(Nikkei Asian Review, June 2020) In 1987, when Khin Khin San was 13, she began selling bowls of mont ti fish soup under the shade of a tamarind tree in the western Myanmar state of Rakhine, where the rice noodle dish is fishier and fierier than elsewhere in the country. Sometimes she would hawk mont ti with […]

(The Sunday Times, May 2020)   Burma is historically familiar with ethnic strife. But now the land of maroon-robed monks is confronting discord of a different kind, as politicians, doctors and spiritual leaders turn on each other in a ferocious row about sex. The trouble erupted over a plan to update sex education in schools, […]

Myanmar’s lockdown will hit the urban poor hard. That’s inspiring charitable donation — and labor strikes.

(Vice Asia, December 2019) When martial artist Khin Cham Myae Thu began teaching free self-defence classes four years ago, she had no idea how important the weekend gatherings would become to members of Yangon’s LGBTQ community. She had been arming her neighbours with the skills they needed to defend themselves during summer classes but when […]

(Southeast Asia Globe, July 2019) 13-year-old Ei Ei Thein knows little of school life – she’s never been. But she could not have been more proud of the borrowed uniform she wore during a recent visit to one of the many scrap-dealers scattered through the slums circling Yangon. A pile of bottles spills beside her […]

(The Diplomat, June 2019) The moment Kay Khine Tun, 22, was arrested at her nursing job in Yangon Children’s Hospital, her father readied for an exhausting battle with his former employer, the Myanmar Army. “The military has no shame at all,” said Sein Mya, a 53-year-old taxi driver, as he spooned half a dozen sugars […]

(Nikkei Asian Review, October 2018) NGWE SAUNG, Myanmar — From a beachside perch next to a group of sunburned Japanese surfers, betelnut seller Let Let Khine studies a reedy figure being swallowed by a meter-high swell. It is the first time she has seen anyone on a surfboard. The surfer, her son Myat Thura Aung, […]

(Nikkei Asian Review, July 2018) LONE TON, Myanmar — A punchy cadence echoes from a one-story school building toward verdant mountains — the familiar sound of children reciting lines to learn a language. But in this part of northern Myanmar, speaking Shan-ni, the local dialect, only a decade ago was seen as taboo, and treated […]

(Nikkei Asian Review, August 2019) Hidden behind trees near a busy road in Yangon is a novel answer to two global hot-button issues: suffocating urbanization and sexual harassment. At one end of a newly-created park, a treehouse overlooks a wooden bridge, and at the other is a netted court where local boys play chinlone (caneball), Myanmar’s unofficial […]

(Nikkei Asian Review, April 2018) MOGOK, Myanmar — When the world hears about Mogok, it usually concerns some hefty ruby unearthed in the region and auctioned for millions of dollars — the kind of discovery that has dominated news about the remote gem-mining town for decades. But with gnawing anxieties over dwindling gem deposits, locals […]