Radio Veritas Asia
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ofAsian Christianity

Kachin

Radio Veritas Asia Kachin Service (RVA-KS) is one of the 15 language services broadcast to Myanmar – one of the ‘Silent Churches,’ mainly to the Kachin State. The Kachin tribes are mostly in the Kachin State. The settlements of the minority Kachin are found along the Chinese, Thai, and Indian borders.

Kachin Service Logo
Kachin service Logo

Myanmar is predominantly a Buddhist country. It is difficult to hear the Word of God, especially in the remote areas where missionaries are not able to travel. There are many people who want to hear the Word of God and yet are unable to do so due to lack of priests and poor communication and transportation facilities.

RVA Kachin Service is able to reach the Kachin people twice daily. Moreover, according to Bishop Paul Grawng, during the annual meeting of the RVA Kachin Service in Myitkyina, Myanmar in 2001, “RVA Kachin Service is the only radio station that could reach the people and give them religious information, guide them on moral principles, and promote human development as well.”

RVA Kachin Service is aired daily in the morning from 7:30 to 7:55 and in the evening from 8:30 to 8:55, Philippine standard time. The total broadcast time is approximately 50 minutes. The program broadcasts every morning on the frequency 9.545 (MHZ) 31 meter band and every evening on the frequency 15.225 (MHZ) 19 meter band.

History

Fr. Murphy
Fr. Murphy

It was with the efforts of Fr. Murphy, a Columban missionary priest to Myanmar, that the Kachin Service was realized. Fr. Murphy stayed for eight years in Burma, where the Catholic population is the second largest in the Kachin State. After his eight years of service in Burma, he was appointed as the President of the Vatican TV and Radio programs. This was how the Kachin Service all began. An endearing relationship between the people of the Kachin tribes and Fr. Murphy eventually led to the inclusion of the Kachin Service in RVA.

Fr. Murphy discussed this desire with Bishop Howe, the first Bishop of the Myitkyina Diocese in Myanmar. Bishop Howe and Fr. Murphy agreed that Kachin Service be broadcast through RVA. Bishop Howe, with Fr. Murphy and Bishop Paul Zing Htung Grawng (then the bishop of Myitkyina Diocese), sought and received the approval of the Bishops of Myanmar for the proposal. An application was then sent to Cardinal Sin who was then the head of RVA, as well as the Catholic Church in the Philippines. The Cardinal accepted the application and approved the Catholic broadcast to Myanmar and to the neighboring countries of China, India, and Thailand. This momentous day was on August 20, 1982.

Mission
Radio Veritas Asia Kachin Service mainly broadcasts the evangelical, informational, cultural and developmental programs to uplift the spiritual, psychological, physical, moral, cultural and social-economic well beings of the listeners.

Vision
While listening to the Radio Veritas Asia Kachin Service radio programs, the Kachin people may live their lives truthfully and fruitfully as better persons and better Christians.

Specific objectives:

  1. To preach the Word of God and Church teachings to nourish the spiritual lives of the listeners and to give them moral guidance.
  2. To teach the value of Kachin Culture, traditions and literature and be proud of being Kachins.
  3. To inform them on current news, issues and events of the world and of the Church and country, so that they will be able more informed and be able to discern and decide to implement changes in their  current lives.
  4. To guide the Christian families on how to educate the children and on how to build up exemplary families.
  5. To guide the youth so that they may not become the victims of sexual and drug abuse, and to inspire them to become the future of the Church.
  6. To give advice and technical guidance in their livelihoods so that they may be successful in their lives.
  7. To build the Christian Unity and to create love, respect and understanding among the religions through inter-religious dialogue programs.
Map of Myanmar
Map of Myanmar

The target area of Kachin Service is Kachin State where most of the Kachin people are living. At the same time, it covers all parts of Myanmar, some parts of Thailand, China, and Malaysia. Through the RVA website, RVA-KS also reaches out to other parts of the world such as Canada, US and Germany where some Kachin migrants are working.

