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Typewriters business still in demand in Myanmar’s Yangon


Clickety-clack sounds coming from typewriters are heard along a busy old street in downtown area of Myanmar’s Yangon, bringing vibes back from bygone golden era of typewriters.

Along the sidewalk Maha Bandoola Park street, typists, mostly in middle ages, are seen busy hammering their fingers down on buttons of manual typewriters at stalls while their customers are sitting beside them, telling the typist what they want to type out or fill in the legal documents.

In past half-century before computers took over in Myanmar, typewriters ruled the market and clack-clack-clack sounds from the writing machines can be heard anywhere — in government offices, courthouses, companies and so on.

But, such old writing machines still provide a modest living for typists who still cling stubbornly and affectionately to them, a far cry from today’s modern computer age.

Their customers cover from individuals who want to fill out marriage certificates, documents to lawyers for legal papers in both Burmese and English typescript.

“Works to type up the pieces of writers and individuals become less in numbers, but on the other hand, filling out legal contracts and other notary works are enough to earn my living and to keep the business operating as well,” Daw Myint Myint Oo, a typist running her own shop for more than 20 years, told Xinhua.

She had worked at a courthouse for a decade in the past, and lawyers and attorneys close to her have become her everyday customers.

“It was something a must for one to be expert in typewriting if he or she wants to grab a job in government office or private companies in the past. So I had to join courses to be a certified typist,” she added.

During the modern computer age, typewriters market is well-equipped with not only manual typewriters but also electric ones in line with the transformation.

But, manual ones are mostly loved by typist as they can be run without any electricity, “a stool to sit, a document to type and of course, a typewriter, are all that I need to run a shop for my living,” said a typist named U Myat Kaung.

“Typewriters market is still alive, but human resources become less in number as one who can type a typewriter well isn’t enough to be a qualified one unless he or she has expertise in knowledge in respective fields, language, speed and accuracy. So, there are only few numbers of qualified typists left nowadays,” said U Myint Thein, owner of “Hein” typing and typewriters repair services shop and a typist himself.

From information security aspect, typewriters are only a choice for the clients who do not want to disclose their information to others as the work is known only between typist and the client, compared to the modern computers which are vulnerable to hacking.

Although no more new typewriters enter Myanmar’s market these days, the timeworn machines are refurbished and resold through auctions in the market.

Still, there are people who prefer such timeworn machines as a nostalgia. “Nothing can replace the authentic feel from my work or documents typed by the typewriters, even today’s modernized computers,” said Maung Kabar, an elderly writer, expressing his belief that his all-time favorite typewriters will stand still with its sentimental value in the market.

Source: Xinhuanet

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