Burmese Daze

09Jun08

My law abiding friend, Ray, snapped these photos on AirAsia last month. My first Myanmar article is out.

I am delighted and sad at the same time, and this is in light of the devastation brought about by Cyclone Nargis that struck the capital last month, the same month this article is published. Looking at photos of the damage over the Internet especially affected me. I recognise those streets. The streets with enormous trees splintered all across them. I recognise those buildings. Well, what’s left of them. Those faces. Unmistakably Burmese.

I was there. Just a matter of months ago. I was there, walking down the streets of Yangon as they converge around the magnificent Sule Paya. I was there, among the thousands of people coming and going right in the heart of the Yangon. Thousands and thousands of people in a hurry to get somewhere, to do something, to earn a living. Struggling, yes. Thriving, maybe even. Alive, definitely. I was there, sitting by the banks of the river watching boats bob over them as the sun begins to set.

I was there, on an adventure that tested the core of my gut (literally and figuratively) about what it is to be an independent Asian backpacker.

I learnt a lot on those streets. The side of the world which is insanely beautiful. The side of the world that could instantly drive me to tears. The good, the holy, the ugly, and the fine lines that divide the three.

I’d like to convey my appreciation to Ray and the others who have contacted me with regards to this article. I realise how important this particular piece is. Thanks!

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