Impression from Burma
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Author:  Edward Bristol [ Fri Jul 17, 2009 9:45 am ]
Post subject:  Impression from Burma


Out of the plane I can hear “Geee-cko-Geee-cko” coming from the main building. This is Rangoon International Airport. It is quite and darkish.

French raiders in the hotel bar discuss the ‘great opportunities’ of Burmese antiques under the ‘current circumstances’.

My local contact secretly squirrels away gems for an escape abroad. He looks at the stacks of local bills and says: ‘This no good’.

Our lapidary keeps the doors open. No security is needed. Burma is safe, as long as you don’t mess with the generals.

First time visitors shed tears at the Shwedagon Paya.

A sign at the muddy river: ‘No foreigners beyond this point’. There is no brigde.

Hollywood-stile villas and new SUVs proof that economic sanctions don’t work for the upper 1000.

My taxi has wooden seats and a plastic bucket taped to the floor. It is half full with red slime. Many Burmese still chew betel-nuts, but they are not allowed to spit on the streets anymore.

Strings hang from upper apartments replacing electric bells.

Grand colonial buildings are occupied by the military. Specky shirts hang to dry from broken windows. Nobody is allowed on the sidewalk. They are serious: I get yelled at.

A local garage makes ‘new’ cars; by hand; one by one; out of scrap metal and an engine. They produce three per month at $1.5k

Drunken monks fight over cigarettes. Religion can be anything.

Burmese food is delicious, not just numbing hot or sweet, but individually cooked, untouched by industrial standards.

Nobody dances at a pop festival. VIP kids sit behind security and fences.

No ATMs, no mobile phones and no computers proof that economic sanctions do work for the lower 35.000.000.

A grainy TV show features stone-faced farmers dancing in shabby costumes. A subtitle reads: ‘Here they still live happily without foreigners’. So very thin they are.

For good and bad, Burma is past caged in a country and its people.

Author:  gingerkid [ Fri Jul 17, 2009 10:13 am ]
Post subject: 

:D hi wildfish!

where ya been?

thanks for sharing your article with us on the outlook in burma although life seems very sad and depressing for the burmese people.

i also enjoy reading your articles on your website-particularly the one of the miners, "how to mine," which you wrote a while back. :wink:

Author:  Barbara O. Ellis [ Fri Jul 17, 2009 10:31 am ]
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This embargo is such a waste :smt012

Thanks for the report, Ed.

Author:  jleb [ Fri Jul 17, 2009 12:34 pm ]
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The complete hypocrisy of "Feel-Good" politics! The appearance of actually "doing" something, and leaving that fat chevron loop hole in the bill.. not to mention the heroin trade...

Author:  ROM [ Fri Jul 17, 2009 12:42 pm ]
Post subject: 

jleb wrote:
The complete hypocrisy of "Feel-Good" politics! The appearance of actually "doing" something, and leaving that fat chevron loop hole in the bill.. not to mention the heroin trade...

But if you ask the average person on the street they'll likely tell you our brave politicians are "doing something" about the depraved Burmese generals. You can't fool all of the people all the time but you can fool enough of them on a regular basis to easily win re-election, especially if you promise them enough "free" goodies, paid for with other people's tax money.

Author:  Kyriakin [ Fri Jul 17, 2009 2:18 pm ]
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I actually sometimes find the Burmese monks quite intimidating.

I don't know if it's the blood-red robes or just the slight unease you generally feel in that country, but they lack that gentle aura of the Thai monks.

Author:  gingerkid [ Fri Jul 17, 2009 3:21 pm ]
Post subject: 

i found it odd and kinda funny that the burmese munks are not only drunk, but fighting over cigarettes! :D (i will umm u into the next dimension if you don't give me a cigarette!)

my favorite is where ed mentions that since no spitting some kind of weird nut juice is allowed on the road, they apparently spit on the taxi seats-which are made of wood on a plastic bucket. i think i would have to walk. :wink:

who are the generals??

Author:  Edward Bristol [ Sat Jul 18, 2009 1:28 am ]
Post subject:  monks in burma

Hallo Everybody and thanks for your comments,

Just to be clear: Burmese monks are as kind and loving (or not) as any monks anywhere else.

I just saw this one scene of two 'monks-bums' fighting; and it confirmed what another monk told me: Becoming a Monk in Burma is often the only career available other than soldier. It is the only way to rise out of complete poverty and get an education.

Hence, being a monk in Burma can be a more done-to-earth practical carrer choice; and some obviously fail in their career.

Author:  Edward Bristol [ Sun Nov 22, 2020 10:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Impression from Burma

Hey Everybody,

Having been limited in travelling over the last years, I was interested: How much has changed in Myanmar since then?

I know all you can read but has anybody a recent travel log? Perhaps Mandalay?

I'd be very interested. If you don't want to write an essay here, PM me and I'll call to make it easier.

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