Posts Tagged ‘Burma’

Generally, Burmese with functioning brains are very happy, today. Or are they really?

Many of us had wanted to (or still want to) witness the moment of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi being the president of Burma. But it didn’t happen. Rumours say military requested things she couldn’t agree to postpone the infamous section 59 (F) of constitution. And she is believed to skip the chance to be president favouring country’s future with least possible involvement of military in cabinet and parliament.

Look at this photo.

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Found it here. Couldn’t find out who took it. Please message me if the owner like me to remove this.

The caption here says “The president walked her out, the MP waved to, the police saluted to and the public bowed down to, who is this?” Isn’t it exasperating that someone whom the majority of citizen trust and respect couldn’t manage the country “officially”?

And look at this.

Looking at her smiles cherishing the moment of truth and persistence made my heart cringe.

While I am genuinely happy for the newly elected president (who is educated and loyal. Plus, the first lady is also an MP, how awesome this is!), in some corners of my heart, I am still hoping that the lady would be the president of Burma one day – maybe after 1st April or this year or maybe 2 years later if she stays healthy which I believe she will.

And how I wish my late grandparents who loved her like their own daughter could witness this  moment, too.

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My late grandma and young DASSK in Myeik

And call me mean, I wish everyone (you know who I am referring to) who limits the happiness of average Burmese people may suffer from limited-happiness syndrome (i.e. whenever they feel happy about something, they will be held back by something so that their happiness shall never reach to the max.)

 

1 year and 9 months. That’s exactly how long I’ve abandoned this little cozy space.

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Photo by : Ko Thawng Thang

I don’t want to be a hypocrite

Say I wanted to criticize about a group of people in Burma regarding how they’d been doing business there. Then, I’d ask myself “What kind of very successful business do you have to validate that statement”? Snap! I deleted the draft. Or say I liked to blog about “how networking is not for very honest people who can’t pretend a bit” (because I personally dislike it). My inner self would ask me “Have you not pretended once among many strangers?”. And there goes another post into the bin.

Basically, I attempted to. But couldn’t conclude anything. My usual writer / blogger / whatever block.

I’m tired of Burma

As someone who have been spending almost all of her years in 20s abroad, I still feel as if I am one of most practical bridges to connect occurrences  and those who have no clue about Burma. And obviously Burma is major topic on this blog. But I tend to be sick of it.

I could have blogged about first ever chance to vote in my entire life, hype about election or some lamest things you couldn’t imagine elsewhere. But I am really tired of it.

I hate doing what everyone’s doing since I was little. I hate following the hype unless it draws immense attention to me. Likewise, when every ones’s rushing to talk about Burma, I feel bored.

I Spent Way Too Much Time on Facebook

You might say “You don’t say” or “It happens to everyone of us”. But then, I suppose I could use an excuse or two saying I need to keep track of what is actually happening on Facebook everyday because that’s basically part of how I am earning money right now.

I am not a privacy freak and I would not agree with those cartoons screaming “Social networks destroy our real social connections” and stuff like that. But still. It took quite a fair share of my time and I rarely wanted to write elsewhere.

Regardless,

I’m back. Both to this blog and soon to Yangon. I don’t know if I’m disappointed or excited at this point. I am slightly scared of reversed culture-shock, though. Many people forecasted that I wouldn’t be able to live in Yangon! So, we’ll see.

I know nuts about photography.

But below shots make me satisfied for possessing a DSLR.  Not because those are great but because they look okay to be my Facebook/Twitter Cover without any hassle of linking/captioning for attribution. I was a big fan of Creative Commons but I have frequently encountered situations where you can’t conveniently give credit by linking back , on Instagram for instance. Long story short, I become a fan of CC0 aka public domain photos and guess what, all these photos in this post are released under public domain. I posted some of them on Pixabay – a Flickr for public domain addicts and many on Open Myanmar Photo Project (Self reminder : I have to write a post about it.)

