Posted by Jerry Nelson on Mar 01, 2019
I had the pleasure of meeting Crystal (right), Dr. Cynthia’s daughter last fall and have been waiting for an opportunity to have a conversation with her. The question that I most wanted to ask was how is it to be the daughter of the legendary Dr. Cynthia Maung, founder of the Mae Tao Clinic? I had an opportunity to interview Crystal on February 7. What I learned is that she, like her mother, is an extraordinary person. Brilliant and driven, yet humble and kind.

Jerry(J): When I met you some time ago, you mentioned that you started out as a stateless person. Can you tell me more about that?

Crystal(C): I was born at the Mae Sot Hospital in 1994 and my family did not know that I needed a birth record. I finally received an ID for stateless people at age 17. There were no records of my birth but the doctor at Mae Sot Hospital who delivered me provided a guarantee. Then I had travel permission.

J: What happened after you finished high school?

C: After high school I attended a Global Leadership Program in Johannesburg, South Africa. Then, I attended the GED program at BEAM Foundation. After finishing the GED, I attended The Education University of Hong Kong. I majored in Human and Organizational Development. I have been working here (The Mae Tao Clinic) since September 2018.

J: Tell me a little about your brother.

C: Next week Chan Chan (Peace) will graduate from Mae Fa Laung University in Chiang Rai with a degree in Public Health. He will continue to work at Suwannimit Foundation.

J: We haven’t talked about your father. What about him?

C: My father met my mother when they arrived Mae Sot. He worked in the laboratory. About ten years ago he retired because of his health, problems with his lungs. He was paralyzed a couple of years ago, but is better now.

J: How was it growing up, with Dr. Cynthia as your mom? Does everyone expect you to work at the clinic?

C: It was that I had a big family compared to others. There were always lots of people around. I had a lot of support as well as expectation to work at the clinic.

J: Did people treat you differently because of you are Dr. Cynthia’s daughter?

C: No, the people who were around me were families who worked at the clinic; we all knew each other.

J: What do you think you will do in the future?

C: I want to do a lot of things. I want to work here and I want to work in different places inside Burma.