Myanmar’s Van Gogh, San Zaw Htway Taken Too Soon

While San Zaw Htway was in Insein prison, serving a 36-year sentence, he would gather the inedible, raw grains that were mixed in with his daily bowl of rice and throw them a few yards in order to feed the sparrows that gathered along a prison fence. At first, he had to throw the grains down three flights of stairs, but he disliked having the little birds so far away. He threw the grains closer and closer. By the end of the third week, the sparrows learned to hop inside the area directly in front of his cell. The following day, he was forced to part with his new friends when he was transferred to another prison. “It was such a pity! I felt so sad to leave them behind,” he recounted to me last August at his home in Taung Dagon, a suburb of Yangon.

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