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No. 17 /March 2018 It’s free!

magazine May Myat Mon Win Five-star hotel manager

Htet Oo Wai Peace activist

WHO RUNS THE WORLD? Myat Yi Mon Barrier-breaking bus driver

Rody Dim Teacher and philanthropist

No.17 / March 2018

magazine Managing Director Andreas Sigurdsson Managing Editor Lorcan Lovett Photography Leo Jackson Rasmus Steijner Cover Rasmus Steijner Editorial assistant Pamela Tan Intern Asgal Asgal Contributors Cliff Lonsdale Loren Lee Chiesi Marie Starr Edmond Sailland Charles Duchemin James Fable Brittney Tun Dominic Horner

24 What’s On 6

Tech Talk 44

The Tea Shop 10

Travel The Walled City of Tung 34 Mystic Water and Where to Find It 36 A Beach Beyond 38

Cover Story Celebrating Women's Achievements 12

The Arts Empowering Women Through Crafts 42

Promotions, Card Deals & Tickets 50

Cinema 8

Green column 46 Fitness column 47 Mixologist column 48

The Tea Shop: main illustration Anik Nyein Other illustrations Ben Hopkins Art & Production Kyaw Kyaw Tun Hein Htet

Features Recipe for Success 18 The Culling Question 20 The Final Straw 22

Publisher MYANMORE Magazine Pyit Thiri Thaw Lychee Ventures (Myanmar) Limited Permit No. 01588

Cover Q & A Phyu Phyu Win 24

Printer Myanmar Consolidated Media Ltd. MCM Printing (00876)

Eat & Drink Root 26 Le Bis-Tro-Ke 27 Ethnic recipe / Street snacks 28 New openings 30 Chef's column 32

Sales & Advertising 0977 900 3701 / 3702


About Myanmore Myanmore is a registered brand under Lychee Ventures (Myanmar) Limited providing digital and print publishing as well as creative services. Myanmore is managing the leading online city guide and printed publications Weekly Guide, EnjoyIt, KnowIt. We also work closely with the team of DRIVE, the first and only premium car magazine in Myanmar. Recently, we have launched applications such as MYANMORE (lifestyle app) and Sarmal (app for finding restaurant & bars in Myanmar). The mission is to provide great content and experiences for residents in Myanmar.

Disclaimer No part of this publication can be reproduced or transmitted in any form without prior written permission from Myanmore. All details are deemed correct at the time of print. The editor, employees and contributors cannot be held responsible for any errors, inaccuracies or omissions that may occur. Follow us on Instagram and Viber.

What's on


La French Taste Wine Dinner at The Emporia 9th March | 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Join this dinner with live music and a three-course menu with French wine pairings hosted by Chatrium Hotel Royal Lake Yangon in collaboration with the Warehouse Wine Merchants. Tickets US$55 net per person. For more information, booking and tickets, call 01544500 ext: 6287 or email Chatrium Royal Lake Hotel - No.40, Natmauk Rd, Tamwe Tsp, Yangon

Sushi Tei 1st Year Anniversary Grand Lucky Draw Promotion 9th March-9th April | All day

Redeem lucky draw coupons for spending 50,000 kyats and above for diners from 9th March to 9th April. Grand prizes include a return economy class air ticket to Singapore with Singapore Airlines, a one-night staycation @Sule Shangri-La Hotel, Daikin Aircon, Panasonic Oven and many cash vouchers. | RSVP: 01 51 526 526, 09 44411 5662 Sushi Tei – 126, Dhammazedi Rd, Bahan Tsp, Yangon.

Art & Stage

Mad in Italy

16th March | 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm The Embassy of Italy is glad to invite you to ‘Mad in Italy,’ a concert performed by Mezzotono, a small Italian orchestra without instruments at the Sapphire Ballroom (first floor) of Lotte Hotel, in the framework of the

cultural program ‘Italy in Myanmar 2018.’ Admission is free, no registration is required. LOTTE Hotels - No. 82, Sin Phyu Shin Avenue, Pyay Rd, 6½ Mile, Ward 11, Hlaing Tsp, Yangon

Pan Pacific Yangon - Corner of Bogyoke Aung San Rd and Shwedagon Pagoda Rd, Pabedan Tsp, Yangon

90s Rock Legends

24th March | 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Thuwunnabhumi Event Park - Thuwana, ThinganGyun Tsp, Yangon

Invasiv 2018 EDM Festival | 31st March | 4:00 pm - 11:30 pm Educational

BritCham Operational Excellence: Writing Performance Appraisals 20th March | 8:30 am - 4:00 pm

In this workshop you will practice techniques for planning, structuring and writing effective performance appraisals. You will also take part in meeting role plays to practise handling negative feedback more effectively. Especially good for non-native speakers who are responsible for managing staff and conducting performance reviews. | RSVP:

Myanmar Event Park - Corner of Min Dhamma Rd and Aung Theik Hti Rd, Insein Tsp, Yangon

Public Holiday

Farmers' Day

Green Glow Fitness Flow Workout Festival 18th March 2018 5:00 pm - 9:30 pm

Infinity fitness is throwing a big outdoor workout festiva, bringing popular international trainers to perform Les Mills and other popular group fitness programs. With a breezy wind by Inya Lake, working out under the moonlight to new workout songs performed by top trainers plus big stage and lighting could bring your fitness motivation to the highest level. Are you ready to sweat and fun ? Save the date in your calendar. For more information call 09 42651 3008. Myanmar Rowing and Canoeing Federation - Inya Rd, Hlaing Tsp, Yangon

On March 2 Myanmar celebrates Farmers’ Day, an occasion when the country recognizes the huge agricultural sector and its economic output. Then on March 27 the Myanmar Army—known as the Tatmadaw— holds parades during Armed Forces Day, which commemorates the beginning of the army’s resistance to Japanese occupation in 1945. Promotion

JCB Offers Win lucky draws and enjoy discount promotions by using your JCB card online or in store. Card members from AYA and CB banks get online promotions at MNA Airlines and Agoda hotel booking. JCB also has a range of promotions in Bangkok including at luxury shopping centers, restaurants and more than 100 outlets. Lucky draws for all card members from Myanmar for Thailand and another 190 countries will also be held from mid-March to May 15.


British Chamber of Commerce Myanmar Office - Junction City Tower, Corner of Bogyoke Aung San Rd and 27th St, Pabedan Tsp, Yangon

China-ASEAN Yangon Trade Fair 2018

Industrial Seminar on Travel & Tour Operations In Myanmar

Exhibits will include building materials, hardware and lighting products, generators and other machinery, electronics and household appliances, daily-use products, autos, motorcycles and parts. This event is organized by the China-ASEAN Expo Secretariat, Worldex-SingEx Exhibitions (Guang-

Organized by Temasek International

zhou) Co., Ltd. and the Myanmar Trade Promotion Organization.


Legends of Rock are on stage again. The Rock Stars: Zaw Win Htut, Chit Kaung and J Maung Maung will perform. Tickets 10,000 kyats. For more information contact 09 977 009157.

28th March | 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm


College, this seminar aspires to attract fresh talents, encourage and inform existing Travel & Tour Operations professional and to contribute toward Myanmar’s human capital development in the hotels and tourism sector. Speakers: U Naing Win, William Lau, Khressa Bentic, Pyi Soe Maw and Amos Rao. | RSVP: 01-553897, 09260001828.

17th March | 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

MYANMORE magazine #17 March 2018

Cinema Cinemas


Now Showing Monster Hunt 2 Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi The story continues with Wuba after he parts way with his human parents Tian and Lan for his own journey. Peace has not been restored in the monster world after the death of the evil monster king as a sinister lord has ascended and seized the throne. A heavy bounty is placed on Wuba dead or alive, forcing him to go into hiding again. He encounters an ill-famed gambler Tu (Tony Leung Chiu-wai) who's deep in debt and seemingly up to no good. Together, they form a reluctant alliance in order to escape from their predicament. Casts: Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Baihe Bai, Boran Jing & more.

Coming Death Wish Action, Crime, Drama Dr. Paul Kersey is a surgeon who often


sees the consequences of the city's violence in the emergency room. When home intruders brutally attack his wife and young daughter, Kersey becomes obsessed with delivering vigilante justice to the perpetrators. As the anonymous slayings grab the media's attention, the public begins to wonder if the deadly avenger is a guardian angel -- or the Grim Reaper itself.

School, a secret intelligence service that trains exceptional young people to use their minds and bodies as weapons. Egorova emerges as the most dangerous Sparrow after completing the sadistic training process. As she comes to terms with her new abilities, Dominika meets a CIA agent who tries to convince her that he is the only person she can trust.

Casts: Bruce Willis, Vincent D'Onofrio, Elisabeth Shue & more.

Casts: Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Matthias Schoenaerts | See full cast & crew & more.

Red Sparrow Mystery, Thriller Prima ballerina Dominika Egorova faces a bleak and uncertain future after she suffers an injury that ends her career. She soon turns to Sparrow

A Wrinkle In Time Adventure, Family, Fantasy Meg Murry and her little brother, Charles Wallace, have been without their scientist father, Mr. Murry, for five years, ever since he discovered a new planet and used the concept known as a tesseract to travel there. Joined by Meg's classmate Calvin O'Keefe and guided by the three mysterious astral travelers known as Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which, the children brave a dangerous journey to a planet that possesses all of the evil in the universe.