Fisherman at Inle Lake

Fisherman at Inle Lake, 2013

This was taken last December. Not edited. I have no idea how and when I clicked the camera but I think it looks nice. Of course, not on photographers’ standard but if you put that on the scale of what-on-earth-is-photography, I guess, this looks fabulous. Whatever.

international women day burma

Sunflower fileds in Aung Pan, Shan State. 2013

Thank to ribbet.com, I could tweak this photo into a more retro-ish one while I have no clue how to do that in Photoshop. I took this while I was on car during a road-trip from Inle to Taunggyi or around there. I did not know what the girl was doing but when I was browsing all the photos I had taken during that trip, this particular one caught my attention. I feel like it is screaming “HOPE”, no?

Fisherman at Inle Lake sunset

Another Fisherman at Inle Lake during sunset. 2013

This is something special (not edited). Pixabay editors thought it was great. And nearly 700 people downloaded it. Believe me, it is way more fun to see many people across Internet is happily using your photo than putting your name as watermark and upload it to Facebook. 😉

Cathedral Church

Cathedral Church, Yangon. 2012

I had never taken a pic by heavily shifting my body position before that. I didn’t know I should do that to capture something in a different aspect, too. But the glamour of this church unconsciously hit me and I got that. Nothing that fantastic. But, I like it a lot. This is also not retouched.

Bagan Museum

Bagan Museum, 2011

It is not a great-looking photo. The building is not even ancient, just intimating other buildings with Bagan style. But I like the crispiness of the cloudy blue sky. I think I did not edit this either.

That’s all for now. Remember, all of these photos are released in public domain so you can use it anywhere, with or without modification, be it for commercial purpose or personal use and without attribution to me. Again, let me repeat this though it might sound irritating, I made it public domain not because my shots were great but just because I like to fulfill people’s needs in case there is someone out there who need to use a not so ugly picture of Myanmar without giving the credit back. I would just secretly wish they would not use these pics for hateful/harmful purposes.

I was running away from all kinds of writing for infinity reasons. But something that I feel like worth-recording happened – neither about politics nor Miss Universe Saga. It is just that we finally have a reality TV Show in Myanmar. *Woo Hoo*

A few months back, I saw Thandar Hlaing, Myanmar version of Tyra Banks, was working on a project called Myanmar Model Academy. I guessed it would be a local version of Asia’s/America’s Next Top Model.  Now that its premiere was aired on Channel 7 (and another channel I can’t recall), I just question myself – “Did we have any other reality TV show in Myanmar before that?” Hell, no, never!

What did we have?

Myanmar Army on TV

Image : Peerapat Wimolrungkarat/Wikimedia

We had very compelling news programs that documented where our former Senior General went with his very adorable grandsons that none of us watched unless it had got something to do with the lady or new currency note or something shocking. We also had some quiz shows where most important questions were “How many dams had our awesome military government built” or “When that beautiful bridge built by our awesome government was started to operate?”. And we had have been having singing competition where you could win only if you sing old Burmese songs no matter how good your voice or talent is.

But thank to Myawaddy and MRTV, I can now impress my Chinese friends with my extreme knowledge on Journey to the West, Princess Pearl, Justice Bao etc. And my affection on Japanese language must have based on Fly to Dream, Summer Story, Autumn Story and many other addictive J-dramas. 

As superficial changes, known as “reforms” elsewhere,  become to be rooted in Myanmar, we now have Burmese version of Are you Smarter than a 5th Grader, Minute to Win It, a mixture of The Voice and American Idol and that sort of thing. But NO reality show has been aired.

Thandar Hlaing Myanmar Model Academy

Image : Thanda Hlaing’s Facebook

A little Background of Thanda Hlaing (Christie Mackenzie) here. She was one of pioneer Model girls in Myanmar where her glorious days dated back till probably 1997/8. Besides possessing a very unique facial figure outshined from other average models, she is smart and well-educated. I reckon 99% of girls (now young ladies) of our generation would agree that she is most stylish Myanmar woman to date. She left Myanmar like around 2000 (I think) and resides in Australia with her husband and two kids. Enough about her. She probably initiated this program or program initiators might have invited her to be involved heavily. So we got to see the first every reality show in Myanmar!

