The Moustache Brothers – U Par Par LayWednesday, 14 August 2013
U Par Par Lay died earlier this month in Myanmar. He was one of the three Moustache Brothers, he and U Lu Maw were indeed brothers, U Lu Zaw was a cousin. The threesome were Burma’s most famous comedians in the time-honoured a-nyeint pwe, a traditional vaudeville combining singing, dancing and skits. In 1996 two of the brothers were sentenced to seven years imprisonment for telling jokes about the military government in a performance at Aung San Suu Kyi’s place in Yangon. U Lu Maw kept their families afloat by performing for tourists at their 39th St base in Mandalay. Well not ‘performing,’ the military government banned their performance, so he put on ‘demonstrations.’
▲ The two imprisoned brothers had been released when I visited them in Mandalay in 2010, left to right it’s U Lu Maw, me (not a hint of facial hair), U Par Par Lay and U Lu Zaw, moustache free at the time. On my previous visits only U Lu Maw was at liberty.