Tag Archives: Myanmar

Meet the Sensei Teaching Yangon’s LGBTQ Community to Fight Back

(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 […]

Yangon puts ‘girl power’ into green spaces

(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 […]

The children scavenging a living in Yangon’s slums

(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 […]

Myanmar’s nascent surfers make waves

(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, […]

Once-taboo language lives again in rural Myanmar

(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 […]

Myanmar’s ‘Valley of the Rubies’ emerges from shadows

(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 […]

Frenchman Setting the Bar for Myanmar Chocolate

(Irrawaddy, July 2017) KAREN STATE — In dense jungle about 20 kilometers northeast of Taungoo, Jean-Yves Branchard hacks at thickets of vine with a stubby machete, pausing to contemplate a cacao pod blackened with disease. “The price you pay for being organic,” sighs the Frenchman, as sweat washes flecks of soil from his heavy jowls. […]