My mom told me she enjoys the show a lot. Sometimes, I regret I underestimated her ability to absorb hot and trendy stuffs. Unfortunately for Ma Thandar Hlaing (not wrong spelling, she spells it as “Thanda”, we pronounce it as “Thandar”, very similar meaning), not everyone shares the same feeling with my mom. Many girls are frustrated that Zin Aung, one of the judges on the show, allegedly offended contestants which they said is totally opposite to Myanmar culture. (I know right!) They also strongly think that saying “Pack your bags and go home” in Burmese is highly offending.  Some said this is just a copy cat version of ANTM. It seems like reality shows are a bit too early for them. While I was reading their outrageous comments on Thanda Hlaing’s  Facebook page, I just felt like dragging Simon Cowell or Gordon Ramsey to Myanmar and perhaps I might be assassinated for ruining Myanmar culture. Haiz. (Disclaimer: I have NEVER watched what Zin Aung said on the show yet so I am not approving him here. A sprinkle of reality check for Reality show judge here, though. )

They do not have official website, Facebook page or Youtube Channel. The only clips I got to watch is poor quality videos on youtube uploaded by someone who doesn’t seem to have affection on judging part in any show. (He uploaded a number of clips taken from Myanmar channels but it never includes what judges said.) Thus, I cannot weigh in on that. Here is my comment which I believe Ma Thandar Hlaing appreciated it by clicking “like”.

Myanmar Model Academy Reality TV Show

Image : Screenshot of a Myanmar Model Academy Youtube clip

Many countries copied format of ANTM since it started way too early than the rest. I haven’t watched Zin Aung part on Youtube so can’t weigh in on that. I would just love to see a sprinkle of Myanmar adorable culture or artistic aspect in the show (rather than modeling with htaing ma thane or apparent things like that) which would be challenging to incorporate.

Apart from that, I think whoever responsible to film the show and edit the clips sucks. You would know what I mean if you happen to click here to watch what the show is like. Oh well, again, this is the FIRST ever reality show in Myanmar. So, I have to rant less.

 

 

I’ve once written about it here. And in above clip, you might be able to visualize it more. 🙂

You might have read DOs and DON’Ts in Myanmar somewhere on Internet. But those are for the convinience of tourists and only very few visitors care for what locals would think for their acts during their stay in Myanmar.

This video is just to let you know what you should not do in Myanmar not to make locals feel that you are not paying respect to their culture.

DISCLAIMER : These are my own thoughts based on my experience as an average Myanmar citizen who come from a mixed Bamar family. The habits and perceptions of Myanmar people may vary from time to time and people from different states and divisions may have different cultural habit and society values.

Since it was unblocked in 2011, Facebook in Burma has become a platform for sectarian hate speech and propaganda

Since June 2012, when violence broke out between Rohingya and Buddhists in RakhineState, Facebook has become a platform where propagandists mislead social network users in Burma on what seems like a daily basis. There is increasing concern about the number of Burmese Internet users misusing their newfound access to social media. In reality, social networking is not that new to Burmese Internet users, but using it for online propaganda is.

Despite low penetration and strict control of the Internet, active debate on all major religions on Burmese forums did exist for a number of years prior to 2012, with little evidence of animosities spilling into the offline world. Although the country was closed in many ways, people seemed to be more open-minded. Burmese Internet users were allowed access to Facebook in September 2011. However, it is not the only root cause of hate speech and online propaganda since Burmese Facebook users seemed calm until the Rohingya issue emerged in mid-2012.

This falsified image appeared on a Burmese Facebook page alleging killings by Burmese monks. It actually shows Tibetan monks helping out after the 2010 earthquake in China. Pic: Facebook.Since then, fabricated news and falsified images have come from several Facebook accounts with unknown identities. Buddhists portray Muslims as extremists and terrorists while Muslims say Buddhists as racists. Hoaxes are everywhere. Monks from Tibet helping out after a disaster became Buddhist monks killing Rohingya. Infants from orphanages were falsely portrayed as Burmese children displaced by Rohingya rioters.

