No. 20, July 2016
Nyi Nyi Aung, Pyae Phyo Aung & Win Ko Ko
MORE TRAVEL MORE ADVENTURE MORE DRIVE
4â€‚InDepth Magazine / July 2016
TEAM MANAGING DIRECTOR Andreas Sigurdsson firstname.lastname@example.org
EDITOR Ben Hopkins email@example.com
CONTRIBUTORS Tiffany Fan Christina Maria Chiorean Ben Hopkins Charlie Michio Turner San Lin Tun Marie Starr Liz Smailes Tetkatho Soe Moe Naing Richie Chan Cameron Cooper
COVER PHOTOGRAPHY Gerhard Jörén www.gerhardjoren.com
PHOTOGRAPHY The Pictureman Hong Sar
ART & PRODUCTION Kyaw Kyaw Tun
PUBLISHER U Myo Aung (Permanent No. 00315) InDepth MYANMORE Magazine 1st Floor, Annex Building, Strand Hotel, 92 Strand Road, Yangon
PRINTER Shwe Naing Ngan Press Permit No.: 00296/00371 No. 90(C), Kabar Aye Pagoda Rd., Bahan Tsp., Yangon
On the eve of Martyrs Day, U Hla Kyi talks about his father, U Razak, martyred in 1947.
The team behind an online app for Myanmar’s agriculture sector.
A humorous look at cars and personalities.
EDUCATION Learning at an international school in Yangon from the perspective of a Canadian student.
TRAVEL Not ready for Everest yet? Try Mt Victoria in Myanmar’s Chin State.
PHOTOGRAPHY Portrait of Myanmar photographer, Minzayar Oo.
COVER STORY The first Myanmar men to conquer Everest.
TRANSLATION The Myanmar Sherlock Holmes.
SPORT The 88th Waso Chinlone Festival in Mandalay.
Thuzar Myint, the Owner of Nature’s Own Preserves, talks business.
BISTRONOMY Where to eat.
firstname.lastname@example.org 01 375 680
The changing face of fashion in Myanmar.
Bangkok in 72 hours.
Tetkatho Soe Moe Naing predicts your fortune for July.
DISCLAIMER No part of this publication can be reproduced or transmitted in any form without prior written permission from the Managing Director. 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 might occur.
ABOUT MYANMORE MYANMORE® is a registered brand, produced by Lychee Ventures (Myanmar) Limited and the leading lifestyle platform in Yangon. In addition to InDepth®, MYANMORE® provides www. myanmore.com, city maps, a privilege card, the Weekly Guide, EnjoyIt® and KnowIt®. The mission is to create great content and experiences for visitors and residents of Yangon.
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July 2016 / InDepth Magazine 5
6TH - 10TH JULY ART
Black Orchid Red Line Through imagery, sounds, sculptural installations and archive material, we get impressions of the elusive Black Orchid and the areas surrounding its natural habitat in the northernmost part of Myanmar. You are invited to join in the session and discuss and reflect upon choices which are being made today and actions by society that may affect the future of biodiversity. How close are we getting to the red line? Goethe-Villa Yangon - No. 8, Ko Min Ko Chin Rd. | 11:00 AM — 7:00 PM
(“Schindler’s List”), Ilse Weber (murdered in Auschwitz 1944) and others. The Yangon Gallery - People Park & Square, Pyay Rd, Sanchaung Tsp | 7:00 PM — 11:00 PM
8TH - 10TH JULY ACTIVITY
Plastics Myanmar 2016 Myanmar Plastics Industries Association (MPIA) is supporting an exhibition promoting the plastics industry in Myanmar. For details: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com. Tatmadaw Hall U Wisara Rd, Dagon Tsp.
7TH JULY MUSIC
9TH JULY ACTIVITY
Teaching history for national reconciliation and democratisation
Concert in Commemoration of the Holocaust | Activities The German Goethe-Institut Myanmar together with the Embassies of Israel, Poland and Germany in Myanmar present a classical concert with the Trio of: Perry Schack (Munich/ Germany) Guitar, Ester Rofé (Tel Aviv / Israel) Flute, Krzysztof Kaczka (Warsaw/Poland) Flute, accompanied by string players from the AOC Orchestra will perform compositions by Bach, Carl Phillip Emanuel Bach, Doppler, Faure, Morlacchi, Rossini, Segal, Williams
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Rosalie Metro will describe her research on the current history curriculum in Burma, and opportunities for revising it. She will explain the design of her textbook, HISTORIES OF BURMA (Mote Oo 2013). Rosalie Metro holds a Ph.D. in Education from Cornell University, and she currently works as an adjunct professor at the University of Missouri in the USA. Pansodan Scene - 144 Pansodan, 2nd floor (middle block), Corner of Mahar Bandoola & Pansodan, Kyauktada Tsp | 1:30 PM
Accounting and Auditing Fair 2016 The Accounting and Auditing Fair 2016 is jointly organized by the Office of the Auditor General
of the Union (OAG), Myanmar Accountancy Council (MAC) and Myanmar Institute of Certified Public Accountants (MICPA). National Theatre of Yangon Myoma Kyaung St., Dagon Tsp | 9:00 AM — 12:00 PM
Digital Myanmar LEARN is proud to host DIGITAL MARKETING seminar. Digital Marketing is by far the best form of promoting products, services or brands via one or more forms of electronic media. RSVP to reserve seat at jen@ learnmyanmar.net or 09254723445 UMFCCI Conference Hall - No. 29, Min Ye Kyaw Swar Street Lanmadaw Tsp | 1:00 PM — 5:00 PM
10TH JULY ACTIVITY
Yan-Go! The Ultimate Yangon Scavenger Hunt Hello Yan-goners! The Yan-Go scavenger hunt is a fun way to learn about historical downtown Yangon through clue-solving, entertaining challenges, and in the end, celebration. The hunt will start at Union Bar. Winners will receive gifts from the sponsors Yangon Yoga House and Union Bar. All proceeds will be donated to the Yangon Heritage Trust. Please see further details and register your team by July 6 on our website http://www.yan-go.com. Union Bar and Grill - 42 Strand Rd, Botahtaung Tsp | 3:00 PM
11TH JULY FILM NIGHT
‘The kidnapping of Michel Houellebecq’ by Guillaume Nicloux The institute Francais will be screening a classic from the vaults. French author Michel Houellebecq is kidnapped by three men and held for ransom during one of his promotional tours in 2011. Institut Français de Birmanie - 340 Pyay Rd, Sanchaung Tsp | 7:00 PM
13TH JULY ACTIVITY
Health & Humanitarian Supply Chain Forum The main objective of the forum is to interactively discuss the opportunities and challenges that NGOs face in their Myanmar supply chain, logistics and procurement On an open and neutral platform. For more details on the event and the speakers, please visit http:// mm.hhscm.asia. Novotel Yangon Max - 459 Pyay Rd, Kamayut Tsp | All day
14TH JULY ACTIVITY
Entrepreneurs Networking Party For the first time, Myanmar Young Entrepreneurs Association (MYEA), is hosting an informal gathering for all entrepreneurs in Myanmar. MYEA will offer knowledge, experience and connections in an informal setting. Free entrance. 50th Street cafe Restaurant and Bar 9/13 50th St, Botataung Tsp | 6:00 PM — 9:00 PM
14TH - 16TH JULY ACTIVITY
never before. Get an exclusive look at the highly-anticipated collection along with a visit to the "Yangoods Pop-cities" art exhibit. Yangon Gallery Inside People's Square and Park | 1:00 PM — 5:00 PM
16TH - 24 JULY ACTIVITY
Myanmar Training Development Expo 2016 Myanmar Training Development Expo (MTDE) 2016 is an inaugural learning exhibition with a comprehensive platform that will showcase industry’s best ideas and solutions to meet the growing demands of training and development in the workplace. The focus will be on travel, tourism and retail. For more information, visit www.mtde.com.mm. Tatmadaw Hall - U Wisara Rd, Dagon Tsp | 10:00 AM — 6:00 PM
15TH - 18TH JULY
Noon High Tea View & Book Sales Promotion The newly opened Pyay Garden Residence will showcase housing deals through a gallery exhibition and expert advice. You can also enjoy a spread of food and tea! Dates: 16th, 17th, 23rd, 24th. Pyay Garden Residence & Office Tower - 346/354, Pyay Rd, Sanchaung Tsp | 2:00 PM — 6:00 PM
23RD - 24TH JULY ACTIVITY
25TH JULY FILM NIGHT
Building a Great Business in Myanmar
Even the Rain by Iciar Bollain, 2010
This highly interactive, twoday workshop will help young entrepreneurs create strong, internationally competitive and socially responsible businesses. Delivered by Mark Ostryn, an international authority on business growth, this workshop will help you develop key leadership, negotiation, financial and marketing skills.
As a director and his crew shoot a controversial film about Christopher Columbus in Cochabamba, Bolivia, local people rise up against plans to privatize the water supply. Institut Français de Birmanie - 340 Pyay Rd, Sanchaung Tsp | 7:00 PM
20,000ks per ticket at http:// bookme.com.mm/events Myanmar Financial Centre, 2nd Floor, Shwe Asia Tower10/H Mahabandoola Rd, Botahtaung Tsp | 9:00 AM — 5:00 PM
18TH JULY FILM NIGHT
Myanmar Plastic Print Pack Exhibition The plastic, rubber, printing and packing industries are on an upward curve in Myanmar. Myanmar Event Park (MEP) Shin Saw Pu Rd, Sanchaung Tsp | 10:00 AM — 4:30 PM
15TH JULY ACTIVITY
Yangoods Season 2 Launch
Brendan and the Secrets of Kells, directed by Tomm Moore in 2009 A young boy living in a tightly knit monastery is under his strict uncle’s care. He longs for adventure and seizes his chance when a master illuminator passes by one day. Institut Français de Birmanie - 340 Pyay Rd, Sanchaung Tsp | 7:00 PM
Yangoods will be showcasing Myanmar's art and fashion like
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25,000ks/person (Regular Access). Table Reservation at 09440007788 (from 2pm to 9pm only).
Doors open at 9:30PM.
Enjoy our new a la carte brunch with exciting creations from our creative kitchen team. $33 per person for unlimited brunch menu items including free flow of drinks (wine, beer, softies, coffee).
Fuse - 4th Floor, Myanmar Plaza (HAGL Myanmar Centre), Kabar Aye Pagoda Rd, Bahan Tsp | 10:00 PM — 3:00 AM
Savoy Hotel Yangon - 129, Dhammazedi Rd, Bahan Tsp | 12:00 PM — 4:00 PM
Chatrium Hotel Royal Lake Yangon No. 40, Natmauk Road, Tamwe | All Day
A South Mediterranean dish served with various meats and vegetables. And it's delicious!
Brunch Party in Town Brunch will be served from 12pm to 3pm with free flow Carlsberg beer. Places and tables reservations are limited, 20$ USD per Pax. Reservations only. Afternoon Day Party starts at 3 pm till 10 pm with no entry charge and one free Carlsberg beer. Live band, on-stage DJ and many more surprises. Immortal Titans Wine Bar & Dining 49, Moe Kaung Rd (East Racecourse Rd), Yankin Tsp | 12:00 PM — 10:00 PM
28TH JULY The Feast MOJO Lounge & Restaurant team up with Marbled Black for a mouthwatering evening of free flowing wine, beer, and sides! Book in advance as seats are going fast. MOJO - 135 Inya Road, Bahan | FROM 7:00 PM
29TH JULY 22ND JULY SHERPA FUSE presents "SHERPA" Headliner: DJ Sherpa with supporting artists. Charge at 15,000ks/person (plus Table Package). Walk-In Fees at
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Roxy June & Zara Gift FUSE presents "Roxy June & Zara Gift". Headliners: DJ Roxy June & DJ Zara Gift, Supporting Artists: Resident DJs from Fuse. Cover Charge at 15,000ks/person (plus Table Package). Walk-In Fees at
One Free on Tiger Beer all night. Fabulous Fridays Prosecco by the glass for just 5,000 all night (or 25,000 a bottle). Parami Pizza - 56, Sayer San Road (above SP bakery) | 3:00 PM — 5:00 PM
Gekko Tiger Tuesday Buy one get one free on Tiger Beer all night.
Happy Parents’ Day
MOJO - 135, Inya Road, Bahan | 11:00 AM — 12:00 PM
Fuse - 4th Floor, Myanmar Plaza (HAGL Myanmar Centre), Kabar Aye Pagoda Rd, Bahan Tsp | From 10:00 PM
Treat your parents to one of our special offers at Tiger Hill Chinese Restaurant, Kohaku Japanese Restaurant and The Emporia Restaurant. Dine for five and pay for four on lunch or dinner, 20% saving on a lunch or dinner on the A La Carte Menu, including a complimentary cake (1lb) for your parents. For further information, please call 01 544 500 ext 6287, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
25,000ks/person (Regular Access). Table Reservation at 09440007788.
Trivia Thursday Successfully answer a Japanese trivia question when you get the bill and win a free shot.
Monsoon Staycation at Sule Shangri-La Starting US$99 with exclusive discounts and benefits! Single, Double, and Suite Family packages available. For bookings, please call our Reservations team at (01) 242829-32 or email reservations. email@example.com (Exclusive to local residents only. Terms & Conditions apply).
