Based on the real events, May the Genuine Tune of Farsi be Mellow (ဖားစည်သံအမှန်တို့ လွင်ပါစေ) by Ko Soe Htike [Phado] (ကိုစိုးထိုက် [ဖဒို]) is a heartfelt story a group of friends, all young and energetic who became the collateral damage of civil war in Karen State, Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. (Farsi is a ceremonial bronze drum used by Karen peoples.)
A group pf three Karen boys in the village were inseparable best friends despite their differences in beliefs. While one of the boys was rather quiet and gentle spirit, the remaining two were engrossed with Lethwei, a Burmese traditional boxing, and trained keenly to become professional boxers one day. When the twin sisters moved to their school, the boys instantly became friends with them and soon their friendship flourished despite their differences.
Time had passed and the Lethwei boys had risen from amateurs to professional. War was looming in their region again and the twin’s family was forced to leave their home and stayed in an IDP (Internally Displaced Person) camp. Their future got entangled in the web of years long conflict between the Ethnic Armed Groups and Myanmar Military.
The writer presented the multi-facets Karen people in compendious writing. The rich cultures, the various belief and religions, the sincerity and bravery of the people are told in in such vibrant and colourful ways yet tastefully. He also poignantly portrayed the despairing lives of people in IDP camps and war refugee camps. With the mix of traditions, beliefs, friendship and loyalty, the book told the story of youths that got wrecked by the ugly hands of cilvil war.
Apart from a couple of disjointed plots and predictable ending, it was quite a harrowing read. Knowing that although the characters are fictional, these events are real and there are people out there having such adversities and youths with lost future, it was quite heart-wrenching. I only wish it has a stronger storyline.