Audience research and program planning

To know the information needs and wants of the listeners, the staff conduct listeners’ meetings and interviews twice a year in the target areas. They also carefully choose health care and agricultural programs based on seasons and recent happenings in the target areas.

Kachin people with cultural dress
Kachin people with cultural dress

List of program segments broadcast in each day (Am and Pm program the same)

Day 2330 – 2357 UTC
9645 Khz
1230 – 1257 UTC
15225 Khz
Monday Daily Gospel reading with reflection
Catechism (makam masham hkaja lamang)
Education (Hpaji hka ja lamang)
Song request (Mahkawn kumhpa)
Mr. La Nan
Fr. John La Raw
Ms. Ja Ing
Sr. Ja Nan
Tuesday Daily Gospel reading with reflection
Church history (Hpung labau)
News program (Shiga gamung naura)
Listeners‘ Voices (Buga n-dau)
Ms. Ja Ing
Sr. Ja Nan
Fr. John La Raw
Mr. La Nan
Wednesday Daily Gospel reading with reflection
Agriculture (Hkai rem lamang)
Local News (Buga shiga)
Bishops’ homily (Saradaw a mungga)
Mr. La Nan
Sr. Ja Nan
Center staff
Bishop Francis and Ramond
Thursday Daily Gospel reading with reflection
Question-and-answer (Ga san htai)
Education (Hpaji hka ja lamang)
Song request (Mahkawn kumhpa)
Mr. La Nan
Fr. John La Raw
Ms. Ja Ing
Sr. Ja Nan
Friday Daily Gospel reading with reflection
Health care (Hkamja lam lamang)
News program (Shiga gamung naura)
Poems on Ecology (Ga shagawp)
Mr. La Nan
Ms. Ja Ing
Fr. John La Raw
Listeners
Saturday Sunday homily (Karai mungga)
Sunday homily in Lisu language
Sunday homily in Rawan language
Listeners‘ Voice (Buga n-dau)
Culture (Htung Hking)
Fr. Bernard Tang Ji
Fr. Zang Yaw Hpung
Sara Zang Yaw Sin
Mr. La Nan
Sr. Iris Ja Nan
Sunday Family program ( dinghku lamang)
Youth program (Ramma)
Expert interviews (Hkrum shaga)
Drama (Sumroi)
Sr. Ja Nan
Mr. La Nan
Center staff
Center staff

It is generally acknowledged that broadcasting has three functions: to entertain, to inform, and to educate. The RVA Kachin Service performs all these three functions. Foremost, it evangelizes the good news of Christ to its listeners.

The RVA Kachin Service programs being aired are evangelical (Daily gospel reading with short reflection, catechism, Sunday homilies, Church history, life of Saints, question and answer about the teaching of the Church, gospel drama, Bishop’s message and homily);  informational (Church news, world news, local news, listeners’ voice); educational (VIP interview, health care, education program, culture, youth program, agricultural program, family program); and entertainment (song requests, and folk music);  Out of those program segments, three to four program segments are grouped for a day’s program.

Since Radio Veritas Asia is a Catholic-religious radio station, while other radio stations mainly broadcast the entertainment programs, news and politics, RVA Kachin Service focuses on the evangelical programs. Thus, the evangelical programs cover up to 60 % of the whole programs, 25 % goes to educational programs, 10 % to informational programs and the rest (5 % )to entertainment programs.

Evangelical Programs

There are some radio services broadcasting in Myanmar language such as BBC Burmese service, VOA Burmese service, RFA Burmese service, DVB service, Myanmar Ah Than and other FM radio stations. They mainly broadcast the news, entertainment and politics. None of them broadcast about the Word of God. There are more than two million Christians out of a population of 50 million in Myanmar. Most Christians are ethnic people living in the remote areas where there is no means of communication except radio. Christians can get the news and information from other Myanmar services radio stations but they cannot hear the Word of God from this medium. Since Myanmar is a Buddhist country, they cannot learn the Word of God at schools. Since they live in the remote areas, the priests and pastors cannot visit them very often. There is little chance for them to hear the Word of God and to learn the teachings of the Church. They are longing for the Word of God for their spiritual nourishment. That is why RVA Kachin Service mainly broadcasts the Word of God for the listeners. That is why RVA Kachin Service is different from other radio stations. That is why RVA Kachin Service is the favorite radio station for our people. This is what makes RVA Kachin Service truly unique.

