Thang Tlang Life Story
In January 2004, members of the C & E (the Chin Resistance) army came to Thang Tlang’s village to collect taxes for their freedom fighting efforts. Although the Burmese had outlawed this kind of payment and mandated such activities be reported. The Chin villagers gave the C&E money. Then another C & E group came to the village, collecting money. They had already given money to one group so when the next came they said they had already given money. So this second group asked who was the person who collected the money ahead of them. The villagers were told the previous person was no longer with the C& E and falsely collected the money misrepresenting the resistance efforts.
The C&E fighters got very angry with the villagers, they wanted to identify and find this rogue person. They found him near the village. They enticed this person to come to Thang Tlang’s village When he approached they ambushed and killed him for spoiling the name of the resistance.. Thang Tlang was the president of his village, as the leader he was responsible to bury the dead person. He along with other elders did so at 12:00 noon.
After three days the Burmese junta army found out that the C& E had come to the village. The Burmese military camped near his village and sent for Thang Tlang to come and see them at their camp. They beat him for not informing them that the C&E had been at the village. He was ordered to dig up the body and take a picture of it and bring it to the military. Well according to the Chin culture you never exhume a buried body. If the body is exhumed they believe many more people will die over time in the village.
He was to come back after three days with the picture. He did not come back so the police were sent to the village. They were asking the location of Thang Tlang’s house. He was informed that the police were enroute. He was afraid so he decide to flee from the village. He felt he couldn’t even remain in the Chin state because he would be arrested. So he knew had to leave. He left departing from his people, his family, and his Chin village. He did not know where he was going to go. He was just fleeing for his life. He had no idea that he might immigrate to the US.
At first he remained in Thailand for a year. Then he went to Malaysia. He couldn’t stay in Thailand because it was illegal and he would be extradited to Burma if caught. So he had to move on to Malaysia. He figured in Malaysia they would deport him back to Thailand and he could then come back into Malaysia. Then he learned of the UN in Malaysia and so he applied for refugee status.
In the Chin state every family must send one person, as a porter for the junta military, on a regular basis. They knew that Hlamay’s husband had fled so they treated her badly. It was a hard time for her. She decided to flee from this forced labor. She went to Rangoon and through a phone call talked with her husband who was now in Malaysia. An unapproved business provided services to get her to Malaysia. The family joined up in Malaysia. Then Nece (a 9 yr old son) and baby Esther only 9 months old, came with their parents to the U.S. in December of 2007. They have been worshipping at First Wesleyan Church on a regular basis since they arrived.
Flash Forward to the birth of their daughter Mary.