Home' The Wellingtonian : June 9th 2011 Contents 8 THE WELLINGTONIAN, JUNE 9, 2011
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From prison to university honours
By EMMA BEER
Burmese political refugee Naing
Ko Ko has not let a torturous past
stop him from aiming high.
Despite being imprisoned for six
years and having his citizenship
revoked, Mr Ko Ko, now a Wel-
lington resident, works hard to
save those left behind in Burma.
Mr Ko Ko was imprisoned in
1992 after taking part in student
protests calling for a change in his
My crime is democracy,'' he
said. I was arrested and my citi-
zenship of Burma [Myanmar] was
cancelled by the regime. So I had
Mr Ko Ko came to New Zealand
in 2006, and is studying honours
in economics at Victoria Univer-
sity. He already holds second-
class honours in philosophy, poli-
tics and economics.
Education is very important to
Mr Ko Ko because of the lack of
education available in Burma.
Burma is one of the intellec-
tually impoverished countries.
I studied English in the prison.
I smuggled in the dictionary and
the books. I taught English to
While his degrees could enable
him to gain a high-paid job, Mr Ko
Ko said such a lifestyle was not for
Although I was released and I
am lucky to live in a beautiful
country, there are nearly 2220
people still behind bars.
They are my comrades, so I
have to work on behalf of them. I
could live in luxury, but it's not for
me. I have more responsibility to
the people of Burma.''
Mr Ko Ko is supporting a char-
ity film being screened by
Amnesty International called This
Prison Where I Live. The film
looks at the life of Zarganar, one
of Burma's most famous
He is serving a 35-year prison
sentence for leading a movement
that collected money and supplies
to help the survivors of Cyclone
Nargis, which hit Burma in 2008.
If people see that movie they
might get more information about
people who are behind bars.
You [could be] doing something
good for the people who cannot do
for themselves,'' said Mr Ko Ko.
We can do it, by small or by
big, or by whatever. We have the
energy, we have resources to do
something to help those in the
You can use your liberty to
This Prison Where I Live ,
Paramount Cinema, June 13,
8.30pm. Tickets from the box office
Proceeds to Amnesty International.
Medical help will be
close by for late-
night city revellers.
Ambulance is to
launch a mobile
paramedic patrol in
Courtenay Place to
help the injured and
teer medics and an
ambulance will be
stationed in the
Courtenay Place pre-
cinct on Friday and
from 9pm to 2am.
The area has been
identified as a hot
spot for violence and
disorder resulting in
O'Beirne said over-
seas mobile para-
medic units had been
in treating patients
on the spot.
and waiting to
to injuries reduces
the pressure on our
service and on
ments,'' said Mr
service responds to
an average of 20
incidents a night in
Courtenay Place on
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