Parami Pizza Branches Magic Mondays Think of a number between 1-20 and if you pull that number out of the Magicians hat, your meal is free! Tasty Tuesdays Good value tastes even better at Parami Pizza with all pizzas available for 9,00s KS after 9:00 PM (eat in or delivery). Wine Wednesday There is Buy One Get One Free promotion on all House Wine (by glass and Bottle) all night. Tiger Thursdays Every Thursday has a special promotion named Buy One Get
Sushi Sunday 40,000 Kyats for two hours of free-flow Sushi, Maki Rolls, Edamame, Miso, Yakitori Skewers & Tiger Beer. Gekko - 535, Merchant Street, Kyauktada
Union Bar & Grill Roll On Mondays Roll a dice, hit a six and eat for free every Monday - other prizes include dining discounts and complimentary bottles of wine. Saturday Social Every Saturday 1:00 PM — 4:00 PM. Enjoy Saturday brunch menu from 1 PM till 4 PM with free flow Prosecco, Cocktails, House Wine & Heineken at 35,000 Kyats per person. Sunday Bloody Sunday Buy one get one free on Bloody Mary’s, Bucks Fizz & Draught Beer every Sunday from 11:00 AM till 5:00 PM. Union Bar and Grill - 42, Strand Road, Left corner of the Myanmar Red Cross Building, Botahtaung
Tin Tin Taco Tuesday Buy one get one free on Tacos
(and Burritos) and Tiger Beer every Tuesday. Fri-Yay Two free shots of Tequila with every pitcher of Tiger Beer, bottle of wine or pitcher of Margaritas. Tin Tin Yangon - Bogalazay street
Chatrium Mooncake Early Bird Promotion Early Bird Offer from 1 - 15 July. Buy 10 Gift Boxes get 2 Gift Boxes free (Free delivery for above 30 boxes). For Mooncake orders, delivery or more information, please call (95 1) 544500 ext 6221, 6287 (or) firstname.lastname@example.org. Spa July Anniversary Promotion Nemita Spa Highlights. Experience the stylish and
luxurious ambience of private spa suites. Retreat, relax and rejuvenate with our wide range of signature spa services. 19th Anniversary Gift 27 – 31 July 2016 - 50% saving on spa service (Massage & Treatment).
USD 20 nett. Chatrium Hotel Royal Lake Yangon No 40 Natmauk Road, Tamwe
Thai 47 promotes 7 Days a week!
Social Saturday at Club Rizzoli “Social Saturday” with L‘N’R Live Band - Myanmar Beer Tower only
THU - Grilled Pork Neck + Draft Beer (0.25L) = only 5500 ks. FRI - Wine Sale (Buy 1 Get 1 - by glass)(Get 30% off - any bottle). SAT - House Pour Spirit Sale (Buy 2 part Get 1 part).
1 – 31 July 2016 – 30% saving on spa service (Massage & Treatment). Operation Hours 10:00 AM — 12:00 Midnight. For further information, please call 95 1 544 500 ext6900.
WED - Ladies Night (Buy 1 Get 1 for Any Cocktail).
SUN - Only 15000 ks++ for 5 pints of beer bucket. Thai 47 - Downtown Branch No.153, Corner of 47th Street & Anawyahtar Road, Botahtaung. 01 8610556~557
MON - 25% off for Thai Iced Tea & Iced Green Tea with Milk.
Thai 47 - Kyauk Kone Branch No.31, Aung Zay Ya Road, Yankin. 09 261619811~22
TUE - Heineken Draft buy 2 get 1 (0.25L)
THE LEGEND OF HAPPINESS Walone is a Myanmar painter, cartoonist and illustrator who is well known for his cartoons in 7Days Daily Newspaper.
as there are today, and the message always had to be muted. Today, it is our responsibility to push the new freedom we have even more and express all our interpretations.
InDepth met with Walone in his Yangon studio to hear more about his life, work and upcoming art exhibition, The Legend of Happiness at Lokanat Art Gallery. The art of cartoons can play a major role in how society views itself. When executed with skill and brilliance they can rock the confidence of megalomaniacs and turn men like Donald Trump from orange to red. In countries such as Saudi Arabia and increasingly Thailand they can lead to the artist being muted and imprisoned. Until recently, such was the case in Myanmar, but with the loosening of censorship laws, artists like Walone are finding a voice and avenue to express themselves.
InDepth: How do you compare the language of a written text with a drawn cartoon?
InDepth: As a painter and cartoonist, what responsibilities do you feel in a country like Myanmar? Walone: To improve the quality of art and interpretation. Before, there were too many complications and too many restrictions. Conservativeness was a constant obstacle. We didn't have as many media channels to communicate through
Walone: Journalists master the art of concise factual interpretation and thoughts of the mind, whereas, as an artist I capture the feelings and emotions through facial expression and imagery. Sometimes a caricature or a cartoon can have meanings equal to a thousand words, while being sketched only with a few simple lines. In short, everyone knows the language of caricature, regardless of nationhood and language. InDepth: You maintain specific characteristics for the characters you draw, could you explain?
Walone: As you see in the cartoons I draw for 7Days, mostly I use tools as personages in them. But in my other work I portray the physical breakdown of a person, and then I look for the spiritual energy and historical context. InDepth: Have you ever been faced with anger as a result of the caricatures you draw? Walone: Like and dislike always coexist. Sometimes, I like it when people feel offended, because that means I’ve hit on a sensitive nerve with a double meaning for them, yet tells a harsh truth to the readers. But I don't like to focus on the ugly traits, only the personality and career. My satisfaction is my ability to deliver on paper what I have in my heart. Walone’s annual painting exhibition at LOKANAT ART Gallery is titled “The Legend of Happiness” and runs from 9th – 14th July. No. 62, 1st floor, Pansodan St., Kyauktada Tsp., Yangon www.lokanatgalleries.com. +95 1 382269
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ABDUL RAZAK REMEMBERED On 19th July, descendants of the nine leaders of the pre-independence government slain in 1947, will gather at The Martyrs Mausoleum to commemorate one of the saddest days in Myanmar’s contemporary history. U Hla Kyi, the youngest son of the martyred Minister for Education, U Razak, meets with Ben Hopkins to share memories of his childhood.
The martyrs funeral of 1947 follows Sule Pagoda Road. Photo by Myoma U Mg Mg Gyi
Hla Kyi was only two years and eight months old when his father was assassinated in Rangoon’s Secretariat Building on the morning of 19 July, 1947; Too young to remember his father’s embrace or clearly recall the atrocious massacre that shocked the world
and fractured the country. But of the years that shaped his childhood, U Hla Kyi’s memory is razor sharp. “As a young child I noticed people always treated me differently, very kindly” he says. “It was only when I was older that I realised it was because I was the son of a martyr”.
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The assassins, planned by a rival group and led by Galon U Saw, were caught and sentenced on 30 December, 1947. Beside U Hla Kyi, a framed portrait of his father takes pride of place on the mantelpiece in his
spacious apartment in Yangon. The picture was taken shortly before his assassination and portrays a 49-year-old, married father of three with strong features and a serene expression.
MARTYRS DAY “The fight for liberty is the fight for peace. And like peace, liberty is indivisible” U Razak, June 1947. U Razak was the son of an Indian father, Sheik Abdul Rahman, a police inspector, and a Burmese Buddhist woman Nyein Hla. While his brothers and sisters chose to be Buddhists, he maintained the Muslim name Razak, in honour of his father. Although nominally Muslim, U Razak was a secularist who deeply loved Burma and encouraged unity in diversity. Staunchly nationalistic, he found himself driven to the cause of Burmese independence from a young age. As a Bachelor of Arts (BA) student at Rangoon University he took part in the 1920 demonstrations against the British colonial education system. The experience led him to demonstratively switch to a BA course with the alternative Council of National Education, established by Burmese nationalists. He graduated with the council’s BA degree, and carried the academic title with pride. A commitment to education for all would be the golden thread that would run through U Razak’s life. At the relatively young age of 23 he established the Central National High School in Mandalay and became headmaster a year later in 1922. Much has been written about U Razak’s life by his former students, many of whom went on to become teachers and professors through the 1940s and 50s, when Burma boasted one of the highest literacy rates in Asia.
promoted sport at school as a way to develop character and a sense of fair play. He also introduced the sport of boxing into Burma. “The British (occupiers) were bullies, they oppressed us” says U Hla Kyi, warming to the theme. “So my father said (to the British) come to the ring for a fair fight, with rules and regulations, that’s why he introduced boxing”. Amongst the world class boxers Burma produced was "Kyar" Ba Nyein, who represented his country in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics. Another was a man named Chit Lon. “He was very strong,” says U Hla Kyi, laughing at the memory. “One time a British army guy came to the ring and said ‘who is this guy Chit Lon. I want to fight him’. He had no idea he was talking to Chit Lon. So Chit Lon said, OK, come back tomorrow at 3pm. When he returned Chit Lon turned to the crowd and said, do you want me to knock him out in the 1st, 2nd or 3rd round?” Needless to say, the British guy was flattened in a demonstration of fair play. While the British would be remembered by many as bullies, he describes the Japanese occupation (1943 – 45) as worse. “They were brutal. No discipline”.
U Hla Kyi, at home with a framed portrait of his father, U Razak. Photo by The Pictureman
Another incident from this period testifies to the character of U Razak, who was detained by the Japanese occupation forces along with other Burmese nationalists. Upon hearing the news, General Aung San ordered one of his men, Khin Nyo, to organize a rescue plan. Khin Nyo made contact with U Razak in jail and briefed him on the plan. U Razak rejected the plan because it did not include his jailed comrades. “If you rescued me alone and if I followed you, I would be regarded as a selfish person and a
traitor by the group,” he reportedly told Khin Nyo. “My name would be tarnished. As it is, my conscience cannot accept this arrangement.” Khin Nyo later wrote: “[His face] showed clearly that he wasn’t trying to be heroic, nor was he thinking of his honour. It was just pure selflessness and the nobility of spirit on his part. It was then that I got a glimpse of his true character.” The decision nearly cost U Razak his life. When allied bombs hit
Although he was a Muslim, he taught his Buddhist high school students Pali, the language of Buddhism. U Hla Kyi remembers anecdotes about Razak’s time as a headmaster. “Every morning before class the students would respect Buddha. If someone missed this he would tap them gently with a stick,” he says. “He was so kind hearted. As a headmaster he treated his students like his children. I was very blessed to have had such a father.” Alongside academia, U Hla Kyi tells of how his father, a fine footballer,
Gen Aung San holds his son Aung San Oo while Daw Khin Kyi holds her daughter, Aung San Suu Kyi. Aung San Lin stands between. Photo by Myoma U Mg Mg Gyi
July 2016 / InDepth Magazine 11
The martyrs funeral procession, Rangoon, 1947. Photo by Myoma U Mg Mg Gyi
Mandalay and fire swept through the prison, U Razak was rescued by his students. After the Japanese surrender, U Razak became a leader of the Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League in Mandalay. When the governor of Burma, Sir Hubert Rance, asked Gen Aung San and his AFPFL to submit names for the executive council, U Razak was proposed for inclusion in the cabinet as representative of Upper Burma by all Mandalay-based communities led by Buddhist monks.
Martyrs Day remembered Burma changed forever on the day U Razak was assassinated alongside General Aung San, five of his cabinet colleagues and two assistants. “Only four men escaped the killing”, says Hla Kyi. Many believe Myanmar would have developed into a strong democracy had the massacre never occurred. “At the time the communists were very strong,” says U Hla Kyi, whom
like many people believes the British were behind the killings. “But Aung San knew them very well. He knew which communist ideas were good for us, which were bad and which were useless. If the communists went underground he would call them back. He was a very intelligent, very learned man”. This year on 19 July, Gen Aung San’s daughter, Aung San Suu Kyi, will join U Hla Kyi and many others to lay wreaths and commemorate the martyred heroes at Yangon’s Martyrs Mausoleum. But this year shall be different, with Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy representing the first civilian government since the military coup of 1962. No doubt memories of attending Martyrs Day through the decades will be running through the emotions of U Hla Kyi, as he joins his lifelong friends to lay wreaths. “I’ll never forget when I was 11 years old”, he says. “It was remarkable. Very nice. All the widows’ families were invited to
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the Martyrs Day remembrance. The president (Win Maung) came in a state owned black Rolls Royce. He said, “How are you?” to all of us. Then he laid one wreath to the left of the tomb and one to the right. Then he talked to each of us, saying if you have a problem contact me. Then he went off in his Rolls”. On another occasion he recalls President Ne Win driving Princess Alexandra of England through the streets in a cow cart. Rifling through a cabinet next to the picture of his father, U Hla Kyi pulls out an envelope of photos from Martyrs Days past. One features a very young looking King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit of Thailand, taken in 1958, paying their respect to the martyrs. He also shows me a picture of his older brother and sister and talks of his career as a geologist and his years selling vintage cars. “The government once had a black Rolls Royce and a bullet proof Mercedes, they both disappeared, no one knows where”, he says, laughing in bemusement.
Less amusing is when he talks of the systematic and deliberate destruction of education, post the military coup in 1962. “We were top in Southeast Asia” he says. “In every aspect. Our teachers and lecturers were very good. And our politicians were very clean”. As a result, all three of his children were sent overseas to receive the kind of education that his father, U Razak, spent his life working for. One now practices as a Medical Doctor in the USA, another lives in Singapore and the third now works at a bank in Yangon. He’s visited them all many times in their respective countries. “Now they have good lives. But what I want most is to live here, in Yangon, with all my children”. For the future of his country, U Hla Kyi expresses optimism and belief in the new leadership. Echoing the words he used earlier to describe Gen Aung San, he says, “Suu Kyi is very learned, honest and bright. People love her and listen to her. I think things will be fine”.