Casts: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Chris Pine, Reese Witherspoon & more. Tomb Raider Action, Adventure

Lara Croft is the fiercely independent daughter of an eccentric adventurer who vanished years earlier. Hoping to solve the mystery of her father's disappearance, Croft embarks on a perilous journey to his last-known destination -- a fabled tomb on a mythical island that might be somewhere off the coast of Japan. The stakes couldn't be higher as Lara must rely on her sharp mind, blind faith and stubborn spirit to venture into the unknown. Casts: Alicia Vikander, Hannah JohnKamen, Walton Goggins & more. MYANMORE magazine #17 March 2018

Mudras Calling Drama, Romance Jaden is a Burmese American writing his Master’s Thesis in Music who decides to travel to his birthplace – Myanmar – to research traditional music and dance. In the culturally-enriched ancient country he finds himself drawn to all the exotic beauty that surrounds and engulfs him. Hnin Thuzar helps Jaden with his endeavor to find his biological parents and his roots. Jaden falls in love with her beauty, strength, and sense of self. During their quest to discover Jaden's roots, Jaden uncovers the unexpected truth about himself. Their cross-country journey will highlight many of Myanmar’s intriguing lifestyles and people MYANMORE magazine #17 March 2018

who live in different areas of the country while at the same time showcasing the rarely-before-seen beauty of this majestic country. Casts: Zenn Kyi, Hla Yin Kyae, Nann Wai Wai Htun & more. Pacific Rim Uprising Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi Jake Pentecost is a once-promising Jaeger pilot whose legendary father gave his life to secure humanity's victory against the monstrous Kaiju. Jake has since abandoned his training only to become caught up in a criminal underworld. But when an even more unstoppable threat is unleashed to tear through cities and bring the world

to its knees, Jake is given one last chance by his estranged sister, Mako Mori, to live up to his father's legacy. Casts: Scott Eastwood, Tian Jing, Adria Arjona & more. Sherlock Gnomes Animation, Adventure, Comedy After a string of garden gnome disappearances in London, Gnomeo & Juliet look to legendary detective Sherlock Gnomes to solve the case of their missing friends and family. Casts: Emily Blunt, Johnny Depp, James McAvoy & more. Credits: Rotten Tomatoes & IMDB

Cinemas in Yangon Mingalar Sanpya Cineplex 09 260 887 035 — 36, 01 230 3 165 Mingalar Cineplex (Gamone Pwint) 09 779 054 671 — 73 Mingalar Cinema 2(Dagon Centre (II) 09 732 54 091 — 92 Nay Pyi Daw 01 251 277, 01 251 288 Shae Saung Cinema 01 252 113, 01 388 034 Thamada Cinema 01 246 962, 01 246 963 Thwin 01 372 594, 01 388 033 Mingalar 01 243057


The Tea Shop

LGBT film festival returns to Mandalay &Proud returns to Mandalay March 2-3 with its LGBT film festival. In addition to movie screenings, the free festival includes panel discussions, games and more.

The event is being held at the Jefferson Centre, the US Embassy’s outreach hub named after the third President who, ironically, tried to introduce an anti-samesex marriage bill during his tenure.

Palace moat gets a much-needed makeover MCDC started repairing the sidewalk and fences along the southern stretch of Mandalay’s moat. New steel railings will not only be an aesthetic improvement but will also help block fishermen from illegally catching the moat’s aquatic residents (and keep drunk Thingyan revelers from going for a swim) and the smooth sidewalks will prevent joggers from twisted ankles. However when the other three-quarters of the moat will be renovated is anyone’s guess.

Myitkyina on the high rise The Kachin State capital Myitkyina is growing like mushrooms in a cow pasture. Some of the most notable changes over the past two years include an influx in large hotels—from only a handful of main venues like The Madira and The Palms Resort to an abundance of choice, such as Myit Sone hotel with it's gaudy horizontal, gold colored stripes of lights and it's name in tacky 10 foot tall, red Chinese characters. Also a supersized, full on golf resort has broken ground north of town. “We already have two courses in this little city,” said one resident. “Who are these things being built for?”

‘The Burmese Python’ becomes a double belt holder Speaking of Myitkyina, one of its most famous sons Aung La ‘The Burmese Python’ N Sang made history


MYANMORE magazine #17 March 2018

Book explaining feminism reprinted in Myanmar language

at the end of February when he knocked out Brazil’s Alexandre Machado in Yangon to become the ONE Championship Light Heavyweight Champion. The fighter already held the middleweight belt and in the post-match interview exclaimed, ““One thing is for sure: Myanmar, when we are united, nothing can stop us… If we are united and we are together, we can do anything!”

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s book-length essay We Should All Be Feminists was met with international praise and spent months on the New York Times bestseller list on its release in 2014. In fact, the following year Sweden’s government announced that a copy would be distributed to every 16-year-old high school student. Then, in September 2017, 500 copies of a Myanmar translation by Nandar Gyawalli were published with the help of Mote Oo Education. With another 1,000 copies published in December, the book’s message of embracing the term ‘feminism’ has resonated in the country. In celebration of International Women’s Day, 17-yearold student Petra Chase of International School of Myanmar has contributed the following poem. Strong Women A young me once asked The so-called authorities What a strong women looks like, Wanting desperately To grow up to be A strong woman, Not knowing it had nothing to do with looks. They told me I should aspire To be a woman so beautiful, And desirable by men, A woman who makes no fuss, And complies with orders,

MYANMORE magazine #17 March 2018

So that I am easily ordered, A women who is deemed a strong suitor To tend to domestic affairs, Who can satisfy a counterpart, Much stronger than she To motivate the breadwinner To go out and get bread, While she cooks and cleans and waits, Helplessly. A strong women is not an aesthetic, By any socially-constructed means A strong woman is not beautiful or attractive, As men want her to be. Beauty is not about the shape of your nose, Or the color of your eyes, Beauty is about who you are inside, Beauty is about defiance, And standing up for yourself. Strong women don’t listen to men Who tell them how or what to be. Strong women don’t follow along With everything. Strong women aren’t satisfied Waiting, supporting, and complying. Strong women are women who work, Who lead, Who know what it really means To be confident and beautiful.


Cover Story


ith International Women’s Day on March 8, Myanmore magazine committed much of this edition to celebrating female achievement in Myanmar. The tricky part of producing the magazine was not filling its pages with this kind of story—it was choosing which stories to publish from an abundance of barrier-breaking and inspirational women from across different fields. Our focus naturally steered toward women whose unprecedented steps in their industries have paved the way for others, and women whose work revolves around improving the lives of their communities and country. Rather than dwell on fame or wealth, our priority has been to shine a light on those who may not receive due recognition, but nonetheless push tirelessly for a new and fairer Myanmar. A global movement for women’s rights, equality and justice serves as the backdrop to this International Women’s Day, with campaigns including #MeToo and #TimesUp that channel protests against sexual harassment and fight for equal pay and women’s political representation. Just as salient for Myanmar is the theme of this year’s women’s day, which draws attention to the rights and activism of rural women. Agriculture plays a crucial role in Myanmar’s economy, accounting for


more than one-third of the country’s GDP, and women play a crucial role in the agricultural sector. They cultivate crops, work in forestry and fisheries, and rear animals for food or trade, contributing an immense amount to Myanmar as a whole. Yet a series of reports over the years have also shown that female agricultural workers face pay disparity on many of Myanmar’s farms—as well as disparities in land ownership and access to credit. Troubling also is that women, who make up 51.16 percent of Myanmar’s population, according to a 2016 World Bank report, are underrepresented in key areas such as business and politics. Only 14.5 percent of the civilian Union Parliament are women and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi remains the only female union minister. Legislation, too, presents an issue: women have had little protection against physical, sexual and mental violence in Myanmar over the years—the majority of gender-specific legal guidance coming from the 1860 Penal Code. But many hope a new law set for introduction this year and tackling abuse against women and girls will change this. Despite these issues, women continue moving Myanmar forward, many managing their households while doing small trading with entrepreneurial zeal.

Four women from diverse backgrounds shared their inspirational stories with Myanmore to mark Internat

In the media industry, female journalists such as Pulitzer Prizewinning Esther Htusan from Kachin State are fearlessly reporting the truth in an increasingly concerning environment for press.

Founder of Inle Heritage Ma Yin Myo Su is driving efforts for conservation and the preservation of ethnic Intha traditions. Women such as Daw Nilar Kyaw, Yangon Region Minister for Electricity, MYANMORE magazine #17 March 2018

tional Women's Day. (Rasmus Steijner)

Industry, Road and Communication, and Karen Ethnic Affairs Minister Daw Naw Pan Thinzar are the nascent ripple of what many hope will be a new wave of female politicians. Sisters Marlene and Nang Lang Kham MYANMORE magazine #17 March 2018

are building KBZ into the biggest bank in Myanmar and an internationally competitive company. On the silver screen actress Moht Moht Mying Aung is leading the way and in education Pyit Thiri Thaw of Myanmar Financial Center is training the next generation

of professionals. There's much promise in Myanmar’s fight for gender equality and much to look forward to. We hope that the stories of the inspirational women included in this edition are simply

the beginning of a situation where stereotypes are shed and equality between genders becomes the norm.


Cover Story

May Myat Mon Win (right) runs the five-star Chatrium Hotel Royal Lake Garden in Yangon. (Rasmus Steijner)



ith her parents working as civil servants, May Myat Mon Win spent much of her childhood moving around Myanmar. From the Irrawaddy Delta to the most southern tip of Myanmar, adapting to new places and people comprised a significant part of growing up. “This is probably how I picked up my passion for liking people,” ponders the 47-year-old. “Easily very comfortable with strangers…easy to talk with strangers. That’s all the fundamentals of hospitality.” Now May Myat Mon Win is recognized as a pioneer in the industry, the first Myanmar person to run a five-star hotel—the Chatrium Hotel Royal Lake Yangon, whose list of awards would make you feel dizzy. For that, she credits her colleagues that include a 50/50 split of men and women in senior management and an executive board of three women and one man.


“For any hotel business there is no one-man job,” she says. “Even if you are extremely capable and excellent you can not do this alone. Fortunately we still have the whole team working together.” Twenty years ago the energetic leader helped launch the 300-room hotel, which sits next to Kandawgyi Lake in a refined state of colonial elegance. But its current glory was preceded by “dark days,” she recalls, during which occupancy was 20 percent and staff salary was cut by 30 percent for some months. This period, when the US imposed heavy sanctions on Myanmar’s military regime for rampant human rights abuses, was testing for all hotels and practically all firms in the country. “That’s one of the reasons the team here is really strong,” says May Myat Mon Win. “We survived it. To close down is going to hurt everyone, to shut down a business should be a last resort.”

The hotel’s staff of 250-300 back then has since swelled to 430. Each one has no fear of gender discrimination, as, according to its general manager, “we don’t have any gender bias.” “But if you don’t know the job or subject you will have a hard time,” adds May Myat Mon Win. The Chatrium is a UN Global Compact organization, meaning it aligns strategies and operations with universal principles on human rights, labor environment and anticorruption. Though running such a hotel would pack anyone’s schedule, May Myat Mon Win also acts as chairperson of Myanmar Tourism Marketing—part of the country’s tourism federation, which tackles seemingly mammoth tasks like rebranding Myanmar. In this role she has walked into many a government meeting where some participants have feigned a sort of disenchanted “oh, a woman” surprise.

“Sometimes on a big table I am the only woman sitting there,” she says. “I wonder, why am I the only woman participating?” May Myat Mon Win, who has three teenage sons, comes from “the lost generation,”—called so because of the political upheaval following nationwide protests against the military regime in 1988. Regular university closures disrupted her education and so she threw herself into work: first as an English news broadcaster for Burma Broadcasting Service and then in sales for Lucky Gold Star LG Corporation. But by the time she entered the hospitality industry—in the form of Summit, then Yangon’s only private hotel—she was armed with a master’s in Business Administration. Her advice for young women: “Don’t pull yourself back from achieving your dreams. Being a woman doesn’t stop you from doing anything you dream.” MYANMORE magazine #17 March 2018



yat Yi Mon was the first woman to break into the betel-nut-spitting, clutch-burning, body-jerking world of Yangon bus driving and, unsurprisingly, she came as a breath of fresh air. Her bus—the Number 21—runs from Da Nyin Gone to Maw Tin, a three to four hour route that sees passengers enjoying the vehicle's red cushiony seats, photographs of beaches, and hanging bunches of faux flowers that seldom move thanks to the smooth driving. Myat Yi Mon, who is in her 30s, became a Yangon Bus Service (YBS) driver in 2017 after overcoming several barriers presented by the industry and even by her own family. “I feel extremely proud,” she said. “I had to go through so many obstacles to be where I am so I’m happy.”

