Ex-Shan leader wasting away with failed lungs
One of the former Shan leaders has been bed-ridden for two years through long illness.
Sao Hsai Kaew, 66, a native of Ho-kard, Kengtung, is suffering from inflammation of lungs, according to his daughter-in-law, Kham Kaew. His once stout physique has all gone and is all but unrecognizable. He also has difficulty moving his left arms and legs, the result of a car accident seven years ago.
He keeps asking for his orange juice but after a sip or two, he invariably ends up choking.He welcomes S.H.A.N. cordially sitting on his bed but his speech is almost unintelligible.
Hsai Kaew, the fifth child of Boon and Tip, was born on 11 October 1934. He attended Cushing School in Rangoon and from 1957-61 served as a police officer. He joined Sao Nga Kham's famed Shan National Army in 1961 and served as an intelligence officer until 1964, when the latter was assassinated. In 1971, together with Khemawong Mangrai, a scion of the Kengtung princely family, he set up the Shan State Army East, where he worked until his retirement in 1980.
One of his best known efforts was the co-signing of the 1975 opium proposal in which the Shans guaranteed the abolishment of opium in exchange for an elected Shan State government. The offer was however turned down by Washington.
Hsai Kaew is married to Nang Keng-kham (1978) and has a son, Boonyuen, 30.
Revised: 19 August 2001