MODERNIZATION AD INFINITUM Tiffany Fan, a Canadian student at an international school in Yangon, questions whether her school’s rush for modernisation risks losing touch with the culture and values of the host nation.
written my name there he would’ve signed up as well, or maybe he was simply not interested in the class. Either of those two possibilities means the same thing, and satisfies my point. On one hand, maybe he was too conforming and reluctant to be the only person to take this class like I was, but on the other hand, he could have considered learning the local language not being worth his time (of course, it was probably some third reason that I am completely overlooking for the sake of the anecdote). In the end, we were both succumbing to a growing hive-mind at the school that can be subdued by even the smallest things like signing up for that Burmese class.
istening to the drill of jackhammers and the droning heavy machines while sitting through Algebra II class has become routine for my classmates and me. The noises of construction aren’t exactly conducive to a learning environment, but an awkward transition should be expected as much of our campus is being renovated. The new facilities are scheduled to be finished next school year. Hand in hand with the push for modernization are some slight shifts in the school’s appearance, as scuffed wooden tables and chairs are phased out for shiny plaster furniture, and the red and grey bricks in some pathways are replaced in black and white. But the International School of Yangon (ISY) isn’t only losing colour on the outside. The transformation of the school’s physical environment arrives at the same time as a change to the faculty. We learned that three ISY veteran teachers would be retiring at the end of the year - three teachers with some of the most experience teaching at the school. Three teachers didn’t seem like too many until I grasped that this would leave only one first-generation Burmese teacher still working full-time at ISY, and less than ten Burmese teachers in the secondary school. But of course, I don’t know who will be replacing them next year, whether they are foreigners or Burmese nationals. Maybe this is just me being unaccepting of change, but it’s undeniable that the absence of some of our most familiar teachers will leave a void in the school-wide culture. These were comforting faces that provided us a certain humble wisdom and kindness that seems to
International School of Yangon - moving into a new era.
only come naturally with experience and age. They connected us to older, timeless Burmese values, which I’m scared that as a school and as a community, we’ll become increasingly out of touch with in the coming years. I’ve only been a student at ISY for two years, but I used to believe that what made this place different from other international schools was the acceptance and foundation of our host country’s customs in the school’s own traditions and principles. But now, looking back, I realize that maybe I shouldn’t jump so quickly to conclusions. An overwhelming majority of my nonBurmese classmates can speak an average of ten words of the local language, including the ones that have been here for over ten years. We often spend our days sheltered in Golden Valley, and I’ve even had a Burmese classmate (born and
raised in Yangon) tell me that they had never been to the parts of Yangon outside of Bahan. An after-school activity fair at the school gym was the most indicative of how removed ISY can feel. Just as I was about to write my name on the signup sheet for the Burmese language (101) extracurricular, I noticed that the list was completely empty while the other students flocked to the Model United Nations table. In a moment of weakness, I, a spineless invertebrate put down the pen and even had the nerve to walk over to the MUN crowd to see what all the commotion was about. Right before I exited the room in a blaze of self-contempt, I saw another kid picking up the registration form, only to look around himself as he set it back down. I wasn’t alone. Maybe if I had
Many of my classmates and I are hesitant to explore the huge city surrounding us and experience all the sights, smells and sounds of one of the most interesting places in the world. We tend to complain that Yangon is boring and uneventful compared to neighbouring Bangkok and Singapore, citing their huge shopping malls with big brands and better movie theatres but completely skipping over what makes those cities unique as well. Next year, fresh faces will replace more familiar ones, bringing about change to the school’s personality whether for better or for worse, but all in all, it’s a good thing that ISY is updating its campus to match the times. As the most experienced staff members retire and the school undergoes renovation, it’s a given that some more older traditions will be lost as the school steps into a new era. One of the departing teachers likes to say that “ISY is just a big family”, but if that’s the case, then there’s going to be an empty seat at the dinner table next year.
July 2016 / InDepth Magazine 13
PORTRAIT OF MINZAYAR OO Christina Maria Chiorean zooms in on 27-year-old photojournalist and documentary photographer Minzayar Oo.
inzayar Oo is most famous for his jade mining documentary project which reveals sensitive issues surrounding Myanmar’s secretive and highly lucrative jade mining industry in the Kachin State. His striking photographs taken during his many trips in the area appeared in numerous magazines around the world and their impact was huge. He was awarded numerous prizes in Myanmar and abroad for this work. Few know that Minzayar Oo studied medicine, but his true passion was photography. In order to pursue his dream he decided to sell his piano to buy a camera. During the photography workshops he attended at the beginning of his career, Minzayar Oo learnt that the art of storytelling is much more about the message and less about the technique. And he indeed concentrated his efforts on documentary photography. Minzayar Oo has managed so far to send strong messages through all his photo documentaries. Two of his projects which touched me most are the stories which present the sad and serious issue of human trafficking and the photograph showing a puppy standing by the remains of a dog believed to be its mother, days after it was killed in an area plagued by the violence in Rakhine State, in 2012. Minzayar Oo lives in Yangon and has been freelancing for Reuters,
The New York Times and other media outlets. His work has been published in TIME, The New York Times, The Guardian, National Geographic, GEO, La Repubblica, etc. Recently he worked with WWF on a project to raise awareness on the natural capital of the country, a critical aspect for a country undergoing unprecedented economic changes. Probably one of his bestknown photographs, which also represented an international breakthrough, is the picture of democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi taken during the country’s 2012 by-elections and which appeared on the front page of the International Herald Tribune. Meeting him a few months ago I was impressed by his gentle, open and warm personality. I believe he is a great example of someone who
14 InDepth Magazine / July 2016
Aung San Su Kyi: 2012 by elections Photo by Minzayar Oo
July 2016 / InDepth Magazineâ€‚15
Jade miners in Kachin state Photo by Minzayar Oo
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believed in his dream which, after years of intense work, has proven to be the right decision. I challenged him recently to reply to 14 questions, some of them different than the ones he usually answers.
Please describe yourself in three words: Awesome, ambitious and a tiny bit artistic. Your biggest achievement so far? My long-term documentary project on jade mining in Myanmar. In your opinion, does visual storytelling help shed light on particular sensitive topics and generate public debate and change in society? Yes, I think visual storytelling is a great tool to reach directly to the heart of the viewer and it makes you think and raise questions, especially with sensitive topics. For example, in my project The Price Of Jade, using the visual language, I try to show what is the human cost behind these gemstones and who pays this price, to question who is responsible for this, and if this is worth it after all. What messages are you trying to project through your work? In general I do not know if I have any particular messages to send with my work. However, at the moment I believe I am visually documenting the changes in a country that has been in the dark for decades. I am very excited to see the bigger picture that my work will bring after some time. What don't you like about yourself? Sometimes I am indecisive and I often get confused when choosing between two things. Who do you admire most? There are many - for example, anyone with a big heart and
honesty, or great photographers who can tell important stories. What do you do when you are not photographing? I like to spend time with my wife and my close friends. We are curious about your biggest fear? Heights, or to get separated from my loved ones. Which is your favourite place in Myanmar and why? Pyin Oo Lwin because I love the ambience there, the colonial buildings and mild weather. In which restaurant or bar in YangonÂ do you love to hang out with friends? Maw Shwe Li restaurant, Ko San rooftop bar, Alpha or anywhere with a pool table. What is your favourite Myanmar dish? Easy question: Shan noodles. A book about Myanmar you would recommend? The Trouser People by Andrew Marshall. Where do you think you will be in 10 years? I hope you will still find me in Myanmar. How do you see the future of photography in Myanmar? Nowadays in Myanmar there is a new generation of young and talented photographers with a lot of inspiration. Even though we are still far from having proper photography institutions and training facilities, I do believe we have a promising and exciting future for the photographic society in Myanmar. One cannot forget how lucky we are to be in Myanmar at this time, and to know the country as a photographer and an insider.
July 2016 / InDepth Magazineâ€‚17
EVEREST CONQUERED A team of Myanmar mountaineers became the nation’s first to summit Mount Everest. Ben Hopkins meets up with the climbers who prove, through teamwork and sacrifice, anything is possible.
A proud looking Pyae Phyo Aung stands atop Everest shortly after 7 am on 19 May, 2016. Photo by Doe Lone
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hortly after 7am on the 19 May 2016, Pyae Phyo Aung, 34, followed by Win Ko Ko, 36, strode the final few metres to the summit of Everest. “At that moment I was speechless”, says Win Ko Ko. Thoughts of family and friends swelled his emotions as he laid his hand on the summit and tried to grasp the meaning of what his team had just achieved. For the next 30-minutes or more time froze along with frost bite, that unbeknown to Win Ko Ko was turning patches of skin under his balaclava charcoal grey. “Then I realised, we’d only done fifty percent of the climb. We still had to get down”. With them in spirit, if not body, was their teammate Nyi Nyi Aung, 30, forced to wait below at Base Camp after an earlier imbalance in his blood/oxygen levels sent his aerobic heart rate rocketing to 190 beats per minute. To have pushed for the summit would have been to court death.
Team Building At home in the flatlands of Yangon, Nyi Nyi articulates the true meaning of team spirit. “They made me proud”, he says, sitting
between his two team mates at the offices of Htoo Foundation, their official sponsor. “The true spirit of mountaineering is about teamwork. We never say ‘I’, it’s always ‘We’. We made the best decision for the team”. As close friends, the three adventurers have spent much of the past 10 to 15 years together, seeking thrills in off road mountain biking, white water rafting, diving, hiking and anything that captures the spirit of outdoor adventure. Pioneers from an early age: at Yangon University they spearheaded trekking and climbing trips across Myanmar, later forming the Technical Climbing Club of Myanmar (TCCM) in 2009. As team TCCM they tackled the mountains of Kachin State, considered to be the last frontier of the Himalaya on account of its undeveloped infrastructure and uncharted passes. A little-known fact is that of the 57 peaks in Southeast Asia soaring higher that 3,000 metres, about a quarter are in Myanmar. Here stand the region’s two highest and most challenging mountains, with Khakabo Razi at 5,881 metres and Gamlang Razi at
Looking across at Base Camp. Photo by Niy Niy Aung
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Frost bite gets a grip under Win Ko Ko's balaclava.
One false step and it's all over. Photo by Pyae Phyo Aung
Between life and death Today, all three laugh at how they once joked about the impossibility of climbing Everest. The cost and logistics behind making such a dream come true seemed as remote as landing on the moon for any young adventurist from cashstrapped Myanmar.
Battling to the top. Photo by Pyae Phyo Aung
5,870 metres. But few have heard of them and fewer still have climbed them. That may soon change with the opening of Myanmar and the nation’s growing interest in mountaineering as a sport; a great source of inspiration and pride being this Myanmar trio of
Mt. Everest climbers. With the renowned conquest under their belt all three climbers aim to use their contacts and experience in the Nepalese Himalaya to help promote and develop northern Myanmar as a viable destination for mountaineers and adventurers from around the world.
That all changed after the Htoo Foundation, headed by mountaineering enthusiast U Tay Za, singled out the three climbers from TCCM with the financial support and planning for an assault on Everest. After eight months of intensive cardio vascular training the climbers were ready to ascend the 8,848 metre peak. Leaving Yangon for Kathmandu on 26th March, all three men, married and at their physical peak were under no illusion as to the challenge and dangers that lay ahead as they trekked their way up to Base Camp
at 5,545 metres, arriving on the 11th April. Two years previous an avalanche tragically wiped out 16 Nepalese Sherpas, bringing an early end to the 2014 climbing season. The following year, the Nepal earthquake that destroyed large swathes of Kathmandu triggered avalanches that swept across Base Camp, killing at least 22 climbers and effectively closing Everest for the second year in succession. The dangers of climbing the world’s highest mountain had once again been laid bare for the world to see, but that was not going to stop 289 climbers attempting the summit in the 2016 season of April/May. So how did it feel to finally arrive at Base Camp, the world’s most notorious campsite? “Cold,” jokes Pyae Phyo Aung. “And inspirational”, says Nyi Nyi, adding that climbing is not only about getting strong and thrusting flags on mountain tops. It’s also
July 2016 / InDepth Magazine 21
about social interaction, building friendships, learning about the mountains, not only in a physical sense but spiritually also. “Mt. Everest is considered a holy place amongst Tibetan Buddhists”, he says. “We’d perform the (Tibetan Buddhist) Pooja ceremony, burning juniper leaves before ascents and setting up prayer flags. It was really important being there, a huge, cultural odyssey”.
"Everest is considered a holy place amongst Tibetan Buddhists" Nyi Nyi Aung
The team would spend 36 days at Base Camp, acclimatising to the altitude, meeting climbers from around the world and setting out with head lamps in the dead of night to make three rotations to camps 1, 2 and 3. The first rotation to Camp 1 went to plan but the second nearly sealed their fate. Setting out 30 minutes later than planned, at 1:30 am, they made their way through the infamous Khumbu Valley, a stretch known for unstable ice blocks and crevasses that plunge hundreds of metres into the abyss. All was going to plan until the foreboding rumble of a large avalanche drew closer. Within a minute they felt the sweep of ice across their bodies as they threw themselves to the ground and hoped for the best. They’d intended to set out earlier to avoid the melting ice later in the morning, an irony not lost on Nyi Nyi, who jokes, “we were very, very lucky to be late”. Had they set out 30 minutes earlier they may have been buried alive. The path ahead was swallowed by the landslide and ropes and ladders were destroyed.
Mountaineering enthusiast and expedition sponsor, U Tay Za, greets fellow mountain men at Base Camp. Photo by Doe Lone
The unsung heroes of Everest are, of course, the Sherpas, the men born to the Himalaya who fix the ropes and ladders into place and help climbers from around the world to fulfil their dreams. Within a day the Everest trail was once again navigable and a week later, on 16th May, after the third rotation to Camp 3, Win Ko Ko and Pyae Phyo Aung were ready.
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Push to the Summit Accompanied by four Sherpas they set out from Base Camp at 1am on 16th May for the last time, passing Camp 1 and arriving at Camp 2 around 3pm. The following day saw them battling against fierce winds that rose above 50km per hour, knocking them sideways and on occasions reducing them to a crawl.
