"Ma Suu and I were once tidying the glass-fronted cabinets where [her mother] Daw Khin Kyi's clothes were kept," Ma Thanegi later recalled. "She took out a white scarf with a large patch of dried blood on it, and said that when her father died all her mother could say was, ‘There was so much blood! There was so much blood!'
"It was her father's blood. I broke out in goose pimples; I was trembling, with tears in my eyes, to be touching the blood of our martyr, our hero, our god. That must be the most memorable moment of my life."
Word of what had happened and what had so nearly happened helped to consolidate Suu's reputation among the deeply superstitious Burmese public, many of whom now began to consider her a female bodhisattva, an angel, a divine being. The fact that she had survived the army's attempt to kill her was proof positive of her high spiritual attainment: only someone "invulnerable to attack," "guarded by deities" and "subject to adoration" could have come through alive. She was "a heroine like the mythical mother goddess of the earth," one admirer wrote three years later, "who can free [us] from the enslavement of the evil military captors."
In January, Suu had told the New York Times reporter, "I don't want a personality cult; we've had enough dictators already." But it didn't really matter whether she wanted it or not. Now she would be stuck with it, forever.