Thet Mon Myint and how she is an inspiration for my pride in my Chin roots

Thet Mon Myint is one of the acclaimed actresses of Myanmar, as well as an advertising model. She was born as Zung Cer Mawi on July 23, 1982 at Falam, Chin State, Myanmar. Her mother is of Chin—specifically Falam—descent, while her father is Burmese.

Myint went to No. Basic Education High School at Falam and eventually headed to study at the Yangon Institute of Economics. While she was in her acting debut, she struggled interacting with cast members because of her native Chin accent whenever she speaks Burmese. However, this is no longer an issue. 

Myint has also received two Myanmar Academy Awards for her performance in the movie Adam, Eve, and Datsa in 2012 and My Lovely Hate in 2016. In 2014, she married Tsit Naing, and together, they had two children: a son named Arr Chit and a daughter named La Won May, whose name is also San Mawi.

During the early 2000s, she initially launched into her profession by modeling in music videos for famous artists in Myanmar. She became known for her fame and flair of attitude. Thet Mon Myint was even listed on the Myanmar Times “Top 10 Actors” list in 2019. 

That’s all of the information that I’ll give about my favorite Burmese actress. Notice that I wrote “Burmese.” She does come from that ethnicity, but her mother is of a different descent, which I mentioned in the first paragraph. She is partly Chin as well. Like Thet Mon Myint, I was born from Chin parents. But Chin isn’t actually a single group of people; there are multiple diverse tribes that make up the Chin people.

We don’t arise from the same tribal group, but with unity, it makes up one people. I had always been proud of being Zomi—which is the name of my tribe—and I enjoy dressing myself in Zomi traditional clothing and going to traditional holidays.

Thet Mon Myint’s tribal group is Falam, and the fact that she can also speak her Chin language amazes my heart too. I have seen images of her wearing a Chin traditional dress and watched videos of her speaking in her mother’s native tongue, and she even did an interview at Falam. By her smiles and positive energy around her people, she seems to find a high pride and gratitude for her Chin roots.

That made me want to love my roots even more—not to say that I didn’t have an appreciation for my Chin roots before I witnessed all of this. I did have a great amount of appreciation for being Zomi. Learning about where we’re from is what I believe plays an important role in our identity.

Listening to my favorite celebrity taking her roots seriously influenced me to do the same thing. I care about where my ancestors are from and how I can still know that our people today are strong in ourselves. Since I was younger, I have always wondered about my own culture. I came up with a countless number of questions and expected my parents to know every answer to each of them.

When they didn’t have all the answers, I did my own research instead. While in the middle of doing so, I came across Thet Mon Myint, and a smile appeared on my face. She has been my favorite actress since then, but I didn’t know that we were both from the same ethnic group. I had thought she was 100% Burmese.

I found out when we had a movie night on a Saturday because we watched a movie in which Thet Mon Myint acted as a doctor who fell in love with some quirky dude. Eventually, she had to move away due to a job situation, and that led to a moment of dejection and isolation. However, they ended up getting back together again with happiness lurking into their hearts.

Since I was younger, I have always wondered about my own culture. I came up with a countless number of questions and expected my parents to know every answer to each of them.

As the movie was beginning to play, I eavesdropped on my parents conversing about how the actress’s mom was not Burmese. I took one glance at my mom and asked what nationality her mom was. She told me it was Chin, specifically Falam. My eyes began widening, and I was in a state of astonishment. I couldn’t believe it. All of this time, I never thought my favorite actress shared the same roots as me.

I even grew more shocked when I was told that Thet Mon Myint can speak her Chin language well enough. Afterwards, I had a feeling of realization—and somehow, satisfaction emerging inside me too.

When it comes to any celebrities or people I admire having some particular connection with an aspect of my identity, I can never find a way to not see them as an honorable idol.