Back home in Yangon, the anxiety levels of family and loved ones must have risen with the heat of a Burmese summer, while at base camp Nyi Nyi willed them on with a satellite phone in hand and the bigger picture on his mind. The final stretch before the summit saw them set out at 8:30pm from Camp 4 to ascend the 1,100 metre
A view from afar of the world's highest mountain, Everest. Photo by Nyi Nyi Aung
assent to the summit. This section, known as the ‘death zone’ for its exposure to high winds, low levels of oxygen and precipitous drops sees the climbers treading a narrow ridge with a 2,000 metre drop into Nepal on the right and a 2,500 metre drop into Tibet on the left. “So, fall to the left and you’ll live a bit longer”, quips Nyi Nyi. After a gruelling eleven hours of climbing, Pyae Phyo summited a few minutes after 7 am, followed by Win Ko Ko. Pyae Phyo remembers frantically rubbing his cell phone against his leg to stop it freezing, before linking it to his satellite phone and telling his friends and loved ones they’d made it. Meanwhile, Win Ko Ko’s cell phone froze, leaving his nervous wife and family to wait a bit longer for news of his great achievement. Their safe return to Yangon heralds in a proud new era for mountaineering as a sport in Myanmar, as well as paving the way for an ambitious ecotourism element.
Ten amazing facts about Mt. Everest
most hazardous route. However, this proved to be a challenge too far, and he disappeared midway through the descent. 3. The oldest person to climb Everest is 80 year-old Yuichiro Miura of Japan, which he did earlier in June this year.
1. Believe it or not, the mountain has been skied down. On 7th October 2000, a 38-year-old Slovenian, Davorin Karnicar, skied 12,000 feet back to the south-side Base Camp. 2. The first two men to snowboard down Everest were the Frenchman Marco Siffredi and Austrian Stefan Gatt in May 2001. In September 2002 Mr Siffredi attempted to descend the mountain a second time, choosing the steepest and
4. The mountain has many names; in Nepal the mountain is known as Sagarmatha, meaning “forehead of the sky” and in Tibet the mountain is referred to as “Chomolangma” or ‘mother of the universe.’ 5. The youngest person to reach the summit is 13-yearold Jordan Romero. In May 2010, the young American broke the record previously held by 15-year-old Ming Kipa of Nepal. 6. In 2010, Dubai broke the record for both the world’s tallest building and tallest
man-made structure of any kind with the Burj Khalifa at 829m high. Everest is more than ten times its height. 7. Lhakpa Tenzing Sherpa currently holds the record for the highest number of successful ascents, having climbed Mt. Everest 21 times since 1990. 8. Sherpa Babu Chiri holds the record for the longest stay on the summit, a frostbiteinducing 21 hours, which he achieved in 1999. 9. The first tweet from the summit was sent by British climber Kenton Cool in 2011. On one of his many trips to the top, he tweeted: "Everest summit no 9! 1st tweet from the top of the world thanks to a weak 3G signal”. 10. Every year the mountain grows taller by 4mm as a result of the upward thrust generated by two opposing tectonic plates.
July 2016 / InDepth Magazine 23
THE REDDIT FOR MYANMAR FARMERS The development of Greenovator as an online app has limitless potential to inform, guide and advise Myanmar’s agriculture workforce, who comprise over 60% of the country’s workforce. Charlie Michio Turner looks at Greenovator’s potential and talks to its founders, Thein Soe Min and Yin Yin Phyu.
nternet connectivity has swept Myanmar at an impressive speed, but incidents of abuse on social media are a reminder that being connected to others is not the same thing as being supported by them. A farmer armed with a SIM card has access to unlimited information to help their livelihoods, Greenovator is the new online platform that sorts through the infinite to offer the accurate. The entirely Myanmar mobile phone application connects small farmers with experts in agriculture thorough a moderated message board. Farmers can start threads
that crowdsource their questions to a network of professionals that includes agriculture professors, economists and scientists, plus a broad coalition of volunteers, which Greenovator refers to as 'technicians'.
Greenovator out of their dedication for sustainable farming. Western progressive circles could easily deem their passion as one of 'food justice', a social movement which promotes community-based farming and nutrition for underserved areas.
With over 60% of the national workforce in the agriculture sector, and Proximity Designs citing 'Reliable information' as a top challenge for Myanmar farmers, the online platform definitely has an audience.
In fact, the two former classmates were business partners well before Greenovator. They briefly operated an urban farm in Yankin Township that was not very different from an urban farm in Brooklyn. The roughly eight square block plot grew chemical-free vegetables which were sold to high-end hotels and restaurants in Yangon, profits from
Thein Soe Min and Yin Yin Phyu, both graduates of Yezin Agricultural University, founded
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yields helped finance workshops on organic farming and environmental consciousness. The institution known as 'Greenway Farm' abruptly ended once the technically military compound was reclaimed for the construction of a housing development. Losing the Yankin farm was a difficult pill to swallow, but the experience provided a glimmer of insight into what it is like to be a small farmer in Myanmar. "It was a big change, but now we know how important it is to have supporters," says Thein Soe Min, referring to the lack of connections Greenway had
Poor quality of rice exports spurred devastating drops in price this past hot season, something that proper seeding and fertilizing practices could have prevented.
before closing. "One day we'll run a farm again, but now we're focused on helping other farmers before we start anything again".
How Greenovator flows
Filling in for the government
The layout of the site is similar to ‘Yahoo! Answers’, but the answers tend to be more substantial, at least for now. The app currently has roughly two to three posts a day, making moderating content an easy task. Here's an example of a typical post.
Greenovator is ultimately filling a role that the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation (MOAI) is supposed to do. The protocol for decades has been for farmers to travel to one of the closest MOAI outposts. Unfortunately, the system has always been more theory than reality. The farmers who were desperate enough to make the trek (phone calls are rarely answered and the website horribly outdated) to a MOAI satellite would have trouble finding a qualified official to speak with, often finding no one at all.
Greenovator app founders, Thein Soe Min and Yin Yin Phyu
22nd June 2016 - Question: I would like to grow grapes in Myin Chan (Central Dry Zone). How should the soil be prepared? Possible pest and disease infection, care and management of grape? Answer 1 (Yezin alumni): Which part of Myin Chan? The majority of Myin Chan have salty water. Grapes do not prefer salty water. Therefore, I would like to suggest finding out the availability of fresh water in the area where you aim to plant. Answer 2 (Yezin Professor): What I know is grapes can grow well at soil pH between 7-7.5 in dry zone. This is for grapes eating, eg. Italy No.3, Bigblack. Grapes prefer sandy soil. If the irrigation water is salty, high pH, grape might not grow well and lead to soil degradation so it is better to test the water first. Relating to diseases, fungus diseases like downy mildew and stem rot, usually happen and special care is needed especially in the rainy season. Copper based fungicide, Bourdaux mixture and lime sulphur are essential for the grape to prevent and cure fungus diseases. Pruning has to be done twice a year and systemic pruning is very important. Thanks. While not all threads on Greenovator are as lucky to receive thoughtful exchanges like the above example, the bigger concern is the quantity of replies. Most exchanges on the app are from the professors, students and alumni of Yezin University. Which begs the question: Can a group of volunteers, who belong to the same institution, be effective consultants and communicators? Thein Soe Min and Yin Yin Phyu will
be the first people to answer, no. Diversity is the name of the game. They are focused on recruiting technicians outside of their Yezin contacts, not only other scientists, but also the voices from established farmers who can translate academic responses to layman terms. The first step to building Greenovator's network is spreading awareness, (a.k.a promoting the service) the second one is establishing trust. The knock on effect of Facebook dominating the tech landscape of Myanmar is that unreliable information finds its way onto the app. Greenovator hopes to filter out the unreliable and differentiate itself as a trusted source. The best way to achieve trust is to get a trusted name. Thein Soe Min grins at the idea of getting celebrity weatherman, Htun Lwin, to come on board but knows that the reliability is his and Yin Yin Phyu's responsibility, "Htun Lwin would be a great Greenovator technician, but first farmers need to know the real Htun Lwin forecasts, not something from a fake [Facebook] account".
Building a needed service Greenovator can do little to alleviate the disparity of financial resources between small farms and corporate agriculture, but it may be able to help bridge the knowledge gap. Yin Yin Phyu sees the fight against plant disease as an area where Greenovator can have the most significant impact on the future of
"One day we'll run a farm again, but now we're focused on helping other farmers before we start anything again"
"Many farmers travel miles to the nearest Agriculture Department office, only to find it empty. Either it’s closed, or just no one is inside, so they return home. They are too scared to complain and end up never getting the information they need", says Thein Soe Min.
Thein Soe Min small Myanmar farms. "Farmers will spray more and more pesticides on their crops when they see spots on the leaves, assuming they were caused by insects, when really it was plant disease all along", says Yin Yin Phyu. She refers to the most common plant disease simply as 'blast', a shortened name for Rice Blast Fungus, a devastating pathogen that has plagued rice farmers in Myanmar and around the world. Overuse of nitrogen fertilizer and low water-levels, which has become more common due to climate change, are common causes for the disease. If all goes according to plan, a farmer can now upload a photo of the rice plant onto Greenovator and get the opinion of agriculturists who have studied Rice Blast Fungus.
MOAI simply does not have the resources to help the 20 million plus farmworkers in Myanmar, a problem that staff of MOAI is aware of, according to Thein Soe Min. Employees of MOAI are being aggressively recruited to become contributors to Greenovator. Proximity Designs is in the process of developing "what could be Myanmar's first app for farmers", according to the social enterprise's blog. Yin Yin Phyu welcomes the introduction of Proximity, an organisation that she greatly admires. "We're working on capacity building, I plan on posting on the app information that I got from Proximity, we're doing a different type of capacity building". As long as the information is reliable, the Harvard initiative and this local start-up app should be able to co-exist. www.mmgreenovator.com
July 2016 / InDepth Magazine 25
Mount Victoria view
CLIMBING MOUNT VICTORIA Not ready for Everest yet? The stunning mountains of Chin State offer great trekking opportunities for budding mountaineers and anyone else ready for a short break from Yangon. Marie Starr takes an overnight bus from Yangon to trek the 3,035 metres to the peak of Mount Victoria, Chin Sate’s highest mountain.
id you know you can travel to Chin State, trek to the peak of Mt. Victoria – Nat Ma Taung and return to Yangon in less than five days? With the rainy season upon us, my mind drifts back to the December chill of the Chin hills, a land of mountainous terrain and stunning vistas. Setting out from Yangon at 5pm we travelled through the night, eyes wide open as dawn broke and the scenery became ever more dramatic and a thrilling coolness came into the air. Turning one bend,
my travelling companion from Chin State points to the far distance where a cluster of buildings cling to the ridge of a hazy blue mountain and grins, “See that town? That’s where we’re going. That’s Mindat!” Arriving at around 1pm we check into a guest house offering the bare necessities, with shared bathroom and no hot water, before exploring the town and soaking up the cool, fresh air and awesome views. Everywhere you look, the mountain falls away below you. Majestic blue ranges roll on as far as the eye can
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Millet wine in the making
TRAVEL Getting there
see in all directions. Walking past icy streams and among pine trees, it feels like we have arrived in a totally different part of the world.
From Yangon, take a Shwe Man Thu bus at 5pm from Parami Bus Station to Pakkoku. This arrives early in the morning and from the bus station in Pakkoku, take the Moe Pi bus company which leaves for Mindat at 8:30am daily and arrives in the early afternoon.
Here, the elderly ladies with tattooed faces are not a tourist attraction as they are in other parts of the country. They go about their daily chores, carrying baskets of market produce or sitting smoking large pipes and chatting with friends. Some of them turn their faces away from our curious glances. It’s clear that we’re not the first travellers to visit this town and, furthermore, they do not wish to be a tourist attraction. In Mindat, all houses seem to have a proud garden with an abundance of coffee and tea and fruits and vegetables all around. Being a majority Christian area, the landscape is dotted with crosses and churches rather than pagodas. Cherry trees bursting with pink blossoms are aplenty. We seem to be in a land of impossibly fluffy puppies. Fat and healthy pigs and hens roam the roads. As the sun goes down and temperatures drop, we are glad of the hot soup and Chin curries at Myoma, a decent restaurant on the main street. The next day, we visit the home of an 87 year old woman who is keeping alive the tradition of playing the flute through her nose. She is adorned with magnificent traditional beads and jewellery, tribal clothes and facial tattoos representing one of the many tribes of Chin State. The tune she plays is solemn, evoking memories of her dead husband. Set against the backdrop of her wooden house sporting many large animal skulls and the blue mountains beyond makes for an enchanting Chin experience. Next, we visit Mindat’s ‘museum’, which is actually the house of a local collector. In a small, dark room he displays a frightening and fascinating number of animal skulls, traditional weapons and hunting instruments as well as old Chin costumes from the various tribes of the region. That night we are welcomed to a gathering of local
When to go The weather is cooler than the rest of Myanmar all year round due to the high altitude, but November to January brings the most perfect crisp, clear weather for hiking and taking in the views on the surrounding mountains as well as the blooming cherry blossoms.
Where to stay A good budget option is Aung Mingalar Guesthouse (Main St., Mindat) K10,000 per night. For higher budgets, Oasis Mountain Resort (Mindat) is a nice place just outside the town for upwards of $60 per night.
Chin flute player
In Mindat, all houses seem to have a proud garden with an abundance of coffee and tea and fruits and vegetables all around. youth around a bonfire, our sprits lifted with songs and plenty of local traditional wine. Early the following morning, in a hired jeep with driver we begin the bone-rattling four hour trip across the mountains and valleys
to the base of Mt. Victoria. Bruises aside, the drive is both thrilling and entertaining. Local life, framed by incredible scenery, unfolds around us as we ascend into the clouds.
Note that all accommodation in Mindat has electricity for only a limited number of hours per day and most are without hot water.
The trek from the base to the peak of the mountain is not difficult. In December the path is in fairly good condition and there are few steep sections, though it is essential to bring your own food and plenty of water. The trek to the peak and back takes five hours. We get back to the jeep and return to Mindat as night falls, exhausted and satisfied.
What to bring
The following morning, after a hearty breakfast in the teashop next to the market we catch the bus back to Pakkoku, and then the night bus back to Yangon. Of course, it would be ideal to spend many weeks traveling further around Chin State and I fully intend to come back soon. However, it is good to know that such a fascinating and exhilarating experience is possible from Yangon over an extended long weekend.
