The Oxford Union may face awkward questions on Sunday after advertising its speaker as ‘The Crown Prince of Burma’ although neither the country nor the title actually exist. The society’s use of the speaker’s self-given moniker ‘Crown Prince’ is controversial since in his native country of Myanmar, Mr Shwebomin is only a pretender to the royal throne. Currently residing in this country, Shwebomin is said to hold significant sway in Myanmar, but in this country he is more notorious as a London socialite. The Union’s dabbling in the uncertain politics of the small Asian country of Myanmar has caused concern among members, who fear the credibility of the Union might be put at risk. The country in question, located on the Indian subcontinent, has not technically been called Burma since 1989, when its official English name was changed to Myanmar precisely because the ancient name Burma had garnered negative imperial connotations after almost 60 years of British rule in the province. Shwebomin claims to possess documentation purporting to ‘prove’ his status as rightful successor to the Myanmar throne. Although he is almost certainly descended from the line of Emperors which ruled the first Burmese empire, the link does seem somewhat tenuous. His maternal grandmother was the great-great-granddaughter of eighteenth century Emperor Hsinbyushin of the Konebaung dynasty, which would make him an eighth-generation descendant of royalty. Ambrose Faulks, President of the Oxford Union, will say nothing to support or refute the speaker’s claims: “If this issue concerns you,” Faulks told Cherwell, “the best thing to do is to come along on Sunday and make up your own mind”. Last night’s debate was also the subject of contention, since the President objected to an emergency motion that “if God hadn’t meant us to masturbate, he would have given us shorter arms.” Faulks’ principal reason for concern was that this light-hearted motion might afford this “serious institution a reputation for frivolity.” However President-Elect, Marcus Walker did not share Faulks reluctance, quipping, “I’m sure especially Ambrose would not object to mass-debating in the Union.”ARCHIVE: 3rd Week TT 2003
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