The story began in 2014 when she and her brother were working as bus conductors. When the news was announced that conductors were going to be replaced with fare collection boxes, the siblings requested bus-driving lessons. Drivers, however, refused to teach Myat Yi Mon because “they thought it was not a woman’s job,” she remembers. “They just thought that it was impossible, and refused to let me sit in the driver’s seat. I answered by saying that in my life, there shall only be things that I have not done, there is nothing that I am not able to do.” Myat Yi Mon then studied the driver’s motions and “learned to drive the bus visually.” Another challenge waited at home: her brother argued it was too difficult and her mother argued it

"Burmese people are not against female drivers but men feel that their positions are threatened when more women start doing things that were once considered manly." was too dangerous. But it only added more fuel to the fire; Myat Yi Mon persevered. The passenger praise that came flooding in when she finally got behind the wheel changed her mother’s mind and now Myat Yi Mon drives three to four round-trips each day and

sometimes works for 10 days in a row before taking a day off. “Burmese people are not against female drivers but men feel that their positions are threatened when more women start doing things that were once considered manly,” she contemplated. Her bus is sitting-only and passengers pay a minimum of 200 kyats or what they believe the service is worth. She takes home 15 percent of the fares for each day and counts that as salary. Passengers have reported feeling safer with a woman driver—partly because Myat Yi Mon waits until everybody is seated before driving. "Having more women drivers would make things safer but I’m speaking for myself right now. Even though I am a woman, I am very strong hearted. If you have a strong heart and you want to take up this job, then you can do it.” Whereas any training was unpaid before, YBS now offers two lakhs during this period. This cash goes a long way in helping women trainees who need to support their families, said Myat Yi Mon.

Since Myat Yi Mon began driving last year, more women have joined the Yangon Bus Service fleet. (Leo Jackson) MYANMORE magazine #17 March 2018

Since she started the job, two more women have joined the fleet and a further 32 are in training.


Cover Story

Htet Oo Wai (left) has long advocated for increased female participation in Myanmar's political transition. (Rasmus Steijner)



tet Oo Wai is the Myanmar representative for the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD) and Demo Finland. Their work in Myanmar centers in strengthening the democratic role of politicians and political parties at the region/state level and encouraging them to enhance the practice of multi-party dialogue. This is a crucial part in establishing the right environment for Myanmar’s democratic development. She is heavily involved with the Myanmar School of Politics Programme who work in the five most eastern states and regions in Myanmar with the aim of improving the capacity of state and region-level politicians, and encouraging the participation of women in the democratic process.

that enabled her to help people, her parents responded that her dream was impossible. When she graduated from university she obtained employment in the development sector, and for the first time found herself surrounded by like-minded people who not only shared her dream but also believed that positive change was a tangible reality.

Her parents were keen for her to enter local government, or become a doctor, or even an engineer when she was younger. But she had a dream, and when she explained to her parents that she wanted to follow a career

She strongly believes that both men and women should be a part of this change though, and that men have an equal role to play in the promotion of increased gender equality and women’s participation.


Diversity and gender equality are important factors in Htet Oo Wai's approach to work, and she has long advocated for increased female participation in Myanmar’s political transition and peace process. “The time is long overdue for women to take a larger role in government. The narrative has changed, and the potential of women has changed.”

“The situation has improved in recent years, but there is a long way to go to achieve full participation and proper representation of women, who account for the majority of people in the country.” “The situation has improved in recent years, but there is a long way to go to achieve full participation and proper representation of women, who

account for the majority of people in the country.” “Since forever, women have been told that they don’t hold the qualities required to be ‘in charge,’ they are told that they are not strong enough, or intellectually capable enough. That narrative no longer works, and women should no longer accept or believe that they don’t have the qualities required of a leader.” Htet Oo Wai is passionate about promoting the opportunities women have to take more control and challenge for the leadership positions that they are fully qualified and experienced to hold. “It is time for everyone to accept the new role of women, and understand their potential, it is time for them play a role in the future of our country, and that doesn’t mean waiting to be called upon, that means pushing and fighting for their equal rights.”

MYANMORE magazine #17 March 2018



own a dusty lane in Yangon’s Hlaing Tharyar township is a home-cum-school that stands out as a splash of color amid the traveller’s palms and thatched houses. Swe Chin Mae pre-school and outreach and summer school program Exodus operates beyond its pink arch and blue balcony—a sanctuary for some of Myanmar’s most vulnerable children.

Coming from remote parts of the country, some of the children who arrive at Swe Chin Mae bring tales of abuse, or show signs of having endured it. “When they come here we are sad,” says Rody. “We try to find how to help them.” Newcomers are greeted by a big countryside mural overlooking a wooden stage and an impressive library of Myanmar and English language books that Rody has amassed over the years.

over the school’s agenda were high because of Rody’s devout Christian faith. “Some parents from the community thought we’d try to convert [their children] to Christianity,” said Rody, who is from the majority Christian Falam city in Chin State. “But they found out we never teach the Bible or religious things in the preschool.”

Founder Cung Khin Dim, 33, known to her friends as Rody, began the charity in 2008 for young girls, but she now hosts four boys and 34 girls who all board there for free. Rody's mother is kept busy making the uniforms for Swe Chin Mae.

Months after the first building was completed, Cyclone Nargis raged through the Irrawaddy Delta, and, as the only concrete structure in the area, locals flocked to Swe Chin Mae for shelter.

Another example of the modest charity improving lives comes in the form of Rody’s father, a doctor who regularly helps turn the school into a clinic to treat the children and locals. Hospitals are far away for many in Hlaing Tharyar, the poorest, biggest and most populated township in Yangon.

The older children attend the nearest government school, while some local children aged from three to six years old attend her preschool for a monthly 5,000 kyats.

Over 120 people crowded in her home for three days, recalled Rody, as “almost all the houses” nearby were damaged by the cyclone. Although the community was grateful, suspicions

Her father impressed the importance of education on Rody and her four siblings, moving the family from Chin State to the city in 1991 so that his children could benefit from better

schooling. Rody and her siblings were “crying everyday,” struggling to cope with the new food, language, people and environment. “I was so angry I decided to try hard in my studies—that changed my life,” she added. She went on to study English in Dagon University and also spent five months studying in South Korea and 15 months doing a master’s in rural development management at Thailand’s Khon Kaen University. Now the mother of a one-year-old baby, Rody manages the volunteerrun charity, which receives its funding from her siblings’ salaries and support from NGO Global Hope Myanmar. She also teaches Myanmar language to foreigners and can be contacted at or Facebook at Rody Dim.

“I was so angry I decided to try hard in my studies—that changed my life.”

Rody Dim's school and shelter houses vulnerable children from across Myanmar. (Rody Dim/Facebook) MYANMORE magazine #17 March 2018



RECIPE FOR SUCCESS Many domestic workers endure abject pay and conditions in Myanmar, but one social business is arming the women with skills for a better future. Words by Brittney Tun. Photos by Ye Myat Tun, YMT Productions.

Alison Carter, Thwe Moe Thu and Kevin Monin of the Three Good Spoons team.


“They always pushed me and abused me. My previous employer set really long hours and paid me only 30,000 kyats per month.”

“A lot of my relatives are factory workers, but I chose to be a housekeeper,” she said. “I don’t like factory life. You get to wear nail polish and make-up, but at the end of the day you are too tired to cook your own dinner or clean your house.”

Three years ago, Win secured an opportunity that would change her life. A family of expats her employer was renting to in Yangon noticed her and asked if she could help them occasionally. Win’s employer agreed. “[My employer] could not pay me well,” she said, “but they supported me to go earn more money with my new family.”

Born in Irrawaddy Region, Win “never had a good employer,” she recalled.

Not long after hiring her, the family invited her to work for them full time.

in’s story started like that of many farm girls from rural areas in Myanmar. Her family pulled her out of school after fourth grade to save money and assign her to household chores. Then, as a teen, she was sent to work in a factory.


MYANMORE magazine #17 March 2018

Win's story started like that of many farm girls from rural areas in Myanmar.

“I’m scheduled to work 9 to 5 every day, but I choose to work longer hours for them because they treat me like family. They never pressure me, and I have no stress. I cook only four days per week,” she beamed. Win, who is in her 30s, had little experience in cooking before joining the family, but she soon proved adept. Recognizing her talent, the family sent her to Three Good Spoons, a ‘decent work’ initiative for domestic workers founded by Alison Carter, a former Australian diplomat in Beijing. Alison moved to Myanmar with her husband over three years ago and quickly saw a way to fulfill her dream of developing a social enterprise benefitting women. Alison created the program to service those new at employing domestic workers and concerned about being fair around their employees’ pay and conditions. “Also, they wanted reassurance that the people they were paying to do this kind of work were preparing meals with care and had the skills to be able to do their jobs well,” Alison said. MYANMORE magazine #17 March 2018

Alison employs a small brigade of bilingual locals to run the classes. Assistant coordinator Bridjit (or Thwe Moe Thu) is in training to be the program director and Kevin Monin, former private chef to the American ambassador in Myanmar, runs the kitchen and creates local and international recipes for the students.

The next stage in the development of Three Good Spoons is a program geared to reach out to the domestic workers themselves, not just the families who hire them. Alison plans to roll out an affordable membership program of very low-cost classes to foster an impromptu community among domestic workers. In the past,

“My previous employer set really long hours and paid me only 30,000 kyats per month.” Domestic worker Win The program offers a variety of cooking courses for residents, tourists, and domestic workers. Win has been through 36 Three Good Spoons classes, each about three hours long and covering hygiene, grocery shopping, nutrition, food storage, and cooking among other areas. She possesses a repertoire of more than 100 recipes.

she worked with The Yangon Kayin Baptist Women’s Association, but now is trying to expand partnerships with organizations such as the Myanmar Mobile Education Organization in order to travel to factories and offer free hygiene and sanitation classes.

benefit individual women, but would influence their families through the generations. “There is a recognition among my Three Good Spoons clients to support women in improving their skills so that they can improve their earnings and improve their livelihoods,” Alison added. “We believe that women can be very influential within their families.” Win went from a monthly salary of 30,000 kyats three years ago to 350,000 kyats. “I can afford to take care of my father’s hospital bills,” she said proudly. After her new employer put her through a nursing program, she began to help a local clinic at night. “If you have knowledge, you don’t even have to go out of the country to find a good job,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if your employer is good or not. You must be good. Don’t steal, have morals, and keep your faith.”