For the evangelical Programs, we air daily gospel reading, Sunday homily, catechism and the teachings of the Church, Church history, life of Saints, question and answer related to faith, gospel drama and Bishop’s message and homily.

Daily gospel reading: Reading of the daily gospel with a short reflection. It is aired every day for about three minutes.

Sunday Homily: It is aired on Saturday so that the priests and catechists working in the remote areas can listen to the message and relay it to the people in next Sunday’s mass and Services. In this program, the gospel of the week is read and the homily is delivered, followed by the relevant gospel song to the homily. It lasts for about 20 minutes.

Catechism and the teachings of the Church: This program is taken from the book of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the social doctrine of the Church, Fundamental Moral Theology and Virtues Volume 1-3, Canon Law, Vatican II and other relevant books published by the Pope and by the Church leaders. It is aired for about 10 minutes every Monday.

Church history program: It is about the history of the Catholic Church, the Church History of Myanmar, the lives of missionaries, and the teachings of the Fathers.

Life of Saints: Saints are the models of all Christians. Their lives, preaching and witnesses always inspire the faithful. RVA airs about the life of Saints, their charisma and their teachings. Church History and Life of Saints are aired every Tuesday for about 10 minutes.

Questions and Answers related to faith: Most of the Kachin people living in the remote areas are not well instructed about faith and the Church. There are many things that they do not understand concerning the Catholic faith. That is why RVA Kachin Service airs this Question Box program to give opportunity to our listeners so that they can find answers to their faith and lives. It is aired every Thursday for about 10 minutes.

Gospel drama: Jesus used parables in preaching so that people can understand the word of God better. Likewise, RVA Kachin Servie airs the drama program that gives our people the clear gospel value. It is aired twice a month and lasts for about 15 minutes each on Sunday.

Bishop’s Message and Homily: All Kachin people including Protestants want to hear the message of the Bishop. The Bishop is regarded not only as a Church leader but also as a Father and leader of the Kachin people. For this reason, the Bishop’s Sunday homily is recorded every week and is aired from the RVA Kachin Service on Wednesdays. The Bishop always announces the important message and greetings for every important occasion to the people.

Informational Programs

Information is one of the most powerful and useful elements in society today. Having ready access to the latest events and developments happening in the community may enable a person to implement changes in his/her current way of life. Knowing the latest information and how to use it properly can help build better community awareness and spirit, and eventually lead to individual as well as community development. For that purpose, RVA Kachin Service airs the World news, Church news and Local news.

Church news: It is the news of the Church happening around the world taken from the sources of EWTN, UCAN, FIDES, BBC, CNN, and the local source RVC office. It especially airs the messages and homilies of the Pope given during his general audience with the faithful around the world at Vatican St. Peter Square on every Wednesday and Sunday including his activities around the World. The activities of the local Church and the events of other religions are also frequently aired in Church news program.

World news: It airs the global events and developments around the world taken from BBC, CNN and other news channels. There are many things happening around the world, but only relevant, latest and truthful news are carefully chosen for the listeners.

Local news: Myanmar is changing into a democratic form of political system. The democratic reforms are being made in the country step by step. The people are very much interested in the recent developments and changes in the country. That is why RVA Kachin Service airs the current developments, events of the country.

RVA Kachin service airs the news program (combining Church news, World news and Local news) every Tuesday and Friday for around 12 minutes.