Good hiking shoes, warm clothes including a hat, jumper and socks, suncream, camera with a good zoom lens, power bank to help with the limited hours of electricity. For the Mt. Victoria trek itself it is essential to bring food and water as there is nowhere to buy it along the way, and you certainly will be hungry and thirsty when you reach the peak!
July 2016 / InDepth Magazine 27
THE INNYAR LAKE MURDER CASE
U SAN SHAR - THE BURMESE SHERLOCK HOLMES Written by Pan So Tan Lu That Hmu. Translated by San Lin Tun.
U San Shar
Suddenly through the driving rain, a horse and coach turned into our street and drove toward us. Illustrations by Ben Hopkins
t was in the evening of a certain day during the rainy season, called Wathanta Utu. U San Shar and I were sitting in a room upstairs. Outside, the rain fell hard, driven
by gusts of wind against our closed windows.
from a glass cup and flask, as he often did during his leisure time.
I was reclining in an easy chair, reading a book of fiction while U San Shar was whispering to himself, mixing chemical solutions
Around this time, the big clock struck ten, and the rain began to let up. U San Shar put the glass tubes down and opened the window. I put
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down the book, walked over to him, and looked out across the street. It was getting late, the rain was persistent, the street lights were dimly lit and the street was void of pedestrians. Suddenly, through the driving rain, a horse coach turned
into our street and drove toward us. U San Shar said, "It’s wet and cold, Ko Thein Maung. It's a relief we don't have to go out for anything”. In the meantime, a man descended from the coach and ascended our building. I was listening intently to the footsteps on our staircase, hoping they would go up to the next floor. But my hopes were in vain, and there was a knock at our door. Feeling somewhat sleepy, I lazily answered the door. Inspector Ko Ohn Pe, wearing a raincoat, looked into the room. Seeing U San Shar, he looked relieved, took off his raincoat and sat down at a chair. U San Shar: "What makes you to come down here at this time of hour, Sergeant?" Ko Ohn Pe: "It’s on a grave matter, so grave I cannot find rest his evening. Have you caught news of the Innyar Lake murder case, yet?" U San Shar shook his head. Ko Ohn Pe: "I've investigated many cases. But this kind of case is rare. I can't figure out why it has happened. Do you know Innya Lake, on the way from Rangoon to Insein?" U San Shar: "Yes, of course I know it. Now get to the point." Ko Ohn Pe: "Then you’ll have seen the big houses in the compounds overlooking Innyar Lake. Among those houses, there is one called ‘Cosy Corner’, facing inland, and turning its back on the road. In that house, a Babu called Chat-Tar-Gyi lived as a tenant. It seems he has much money without appearing to do much. Judging by his lifestyle, I would say he saved a lot of money when he was young. He hasn't got a wife or children. His helpers include one Mali man, an old Indian woman for cooking, and an old Indian man for odd jobs. These are his only employees. "The Babu is known as a man of knowledge. Indeed, he was writing
U San Shar: "What makes you to come down here at this time of hour, Sergeant?" Ko Ohn Pe: "It’s on a grave matter, so grave I cannot find rest his evening. Have you caught news of the Inyar Lake murder case, yet?"
a book, but his poor eyesight meant he had to hire a clerk for writing down his dictation. The clerk is also a Babu. For the past six months the clerk has been eating meals in the house of Chat-Tar-Gyi and receiving a salary of 30,000 Kyats per month. I know little about him, but this morning, he was found dead near his working table, with a stab wound to his neck." The rain began to fall heavily again. Standing up I closed the window, pulled up a chair near to Ko Ohn Pe and continued to listen in. Ko Ohn Pe: "Both men lived in a house separate from others in their neighbourhood, which were occupied by foreigners. They kept to themselves. The clerk was a quiet person, and seemed to be a little isolated. It can't be said the murder was a result of a robbery. It happened in the daytime and there
Looking at the murder victim, they saw blood oozing from his neck.
was nothing missing in the room or the house. I can't figure out and reason for the murder."
U San Shar: "Do you have any more information on the circumstances surrounding the murder?"
July 2016 / InDepth Magazine 29
"If he’d stepped in the street, he knew he’d leave his footprint. So, to avoid the street he must have trodden the roadside grass. But when I studied the grass there were no clear footprints, only pressed grass to be found."
Ko Ohn Pe: "Yes, from my interrogations I have gathered some facts. This morning between 10 and 11, the old errand woman was changing the curtains in the upstairs front room. Chat-Tar-Gyi hadn't woken up yet because he worked late last night. Meanwhile, the clerk was reading a book in his room while the other servant was cooking downstairs."
U San Shar: "This street leads to where?" Ko Ohn Pe: "It connects with the main Insein Road."
U San Shar: Please continue.
U San Shar: "How wide is it?"
Ko Ohn Pe: "The woman changing the curtains saw the clerk holding his book as he left his room and began walking downstairs. When the clerk arrived at the working room downstairs she heard a scream that filled her with terror."
Ko Ohn Pe: "Fifty arm-lengths." U San Shar: "When he reached the proximity of the gate, he had to walk on the street, didn't he? Have you checked the gate properly?"
"When she came to her senses and went down to the room where Babu works, she met with the cook, who was also alarmed by the scream. They both found the clerk lying near the working table. Horrified, they helped him to sit up. Looking at the murder victim, they saw blood oozing from his neck. "They then embraced him with tenderness, and looked at his wound. Suddenly, the clerk opened his eyes, and said in Urdu, "It was that woman". Both the women heard him clearly. After saying this, the clerk’s neck tilted down to one side, and in a moment, he was dead”. U San Shar: "What kind of wound is it?" Ko Ohn Pe: "It is a stab wound. There is a tiny hole in the neck. Three arm lengths away a spike was found. The spike is the same one that pierced the paper files belonging to Babu. "At that moment, the servant woman left the body with the cook and rushed to the Babu’s to inform him. The Babu had been awoken by the scream and was about to come downstairs. "So, I asked Babu if he knew the meaning of the clerk’s dying words, "It was that woman". The Babu told me he had no idea.
Ko Ohn Pe: "Near the gate there are cobble stones, with no footprints." U San Shar:"Then, the ones you have seen in the grass, are they entry footprints or exit ones?" Ko Ohn Pe: "I can't tell exactly what they are. As I said, I only found pressed grass." U San Shar: "Big feet or small feet?" Ko Ohn Pe: "I can't tell either way." Ko Ohn Pe: “When I looked for the murderer’s footprints in the back alley, I was surprised to find none”.
"Then, Babu called the Mali man and sent him to the police station to inform me. When I arrived there, I found what I am talking about now. I am at a loss, I gave an order not to disturb any footprints in the street. Later, I came down to you, sayar."
the murderer got into the house? It must have been from the back alley, sayar? Because from the back alley there is a direct link to the work room. If he entered from any other route, he’d have had to pass other people.
U San Shar: "What do you think of this one?"
"It must be that he took the same route when he exited. If he took the other route as his exit, the errand woman who came down from the house would have seen him. The other route, as you see in the sketch, leads to the Babu's room.
Ko Ohn Pe: "As I said, I can’t figure it out, and so I rushed to you." Saying this, Ko Ohn Pe took out a piece of paper from his pocket. "I have drawn a sketch of the house to help you understand the movement. Look at it, sayar." He gave it to U San Shar, and we both carefully looked at it. Ko Ohn Pe: "It is just a rough sketch, sayar. But I've tried to note down the important parts to be perfect. Most importantly, from which route
30 InDepth Magazine / July 2016
"So, when I looked for the murderer’s footprints in the back alley I was surprised to find none. Surely the muddy, rain sodden street would have led to footprints in the back alley, but there were none. The murderer must have been very clever.
U San Shar: "So, let’s move on. What did you do next?" Ko Ohn Pe: "I looked for footprints in the connecting corridor. But, I couldn't find any because it was laid down with coconut fibre. In the work room there is a writing table which connects with another table and bureau. At each side of the bureau there are small drawers. But they don't have keys. The centre drawer is locked. In it, valuable papers are stored. Babu said that he didn't lose anything at all." U San Shar: "Well, carry on." Ko Ohn Pe: "And, on looking at the body, I found the wound pricked by the spike. It is from behind. That means he didn't commit suicide, sayar." To be continued…
COLLIERS MYANMAR, PROVIDE A SNAPSHOT OF REAL ESTATE IN YANGON Supply
Yangon total office stock grew by 6% quarter on quarter, followed by the completion of Vantage Tower and 8 Mile Business Centre. The stock is anticipated to increase to more than 300,000 square metres towards the end of the year.
Despite the surge in supply witnessed in quarter 4, 2015, demand quickly rebounded. The average occupancy rate improved by 10% quarter on quarter to reach 57%. Overall, demand remains restrained, as new market entrants await further clarity from the results of the government transition and liberalization of the financial sector.
While the overall office quality is improving, Yangon has seen a lack of international standard developments. Junction City Office Tower is expected to be the first premium office development in the city due to be completed in quarter 1, 2017.
Nonetheless, aggressive expansion plans were observed in many companies already operating in Yangon, with many moving to
relatively better quality and more affordable office spaces. The occupancy rate is expected to be on an upward trend - to reach more than 70% towards the end of the year. The net annual absorption has already reached more than 45,000 square metres, the highest recorded since 2012.
Rent The average rental rate slightly increased quarter on quarter, but was down by USD 12 per square metre per month versus the same period in 2015. Rental rates in Downtown and Inner City Zone are
beginning to be at par, being in the USD 60-range per square metre per month. The top-tier office developments witnessed the highest drop in rental rate at 17% year on year, but remain generally stable on a quarterly basis. The introduction of Junction City Office Tower is likely to exert upward pressure on Downtownâ€™s average rent. Overall, rents are predicted to remain relatively stable for the remainder of the year.
July 2016 / InDepth Magazineâ€‚31
Marie Starr travels to the 88th Waso Chinlone Festival in Mandalay to discover an ancient sport of rhythmic elegance, attracting a growing number of foreign competitors.
eam members emerge from the sidelines wearing matching jerseys and shorts. They walk on muscular legs and many are tattooed with chinlone balls above each knee. The circular roofed arena is formed of packed earth and surrounded by some simple tiered rows for the audience, a raised platform for the musicians and their instruments and a high chair for the commentator. Standing in a circle, the players turn outwards and bow to the spectators. After a few minutes of practice, that raw, pealing Myanmar music strikes up from the sideline. The players are engulfed by the rhythmic bong of traditional melodies, their eyes wholly focused on that rattan ball. The 88th Waso Chinlone Festival is taking place in a small arena located behind the eastern wing of the Mahamuni Pagoda in Mandalay. Chinlone – or cane ball in English - is said to have been played in Myanmar for over 1,500 years and was once performed as entertainment for Burmese royalty. The ball is light, made of woven cane and usually measures about six inches in diameter. There are three types of chinlone - baikyaw chin, where opposing teams play over a net, chin wine with players positioned in a circle and tapindaing which is performed solo and usually by females. The Waso Chinlone Festival focuses on chin wine and though it is certainly a team sport, there is no opposing team. The festival is more of a display of talent and a form of entertainment for the public. The most impressive players are awarded by the spectators with money which is pinned to the back of their jersey.
A team sport The six members of the team currently performing in the ring
Performances are watched by monks and laymen, young and old.
appear to be aged between their early 20’s and late 60’s. They pace around in a fluid circular movement, so graceful it is like a dance. One by one, a player moves to the centre of the oscillating group and performs their best moves. Keeping the ball in the air for as long as they can, they perform high-kicks, back-flips, spins and twists, catching it between their knees, balancing it on the back of their necks or effortlessly tossing it from shoulder to knee to toe and back again. “There are six parts of the foot and leg you can use to hit the ball,” Thein San (48) explains with enthusiasm, jumping off his seat and hitching his longyi to point them out to us. He has been playing chinlone for 30 years and is participating in a number of teams at the festival this year. His hometown is 82 miles away, but as he claims, the Waso Chinlone Festival brings together
32 InDepth Magazine / July 2016
people from all over the country and from every class. Players can use any part of their body to keep the ball in play except their arms and hands. When it falls to the ground or goes outside the
Myint Win Zwe next to the chinlone ring.
ring it is quickly passed onto the next player who takes his place in the centre. The aim is not only to keep the ball in play for as long as possible but also to perform one’s most impressive moves while holding a graceful form.
A new team has taken their places in the ring. The team’s most remarkable player is also the oldest and scrawniest of the group, with long hair and alert eyes. He performs immaculately - most of his moves start with a quick spin of his nimble body before kicking the ball high above him from behind his back. With pure concentration etched on their faces and sweat dripping down their necks, the chinlone players seem to hear or see nothing around them. Their entire mental and physical focus is centred on the game - all they see is this ball of cane and all they hear is the clicking sound it makes as it connects with a limb. The play is set to traditional Burmese music- sometimes crashing symbols, sometimes low rumbling beats, always raw and rhythmic. This is teamed with a running commentary on the game: observations of the players’ moves as well as comments on the nature of the game as a whole. U Kyaw Thein has been a Waso Chinlone Festival organizer of 13 years and participant of 40. Once he is called from a nearby teashop, we speak to him in the office behind where the action is going on. It’s dusty and it takes some time to find chairs but once he gets going he talks and talks and talks. His passion for the game is admirable. “Chinlone is very important for Myanmar. It is not only healthy for the players but also helps promote the traditions and culture of our country.” There are two fresh wounds on U Kyaw Thein’s left elbow and knee which he got in a motorbike accident three days ago. Yet he insists on continuing to participate in the festival and has played two games since the accident. U Kyaw Thein looks into the distance and calculates, “I have been playing since I was 11. Until I was about 21 years old it wasn’t very popular. It became more popular among all classes because everyone encouraged their children to join.”
Spectators award the best players by attaching money to their jerseys.
