“Where There is a Will, There is a Way”

I still remember the days of my inferiority complex. I quit the football field without any reply as soon as I heard my coach say, “Son, sorry to say that we have to leave you out because your father doesn’t have a National Registration Card (NRC). We cannot help you. You are not allowed to play in this competition.” He did not look sad about not including me on his team. On the way home, all I remembered was that my bicycle was running too fast, and I wounded my knees as my bicycle split from the road, hitting the platform. Overwhelmed by shame, anger, unsatisfaction, and sadness, I could not notice the danger ahead.

When I recounted it to my mom, she bitterly replied, “Oh, how cruel and unsympathetic they are; my little boy trained so much, but they will not let him participate actively in the training these days.” And she pityingly looked at me and said, “I am extremely sorry, my dear. I also cannot help; please give up on it. Focusing on education is the only way to escape from these discriminations.” That was the day that I totally gave up my childhood dream to play football professionally. I never touched my football again. My mom’s words were repeatedly echoing in my heart.

I was never happy living in a township where the immigration office is always crowded, but there is no way to know what work is actually going on inside. Every time we went there and asked for reconsideration to give our NRC a chance, it always ended in denial and rejection. The 1982 Citizenship Law prevented mixed-blood (so-called Ka-Pyas) races from becoming Myanmar citizens, no matter how many generations were born here. Both the law and society eliminated minority groups like ours; Indians were not included among the ethnic groups of Myanmar.

Exclusion had an impact on education as well. Without an NRC, I had to encounter unusual admission regulations to study at the University of Yangon. I was the only student in that intake who the student affairs chairperson called up to explain the problem. When I started exploring Political Science, urged by my grandfather, I found that everywhere people are subject to discrimination in many forms. I realized I was not alone. This experience set the seed of my interest in politics, reinforcing my mom’s words in my mind that focusing on education is the only way to fight these unequal social dynamics.

My only three semesters at the University of Yangon meant a lot to me. I had a chance to warm up my dream; I could play in major football competitions within the university. I was soaring over the clouds when my seniors gave me jersey #7 and called me Ronaldo. I had been fond of both my peers and my teachers in my college days as a hard-working student. I noticed that my curiosities were transforming into my decision. I made up my mind that I would stand against every unequal situation and make changes in our country.

However, when interest became a passion, the COVID pandemic stopped my education as the schools were closed around the country, leaving me to read in my room without socializing. Simultaneously, the 2021 military coup blurred my future. I believed that my intention to make changes in the country would not be accomplished by studying in military-controlled schools; hence, I dropped out of college with no regret. Nonetheless, the new political circumstances accelerated my desire to contribute to and foster my community instead of making me glum. I  still wanted to study politics and its related subjects to understand societal dynamics and community systems.

A blessing in disguise, my family was never disappointed in my decisions every time I reached an important turning point in my life. But I felt suffocated as the military declared that people not holding NRC are not allowed to travel. I cannot get a passport without an NRC, and I cannot go anywhere outside Yangon. Job vacancies are often unavailable to me because interviewers ask for the NRC first. Until the middle of 2022, I still could not find an appropriate and suitable place to continue my education.

Fortunately, I found a rare and excellent opportunity for my future and seized it. Parami University was the one and only way for me to further fuel my dreams. I was very scared during the admissions period, thinking that if I were not accepted, my future, my dreams, and my whole life would be gone. In a place like Myanmar where everybody says, “Dreams are very expensive,” I got generous support for the financial aid (nearly full) to follow my dreams to Parami University. My happiness was indescribable, and all I knew in my bones was that I would not need to worry about my future. Because this is the place I belong, where academic freedom is guaranteed and my preferred courses are being offered.


I feel like I am now at the right place and time. According to Che Guevara, “The first duty of a revolutionary is to be educated.” I am now part of the revolution against the military dictatorship. I am equipping myself with quality education to make positive contributions to my country with my skills and knowledge. I am still struggling when it comes to NRC, and the image of my childhood as a boy who was denied the right to play football is still etched in my mind. I want to at least foster an end to discrimination in my country; in the future, no one will suffer the way I have. Despite the challenges and discrimination I have faced, I remain steadfast in my pursuit of education and my dream of creating a more just and equitable society, for I know that the rainbow always appears after the storm. I understand I will be facing new challenges, but one incredible lesson I learned throughout my life experiences is that where there is a will, there is a way.