Educational Programs

Kachin people are mountainous people living in the rural areas where there are very few churches, schools and hospitals. They need to be educated and informed not only about the Word of God and the teachings of the Church, but also about their livelihoods, healthcare and family lives. That is why RVA Kachin Service airs the educational programs on healthcare, education, culture, livelihoods, youth and family programs.

Healthcare program: Myanmar is one of the poorest countries in the world. There are not enough medical funds and staff in the country, worse in the rural areas where the Kachin people are living in. Malaria, TB, dengue, cholera are frequent and deadly sicknesses in the Kachin region. That is why RVA Kachin Service staff are doing research, reading medical books and airs about those diseases, educate them about preventions and inform them about the right medicine to cure certain illnesses. Sometimes medical doctors and nurses are invited to the local RVC studio to advise the listeners about healthcare. Many feedback letters are being sent to the radio station from the listeners mentioning how RVA Kachin Service healthcare radio program helped them regarding their health concerns. Health care program is aired every Monday for about 6 minutes.

Education: This program informs the listeners on the importance of education, the latest technologies, newest findings, scientific researches and human development around the world. It also educates the listeners on environmental protection, and to preservation of natural resources. Since Myanmar is trying to become a democratic country, the program also informs them about the democratic system, human rights and equalities. It is aired every Thursday for about 6 minutes.

Culture: Kachin is a small tribe in Myanmar. Around the world, big tribes conquer small tribes. The small tribes, therefore, around the world are in danger of extinction. To protect one’s tribe, it is essential to value its own literature, culture and traditions. Kachin Service teaches the listeners about the meaning and values of Kachin culture and tradition and encourages them to love Kachin people. It also reminds them to respect others’ cultures also. The culture program is aired every Saturday for about 6 minutes.

Youth: Today’s youth are the future for the church and the country.  They need proper guidance in their lives. RVA Kachin Service airs youth programs to encourage the young people to learn the value of academic education, livelihood skills and trainings. At the same time, it always reminds the youth about the danger of drugs which can destroy their lives. It also teaches them the value of human lives, and encourages them to sharpen their talents and at the same time gives timely and relevant advise about the right path to choose in this journey called life.

Family: Family is the foundation of human community. Kachin Service airs the importance of family life, advises them how to solve family problems, guides them about raising the children and the value of pro-life family planning. Sometimes family doctors and experts are invited to the center’s office to give advices and important information to Christian families regarding how to live successful Christian lives.

VIP interview: We need to be inspired in life. We inspire each other through our good works and successes. Political leaders, church leaders, medical doctors, successful businessmen, celebrities, and professionals are invited to the radio station to share their lives, struggles, successes and their expertise with the listeners.

Livelihood: Kachin people’s main livelihood is agriculture. The broadcasters advise the local farmers on how to take care of their farms, and explaining to them about the hazards of plant pesticide use.

Entertainment Programs

Entertainment programs are not prioritized in RVA Kachin Service but the effects of entertainment programs on the lives of the people cannot be neglected. For that reason, the song request program is aired primarily for the listeners’ listening pleasure. In this program, the listeners request songs to one another during their birthdays, anniversaries and feast days. It brings more friendship, love and unity for the listeners. It also airs the cultural songs, music and instruments depends on the occasions.

Special Programs

Out of those daily programs, RVA Kachin service airs the special Programs on important Days and occasions.

(January 1) World Peace Day (Prayer service, Pope’s message, Bishop’s message)

Holy Week (Special preachings, reflections, songs)

(July 26) Parents’ Day (competition of writing poems and scripts for the listeners on the love of Parents, songs and dramas)

(November 15) RVA Kachin Service Anniversary Day (Bishop’s message, voices of former coordinators and producers, Dramas, songs)

(December 1) World Aids Day (Dramas, songs, educational programs)

 (December 25) Christmas (Broadcasting Midnight Mass and Christmas songs)

Every month, more than two thousand feedback letters and 100 emails are being sent to center office and to the radio station in Manila, Philippines. Some feedback letters and their voices on RVA Kachin Service programs are:

Mr. Nang Zing Htoi Wa, 75 years old pensioner, “Because of RVA-KS, I am still alive and healthy today. If I were not listening to RVA-KS, I might have died 20 years ago. In the past, I was alcoholic giving problems to the family. But when I listened to the RVA-KS’ education programs on alcohol, I was convinced to get rid of drinking alcohol and I become a good and healthy person. It is RVA-KS that gives me new life. I never forget that and I am always grateful for that.”

