Aung San Suu Kyi: An extraordinary life story told in her own words

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  • Aung San Suu Kyi's fight against Burma's military regime has been a brave one. She spent more than 15 years under house arrest and became an international icon - not to mention a Nobel Peace Prize Winner.

    On Aung San Suu Kyi’s 71st birthday, we take a look back at the life of this incredible woman. We’ve got our hands on some of her private photos and quotes to get a better understanding of a woman who inspires so many…

    1. ‘A 90-year-old abbot I knew gave me two pieces of advice. He told me that in order to achieve happiness, you must be prepared to suffer. He also warned me that anyone who indulges in honest politics must be prepared to be reviled.’
    Aung San Suu Kyi on life and politics

    © 2013 Getty Images/Aris Family Collection

    2. ‘Of course I regret not having been able to spend time with my family. One wants to be together with one’s family. That’s what families are about. Of course I have regrets about that – personal regrets. I would like to have been together with my family. I would like to have seen my sons growing up. But I don’t have doubts about the fact that I had to choose to stay with my people here.’
    Aung San Suu Kyi on sacrifice

    © 2013 Getty Images/Aris Family Collection

    3. ‘It was my mother who was the head of the household, and as far as I could see, she could do anything that men could do.’
    Aung San Suu kyi on the influence of her mother

    © Aung San Suu Kyi private collection

    4. ‘I was in a much easier position than many of my colleagues because, from the very beginning, I had the protection of my father’s name. My father was the founder of the Burmese army, so they were quite restrained in how they treated me. The same restraint was not practised with regard to many of my colleagues, who were arrested, brutally interrogated, and imprisoned for years under terribly bleak circumstances.’
    Aung San Suu Kyi reflecting on the house arrest imposed on her in 1989

    © 2013 Pyay Kyaw Myint

    5. ‘The most difficult time in any transition is when we think that success is in sight. We have to be very careful that we are not lured by a mirage of success.’
    Aung San Suu Kyi

    © 2013 AFP

    6. ‘At Oxford I learned respect for the best in human civilisation. It gave me a confidence in humankind and in the innate wisdom of human beings. This helped me to cope with what were not quite the best of humankind.’
    Aung San Suu Kyi on her education

    © Aung San Suu Kyi private collection

    7. ‘When I was ten or eleven I wanted to enter the army. Everyone referred to my father as Bogyoke, which means general, so I wanted to be a general too because I thought this was the best way to serve one’s country.’
    Aung San Suu Kyi on early influences

    Copyright © 2013 by Christophe Loviny

    8. ‘People give me flowers all the time and I wear as many of them as I can. My mother often quoted a Burmese saying: “A man without knowledge is like a flower without a scent.” I prefer scented flowers.’
    Aung San Suu Kyi

    Copyright © 2013 by Christophe Loviny

    Aung San Suu Kyi: A Portrait in Words and Pictures by Christophe Loviny (£14.99, Hardie Grant), available from Amazon.

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