From ‘invisible’ to man in Myanmar spotlight

Tall, soft-spoken and almost self-effacing, Mr Htin Kyaw will on Wednesday be the focus of a handover ceremony in Naypyitaw. The next day, the 69-year-old will assume his duties as Myanmar’s first civilian president since 1962, and will preside over a fractious and volatile country in a still-fragile experiment with democracy. Pundits and the media […]

From icon to politician – As Myanmar changes, so does Suu Kyi

When Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi spoke warmly on a recent radio show about a critical meeting that followed her landslide election victory, she was referring to talks with the very man who had detained her for 15 years. Listeners might have been surprised by the Nobel peace laureate’s gentle tone towards Than Shwe, former […]

China or India: Difficult choice for new Myanmar government

Even as the Aung San Suu Kyi-led National League for Democracy (NLD) is expected to form a new government in Myanmar, China has lost no time in diagnosing the import of the party’s victory and is all set to recalibrate its policy towards the country to steal a march over India towards gaining a deeper […]

The untold love story of Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi

When I began to research a screenplay about Aung San Suu Kyi four years ago, I wasn’t expecting to uncover one of the great love stories of our time. Yet what emerged was a tale so romantic – and yet so heartbreaking – it sounded more like a pitch for a Hollywood weepie: an exquisitely […]

‘Zawtika’ Khin Hlaing: We Should Enter Parliament to Legislate, Not to Obstruct

Late last year, Khin Hlaing was part of a pioneering group of four candidates to win elected office in a Rangoon municipal poll that saw the Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) gain a semblance of accountability to voters for the first time. Less than a year later, the businessman turned city official has his sights […]

The struggle to save Yangon’s architectural heritage

Shepherding a flock of tourists through the traffic-congested streets of Yangon, formerly known as Rangoon, a local tour guide shouts over the roar of oncoming vehicles. Here, on Bogolay Zay Street amid the moss-covered, weather-stained, early-20th Century facades in the historic centre of the city, the history of the colonial buildings that make up old […]

Myanmar’s Royal Legacy

When you visit the home of the long-lost heir to the Burmese throne, you’re not supposed to sit on a chair. Nor are you to sit on the wooden bench, above which hang black and white family portraits, including an image of Queen Supalayat and King Thibaw, the last in a line of absolute rulers. […]