Famous comedy troupe the Moustache Brothers will not travel abroad to perform until they believe the country is firmly on the way to democracy, members of the trio said last week.

Brothers Par Par Lay and Lu Maw said they were unhappy about conflicts in Kachin and Rakhine states and did not want to travel abroad until these situations were resolved, along with other issues that prevented Myanmar from being a “complete” democracy.

The brothers said the group has fielded many requests to perform overseas since the mid 1990s.

“When Par Pay Lay was sent to Kyienkrankha hard labour camp for seven years in Myitkyina after performing at Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s compound in 1996, some fans from the US invited to perform but we could not accepted as we were not together. After that, some fans from Holland, Spain and Germany also invited us to perform often but we did not accept. To go to overseas countries, we just want to go after we believe our country is really on the democratic path … when we believe that our country cannot turn back to the past,” Lu Maw said. The troupe, and in particular Par Par Lay, is a supporter of the National League for Democracy and has taken to performing at party office openings across upper Myanmar in recent months.

“The (military) uniforms were taken off but are still beside them and haven’t been thrown away yet … we still need to continue to make an effort for the coming 2015 election to organise people for the NLD,” Par Par Lay said. The pair said they did not anticipate having any problems travelling abroad, such as getting a passport or being allowed back into Myanmar, because the government would not want to be seen as oppressive. However, the Moustache Brothers are still banned from holding public shows and are only allowed to do performances for tourists.

Par Par Lay said his NLD campaigns were important for spreading information in rural areas. “I go round to some villages and wards in Mandalay and near places to campaign for the NLD. It is also important to get votes from the people in villages. People in towns can easily get information from internet, television and journals but I found that some villagers are still afraid of political issues and lack information,” said the 64-year-old comedian.

2012.11.23 Myanmar Times - Moustache Brothers expect "total" democracy before performing abroad