Newly unemployed ex-president Thein Sein is set to make his next move – to the monastery.
Thein Sein will be ordained as a monk on 1 April, now that the formal transfer of power to new head of state Htin Kyaw was completed on Wednesday, according to Pyi Myanmar, a Rangoon-based weekly news journal.
“He is going to enter the monkhood on the day after tomorrow,” a source close to the outgoing president said on Wednesday. He refused to disclose where he will be ordained, but said it would be a “small, peaceful town”.
The anonymous source did not confirm how long Thein Sein planned to stay in the monastic order, but said the ex-president was aware that public sentiment towards him is divided – with the full spectrum of opinion available to him since he became a Facebook user.
A temporary stint in a monastery is a common practice in Burma, where most boys will ordain as novices for some part of their childhood and later return to the order as hpongyis, or fully ordained monks, when they reach adulthood.
The ex-president will no doubt use the time to reflect on his tenure leading the country through myriad reforms and changes, most notably the still-evolving peace process, economic growth and slow but steady steps away from decades of iron-fisted military rule.