Growing in popularity This year there are players from China, the US, Japan, Germany and Thailand - the biggest foreign competitor. He believes that in the future there will be increasing foreign competition. Chinlone’s growing popularity is evidenced in its inclusion in the SEA Games since 2013. When asked whether chinlone faces competition from more fashionable sports such as football, U Kyaw Thein says, “Both sports can exist side by side. People can be interested in both football and chinlone. But around here, chinlone is the most popular.” “Chinlone improves our unity,” U Kyaw Thein explains. “When players are playing there is total cooperation because in chinlone, nothing works by yourself – it is all about your team. Everyone’s attitude and inner mind comes out during play. So it is very good for the mind.” With performances taking place from 9am till midnight every day for almost two months, over 1,000 teams will participate at this year’s Waso Chinlone Festival. Support comes from donors who sometimes give up to $5,000 when they have a special interest in chinlone. The chinlone teams are invited by these
leave the ring to applause and cheers.
donors. The people attending the festival also make donations to the pagoda hosting the festival. Myint Win Zwe is 34 years old and one of the few female players at this festival. She plays on her team with five male teammates and comes from a long line of chinlone players.
What Waso Chinlone Festival is an annual festival celebrating the unique game of chinlone, or cane ball, in which over 1,000 participating teams perform for crowds .
“When I was young, my father and brothers, and even my grandfather were always playing chinlone around me. Therefore, it felt natural for me to join them. They encouraged me to play.”
Where Mahamuni Pagoda, 82nd Street, Mandalay, in a small stadium behind the Eastern entrance to the pagoda.
She’s been playing chinlone since she was a young girl and enjoys it because it keeps her fit and is good for her mind. In the ring Myint Win Zwe performs with dexterity and her teammates call out encouragements and clap when she is performing her greatest solo moves. Her black jersey distinguishes her from her teammates’ gold jerseys. As the end of a performance nears, the music gains in speed and ferocity. The commentator’s voice reaches its highest level of excitement and with a final rap of the drums the game is over. The players, sweating and breathing heavily, bow to the audience and
When An annual festival which takes place around the full moon of Waso (July) and continues this year until the end of July. Teams play from daily from 9:00am till midnight for 30 minutes at a time. The best teams and the greatest atmosphere can be found on Sundays when there are big numbers of locals swinging by while visiting the pagoda.
July 2016 / InDepth Magazine 33
Night view of Bangkok from Hotel Indigo
Another side of Bangkok - Wat Pho Stupas
34â€‚InDepth Magazine / July 2016
BANGKOK IN 72 HOURS Wat Pho statue guard
Gilded temple spires, gleaming shipping malls, soaring skyscrapers, sidewalk and gourmet restaurants all jostle for space amidst market stalls of every description in Bangkok's neon-lit capital. Liz Smailes returns to a city she called home for a decade and rediscovers what it is that makes Bangkok tick in just 72 hours.
earing a Burmese attack in 1782, King Rama I moved the capital from the west bank of the Chao Phraya River across to the east bank and a smaller settlement known as Baang Mawkok (Olive Plum Riverbank), for the namesake trees which grew there in abundance. Over the course of three years, master craftsmen designed and built several magnificent temples and royal administrative buildings for the new capital. Finally, in 1785 the city was given a new name; a lexical feat of 16 Thai words, that roughly translate to:
Could this be Paris? Sathorn Soi 12 restaurants
‘Great city of angels, the repository of divine gems, the great land unconquerable, the grand and prominent realm, the royal and delightful capital city full of nine noble gems, the highest royal dwelling and grand palace, the divine shelter and living place of reincarnated spirits’. It’s little wonder that foreign traders continued to call the capital Baang Mawkok, which eventually became truncated to Bangkok; the Thais commonly use a shortened version of the 16-word title to Krung Thep, meaning ‘City of Angels’.
Jim Thompson silk weavers
Frequent flights between Yangon and Bangkok invite for exploration of a city transformed from a small riverbank trading village into Southeast Asia’s most dynamic and colourful capital.
Day One Classic Bangkok with a Modern Twist For a refreshing take on old and new traditions, Hotel Indigo Bangkok – www.ihg.com -offers an original boutique stay that will surprise at every turn. Located on Wireless Road between the Vietnamese and American embassies, and a short taxi ride away from the Myanmar embassy on Sathorn Road, this hotel provides an ideal base for exploring the city. It's a 10-minute walk to Lumpini Park with its impeccable, manicured lawns in one direction and an even shorter walk to the high-speed Sky Train (Bangkok Transit System) in the other direction. After checking in, begin your Bangkok city adventure with an afternoon visit to Jim Thompson House – www.jimthompsonhouse. com. This American silk tycoon revitalised the Thai silk industry after WWII, building his house in 1959 to combine Asian and European aesthetics. An enchanting blend of old and new, and an insight into the influence of Thai and international cultures on Bangkok. An early visitor, Somerset Maugham wrote in Jim’s guest book: ”You have not only beautiful things, but what is rare you have arranged them with faultless taste”.
July 2016 / InDepth Magazine 35
Five public boat lines, all operated by the Chao Phraya Express Boat company, ply the same 21km route: 'local line', 'orange', 'yellow', 'blue' and 'green-yellow'. Operating between 6:00 am and 7:30 pm daily, each is identifiable by the coloured flag hanging off its rear. The Orange Flag Line, with its flat fee of THB 15 baht one way, fits the bill for most journeys. Alternatively, there is also a tourist line that runs all day with a one-day ticket for THB 150, allowing you to hop on and off as you please. Cross-river ferries operate at most major piers and will drop you to the other bank for THB 3 one-way. It’s impossible to do all the sites here in one day. With many piers along the river, the following are four recommended stops:
Hotel Indigo Lobby of vintage radio and music items, reflects its address on Wireless Road
Sadly, Jim only lived here for eight years; in 1967, he mysteriously disappeared while staying in the Cameron Highlands, Malaysia. Of the numerous theories and rumours as to what happened, none have been proven and no body has ever been found. To make the most of your visit, take the 30-minute museum guided tour (THB 150) and discover intriguing answers to curious design features, such as why every doorway in Thailand has to have a step! Feeling peckish? The museum’s wonderful café overlooking a Koi pond is a tranquil setting to enjoy your favourite sweet, sour, spicy and salty Thai dishes. A refreshing favourite on a hot day is the Pomelo and Prawn Salad – Yom Som O. If it’s modern culture you’re after, the nation’s new home for contemporary art is a 5-minute walk away from Jim Thompson house at the Bangkok Arts and Culture Centre – www.bacc.or.th. With rotating exhibitions, funky bookshops, craft and art material shops, restaurants and coffee shops, it’s almost a half-day out in itself. For a pure retail fix, however, here begins the shopping mall mile. Hit the high street chain stores, the designer shops, the quirky vintage
boutiques or the department stores in one of the numerous malls that line Sukhumvit road all the way from Siam Square to EmQuartier at Phrom Phong BTS station. For dinner, avoid the temptation to grab a bite from any old food court or mall restaurant. Instead, go back to Ploenchit BTS station to Hyde & Seek – www.hydeandseek.com - on Soi Ruam Ruedi, just behind Hotel Indigo. This trendy gastro bar has an international feel with a part New York chic, part London reserve and an impressive drinks list. Whatever’s in the mix, this place certainly has the popular touch – stay for dinner and you’re sure for a fun night out. From here, it’s just a 10-minute walk back to Hotel Indigo.
Day 2 A New Take On Old Memories Nothing says you’ve arrived in Bangkok quite like a day exploring the intricate network of canals and waterways. However, if you have affairs to arrange at the Myanmar Embassy, attend to those first and beat the morning traffic with a taxi ride before 7:30 am to Sathorn Sois 10 and 12. Take breakfast at one of the growing number of worldly cafes that are opening up on these streets. If you find yourself here later in the day, Soi 12 is also home to renowned Chef Tim Butler’s new restaurant, The Bunker – www.
36 InDepth Magazine / July 2016
bumkerbkk.com. The Myanmar embassy is just around the corner from here. Head further down Sathorn road to the Chao Phraya River and explore why it was that King Rama I feared a Burmese invasion back in 1782. It’s also where western authors such as Maugham, Conrad and Coward were singling out the Chao Phraya as one of their favourite spots in the Far East. Zig-zagging the city in all directions, these choppy brown waterways move cargo and passenger traffic, and provide a seemingly endless source of water for bathing, cooking, irrigation and recreation. They also conjure up a parallel universe in which 18th-Century Siam coexists with 21st-Century Thailand.
1. Phra Arthit (N13) – Stretching from Phra Sumen Fort to Thammasat University, quaint shop-houses line the streets along with cosy hole-in-thewall restaurants, bars and cafés with live music. This is where the artsy type convene at the National Art Gallery and National Museum - as well as being the pier closest to the backpacker mecca of Khao San Road and Banglampoo Clothing market. 2. Wang Lang (N10) – Wang Lang has a great local market, but you’ll also find interesting temples (Wat Rakhang Khositaram) nearby, as well as the Patravadi Theatre, and the unique medical museum
Bangkok is one of the great food capitals of Asia - Suhring_Brotzeit, a new addition
Bangkok Best Tours revs it up in China Town
at Siriraj Hospital, which is definitely not for the faint hearted with pickled bodies on display. 3. Tha Tien (N8) – A scintillating stop and must see when in Bangkok. People come here to make merit at Wat Pho’s Reclining Buddha and surrounding temples. Wander the whimsical grounds where author Lewis Carol would have had a field day, take a massage for just THB 300 at the first Thai massage school (name) and visit Wat Arun on the east bank (just take a small boat across the river for only THB 3). 4. Si Phaya (N1) – Hop off here to take a boat across to the east bank from River City Mall and take respite in one of the most modern and delicious Thai restaurants, The Never Ending Summer- www.thenever-ending-summer.chope. co - an architectural gem designed by Duangrit Bunnag, one of Thailand’s leading contemporary architects. If you like curry, try the Chicken
Tumeric Curry with brown rice and the flavours will be dancing on your palate for hours afterwards. Head back to the hotel to enjoy a sundowner by the pool on the 24th floor and take in the impressive skyscraper view. As the sun sets, this pulsating metropolis comes to life. Bangkok is home to culinary greats such as Gaggan, Tim Butler, Ian Kittichai and David Thompson, whose restaurants appear in the 50 Best Lists for Asia and the World year after year. Hence, it’s time to glam up and head out for a knockout dinner. New on the restaurant scene and creating a buzz is Suhring – www.bunkerbkk.com - the debut restaurant of twin German chefs Thomas and Mathias Suhring – located in Yen Akat Soi 3, just off Sathorn Soi 1 and Sri Bumphen roads. Having only opened in March this year they’re already taking the city by storm. Why? They’ve given German cuisine a thorough advancement…breaking it down, extracting the best flavours, textures and combinations
to recreate the dishes like never before. Reservations are highly recommended.
Day 3 Explore Some Other Hoods After last night’s gluttonous feast, start the day with a morning stroll around Lumpini Park. Open from 4:30am until 9pm, it’s one of the largest parks in Bangkok and takes its name from Buddha's place of birth in Nepal. Between 5am and 7am every day, legions of Thai-Chinese practise Tai Chi and throughout the day the shady paths, a large artificial lake and manicured lawns are the backdrop for a running track, sports ground, concert hall, meditation and all round social meeting point for people of all ages. Watch out for the enormous monitor lizards chasing miniature turtles, providing amusement for the whole family! After a refreshing breakfast back at the hotel, opt for a change of transport and explore the city from the back of a motorcycle with the
folks from Best Bangkok Tours www.bestbangkoktours.com. The fun of buzzing through the city’s manic streets on mopeds with local drivers will have you craving for more. Typically, their standard tours last three hours and the guides will meet you at your hotel lobby. With your helmet on and sitting comfortably, the guides talk into your headset while you cruise slowly on the back of a scooter through all the main streets as well as the hidden passageways. If there are certain attractions you would like to see, and also those you don’t want to see, let them know ahead of time and they will customize the tour around your preferences. Along the way they’ll share extensive information on the different neighbourhoods, lifestyle, history and customs. Back at the hotel, if you have time before flying out, spend your remaining hours indulging in a traditional tea ceremony; a perfect way to round off a short break in this city of intoxicating contrasts.
July 2016 / InDepth Magazine 37
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO AUTOMOBILES Cameron Cooper talks cars and gonads.
ust like French words, there are masculine cars and feminine cars – except with cars you always know which is which. Or, at least, you should. A man’s car should ideally be the ultimate expression of selfishness, the one your wife doesn’t want you to have. We men seek power through our cars because we have so little of it in every other area of our lives. You have but one life. Live it with both gonads in full operation, or risk ending up a drawn spectre of remorse and resentment on your deathbed, correctly suspecting that
the first thing your wife will do with her new-found freedom and newlyacquired wealth is run out and buy herself a huge V-8 Lexus. The ideal car must reflect your personality and tell the whole world just what sort of guy you are. Carmakers know this, so there is a car purpose-built for everyone. So… be totally honest with yourself and use the handy list below to work out which vehicle is the right one for you.
1. The Bonehead Humvee – If you have delusions of soldiery, a tattoo of a snake on
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your face and see violence as the best way to solve your problems this, perhaps the most inexcusable vehicle ever made, is for you. Buy the largest model you can afford. No pedestrian will dare exercise their legal rights at crosswalks when they see you coming.
2. The Dude
BMW Z4 Hard Top Convertible – Designed by women (it’s true), for the man who wants a brand-new set of metal muscles, regardless of whether he has any of his own. With its laid-back cruiser driving position, you both feel and look cool driving it. Caution: Not a good choice if you are self-conscious about your bald patch.
3. High Bank Balance, Low Self Esteem, Slope Shouldered Worm Lamborghini Aventador – “The name’s ‘Genitals’… ‘Tiny Genitals’.” There is a good reason 007 has never driven a Lambo in 50 years of Bond films. While it is a hackneyed and annoying cliché that sporty cars are just a penis extension, in the case of this overcooked milliondollar compensator of physical shortcomings, no truer words have ever been spoken.
