Burmese Chronicles, continued


Burma is an open society. Most of life happens in plain view. There is an overwhelming sense of connectedness. Everybody’s acts are exposed.

burma-01Yangon cats are always lean. Unlike the monks.

chaosTraffic is the worst part of Yangon. The easiest way to get around the city is by taxi. They are everywhere.  The destructive effect of the car – as a transportation concept – is visible in every country but Burma is one of the worst examples. Not just the ecology but the destruction of the city as a communal form of living.

In fact, what the car does is turns every city to an anti-city. (The city as the idea of “Agora” in the  Antiquity.)  Most of us were born in anti-cities so we don’t know any better. But it pains me to see the destruction of a living Agora that’s going on right in front of you.


The massive invasion of cars is rapidly destroying both the ecology and the human connection. The traditional velo-taxis are still popular but they are assaulted by these road monsters.


People are poor but everyone seems to own a massive Japanese SUV. It certainly feels like Japan dumps its used cars here.

Japanese cars are made for driving on the left. The Burmese drive on the right. The chaos is unbelievable.

Most of Yangon consists of narrow streets with no sidewalks.  Every driver beeps when they approach you. The locals don’t seem to car  but it drives westerners crazy!


When it’s lunchtime, everybody goes out (or inside an air-con mall – depending on one’s income.)

Street dogs appear absolutely comfortable. Nobody minds them and there’s plenty of food. I heard rumors  that the government poisons them.



Lunch is a communal ritual thousands of people partake daily.


All business is done in cash. The Myanmar currency is called Kyat (pronounced chut). She keeps the bills in a plastic bag. Some people carry massive wads of cash.

It’s still a very cheap country. But the times are a-changing. Next year it would probably be a different country. More “advanced” in the Western sense. More banks, Burger Kings, ATMs, and alas even more cars.

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