The situation intensified again recently after the Meikhtila riots. Extremist Facebook pages and accounts with thousands of followers have stoked the tensions with images and stories that cannot be verified. Images from alleged crime scenes – the dead body of a Rakhine girl reportedly raped and killed by three Muslims in June, the burnt body of a Buddhist monk allegedly killed by Muslims in Meikhtila and a video of Buddhist monk threatening to kill Muslims – are all questionable. The “unknown” sources recorded those and uploaded to Facebook, where they spread like wildfire. More interesting is that these are not images and videos likely to be captured by average members of the public, and security forces were included in some videos.

Read more on AsianCorrespondent.

SIM cards will be sold at a dramatically reduced price of 1,500 kyats (US$2US) in Burma, making mobile phones affordable for the general population for the very first time

After much anticipation, state-owned television announced on April 3 that new SIM cards for CDMA and WCDMA networks will be sold for 1,500 kyats (US$2) starting from April 24, 2013. Details on SIM cards for GSM networks will be announced next month, Myanma Post and Telecommunications (MPT) said.

This represents a dramatic change for Burma (which is officially known as Myanmar). Five years ago it cost US$2,000 to buy a postpaid SIM card. Since the early days of country’s transition towards democracy, the cost of using mobile phones has been a controversial topic. Earlier this year in January, the minister of MPT was forced to resign following an alleged disagreement on whether to reduce the existing SIM card price of 100,000 kyats (US$125). Several staff from MPT and private companies involved were investigated for corruption.

350,000 SIM cards will be divided among states and divisions on a monthly basis. In order to prevent the common practice of transferring SIM card ownership, the cards will will be disabled if they are not used in the first 15 days after purchase.Certain rules apply to the new SIM cards, which come with 300 kyats (about US$0.40) talk time value. A 5,000 kyats (about US$6) top-up card must be bought within the first 15 daysand at least 2,500 kyats (about US$3) must be spent on outgoing calls every month after that. Incoming calls will be free of charge.

Certain rules apply to the new SIM cards, which come with 300 kyats (about US$0.40) talk time value. A 5,000 kyats (about US$6) top-up card must be bought within the first 15 daysand at least 2,500 kyats (about US$3) must be spent on outgoing calls every month after that. Incoming calls will be free of charge.

There are additional problems for public since many smartphones do not provide facilities for CDMA networks. Despite fulfilling their demands for low-cost SIM cards, cheaper and substandard China-made handsets ready for CDMA networks will apparently be the only choice for new SIM card users.

Read more on AsianCorrespondent

Since the Rohingya riot last year in June, the nation’s tragedy has drawn the world’s attention. The repeated riots leaves the world with doubt on the effectiveness emerging reforms. But recently, more violence – this time in Meikhtila, in the middle of Myanmar’s Mandalay Division – has captured headlines. Human rights watchdogs, Rohingya advocates and reporters have all rushed to condemn Buddhist extremists as the source of the tension.

The background of the latest clash between Muslims and Buddhists, however, is not as clear cut as is reported. Although it is reported to be sectarian in nature, the characteristics of the latest flair of violence are utterly atypical, and at worst, planned. An insecure public, the nature of the extremists and the announcement of a state of emergency are indicative of a regression from the still-ongoing transition towards democracy.

The immediate root cause of the riot was an argument over a broken gold piece at a goldsmith’s shop belonging to a Muslim man. After the owner had reportedly beaten up the Buddhist sellers, who were from a different town, the sellers cried for help. A crowd gathered, and the town erupted.

Propaganda spread both online and offline was swift and atrocious. Not only were false reports and fake images of dead bodies propagating, but also hateful anonymous comments towards Muslims poured in. Fake anti-Muslim (and some anti-Buddhist) accounts dedicated to spreading propaganda sprang up overnight. Several extremists inflamed the situation with racist content by linking the current flare-up back to last year’s riot between the Rohingya and Rakhine. Pro-military accounts worsened the situation by calling Aung San Suu Kyi and the leaders of the 88 Generation Students Group irresponsible.Curiously, riots coincidentally tend to occur in Myanmar during inbound and outbound trips of Myanmar leaders and important foreign guests. The infamous unrest in Rakhine State was sparked right before Aung San Suu Kyi’s trip to Europe on June 13, 2012. The Latpadaung Copper Mine crackdown, on the other hand,

Read More on Aljazeera