“RVA-KS is not only for Catholics, but also for all the Kachin people whoever understands Kachin language,” professed by a baptist pastor Mr. Zau Hkawng. He added, “I have been listening to RVA-KS since I was 16 years old and I always encourage my Baptist faithfuls to listen to it, beacuse RVA-KS is giving not only Christ teachings and human development concepts, it is also helping us to build unity and understanding among Christians.”

 A farmer from the remote area, Mr. Yaw Htung thanked to RVA-KS, “We are farmers living in the jungle where there is no electricity, no TV and Internet. Radio is the only available medium and RVA-KS is our friend who accompanies us in our lonely time. It is our light that shows us the way in the darkness. It is our joy that brings happiness to our lives. Thank you all the producers of RVA, donors and management.”

 Mrs. Lu Tawng, a mother of five children, “The family program from Radio Veritas is guiding me how to raise my children properly and help me build the Christian family. I never miss listening to RVA-KS programs in the last ten years.”  

“I came to know the news of my grandmother who passed away last week from RVA-KS,” Mr. Seng Naw, a migrant worker from Malaysia, emailed to the radio station. In his email, he thanked the RVA-KS, “Thank you all the producers of RVA-KS for announcing the news of my grandmother. It will be just a death news for other listeners, but you know how much it means to me. I lost contact with my family since I came to Malaysia. I am happy that I got the news and was able to pray for the soul of my grandmother.”

Mr. Tang Gun and  his wife Mrs. Lu Awn who are refugees in Canada, “We don‘t know English and we don’t have many friends here. Most of the time, we listen to RVA-KS from RVA Website. From RVA-KS programs, we get to know the news of our friends and families from our hometown and we can listen Kachin songs and music. RVA heals our home-sick. If there is no RVA-KS, our lives here in Canada will be very lonely and miserable.”

Chairs of RVA Kachin Service

There are four Chair-persons of the RVA Kachin Service; Archbishop Paul Grawng (Mandalay Archdiocese), Bishop Francis Daw Tang (Myitkyina Diocese), Bishop Philip Zahawng (Lashio Diocese), and Bishop Raymond Sumlut Gam (Banmaw Diocese). They are Kachin bishops taking care of and guiding RVA Kachin Service. They are responsible to appoint the coordinator and producers of the Kachin Service.

Boardmembers of RVA Kachin Service

There is also a group of board-members; the local Ordinary, the RVC director, one senior priest and the other four lay persons. They have meetings three times a year to overview the RVA Kachin Service regarding its programs, problems, finance and personnel.

Bishop and Board members

Bishop and Board members

The RVA staff and RVC staff

The staff of the RVA Kachin Service is headed by a coordinator and assisted by three producers and one talent producer at the Manila production center. There are also a director and three producers at the Center Office in Kachin State, Myanmar.

Station staff: Fr. John La Raw, coordinator Sr. Iris Ja Nan Miss Ja Ing, Mr. La Nan and  Fr. Bernard Tang Ji

Station staff: Fr. John La Raw, coordinator Sr. Iris Ja Nan Miss Ja Ing, Mr. La Nan and Fr. Bernard Tang Ji

Center staff: Fr. Peter Awng Tu, Center director Mr. Mung Hkrang Miss Lu Awng and Sr. Maran Nang Doi

Center staff: Fr. Peter Awng Tu, Center director Mr. Mung Hkrang Miss Lu Awng and Sr. Maran Nang Doi