An education that is relevant to their lives and job-oriented would not only



THE CULLING QUESTION In an effort to mitigate rabies infections, Yangon authorities regularly perform dog culls. But is this the only answer? Words by Loren Lee Chiesi.


tray dogs in Yangon make up as much of the city’s neighborhood communities as night markets, teahouses, and longyi fabric stores. Yet daily complaints about street dogs recently prompted U Min Aung, an officer of the Animal Wellness Department of the Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC), to tell Myanmore that dog culling “will be inevitable.” A budding reticence towards stray dogs is tied to the fear of rabies, which, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) is endemic throughout Myanmar and is on the

rise. There’s good reason to fear rabies. Once an infected victim shows symptoms of the disease, it’s fatal. Dr. Christoph Gelsdorf of the International SOS Clinic at Inya Lake described rabies infection as “total neurological devastation.” While actual transmission of rabies from dog bites to human is rare, Gelsdorf emphasizes that every patient arriving at his clinic with an animal bite has to be treated as if there is an exposure to rabies. According to a 2014 WHO report, an estimated 600,000 people in

Myanmar seek medical treatment annually for injuries incurred by dog bites. Statistics provided by U Min Aung state from 2014-2015, over 1,000 people from 10 townships within West Yangon visited government clinics for rabies vaccinations. There were two verified rabies fatalities. In an effort to mitigate rabies infections, the YCDC routinely performs dog culls, targeting specific townships with poisoned meat in an effort to control stray dog populations. Culls are effective in the short-term population control, however, there is no substantial

“If we work together, humanely and with funding, rabies does not have to be feared.” Yangon Animal Shelter volunteer Nathalie Mathiasen

A 2017 article by The Guardian posts 120,000 stray dogs in Yangon. (Lorcan Lovett)


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evidence supporting the efficacy of dog culling to counter the rabies virus. What culling does decrease is the amount of residents who contact the YCDC with complaints about stray dogs, out of fear or nuisance.

in general, even dogs that have been vaccinated and fixed, thus debasing tactical vaccination plans. Even still, YAS volunteers are not alone in their concern about the culling of strays. Some Buddhist groups have protested the culls, asserting that the killing of dogs by poisoning goes against Buddhist tenets of non-violence.

However, not all Yangonites support dog culling. The Yangon Animal Shelter (YAS) was established in 2012 as a reaction to the culling process, which founder Terryl Just sees as inhumane and an ineffective means of quelling strays. The mission of YAS is to offer protection, shelter, medical care, food, and socialization to as many strays as the Hlegu township-

In spite of such bleak information about the spread of rabies and the plight of stray dogs, there are effective strategies that everyday Myanmar residents can take to prevent rabies infections and abate the rising stray dog populations. Gelsdorf urges people to start with prevention and get vaccinated against rabies. International SOS Clinic offers a vaccination series for charge, as well as many local general practitioners at township medical offices.

Dr. Christoph Gelsdorf of the International SOS Clinic. (Leo Jackson)

based compound can accommodate. A 2017 article by The Guardian posits 120,000 stray dogs in the city. Currently, YAS is home to about 550 dogs, all of which have been spayed or neutered and vaccinated. In her seasoned opinion, Just sees the spay/ neuter-vaccinate-release method as the most practical way to combat instances of rabies and the climbing stray population. She’s not alone in her stance. Thailand-based animal protection group Soi Dog has had notable success limiting rabies infection rates and canine population control in major Thai cities like Bangkok and Phuket by using this protocol of identifying dog packs, spaying the females and neutering the males, and then vaccinating the dogs MYANMORE magazine #17 March 2018

against a battery of common canine diseases such as parvovirus and rabies. When done properly, this course of action creates herd immunity against transmittable infections, like rabies. But in order to achieve herd immunity, Just says, 70 percent of the dog population must be immunized. “There have been foreign animal rescue groups that have offered to step in and train local workers and fund spay/neuter-vaccinate-release efforts, but they will not do it in cities that cull,” she added. The logic is that culling actually works against the herd immunity efforts. The randomized poisonings do not target rabies-infected dogs, but strays

“Rabies is 100 percent vaccine preventable,” said Gelsdorf. As for stray dogs, the YAS encourages donations made directly to the shelter. Donation funds cover spay, neuter, and vaccination costs as well as shelter maintenance and materials needs, dog food, and veterinary care. As YAS volunteer Nathalie Mathiasen said, “We are all working as a community here—the dogs, the residents, the volunteers, medical professionals, and the YCDC. We all want the same thing: safe and healthy communities for our friends and families. If we work together, humanely and with funding, rabies does not have to be feared [in Yangon].” Make donations directly to support Yangon Animal Shelter at their website or also through KBZ bank, details of which can be found on their Facebook page.



THE FINAL STRAW With single-use plastic destroying the environment, it’s time to ditch the straw, writes Cliff Lonsdale. Photo by Rasmus Steijner.


he first ever winner of the MYANMORE Green Award is Nourish café. Owner Jo Jo Yang will be writing a regular Green Column every month, check out her first entry in this month’s magazine. As part of the 2018 Green Award program, MYANMORE has made a commitment to support environmentally friendly initiatives in the dining and nightlife industry. One of the most popular green ideas at the minute in Yangon is “Straws Suck” which was launched by restaurant and bar group 57-Below in 2017. The idea is simple–they have pledged to no longer serve non-reusable plastic straws in any of their restaurants and bars. The campaign is gaining a lot of interest and many other venues are doing likewise. To date the venues in Yangon that have declared themselves ‘Straw-free’ are: 50th Street, Gekko, Locale, Mahlzeit, Nourish, Parami Pizza, Paribawga Café, Rau Ram, Rose Garden Hotel, Savoy Hotel, Sprouts, The Strand Hotel, Union Bar and Grill. Many of these venues are providing alternative solutions such as reusable


MYANMORE magazine #17 March 2018

or biodegradable straws, but they have all stopped offering their customers single-use plastic straws. The negative environmental impacts of plastic straws are welldocumented—they take a few seconds to produce, are used for just a few minutes, and then thrown away. Every single plastic straw that has ever been produced is still in existence in one way or another in the world today, in fact every single piece of plastic that has ever been made is still in our environment, and will remain so for ever. Nature is incapable of biodegrading plastic such as straws. What happens to waste plastic, especially plastic that ends up in the sea, is that the plastic degrades into microplastics (small plastic pieces less than 5 millimeters long) and releases chemicals that are toxic to wildlife and the environment. Microplastics are easily consumed by marine wildlife, although whole straws are also problematic due to their slender shape and size, they are easily consumed by marine wildlife and seabirds—over 1 million seabirds die each year from ingesting plastic. A YouTube clip of scientists removing a plastic straw from the nose of a sea turtle went viral in 2015 and to date has over 18 million views. This graphic example of the effects of plastic pollution has inspired a global movement to reduce the amount of plastic consumed, and many countries

around the world are looking into ways to ban single-use plastics such as straws. More than 300 million tons of new plastic is produced every year, with less than 10 percent recycled globally. Straws are one of the top 10 items of rubbish found on beaches around the world, and although they make up a only a small percentage of the eight

Every single plastic straw that has ever been produced is still in existence in one way or another in the world today, in fact every single piece of plastic that has ever been made is still in our environment, and will remain so for ever.

MYANMORE magazine #17 March 2018

million tons of plastic waste that ends up in the ocean each year, they are one of the biggest problems. Scientists predict if we carry on using plastic products at the rate we currently are, by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. The ‘Straws Suck” campaign is not just about straws though—it is about creating a mindfulness and awareness of our consumption habits. Kicking the plastic straw is only the beginning, but a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Ditching straws is a great first step to take, because they’re something we all regularly use without thinking, and without any clue that they’re so damaging—and they are such a non-essential part of our life. When you start to consider the environmental consequences of using straws, you can’t but help to begin to think about other single-use plastics that you regularly receive and use: take-away cartons, plastic bags, plastic bottles, plastic cutlery—the list is endless.

Ditching the straw is as simple as saying “no straw please” when you order a drink, (not when ordering a beer obviously). In the same way you might say “no ice please,” it can easily become second nature. If more and more people started refusing straws in their drinks, more bars, restaurants and cafes might consider stopping automatically offering them. If your favorite bar or restaurant is chucking straws in each and every drink, why not have a word with them, tell them about “Straws suck” and ask them to join the movement and go straw free. If you are a venue that has gone straw-free, or you know of a venue that has made the pledge, let us know and we can add the name to the list of straw free venues. How wonderful would it be if 2018 could be the year that Yangon went straw free?



Phyu Phyu Win (middle, wearing a pink top) and students at the Mary Chapman School for the Deaf in Yangon.

DEAF TEACHER PHYU PHYU WIN Phyu Phyu Win understands adversity. Diagnosed as deaf during her childhood, the 34-yearold teacher encountered a rigid education system negligent toward the hearing impaired, and, later on, discriminatory employers unwilling to invest in her potential.

practical module called ‘For Your Life.’ The century-old school of 357 students has roughly a 50/50 split of boys and girls who often stay until the age of 20. A mix of ethnicities and religions, the children look up to Phyu Phyu Win, who has been teaching there for nine years.

Now she comprises one of the 39 teaching staff at the Mary Chapman School for the Deaf in Yangon, About two thirds of the students educating fourth graders on live on site, along with many of Myanmar language, history and a the teachers. Phyu Phyu Win, 24

who is originally from Kyonpyaw Township in the Ayeyarwady Division, recently sat down with Myanmore. Through a sign language translator she discussed the challenges faced by deaf people and the changing attitudes toward disabled people in Myanmar. Interview by Pamela Tan and Lorcan Lovett. Photo by Rasmus Steijner.

MYANMORE magazine #17 March 2018

"Speaking for our students, the girls here have a safer environment because all of us understand what it’s like to be deaf; we don’t discriminate between girls and boys. In villages, however, they are not as open-minded. These girls are sometimes even the targets of rapists."

Q What challenges does your job bring? One of the challenges is teaching things that cannot be described visually or through sign language, such as mental states. I control the children’s behaviors and keep their interest by teaching and showing them how they should behave. Children are different because of the environments they are raised in. For the ones that come from a bad background, I sometimes have to try to change their outlook. Q What challenges did you face growing up? Learning. From kindergarten to third grade, teachers would write on the blackboard for us, so I could simply copy the lessons off. Starting from fourth grade, however, I had to copy from my friends’ notebooks because teachers started lecturing. Q How did your hearing impairment affect your efforts to find work? Around 2003, I started working with the aim to become a full-time employee. Due to my impaired hearing, I had to do the lowest of jobs in the company: a cleaner. I wanted to work with computers and such, but I had to clean instead because I had no choice. Q Do your students struggle to find jobs?