4. The Redneck
Pickup Truck. Anything large will do, but go for the Ford F-150, the bestselling four-wheeled vehicle in the world, and a tribute to Henry Ford’s original vision of the traffic-choked planet we inhabit today. Before you know it, you’ll be helping your Priusdriving friends haul their old stained mattresses to the dump.
5. The Sensitive New Age Guy
Toyota Prius – While it is almost a ‘chick car’ (see below), and one of the blandest and ugliest cars Toyota has ever built (and they’ve built a few), this will win you huge points with a certain type of woman who will be lured into thinking you care about the planet, and by illogical extension, will display the same care and sensitivity to her – which you will… at first.
July 2016 / InDepth Magazine 39
DRESSED FOR SUCCESS Jessica Mudditt talks with Myat Kaung Min, Managing Director of men’s tailor’s Scott & Co. about the changing face of fashion in Myanmar.
Myat Kaung Min, Managing Director of Scott & Co. Photos by Hong Sar
yat Kaung Min was interning at Yoma Strategic Holdings when he was struck with an idea for a new business. “My trousers were loose so I took them to a tailor’s and asked for them to be fixed. The tailor messed it up completely – they came back looking like farmer’s pants, with the hem way above my ankles.” Needless to say the trousers never saw the light of day again, but the experience convinced Myat Kaung Min that there was a gap in Yangon’s market for a premium tailor. He set about finding investors and was determined to have his business up and running according to the schedule he set –
which was just three months after first conceiving the idea.
ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).
“I’m a stickler for meeting timelines – by hook or by crook I told myself it would happen. I even waited outside an investor’s house for a couple of hours just to get a signature on the paperwork. I made it happen because I don’t like things to drag along. That’s the way things work in Myanmar, so you need to be thick skinned if you want to do things differently,” he told InDepth.
“I felt that if I waited until I graduated and didn’t have a sizeable business by 2018 [when Myanmar joins AEC] the market could be flooded,” he said.
Part of the urgency was driven by an awareness that the clock is ticking towards the beginning of Myanmar’s involvement in the
40 InDepth Magazine / July 2016
Myat Kaung Min took a semester off his studies in business and liberal arts at the National University of Singapore in order to ensure that Scot & Co was registered by mid-January. The 23-year-old businessman is confident that there is a significant number of men who will seek out Scot & Co’s services.
“A lot of foreign investment is coming in and Myanmar will start to change at a breakneck pace. Maybe the mandarin collar and lungyi will be worn forevermore, but I feel that the more we go overseas, the more important sartorial will become. The suit may become the next in-thing. I want Scot & Co to be associated with the journey Myanmar is making from pariah state to international partner.” Myat Kaung Min described himself as a “patriotic person who is proud of Myanmar traditions.” However, he said that the lungyi has practical limitations in the modern era.
Suits you, Sir
“Lungyis are very comfortable, but if it’s raining heavily and you have a phone in one hand and an umbrella in another and your lungyi is about to fall off… Well that becomes very inconvenient.” He added that the lungyi will remain a quintessential symbol of Burmese culture but that some change is simply inevitable. “I see it being phased out of non-essential events. I know that’s a very controversial thing to say. But my question is:
how long will we hold on before we make this transition?” He cited Yangon City Development Committee as an example of having switched from lungyis to trousers for staff for purely practical reasons. Scott & Co is named after the Scottish journalist and colonial administrator George Scott, who helped establish British colonial rule in Myanmar and introduced football to the country. He is also the namesake of Scott Market, which is nowadays better known as Bogyoke Market. The fact that Scott’s heyday was almost a century ago is irrelevant, he said. Scott & Co prides itself on not being a slave to fashion. As Oscar Wilde once famously mocked, “Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.” “For us, style is timeless – we offer the classics. When it comes to our tie offerings, for example, we don’t have the skinny ones.”
"Fusion fashion ...anyone?"
Double-breasted suits that hark back to the 1920s have been
Scott & Co’s creative team is also comprised of Yin, who studied at Singapore Academy of Fine Arts and General Manager Ye Thway Aung, who was trained at Saville Row in London. The famous street is where the word ‘bespoke’ originates from and its history of top-end tailoring dates back more than 200 years.
"Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months"
When asked who the world’s best dressed man is, the reply comes immediately and in virtually in unison: Prince Charles.
adapted to the local context, with wool, linen and cotton used in favour of a heavier material, such as tweed. Scott & Co has 700 different types of fabrics, much of which comes from Australia. The boutique store on University Avenue Road is tastefully designed and filled with old world charm. It even features a sliding bookshelf that leads to a ‘secret room’ changing room – it’s like something straight out of a James Bond film.
“He out-dresses everyone in the Royal Family. All his clothes are tailored by Anderson Shepherd from Saville Row and his personal sense of style fits his personality perfectly,” said Ye Thway Aung, who is adamant that he dresses far better than both his sons. Scot & Co has plans to “expand aggressively”, with trunk shows held in cities such as Mandalay, as well as launching a collaboration with Spanish shoe-maker Yanko. By the end of the year, Scot & Co will reveal its ladies corporate suit line – which will no doubt please the fussiest of dressers.
July 2016 / InDepth Magazine 41
GOOD THINGS BREWING Ma Thuzar Myint has been involved in Myanmar’s food and beverage industry for more than two decades. She tells Jessica Mudditt of her passion for improving service and hygiene standards.
Ma Thuzar Myint is keen to stress the importance of hygiene in her products Photo by Hong Sar
a Thuzar Myint is the owner of Nature’s Own Preserves, Shwe Yin Mar Coffee, and Vice-President of Myanmar Chef’s Association. Her father, an Armenian, started the family’s coffee business in Yangon in 1982 – a year before she completed her degree as a chemical engineer and postgraduate food programmer in Singapore.
By the time Myanmar’s economy had started to open up in the nineties, Ma Thuzar Myint was leading the company and supplying coffee to all the prestigious hotels. Her business partner was the son of the country’s military intelligence, Khin Nyunt, whom she credits with creating a coffee culture in Myanmar through his Café Aroma business. During the years both
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father and son spent under house arrest, her business took a dip. “Nowadays, the coffee market is very competitive because so many businesspeople have come to Myanmar and awareness about coffee is high.” It’s so high, in fact, that competition has meant Shwe Yin Mar Coffee
hasn’t put up her prices up in eight years. However, Ma Thuzar Myint said that she’s able to compete against the slew of foreign brands that have entered Myanmar’s market by keeping her profit margins low, and because the cost of labour remains relatively cheap. She told InDepth that her biggest overhead is transport, as supplies must be sent individually to the 20
Citymart stores in Yangon – and on a weekly basis in order to maintain freshness. “It’s very time consuming – a lot of time is wasted in traffic,” she lamented. Ma Thuzar Myint said she steers clear of importing raw materials from China for her preserves, due to quality concerns. “I only source from the United States and France. Myanmar hoteliers and consumers are extremely price conscious so they tend not to order my brands. Their only focus is on their profits. I’m a chemical engineer and I studied food programming at the post-graduate level, so I understand the importance of hygiene.” She supplies primarily to foreign food and beverage managers and has peace of mind in the knowledge that everything she puts out in the market is completely safe for the consumer, “I can feed my products to my granddaughter – it’s not harmful.” Over the years, in her position as vice-president of the Myanmar Chefs Association (MCA), Ma Thuzar Myint has repeatedly provided safety and hygiene training to members of Myanmar’s food and beverage industry. However, she said she remains frustrated by what appears to be a lack of willingness to embrace higher standards in hygiene. “Unfortunately, the attitude is that doing something like washing your hands or putting your hair in a hair-net is an extra job that doesn’t need to be done.” She said that the primary obstacle to better education across the food and beverage industry – which is growing enormously due to the influx of tourists – is the lack of specialised training institutions in Myanmar. She believes such institutions are critical to developing improved, industry-wide standards.
"I only source from the United States and France. Myanmar hoteliers and consumers are extremely price conscious so they tend not to order my brands" “Myanmar people don’t want to spend money on technicians and there is also a lack of equipment. Thailand has so many universities for food technology, but in Myanmar there is no institute for food science and technology. This is something we must change.” She expressed eagerness for the new government to tackle the problem of unhygienic street food and said that the Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) should provide public health training to vendors and undertake strict monitoring of hygiene standards after issuing permits to vendors. She told InDepth that she has some concerns about local food manufacturers keeping with increased competition when Myanmar joins the ASEAN Economic Community at the start of 2018. However, Ma Thuzar Myint said she welcomes major global brands such as Unilever and Nestle, who have set up manufacturing plants in Myanmar. “Our country has a lot of good land and soil – we can grow anything. I am happy to see products sold at the finished stage because there’s value added. I welcome increased foreign investment in Myanmar.”
July 2016 / InDepth Magazine 43
THE WEST BAR & GRILL By Ben Hopkins
The West’s authenticity lies in its rustic veneer. A bull’s skull and horns woven together with wire and bolts looks down on the crowd while the wooden and stone interior is warm and comfortable without being cheesy. Just like you’d expect a bar to be back in the glory days of John Wayne. Enjoy y'all.
here’s enough space to swing a lasso at The West Bar & Grill, where beer is served in litre jugs and the menu almost drips with the succulence of red meat. On the night I claimed my seat on the first floor balcony, a live Myanmar band echoed the sounds of Arizona while long tables full of party goers clashed their litre jugs to celebrate the coming weekend. Others paid more attention to live sports beamed down from the wide screen TV while over in a far corner couples smooched and barflies hovered. The West is a venue for everyone. As you’d expect, the menu is western with pasta, pizza, burgers and grills ranging from 8,000K for a Pizza Margarita to 38,900K for a
250-gram slab of Australian Angus Tenderloin. If there’s still space after that try the Red Devil’s Pancake oozing strawberry sauce and ice cream at only 6,900K.
If you’ve eaten, no worries, the endless cocktails, mocktails, wine beer and whisky by the gallon at reasonable prices make The West Bar & Grill an ideal night out for diners and drinkers alike.
THE WEST BAR & GRILL Sandwich and Coffee Bar: 6 am until 3 pm Bar & Grill: 5 pm until midnight. Opening Hours: 6:00 AM — 3:00 PM & 5:00 PM — 11:00 PM Pearl Condo, Building D, Ground floor, 12 Kabar Aye Pagoda Road, Bahan Township, Yangon, Myanmar 09 252 888 738
ARTISAN LUNCH AT VESTIGE By Richie Chan What It Is - A casual dining concept in a mid-town accessible retail mall that offers business set meals and a good variety of local, Asian and fusion a la carte dishes at affordable prices. The name “Vestige” according to the owner was first conceptualized to signify the opening up from isolation that is Myanmar. Vestige Café marks the brand’s first foray into the food and beverage business, offering lighthearted traditional Myanmar dishes. The brainchild behind the concept explained that it offers street food and snacks, like those typically found in downtown Chinatown, but in a setting that is ‘super-hygienic’, modern and internationally appealing.
Atmosphere - Vestige’s menu is impressive on several points, especially as a design enthusiast: 1) printed on slightly-smaller-than-A3 off-white recycled fiber paper reinforces the Vestige brand and narrative, and the owner’s attention to detail in decoration. 2) the menu, crafted by the owners and chefs themselves, reads affordable prices of hassle-free business set meals and a la carte dishes that included predominantly traditional local fare (tea leaf salads, soups, etc.). Recommendations - 6 business set menus (5,000 Ks), which consists of rice, steamed duck, baby dry fish and kale oyster sides. It was served almost instantly (plus point for busy people) and the portion was reasonable. The baby dry fish were flavorful, as was the kale with
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a tinge of sweetness in the gravy. Fuss-free and satisfying. I had also gotten to try one of their highlights: Ikan Bakar (oven-baked seabass fish fillet with homemade spicy chilli marination wrapped in banana leaf, 3,000 Ks). What really stood out for me throughout the whole dining experience was the humble traditional beverage Kachin Ale (comes in regular or special, 5001,000 Ks). Whether it’s the first sip upon arrival at the café, inbetween each course, or to round up the meal, each sip was always
refreshingly and contrastingly pleasant-sweet – kind of like Korean rice wine. Final thoughts - the café’s easy accessibility, environment, affordable menu prices, high standards of hygiene and quality, makes this establishment an ideal venue for authentic traditional Myanmar and quick Asian fixes, there’s something for everyone.
Second Floor of Myanmar Plaza on Kabar Aye Pagoda Road
MYANMAR HOROSCOPE Tetkatho Soe Moe Naing has a Science Degree Major in Mathematics from Yangon University. Currently, he is writing articles and horoscopes for monthly magazines and weekly journals in Myanmar. In Myanmar astrology, star signs are determined by which day you were born.
SUNDAY ▪▪ Disquieting Time Speculation must be avoided at all costs. You are likely to pay a very high price indeed if you try to make easy money through gambling. Tips and information that are passed to you –however well-meaning the source - will not pay the dividends that you had wanted. You may be a little bored with routine matters.
Love - There should be great affection between your lover and you. Business - Expect an excellent start to this month. You will have plenty of time with all of the jobs that you wish to wind up, including the payment of outstanding bills that should have been settled before month ended. Lucky number - 5, 2, 4 Lucky color - Black, Grey
MONDAY ▪▪ Silent Time Every ass loves to hear himself bray. Some person will stop talking their success. If you want to be influent on people, you should avoid no stop talking about your success and ability. You should praise other people's ability and conquer. During this month, silent will be the best policy for you.
Love - You will be difficult to retell your love-story. You lovestory will be serious. You will not easy to solve this love's problem. Business - You will meet new business partners. You will
develop computer program for your business. Your management skill is very high. Your image, in your business, will be excellent. Lucky number - 2, 5, 8, 0 Lucky colour - Purple
TUESDAY ▪▪ Struggle Time You realize that life can be a struggle. Too often you walk slowly through life, but a change in attitude will bring about excellent results. This month will be good month for you. Everything will turn out alright. You should drink a cup of milk to health.
