people that choose and fight for the future of the country, not the head politicians.

The irony is that its not the single piece of voting paper we submit at each election that makes the difference, its the cash and credit cards that we trade multiple times a day that makes a true difference.

The political system plays an important role.

But it is the people that have the last word.


So remember, you don’t just buy something and that’s the end of it.

Every time you buy something,

you vote for more of it in the future

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