Sao Khemawadee Mangrai
Sao Khemawadee means ‘worry-free’ but Sao Khemawadee Mangrai has led a life far from being without any cares. She was born in Hsipaw, in the northern Shan states of Burma, now known as Myanmar, and spent her youth there and in Rangoon. She married and raised four children, her father-in-law was killed with General Aung San during a Cabinet meeting, and her husband was later imprisoned.
She and her family left her homeland to live in Fiji, before emigrating to Australia in 1991. A devout Buddhist, Sao Khemawadee carries out traditional religious practices and regularly attends the Yennora monastery in Sydney.
Sao Khemawadee Mangrai’s memoir, Burma My Mother – And Why I Had to Leave, tells of living through good times and bad in Burma before an escape to a new life of freedom. Her memories are infused by the beauty of the country and the grace of the Buddhist culture.