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The jobs that students take up after they finish this school are usually culinary-related because we have programs for that when they are done with seventh grade. We also have connections with hotels. The challenge they face is that because they depend heavily on sign language to communicate, they are not able to read long sentences in Myanmar characters. They can read short words such as ‘come’ and ‘go,’ but nothing too long. In order to communicate, companies need to know sign language. This is not always the case so it’s extremely hard for them to get jobs. Just a while ago, one of our students was working at this clothing design place. He was the only deaf individual there. As people tend to use facial expressions while speaking, he started thinking that they were gossiping about him. He then stopped working on that particular expensive project out of anger, and came to this school. We had to console him and say they were not gossiping about him—that it was natural for people to use facial expressions while communicating verbally. Q Have you had similar experiences? It is natural to feel like others are gossiping about us all the time because we are deaf. When I was a teenager, I was also the only deaf employee. Just like my student, I also thought people were talking about

me, but I chose to neglect them and worked harder instead. It affected me emotionally, of course. I felt terrible. Q The government is soon introducing a by-law that will allow the implementation of a 2015 law on disabled rights. Among other things, it will create tax incentives to hire deaf people and introduce quotas for hiring disabled employees in government departments. What do you think of this? Knowing that the government is enforcing a law that encourages companies to hire more disabled people, I feel extremely happy. We were neglected in the past because such things did not exist. People are becoming more open-minded and it is a great advancement for our society. Q How do you think deaf people in Myanmar are treated in general? I think deaf people have generally been humiliated in the past because people were not open-minded. We were constantly laughed at because they did not understand what it was like to be deaf. There are more opportunities for us now though, but there’s lots of room for improvement. I wish that exams would let deaf students answer in sign language because at the moment they are asked to answer with Myanmar characters and that is quite hard for them, as they were taught with sign language from the start.

Sign language is basically a mother language to them. If the government would just understand that, it would be much easier for all deaf students. Q How do the experiences of a deaf girl growing up differ from a deaf boy? Parents tend to have more confidence that their sons would do better out in the real world so they willingly let them go out, hoping that they would do well in the sea of hearing individuals. Some parents of deaf girls lock them up in their houses when they’re done with school because they feel they would be safer in the house than out in the real world. Speaking for our students, the girls here have a safer environment because all of us understand what it’s like to be deaf; we don’t discriminate between girls and boys. In villages, however, they are not as open-minded. These girls are sometimes even the targets of rapists. There are countless rape cases for deaf girls because our disability is used as an advantage for rapists. Donate to the Mary Chapman School for the Deaf by contacting its principal Daw Nyunt Nyunt Thein on 09 775 005360 or 09 520 1910.



‘A MULTISENSORY EXPERIENCE’ Sisters Phyone Pong Yon and Ipkaw Pang bring fulsome and flavor-packed Wa food to Yangon with their kitchen Root. Words by Edmond Sailland. Photos by Leo Jackson.


ach time I go to dine at Root I tend to stagger out, often hours later, feeling a little bewildered, wondering how much of what happened inside the restaurant was real. Root is a multisensory experience—the food is punchy, the cocktails are strong, the décor is arresting, and the atmosphere is lively. Perhaps this is of little surprise as Root specializes in in the cuisine of Wa—an ethnic group who control a territory the size of Belgium in Myanmar’s East, known for their wildness. Located on the lower block of Yangon’s Bo Myat Htun, it’s a prime location to begin a night before heading off to Beat Bar, Seventh Joint, or Jazz in Time. The décor is fabulous: Tables cleaved out of large pieces of tree, brightly-colored fabric, and walls adorned with pieces of animal and musical instruments. It’s a cavernous space, and with large tables and reasonably-priced drinks it can get a little raucous. The cocktails were some of the best I have tasted in Yangon. The Farmer’s Tea had a fantastic bitterness and tea flavor while the Bliss was packed with

real strawberry and had a nice a tang of Thai Basil. The food will excite even the most seasoned gastronome. The smoked

beef moik (4,500 kyats) is Wa’s answer to risotto. A wet rice dish with a fantastic earthy meaty flavor. The mashed potato (4,000 kyats) is far more flavorsome than the West’s equivalent—with liberal amounts of garlic, chili, and herbs. The salads (2,000 kyats) were also winners. In the green bean salad, sesame and ginger, complimented the crisp and fresh green beans while the egg plant salad had a wonderful slippery smokiness. The highlight of the night for me was the grilled pork neck (6,500 kyats for a large portion); it was beautifully spiced with a tart charred flavor, with the meat left tremendously juicy and tender. The only criticism I have is that the chicken wings were nothing to write home


about. Nor was the bok choy, and at 4,000 kyats it was nowhere near a good value as the salads. All in all, however, I estimate an evening of sumptuous food and cocktails at Root is likely to come in at quite a bit less than your average meal in a restaurant of that quality. It’s fulsome, flavor-packed, and just a little bit frenetic. Perhaps the flavor combinations are not for everyone, but for me, it’s one of the best places for local food in the city. Address: Bo Myat Htun Street, Bo Myat Tun Tower Hours: 11am-11pm Phone: 09 45669 6695

MYANMORE magazine #17 March 2018


‘LIKE GOING FOR DINNER AT A FRIEND’S HOUSE’ This tiny and personable restaurant rotates its menu of French fare every fortnight. Words by Charles Duchemin.


lthough Le Bis-Tro-Ke is well known by Yangon foodies it perhaps has slipped under the radar of many people. For a long time it was known as “That place on Yaw Min Gyi where Le Petit Comptoir used to be” but chef and owner Monji Khanoussi is doing a sterling job in building a reputation for his little restaurant in its own right. The restaurant is tiny, only a handful of tables, and the menu is even smaller with only four or five traditional simple French dishes available per course. These are displayed on a blackboard that is transported from table to table. The menu changes every fortnight, so although the offering is limited, it doesn’t have chance to become boring. Considering the difficulties I often have in deciding what to eat

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from some of the ginormous menus available out there, I find this approach very refreshing.

amuse bouche and a glass of rather delicious red are presented in record time.

I’ve eaten here a handful of times and one of the big selling points for me is the cozy atmosphere and the personable and friendly approach of Monji who flits between tables chatting with guests. I always think of eating at Le-Bistro-Ke as like going for dinner at a friend’s house.

Tempted by the baked Camembert I decide to take a more healthy approach and go for the avocado salad. The avocado is perfectly ripe, although the sliced egg topping does give it a bit of a 70s retro feel. How healthy it is, is debatable as it is heavily adorned with a very rich, and ever so slightly overpowering Caesar style dressing.

When I arrive the restaurant is empty, Monji is absent, and the staff seem a little surprised to see me. Typical! The one night I want to write a review and they are going to cock it up! I needn’t have worried. The staff are well trained, the service is impeccable. The blackboard is presented to me–order swiftly taken—and a bruschetta-style

The sea bass main is cooked to perfection with crispy skin and a beautifully moist center. Steam escapes as I cut into the fish, and the taste and texture is exquisite. The Pilaf rice is a pleasant accompaniment, though perhaps a little dry, and I think the presentation could be worked on a little. The presence of three half cherry tomatoes does little to brighten up a fairly dull plate. The highlight of this dish though is the fennel compote—it is stunning. The subtly sweet anise flavor works wonderfully with the fish giving the meal a rather decadent feeling.

Cafe gourmand makes for a perfect hat trick finish, and at less than 40,000 kyats it is excellent value for money. They serve a daily lunchtime set menu of two courses with café gourmand for less than 10,000 kyats, which is incredible, and the menu changes everyday. Address: 42, Yaw Min Gyi Street, Dagon Township Phone: 09 45285 2578 Hours: 11:30am-2pm and 6:30pm-10pm


Street snacks / Ethnic recipe c recipe



cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth, U Hla Tun, 50, ladles a white batter into bite size moulds dented into a large pan. He cracks a quail’s egg and sprinkles chickpeas from a pink plastic tray into each bubbling mix—heated by charcoal underneath—and then lets the sides crunch up into a crispy brown before flipping them over.

As they cool off in a bamboo basket, U Hla Tun divulges some of the ingredients: sticky rice flour, ginger, salt, along with the egg and chickpeas. But he stops short of disclosing the full list. His recipe is “different,” he says, enigmatically, which is perhaps why his stall is so popular. U Hla Tun has been at this spot in the shade of a blossoming tree in Yaw Min Gyi Ward for eight years, but has been making mote lin ma yar for double that period. His father and grandfather did the same, he says, scooping 10 pieces for 500 kyats in a plastic bag and finishing them with a pinch of sesame and salt. They have a spongy, oily texture that goes well with the crispy edges. A tasty mid-afternoon treat, preferably shared between two.

Finally he combines the two halves into a saucer-shaped snack—now it’s officially mote lin ma yar or “couple’s snack,” the two elements representing a husband and wife.

Address: Corner of Bo Yar Nyunt Road and Nawaday Street, Yaw Min Gyi Ward. Hours: About 2.30pm-7-8pm.



inner of the Myanmore Awards Myanmar food Restaurant of the Year Khaing Khaing Kyaw has several restaurants across Yangon, each one serving up exceptional and traditional Myanmar cuisine. To try your hand at cooking on of their disheses yourself, Myanmore and Khaing Khaing Kyaw as part of the Myanmar Ethnic Restaurateurs Group (MERG) offer the following recipe. Ingredients Lobsters- 4 Pump featherbacks - 3 Mushroom- 6 halves Corn- 2 halves Potato- 3 halves Green chilli- 4 Catfish- 2 Squid- 4 medium sized Pepper- half a tablespoon Tamarind juice- 90 grams Pepper sauce- 32 grams


Fish paste (nga pi)- 16 grams Eryngium foetidum- ½ a bushel Turmeric powder- half a tablespoon Garlic- 32 grams Recipe - Mix the squid, lobster, salt, turmeric powder, and fish sauce thoroughly for 10 minutes. - Put about 160 grams of oil into the pan. - When the oil is cooked, add thoroughly crushed 640 grams of onion into the pan. - When the onion is cooked, add about 160 grams of crushed chilli and then add 160 grams of fish paste when a strong scent arises. - Add mixed squid and lobster into the pan and cover it with a lid for about five minutes. - Put the water in another pot and then add catfish, pump featherbacks, mushroom, and corn, and then wait until it is fully boiled. - Then add the ingredients in the pan and the pot together and cook for 15 more minutes. - Add tamarind juice in the end and perhaps some salt or seasoning. MYANMORE magazine #17 March 2018

New Openings

New Openings This Month

Burbrit Taproom • Brewery Myanmar’s own craft beer steps up another level with this new outlet in Ma Naw Hari street near the Thai Embassy. Here you can enjoy all seven flavours of Myanmar craft beer with a garden-view environment along with some snacks and friends. 74 Ma Naw Hari Street, Dagon Township 09 950 962 119 3 pm - 10 pm

Yadanapone • Myanmar This 24-hour eatery serves food from Upper Myanmar and Shan State as well as coffee and tea, cold drinks and sorbets. The place itself embraces Mandalay designs. If you’re in the mood for Shan noodles or Mandalay Mote Te, this is the place for you. 34 Parami Road, 8 Quarter, Yankin Township 09 764 881307 6 am - 11 pm

Find out more at


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Byblos Pub & Grill • Mediterranean Fusion

Sushi Mikado • Japanese Popular for its freshness and quality, Sushi Mikado started from the little "Kin Sakura" to its current redesigned incarnation. A good taste, fresh ingredients, good service and friendly staff—you couldn’t expect more.

