The Moustache Brothers – U Par Par Lay

Wednesday, 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.’

Mandalay, Burma - Moustache Brothers 524
▲ 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.