Love - You will love your lover more than everything in the world. Your lover will be attractive with a casual style. Business - In Business, you will reap rewards from export and import. You will upgrade your machinery for business and recover the costs. Lucky number - 3, 6, 5, 8 Lucky colour - Violet
WEDNESDAY ▪▪ Popular Time Your smart ideas and style will make you popular in your environment. This will make you feel proud as you discuss serious matters with family members. You will receive a fancy present from friends. If you obey your parents' advice, your health and wealth will increase in life.
Love - You will meet an intelligent lover. Love will blossom. You will choose the right lover.
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Business - You will be successful in your market because of your hard work and attractive method doing business. You have to make a business presentation in front of a large audience. Lucky number - 9, 6, 2, 5 Lucky colour - Ivory, Khaki, Brown
THURSDAY ▪▪ Lucky Time You will enjoy congratulations and applause. You will learn about computer software and hardware. You will be confident in yourself and noticed in your environment because of your fashionable style. Try to avoid being over talkative. During this month, you will solve important matters. You could be in luck so don't forget to buy lottery tickets.
Love - Love will appear in your heart. Love will bring you trouble. If you can control your feelings, love-affairs will be okay. Business - Your product will be famous for its attractive design. You will be excited by your enormous income. You will be outstanding in your field of work. You will be proud. Lucky number - 1, 2, 4, 7 Lucky colour - Orange
FRIDAY ▪▪ Valuable Time You will spend your time focusing on an important goal. You will be popular in your environment because of your elegant style. You will be artistic but temperamental and ready to complain. You will be
troubled by worry. Don’t forget, smoking is a bad habit, give it up.
Love - There will be a fine balance between right and wrong. Listen to what other people say and avoid making easy promises. Business - You will supervise your workers carefully. You will start to plan a new project. You will get success by fulfilling customer's desires and needs. Lucky number - 1, 4, 9 Lucky colour - White
SATURDAY ▪▪ Review Time If you hear gossip take note of what people say and consider their words. You will lead and take responsibility for your family’s happiness. Travel and adventure will bring you new and valuable experiences. If you give up smoking, you will be more healthy and wealthy.
Love - Control your feelings and emotions and you will be happier in love. Business - You will face changes, including repairs and renovation to your office. If you manage the changes in an organized manner, your business will benefit. You will contact business partners from foreign countries. Lucky number - 2, 8, 9 Lucky colour - Dark Tetkatho Soe Moe Naing has practiced astrology and Burmese traditional medicine for 40 years. Contact: 09 501 2 767
Organisations in Partnership with the MYANMORE Card:
MYANMORE CARD 00000001
Restaurants 999 Shan Noodle House - 10% off total bill - Valid on weekends only, 1 pax per card Bulgogi Brothers - 10% off total bill - Free-flow coke, sprite & max orange - No room charge and no corkage fee - Valid everyday The Corriander Leaf - 15% off total bill - Valid everyday Cousins Bar & Grill - 20% off total bill - Valid everyday, 10 pax per card DiVINO - 10% off total bill for lunch and dinner - Valid everyday, max. 4 pax per card, advanced booking required - Not valid for set menu, business lunch and promotions Edo Zushi Japanese Restaurant - 10% off total bill - Valid everyday, 1 group per card, advanced booking required Eliq Restaurant - 10% off total bill - Valid everyday, 1 pax per card, advanced booking required Green Elephant Restaurant (Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan) - 5% off total bill - Valid everyday Gringo Chilangos - 5% off total bill (excluding any happy hour 2-for-1 purchase) - Valid for individual or group bill (max. 10 pax) - Offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other pre-existing discount arrangements the cardholder may have with Gringo Chilangos - Valid everyday, max. 10 pax per card Harley’s - Buy a regular set meal menu and upsize for free - Valid everyday, 2 pax per card L’Opera Italian Restaurant and Bar - 10% off a la carte bill (not valid for set menu, business lunch and promotions) - 10% off “Romantic Packages” (for couples) - Valid everyday, for up to 8 pax, cash payment only La Carovana - 10% off total bill - Valid everyday (closed on Mondays), 6 pm - 11 pm MOJO - Free glass of house wine, beer or soft drink with dinner - Valid from Sundays to Thursdays, min. order of 1 main course per pax, for max. 2 pax per card Monsoon Restaurant and Bar - 10% off a la carte bill - Valid everyday, 4 pax per card
Orchid Hotel - 10% off restaurant charges - Free fruit tray upon arrival - Valid everyday, 1 pax per card
Vintage Luxury Yacht Hotel - 15% off food and drinks - Valid everyday, for 10 pax
Padonmar Restaurant - 10% off total food bill for a min. order of 2 dishes per pax - Not valid for set menus - Valid everyday, 4 pax per card
Club 5 @ PARKROYAL Hotel - 15% off bottles of wine and hard liquor - Valid from Mondays to Fridays, not valid for loose drinks
PARKROYAL Hotel - Lobby Bar - 15% off food and drinks, except happy hours - Valid from Mondays to Fridays Spice Brasserie - 15% off food and drinks - Valid Mondays to Fridays, advaced booking required Si Chuan Dou Hua - 15% off food and drinks - Valid from Mondays to Fridays, advanced booking required Shiki Tei - 15% off food and drinks - Valid from Mondays to Fridays, advanced booking required Chatrium Hotel The Emporia Restaurant - 10% savings on daily rate - Valid everyday, 2 pax per card, advanced booking is required Tiger Hill Chinese Restaurant - 15% savings on dim sum lunch (min. order for 2 pax) - Valid everyday, 4 pax per card, advanced booking is required Kohaku Japanese Restaurant - 15% savings on a la carte menu or set menu for lunch - Valid everyday, 4 pax per card, advanced booking is required Port Autonomy - 10% off total bill except happy hour - Valid everyday (closed on Mondays) Rose Garden Hotel The Portico Cafe & Lounge - 10% off daily business lunch - Valid on food items only, on weekdays, 1 pax per card Taing Yin Thar - 10% off total food bill - Valid everyday, 15 pax per card The Manhattan Fish Market - 30% off desserts for any main dish purchased - 50% off desserts for hot or cold drink purchased between 2 pm and 6 pm - Valid everyday, up to 12 pax per card The Myths Bar & Restaurant - 10% off total bill - Valid everyday The Pizza Company - 10% discount everyday (cannot be used with other promotions) - Valid for 1 [ax per card - Deals applicable to the following outlets: Dagon Centre 1Myaynigone Ocean Shwe Gon Daing- Tamwe Junction Junction Maw Tin Myanmar Plaza
Bars & Clubs
Club Rizzoli @ Chatrium Hotel - 20% savings on total bill - Valid from Saturdays and Sundays, 10 pm onwards, up to 6 pax per card Space Bar - 10 % off total bill - Valid from Mondays to Thursdays The New Boris - 10% off all drinks - Valid everyday, 4 pm till late Veranda Bar @ Rose Garden Hotel - Buy one cocktail-of-the-day, get one free (from 4 pm to 6:30 pm) - Valid everyday, 1 pax per card Retro Bar @ Hotel 63 - Last tequila every Friday and Saturday - Gets a round of Carvino tequila shot - 10% discount on food - Valid only on Fridays and Saturdays - Valid for 1-5 pax per card
Cafes D Bistro - 15% off on all types of coffee before 12 pm (weekdays only) - 10% off total bill - Valid everyday, 1 pax per card Gusto Cafe - 10% off total bill - Valid everyday, 1 pax per card Nervin Cafe and Bistro - 15% off on all beverages - Valid on weekdays, 1 bill per card (cannot be combined with other discounts and promotions) WTC - World Training Center - 10% off entire selection of coffees - Valid everyday, for 2 pax Meringue Cafe - 30% off total bill from 2 pm to 5 pm, every Monday - Promotion is for dine-in customers only - Terms & conditions apply Cafe @ Residence 26 - 10% discount on food & beverage - Not valid for promotions - Valid everyday, 5 pm - 9 pm, max. 2 pax per card
Desserts Snow Factory - 10% off Snow Flake menu - 10% off Coffee menu - Valid everyday, 2 pax per card Swensen’s - 10% discount everyday (cannot be used with other promotions) - Valid for 1 pax per card - Deals are applicable to the following outlets:
Dagon Centre 1 Myaynigone Ocean Shwe Gon Daing - Tamwe Junction Junction Maw Tin Myanmar Plaza
Wellbeing California Skin Spa - 20% off selected facial and full body treatments - Valid everyday, 2 pax per card, advanced booking required D Spa - 15% off total bill for 1 pax, 20% off total bill for 2 pax - Valid from Mondays to Thursdays, 11 am 3 pm, advanced booking recommended - 10% off total bill for 1 pax,15% off total bill for 2 pax - Valid on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, advanced booking recommended
DEALS Gyms Balance Fitness - 15% off 6-months or 1-year membership contract - Discount cannot be used with other promotions - Valid everyday, 1 pax per card Chatrium Health Club - 10% savings rate - Valid everyday, 2 pax per card, advance booking required
Shopping Daily Mart - Free delivery for orders up to 30,000 Ks - 5% off total bill for orders above 30,000 Ks - Min. delivery: 10,000 Ks - Valid everyday, 9 am 5 pm,1 pax per card
First Thai Spa - 10% off total bill for 1 pax, 20% off total bill for 2 pax - Valid from Mondays to Fridays, 2 pax per card
Monument Books - A bookstore known for its wide selection of English language books - 15% off on weekdays, 10% off on weekends - Valid everyday, 1 pax per card
Inya Day Spa - 15% discount on all spa services - 10% discount on Thai body massage - Valid everyday, 1 pax per card, ad- vanced booking recommended
Patrick Robert The Gallery - 10% discount for all showroom items - Export orders and credit card payments not included - Valid everyday (closed Sundays), 1 pax per card
PARKROYAL Fitness & Spa - 15% off spa treatments, except happy hours - Valid from Mondays to Fridays, advanced booking required
Select Boutique the Thiripyitsaya - 10% off all jewellery - Valid everyday (closed on Tuesdays)
Reveal - Eminence Hair Removal - 20% off one waxing service per bill - 10% off 1 I2PL (SHR IPL) service per bill - Valid everyday, 2 pax per card, advanced booking required Spa Elements - 15% off JAMU pre- and postnatal care packages - 10% off Face, Body and Foot Spa / Mani-Pedis / Hair / Waxing and scrub - Valid on Mondays and Wednesdays, 1 pax per card The Bodyguard - A hair salon and massage parlour designed by men, for men only - 15% off from 10:30 am to 5:30 pm - Valid everyday, 2 pax per card Vintage Luxury Yacht Hotel - 10% off all spa treatments - Valid everyday, up to 10 pax, advanced booking recommended Yangon Hair & Beauty Center - 20% off any single treatment - 10% off packages - Valid weekdays, 1 pax per card Yves Rocher Spa - 10% off total bill - Valid everyday, one pax per card Sapel Spa @ Hotel 63 - 2 beers or cocktails after spa treatment - Valid for all days - Valid for 1-5 pax per card
The Warehouse - 15% off total bill - Valid everyday, 1 pax per card Vestige Mercantile & Relics - 10% off total bill - Valid everyday at the following stores: Vestige Flagship Store, Yangon Vestige Kiosk, Avenue 64 Hotel. Vestige Flagship Store, Nay Pyi Taw - Valid everyday, 1 pax per card Yves Rocher - 10% off all products - Valid everyday, 1 pax per card
Activities WTC - World Training Center - 5% off barista & bakery classes - Valid everyday, 1 pax per class
Hotels Amata Hotels My Bagan Residence - 5% off room - 10% off food - 10% off spa treatments at Nibbana Spa - 2 pax per card, advanced booking required Amata Hotels Riverside Hsipaw Resort - 5% off room - 10% off food - 10% off spa treatments at Nibbana Spa - 2 pax per card, advanced booking required Grand Laurel Hotel - 10% off on published room rates for all room types
- Free welcome drink - Free use of hotel gym during stay Hotel 51 - 15% off on all room types - Valid everyday, 1 pax per card Hotel Red Canal - 10% off spa treatments (ladies only) - 10% off total bill at the Garden Restaurant - 2 pax per card, advanced booking required Inle Lotus Hotel - 20% off total bill, including ticketing, rentals, trekking - Valid everyday, 3 rooms per card, advanced booking required Orchid Hotel - 10% off on all published room rates - 10% off restaurant charges - Free fruit tray upon arrival - Valid from Sundays to Thursdays, 1 pax per card, advanced booking required Platinum Hotel (4 outlets in Yangon) - 20% off on published room rates - Valid everyday, 1 room per card, at Hotel Platinum Tamwe Mini Platinum Guesthouse Bahan Platinum Riverview Hotel Dagon Royal Platinum Hotel Bahan Thahara (www. thahara.com) - 5% off published rates for all package bookings from October to April - 10% off published rates for all package bookings from May to September - Valid everyday, 2 pax per card, advanced booking required Vintage Luxury Yacht Hotel - 10% off all room rates - Valid everyday Golden Silk Road Hotel - 5% discount on room charges, Mondays to Fridays - 2 pax per card Hotel 63 - Be local, 39,000 Ks compulsory rooms without breakfast (Check-in 12 pm / Check-out 12 pm) - Valid from Mondays to Thursdays, valid for 1-5 pax per card, email reservation required Summit Parkview Hotel - 10% discount on food and beverage at Cafe, Dagon Bar & Pastry Counter - Valid everyday, 5 pax per card, advanced booking required
Services Hintha Business Centers - One hour free wifi + a cup of gourmet coffee once a month - 10% off meeting room rentals - 10% off hot-desking packages (daily, weekly, monthly) - 2-for-1 on hourly hot-desking rental - Valid everyday, 1 pax per card, advanced booking recommended
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