An atmospheric bar designed with reclaimed and restored timber and set to become a thriving watering hole in Golden Valley. It is located next to Real Fitness gym and serves up Mediterranean fusion fare along with pastas and pizzas. Go once and you’re likely to return. 20 Pearl Street, Golden Valley, Bahan Township 09 798 882020 11:30 am - 11:30 pm

162 Sanchaung Street, beside DI Fashion, Sanchaung Township 09 45062 6722 11 am - 9:30 pm

Mingalar 48 • Asian Fusion Enjoy Chinese and Thai cuisines in one place, cooked by an amazing kitchen team. They also serve Burmese food and snacks in the morning and, of course, Burmese traditional tea along with their own baked pastries. No. 48, Corner of Pan Chann Street & Mingalar Street, Sanchaung Township 09 45666 3306 6 am - 9:30 pm

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Chef 's Column Travel


ORNG MYANMORE Chef of the Year 2018 award winner Chef Orng discusses plans for his new restaurant and his continued commitment to “honest food.”


arch is a month of mixed emotions for me as we are moving our restaurant up to 7 miles. When I set up ORNG’s Kitchen at the end of 2016 I did everything myself, from buying cutlery to sourcing napkins. On opening night I was even changing light bulbs before service! So although I’m sad to be saying goodbye to my ‘wee precious baby,’ I’m also really excited about our amazing new place. I won’t lie, I’m a bit nervous as well, but I love the challenge—the pressure keeps me going. The new restaurant opened on February 28, we’ll have a soft opening for a couple of weeks to sort out any teething troubles before we have the official opening. But I’d love to see the familiar faces of my regulars, who’ve supported me over the year, up there. I also look forward to welcoming customers that haven’t dined with me yet. The location is awesome; the dining room is open and airy and overlooks a private lake. At night—all lit up—it is magical. The kitchen is bigger too, which means the team have more room to work. A lot of the vegetables I use come from my family’s farms in Mon State because I know that they are


organically grown, but I’m also going to be growing my own vegetables at the restaurant. There are already banana and mango trees, and I’ve planted basil, mint, lemongrass, and coriander. I’m even going to get some hens, so we can have lovely free-range eggs. I’ve got a lot of plans, but first and foremost I’m concentrating on the food.

same high quality, reasonably priced, and accessible food.

Winning Chef of the Year was a complete surprise I have to admit, and I’m really happy to have won the award, but it doesn’t change anything. The new location will still have the same concept; I will still serve the

I hope to see you up at the new restaurant soon.

When people ask me what kind of food we serve, I say: “Honest Food.” Yes we play about with it a little bit, and make it look nice. I like to create beautiful food, and I serve every dish with love, passion and a dedication to detail. I always have done, and I always will.

Orngs Kitchen Green Acres Residence Compound, 1 U Sein Maung Lane, Kone Myint Yeik That Street, (Off Highland Avenue) 7 miles, Mayangone Township 09771195020 12pm-3pm / 6pm–10pm (Closed Monday)

Cheers, Chef Orng. MYANMORE magazine #17 March 2018

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MYANMORE magazine #17 March 2018


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Having long held a reputation for mystery and wild things, the far east of Shan State is becoming more accessible than ever. Words by Sampan.

The principal appeal of visiting Kyaing Tong is to go trekking in the hills and meet the varied array of ethnic groups. (Ben Dunant)


ow the road from Taunggyi is open to foreign travellers once again, there is no better time to visit the town of Kyaing Tong—the once-mighty ‘Walled City of Tung.’ Kyaing Tong—a town battered by history but nonetheless charming—is located in the far east of Shan State, between the Chinese border and the Golden Triangle where Myanmar


touches Thailand and Laos along the Mekong.

once financed the ornate palaces and pagodas that pepper the area.

Thick with mountainous jungle, the region was described as a “geographical nowhere” by Sir George Scott, the man tasked with mapping the easternmost land border of British India in the late 19th Century. Since then it has always had a reputation for mystery and wild things, fueled by a centuries-old drug trade that

Such architecture is still on display in Kyaing Tong, a cultural fusion of Chinese and Thai, with a smattering of Burmese to boot. Nestled in a valley amid undulating hills, the town is quiet and lazy, described by one lyrical visitor as a place where a poet-recluse might choose to “live and dream, and die.”

At the centre of the town once stood an extravagant palace, built by Sao Kawng Kiao Intaleng, the 40th ‘Sky Lord’ Prince of Kyaing Tong. The palace was demolished by the Burmese military in 1991, and so disappeared a cherished piece of Tai history. Wandering about its streets and sitting in it teashops today, travelers may likely see well-fingered pictures of the old palace defiantly pinned up on walls. MYANMORE magazine #17 March 2018

Much of the colonial architecture has been dismantled brick by brick and most of the youth of Loimwe have left home for opportunities in Kyaing Tong or Taunggyi or to try their luck as croupiers in the casinos of Mong La. When Sampan last visited, we found it an intriguing albeit desolate place, our movements traced by their raggedy children, watching us with large eyes.

A vegetable seller in Kyaing Tong market. (Sundara Grandes viajes)

Where the palace once stood— where once the ‘lords of the sunset’ resided—the military government built the spiritlessly-named ‘Kyaing Tong New Hotel,’ now the Amazing Kengtung Resort. The hotel has views out onto the Naung Ton Lake, a serene place for an evening amble. One can sit down in the lake-side restaurants for supper at dusk as the town settles into stillness for night, save for the occasional rumble of a teenager’s motorbike.

outré mythologies and histories that accompany each. Three of the most prolific ethnic races are those of the Lahu, the Akha, and the Eng. The Lahu can be seen in the village of Pin Tauk, just one community of the 2 million strong population spreading over both Myanmar and China. In the villages of Hokyin you will find the Akha, recognizable due to their heavy head-dresses, and not far from here the Eng, whose women

paint their teeth black, and whose children leap from tree to bush, trusty slingshot wedged firmly into the waist of their scraggly trousers. If time permits, historically-minded travellers may wish to drive up to the town of Loimwe on the ‘Hill of Mists.’ In winter a thick fog cuts off the town from the valley below until midday, making this ‘outpost of outposts,’ once the eastern-most hill station of the British Empire, a melancholy spot.

With the Taunggyi road open once more, Loimwe need not remain in this forlorn state. Indeed, there is hope that the wider brain-drain of Kyaing Tong and its hills will subside as the town reaps the rewards of responsible tourism to the region—following in the vein of Shan towns to the north and south such as Hsipaw and Kalaw— and perhaps the 'Walled City of Tung' will return once more to its former grandeur. Sampan Travel is a boutique and green tour operator based in Yangon, curating tailor-made journeys around Myanmar.

‘Collection of Races’ As charming as the town is, the principal appeal of visiting Kyaing Tong is to go trekking in the hills and meet the varied array of ethnic groups. Although in each village you will walk past wallowing buffalo and pigs rutting in the earth, and in each you will find wrinkled and smoking grandparents keeping just half an eye open over errant children, the costumes and culture of each is markedly different. As Sir Scott wrote, “There is in this particular region a collection of races so diverse in feature, language and customs, as cannot, perhaps, be paralleled in any other part of the world.” In the space of one morning walking you will likely hear a half a dozen different dialects languages, and can attempt to grapple with the MYANMORE magazine #17 March 2018

An ethnic Akha family being brought to a polling station in rural Kyaing Tong to cast their votes in the 2015 general election. (Ben Dunant)



Rih Lake sits within 545 acres of protected public forest and is home to a colorful variety of attractive birds.


A natural lake in northwestern Chin State is steadily luring a rising number of tourists. But is it worth the fuss, asks James Fable. Photos by the writer.


hispers of the mystical heart-shaped Rih Lake in northeastern Chin State have gradually spread and got tourists asking questions. The 2017 Lonely Planet even placed it tenth in its top 10 Myanmar destinations, rating it more highly than the popular Chin attractions of Mt Victoria and Mindat. But is Rih Lake really worth trekking over to the Indian border for, or are the stories just romantic? Patience is a virtue in northern Chin State, where few roads are concreted and lengthy delays common. The only way to reach Rihkhawdar, the closest town to Rih Lake, is via Tiddim, which is accessed either from Kalaymyo in northern Sagaing State or from Hakha, the Chin capital. From Tiddim the journey takes four hours and costs 7,000 kyats. There are also buses to Rihkhawdar from Kalaymyo (15,000 kyats), but nine consecutive hours of bumpy mountain roads are not for everyone. If you’re travelling in the dry season, bring a dust mask.


Like many border towns, Rihkhawdar boasts a fascinating dynamic of organized, cross-boundaries chaos and diverse, multilingual residents— many of whom are of Indian or Chinese descent. The local language is Mizo, and a 100-yard bridge separates Rihkhawdar from the Indian state of Mizoram.

trip. To walk there would be an uphill struggle, but the journey back offers some pleasant views. Rih Lake sits within 545 acres of protected public forest and is home to a colorful variety of attractive birds. The name derives from a Mizo

folktale: Rih-i had a younger sister who was murdered by her father on their stepmother’s orders, only to be resurrected by a helping spirit. Rih-i then used the same spell to turn herself into a water body that became Rih Lake.

