In search of fame and fortune at Myanmar’s finishing schools

Knees pressed together and sitting bolt upright, Myanmar students watch a demonstration on personal grooming, the latest batch at a Yangon finishing school chasing dreams of celebrity and success. A small but rapidly growing middle class in the once-cloistered nation is seizing the chance to master western manners after decades of military rule ended in […]

Sex, knives and videotape

The sequins are being sewn on, the make-up boxes re-stocked, and girlish excitement is reaching fever point. Yet another high-profile beauty pageant – Miss Myanmar International 2015 – is about to take place in Yangon next month and the stage is once again being set for tiaras, tinsel – and tears. Myanmar’s opening-up has seen […]

In Myanmar, old gets new again

“Put thanakhar on both cheeks and wear your hair in a bun,” Myanmarese singer Thar Thar advised in a recent hit tune. “You look beautiful in your traditional Myanmar blouse.” It’s not just the song that was a hit – the traditional blouse he mentions is enjoying resurgence in popularity among young ladies, along with […]