Despite objection from The Presbyterian Church, the prohibition of alcohol in Mizoram was repealed in 2015. Until then, Mizo people had to cross into Myanmar for their fill and return before the border shut at 6pm—or stumble back across the river if they had drunk one too many. Some Mizo still prefer to booze in Rihkhawdar, where the drink prices are given in Indian Rupees. The only Rihkhawdar guesthouse that foreigners are permitted stay in is the clean and comfortable Rih Shwe Pyi (from 15,000 kyats). To reach Rih Lake, take a 15-minute motorbike taxi for 2,000 kyats, or 5,000 for a return MYANMORE magazine #17 March 2018

Much as Chin communities in Matupi consider Bungtla Waterfall to be part of their God-given heritage, Rih Lake holds huge spiritual significance for the Mizo. In ancient animist tradition, Rih Lake is a gateway to Piairal, the Mizo version of paradise. Although both Chin and Mizoram were heavily targeted by Christian missionaries, Rih Lake retained its mystical status through the syncretism of Piairal with the Christian heaven. The lake remains a pilgrimage site for Indian and Myanmar Mizo. Rih Lake today is a favourite local hang-out, complimented by the lakeside restaurant. After a swim in its cool water, stunning a visiting Indian school class, I was dragged into countless selfies with the teachers. The headmaster, who stank of betel and whisky, insisted on me being half naked in all the pictures. Eventually he was forced to join a class photo, so I grabbed my stuff and escaped. I headed to a nearby hill that overlooked the lake and whose hilltop happened to be occupied by a Tatmadaw station. Fortunately, the soldiers were friendly and led me to a small wooden balcony poised precariously over a precipice: the viewpoint. I politely refused a cup of army tea and a chat about football with the commanding officer, but the offer hadn’t been optional. Curiously, there’s an instant tea mix made exclusively for the Tatmadaw—which MYANMORE magazine #17 March 2018

they take real pride in. It tastes like any other instant tea mix. The views from here were fantastic, but Rih Lake itself was somewhat underwhelming. Although the heartshaped outline was romantic, the lake itself was fairly small—just one-mile long and half a mile wide—and the surrounding crops were dead and brown. Had I visited in the monsoon season—when the lake is encircled by mesmerizing, emerald rice paddies— it may have been a love story. But travelling in Chin State in the monsoon season is perilous: the region becomes prone to landslides and the mountain roads turn into bogs. I’ve personally seen a four-wheel drive truck tip over just a metre from the edge. That’s when I decided to leave Chin State until the dry season. So is Rih Lake worth the trek, or has it been overly romanticised? If you’re heading to northern Chin State anyway, you may as well visit. But unless you’re willing to risk muddy mountain roads and landslides, don’t bother travelling across half the country for it. There are other destinations in Myanmar that would make my top 10 before Rih Lake, and I suspect the Lonely Planet only included it in theirs because it’s their sole one in Chin State.

Locals can expect more visitors to Rih Lake now that Lonely Planet has promoted it.



A BEACH BEYOND Dominic Horner travels from Yangon to the far-flung Ma Gyi Zin for some sweet isolation. Photos by the writer.


MYANMORE magazine #17 March 2018


here’s no shortage of remote beaches in Myanmar but Ma Gyi Zin’s up there with the remotest of them all. Located on the western coast south of Gwa, Ma Gyi Zin really does deliver the “middle of nowhere” vibe. There are plans to connect it up to Pathein Road at some point in 2018 but in the meantime getting there is pretty hard. First of all you need to take the 7-8 hour bus from Yangon to Gwa where you’ll spend the night. Rest well, because the following morning you’ve still got plenty of journey ahead of you. For this part you’ll need either to rent a motorbike or find someone who’s prepared to ride one for you. To my knowledge a cab just isn’t an option. A boat’s probably possible but then it’s getting into pricey territory. If you can hack it, a motorbike’s your best bet. From the harbor get the water taxi over the estuary to start your full on ride down to Ma Gyi Zin. Essentially none of the road is paved, sometimes it’s sandy, it’s often steep and it’s usually rocky. If you’re reasonably confident with a motorbike you’ll have no problem but it’s definitely not the place to get your training wheels.

MYANMORE magazine #17 March 2018



Up to this point I’ve might have given you the impression that the whole thing is an arduous slog—it isn’t. The journey may be challenging in places but it’s also incredibly beautiful. You’ve got coastal villages, deserted (and I do mean deserted) beaches, rickety bridges, pagodas….the whole thing is a real rock ‘n’ roll travel experience and if you can spare the hours don’t rush it. On the way down we took our sweet time and it took us somewhere between 4-5 hours. On the way back, with a bus to catch, we gunned it a little bit and did it in just over two. There’s only one hotel in Ma Gyi Zin so you’re staying there whether you like it or not. Luckily, it’s a good one. Mei’s Guesthouse is still a bit of a building site but the huts are decent, the staff are super welcoming (you’ll almost certainly be the only guest), and the food is surprisingly delicious. While we were there we had grilled fish, crab, watercress soup and some disarmingly good chips. The food will surpass expectations, guaranteed. On the downside the rooms are a little bit...wildlife-y, and if you want electricity you’ll sometimes have to get it by request. Neither of those facts should be particularly shocking considering how isolated it is but for those who demand a certain level of creature comfort it’s something to bear in mind. The beach itself is pretty. Not the most beautiful beach in Myanmar but definitely pretty. Again, apart from some fisherman and maybe a handful of locals you’re pretty much guaranteed to have the place to yourself. Unsurprisingly there are no restaurants so if you want beach refreshments you’d better pack them. Once you’re done with the beach there are a couple of other things to do: get a boat across the estuary,

Only one hotel exists at the beach.


MYANMORE magazine #17 March 2018

Those who enjoy the travel part of travel should embark on a journey to Ma Gyi Zin.

climb the hill to the pagoda and get a lovely romantic view of the bay. If you ask at Mei’s Guesthouse you can also get yourself on an island boat trip. We booked the trip, were onboard and happily setting sail when we were called back in and told that because of navy drills we couldn’t go anywhere and that was the end of that. Well, usually the option’s there. All in all I’d say the Ma Gyi Zin experience is well worth it. It does require a bit of effort, so for those who just want a chillaxed beach holiday Ma Gyi Zin isn’t a smart option. But for those who want to get away from the crowds—and the rest of the world for that matter—enjoy the travel part of travel and don’t mind roughing it a bit, this is an absolute winner.

MYANMORE magazine #17 March 2018

How long will it take? Between 7-8 hours from Yangon to Gwa and a minimum of 2-3 hours down to Ma Gyi Zin. How do I get there? The bus leaves Yangon at 7am and 4pm and gets in to Gwa at around 2pm and 11pm respectively. Then next morning you’ll need to rent a motorbike to get to Ma Gyi Zin (ask at Royal Rose). If money’s not an issue you can probably get a boat. For the return journey there’s a midday and 7pm bus to Yangon. Where do I stay? The Royal Rose in Gwa for the first night (25-30,000 kyats). After that Mei’s Guesthouse in Ma Gyi Zin ($35-50,000k) is per night. What do I do for fun? Enjoy the ride down, eat delicious food, swim in the sea, climb the hill, do a boat trip.


The Arts

Daw Say Klo (left) and Daw Zin Mar Oo of the Young Women's Christian Association (YMCA).

EMPOWERING WOMEN THROUGH CRAFTS Marie Starr visits a community hub for crafts that is empowering underprivileged women from Karen State. Photos by Rasmus Steijner.


uwaddy Center is a humble new addition to a growing scene of trendy outlets and cafes along Bogalayzay Street. Walking into the air-conditioned modern and casual interior, you first notice the display of brilliantly colorful and stylish bags, cushions and other soft fabric goods to the right. Taking a closer look, you might notice that they are well-designed using the most beautiful of traditional fabrics from different regions in Myanmar, with price tags much more affordable than other shops selling similar goods. A fragrance of freshly ground coffee fills the air as you walk further inside—the shop also serves as a café and meeting space. Friendly staff members with great English serve coffee grown in Thandaunggyi and


deliciously moist carrot cake among other items.

strong zips and the cushion covers are removable for machine washing.

In the shop, adjacent to the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) building, display shelves with baskets made from recycled materials, colorful fabric pencil cases and beaded necklaces stand around the room, enticing the customer to pick them up and feel the texture and quality. The dresses are designed in attractive fabrics without fuss and the food products, such as natural honey, without additives.

But more importantly than all the aforementioned is that the Yuwaddy Center is a social enterprise which is giving opportunities to underprivileged women in postconflict areas of Thandaunggyi and other parts of Karen State.

The designs of the products show an astute sense of what the customer really practically needs: the handbags are large enough for a laptop or maybe some groceries, the toiletry bags have

“This is for the empowerment of the women who have a lack of access to the market,” explains Say Klo, assistant general secretary of YWCA, which is behind the social enterprise project. “The main focus is to increase their income. That empowers them.”

training in women’s empowerment and capacity training as well as business and marketing guidance. General secretary of YMCA and the driving force behind the project, Daw Zin Mar Oo, and her team advised the women producers about the products. After nearly two years of work behind the scenes, the center opened its doors in December, connecting the women to wider market. “Why people should support this center is because they should support the work of women in rural areas and to see the talents and creativity they have and help them to generate income,” says Say Klo.

In 2016, the team of volunteers and staff, through the YWCA, began giving MYANMORE magazine #17 March 2018

“Why people should support this center is because they should support the work of women in rural areas and to see the talents and creativity they have and help them to generate income.” Assistant general secretary of YWCA Say Klo

There is no other café in Yangon serving this Thandaunggyi coffee. Women coffee farmers based in the area can get a much better price for their product at the center than by selling to a local middle man. In fact, on all the products in this shop, a whopping 70 percent of the retail price goes right back to the women producers. “We would like to distribute our products to other shops but they ask for an unfair service charge—often around 20 percent. So we want to link with hotels and restaurants who may want to use the products. In fact many of our products can be made to order,” says Daw Zin Mar Oo. “But a challenge is that we need more capital. We have to wait until we sell the products so that we can recycle that income again.” The team also offers cooking classes and has the perfect facilities for those who want to sign up for a class or even for clients to hold their own cooking classes. Coming from various parts of Myanmar, the team has a range of traditional cuisines that can be taught. The whole experience, from going to the market for ingredients, cooking together and sharing the resulting traditional meal while discussing the background of the cuisine and culture, is an enriching experience for visitors to Yangon and residents alike. Yuwaddy Centre is located at 119 Bogalazay Street in downtown Yangon and opens Monday to Saturday from 9:30am-5:30pm. They can be contacted at 09 421 474 560 or at ywca. Natural food and craft products are made by women in post-conflict areas who benefit from the sales.

MYANMORE magazine #17 March 2018




Our roundup of some of the best tech to enhance your life in Myanmar.

New Tecno phone set to enter Myanmar market Word is spreading that Tecno Mobile plans to enter the Myanmar mobile market with a new smartphone boasting a camera the firm says produces images like a DSLR camera. Online sources are expecting a 13MP camera based on Tecno’s previous product. Apart from that, additional camera features, hardware specifications, physical features, and ease of accessibility for users are expected in the new product, although the launch date is not yet clear.

An accurate “fortune teller” who foresees your menstruation every month! This is a must-have for every female who wants a heads up as to when your monthly visitor is going to come. Sweat with Kayla

AMARA launches new 4G+ data service

Available only on App Store Free but has in-app purchases

Myanmar communication company AMARA has began promoting its new Ananda 4G+ data service that offers consumers high-speed, high-quality, reliable and value-formoney connections according to the company.

Sick of signing up for a monthly gym commitment that might result in hurting your wallet? Download this application that will connect you with a female fitness community. It will also feature easy-to-follow workouts and meal plans.

The new Ananda logo features a mobius streak in three shades of green, representing an infinity loop, a symbolic match with the name Ananda, which means infinity in Pali. The official launch is set for the first quarter of this year.

All Womens Talk

Period Tracker- Period Calendar Ovulation Tracker Available on App Store for free With over 30 categories, 50 thousand articles, and about 1 million users, All Womens Talk is like a stack of women’s applications combined into one. This application has almost everything a woman needs. Available on Google Play and App Store Free


MYANMORE magazine #17 March 2018

Green Column



hen we opened the downtown location of Yangon Yoga House, we planned to add a vegetarian café next door, but our chef Tammi Willis wanted to go ‘full-on vegan.’ My first reaction was: “Wait - no cheese, no milk, no eggs! What are we going to serve? Dust?” Thankfully Tammi has developed a wonderful meat and dairy free menu that includes many items not normally found in Myanmar such as quinoa, za’atar, raw cacao, pumpkin seeds, acai, and butterfly pea. Our Nourish burger is made from 16 different ingredients and served on a brioche bun that we get from Yangon Bakehouse—they use aquafaba (chickpea water) in place of eggs and butter. We are also developing healthier, vegan-friendly versions of classic Myanmar dishes such as nan gyi thot and Shan noodles in order to introduce veganism to a more local audience.

I’m a smug self-proclaimed flexitarian foodie—an aspirational vegan, who’s not ready to fully renounce animal products. Although I eat mostly plant-based meals I do give myself permission for the occasional Sharky’s sausage pizza when the urge hits. By being more mindful about what I consume I find that occasionally eating meat from a sustainable source becomes a more satisfying

experience. I believe it’s better to do something imperfectly than not do it at all. There are lots of reasons to eat more plants, but the biggest motivator for us was the environment. Raising animals for food is one of the biggest causes of destruction to our environment, from deforestation to greenhouse gas emissions. Cattle

There are lots of reasons to eat more plants, but the biggest motivator for us was the environment. Raising animals for food is one of the biggest causes of destruction to our environment, from deforestation to greenhouse gas emissions.

produce methane, (a greenhouse gas that is 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide), which accounts for as much pollution as the exhaust emissions of all the cars in the world. Water is another concern; according to PETA, you save more water from not eating a pound of meat than not showering for six months. Between toxic farts and preserving water supply, there’s a strong case to start eating more plants. Our business model at Nourish proactively aims to minimise our carbon footprint through mindful ingredient sourcing and the use of environmentally-friendly packaging. As winner of Myanmore’s Green Award, we are committed to playing our part in raising awareness about environmental issues. Each month we will ‘Greenterview’ individuals, groups or project teams who are shaping the green movement here in Yangon, and introduce them here. I look forward to welcoming you to Nourish café—come down, say hello and find out more about how fabulous vegan food really can be! Cheers. Jojo Yang is the co-founder of MYANMORE Green Award winner 2018 Nourish Café and Yangon Yoga House, where she is also the main yoga instructor. Nourish Café 36/38 Alan Pya Pagoda Road, (Down a small spooky alley, opposite Park Royal Hotel) Dagon Township 09 973 802714 Hours: Mon-Thurs, 10am-9pm Fri-Sat, 10am-3pm Sun, 10am-7pm


MYANMORE magazine #17 March 2018

Fitness Column



former mentor once told me that “how you do one thing is how you do everything.” He was not the best mentor in many ways, however this one phrase has resonated with me more and more over the years. With countless hours spent in various gyms around the world, observing and meeting different people, discussing techniques and different diets, a few things have become clear to me.

straightforward, but by no means easy to stick to. With the right diet and training regime, progress is inevitable. I am not trying to state that training hard and eating well is easy. Quite the contrary actually, it is hard to stay on the right path, but at least the right path is relatively clear. On the other hand, following the right path at the workplace with factors such as corporate politics, difficult people, different and unclear career paths and economic effects influencing outcomes can be very difficult. Similarly, being a good partner, parent and friend is a test that lasts for an entire lifetime and the right decisions along the way are not always obvious.

The more I focus on my training and take a deep-dive into the nitty-gritty of nutrition, technique and the rest, the more I realize how much I can still learn and improve. Funnily enough, this realization comes as a relief. I have come to understand that the reward is a result of the journey and not from reaching the destination. As cliché as this may sound, I believe it is the truth. The dreaded “plateau” is considered to be the most challenging part of any personal development path—be it learning a new language or obtaining your dream physique, getting stuck in a temporary rut can be mentally challenging and can also cause a total loss of motivation. Every time I have achieved a new goal without thinking about what’s next or setting a new one, I very quickly drop the ball and find myself not progressing or even taking backward steps. Coming back to what my mentor once told me, I tend to split life into three main areas. For now, it kinds of works for me. 1. Physical (health, fitness and diet) 2. Social (family and friends) 3. Professional (work and business) I have met very few people over the years that have their fitness and diet on point while their personal and professional lives are in total shambles. This can be attributed to the common idea that mental health and physical health go hand-inMYANMORE magazine #17 March 2018

In the following monthly columns, I aim to discuss the “training lifestyle,” as I call it, and offer tips on both working out and diet and nutrition. The focus will be on staying fit while living in Yangon, which is not as easy as in other cities I have previously lived in. It took me a while to adjust my training lifestyle to life in Yangon with the many events, dinners and drinks seemingly going on everywhere and all the time. Nonetheless, through some adjustments and improvising I can now happily say that I am currently in the best shape of my life and constantly improving where I can. hand and cannot be out of sync for extended periods without negative consequences. Good physical health through intense training and a balanced diet can kick-start the whole process of improving the trinity of Physical-Social-Professional. I have trained many different individuals over extended periods of time and observed how all aspects of their lives improved over the course of their training. It wasn’t always a straight road but the overall trend was always that of improvement.

I have always fallen back on my training as my constant in difficult and stressful times as training and fitness has been an area that I have always felt was under my control (unless prevented due to injury or sickness). This is very different when it comes to social and professional life where outside factors can be more challenging and don’t always go as planned. When it comes down to it, the formula for a healthy body is quite

I think I will stop here but there is still much more to come soon so please stay tuned! Bye for now. Lay Fortis is a fitness model, qualified personal trainer and nutritionist based in Yangon. Presented in association with Training Ground, a premier fitness club located in downtown Yangon.


Mixologist Column



his month is a busy month for me; early in March I will be in Singapore where I am honoured to have been invited to be on the panel of judges for the Southeast Asia finals of the global cocktail competition: Bacardi Legacy. I am proud to have the opportunity to represent smaller markets in Asia, and I can’t wait to expose my team back in Yangon to the heartfelt, and intensely committed undertaking that is Bacardi Legacy. After the competition I’ll be joined by Lal Mon Puia, the bar manager from Gekko, for a guest bartending shift at Nutmeg and Clove (one of the best bars in Singapore), where we will battle together against two Singaporean bartenders from Monkey Shoulder Whiskey. I’m so excited for Puia to have his first guest shift in Singapore, and he is bringing ingredients that he’ll use to showcase


the unique flavours of Myanmar in his signature cocktails. He is keen for the challenge and I can’t wait to introduce him to the Singapore finalists of Bacardi Legacy in their respective bars. It’s so inspiring for him to learn about their experiences and realize the months of preparation that goes into winning a competition like this. I would really love to see our bartending community compete when the event comes to our market, the experience alone, will strengthen their skills and give them a voice on a global platform. We have so much talent behind the bars in Myanmar, their time to shine is on the horizon. Later in the month we are proud to host guest bartender, Dara Sok, from Cambodia. Dara honed his craft at notable bars such as Raffles Hotel, Elbow Room, and La Familia in Cambodia. He is now the proud

owner of his own bar, Hub cocktail bar in Phnom Penh. We are eager to support Dara— this will be his first international guest shift and we are looking forward to introducing him to the bartenders in the developing Yangon cocktail scene. It will be a great opportunity for our team to meet a young man who is living out his dreams. They too dream of owning their own bar, and representing their country. It’s important for them to see that their dreams are within reach. If you find yourself free on March 16, please come to Union for his guest shift, show Dara a warm welcome to Yangon, and taste some of his classic cocktail inventions with a Khmer twist. We’ve just launched a new cocktail menu at Union bar called “Get Trollied”—the concept behind this exciting new range of cocktails is to

rescue and reuse food items that would normally be thrown away. For example the Husky Vegan is made with dried banana Whisky, pineapple husk reduction, aqafaba and lemon. Cheers!

MYANMORE Awards Wine and Spirits Ambassador of the Year 2018 Jen Queen is the bar manager for restaurant and bar group 57-BELOW, and mixes the cocktails at Union Bar and Grill. She is an expert in her field and the only Master Mescalier in Yangon and quite possibly the only one in Southeast Asia.

MYANMORE magazine #17 March 2018

Tickets | Promotions | Business Listing


La French Taste Wine Dinner at The Emporia

Sunday Roast and Pool by Rose Garden Hotel

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Sunday roast is a serious affair here at the Rose Garden Hotel. You will find at least three sharing roast choices on the menu, tapas style appetizers, luscious desserts, unlimited draft beer and soft drinks, kids’ corner, live music provided by local band LNR and usage of the swimming pool for only USD 26.00 / 36,400 Kyat net per person. Off the shelves warehouse sales of fine wines and champagnes, to either enjoy during your lunch or take out, are available from as low as USD 12 net

9th March | 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

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Flexible Pass

Flexible Pass is a fitness pass that you can use from our Android mobile application or Flexible Pass website to see the locations, prices and class schedules of our partner gyms/fitness centers in Yangon and access them with suitable prices. Unit 11 E, 178 Upper Pansodan Road, Mingalar Taung Nyunt Tsp 09 966 854000

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MYANMORE magazine #17 March 2018


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- 10% discount on food. Valid everyday. #01-14, 221 Sule Pagoda Road, Pabedan Tsp 09 964 348881

Princess Yoga Studio

- 20% Discount for monthly package, 1 section free for the 1st time customer. Valid everyday. No.6, 2nd floor, Thida Street, Tamwe Tsp No.312, 2nd floor, Shwegondaing Main Road, Bahan Tsp No.61A, 2nd floor, Yadana Thukha Street, Thingangyun Tsp 09 2619 29162, 09 9744 92814, 09 500 2240

MYANMORE magazine #17 March 2018


MYANMORE Magazine - No.17/ March 2018  
MYANMORE Magazine - No.17/ March 2018  

#17 issue of MYANMORE Monthly Magazine Yangon, Mandalay & Beyond.