History Comes Alive in Yangon

PROGRESS is inevitable in Yangon, in a country just opening up and changing after Aung San Suu Kyi’s victory in Myanmar’s first free election in 25 years. Mass tourism may even set in, which prompted me to take a week-long holiday in the nation’s former capital before it is awash with tourists. In a frenzy […]

Myanmar’s highest Buddhist authority bars radical nationalist group

Myanmar’s top Buddhist authority banned a hardline monks’ group on Tuesday, raising pressure on extremists after they barred a firebrand monk from public sermons and authorities arrested several Buddhist nationalists. The radical group known by its Burmese initials Ma Ba Tha was declared illegal and “no person or organization” is allowed to use its name, […]

Deadly secret: The illegal abortions killing Myanmar’s women

Yangon, May 2 (AFP) Thiri’s heart started pounding and her whole body shook after she swallowed the final dose of pills that would end her unwanted pregnancy in a Yangon hotel. Her boyfriend had abandoned her after finding out she was pregnant — a familiar story in Myanmar, where many consider women “ruined” if they […]

The land of the $20 smartphone

“This one $40, this one $30 … that one $20!” The owner of the street stall, a man of about 30 years wearing a traditional longyi tied around his waist, is gesturing at a phone that looks, to my eyes, like a mid-range Android phone. It bears the brand Singtech, a brand among myriad others […]

Myanmar’s Garment Industry Holds Unique Opportunity

Just as I return from visiting garment factories in Myanmar, a stream of press attention focuses on challenges facing this area. Although there are challenges, my trip has only made me believe in the unique opportunity this country represents to change the future of how our clothing is made. Amidst the media headlines there lies […]

Workers Left in Lurch By Overseas Employment Agency Seek Compensation

Eighteen Myanmar migrant workers are seeking additional compensation from the Perfect Company employment agency over what they say is its failure to accept responsibility for the joblessness to which they were subjected upon arriving in Thailand. That denial is in violation of an intergovernmental memorandum of understanding (MoU), the workers and the Confederation of Trade […]

A Land Eager to Look Rich: Luxury Brands Edge Into Myanmar

YANGON, Myanmar — “Every man has a crazy hobby,” said U Thiri Thein Than, an automotive engineer from Yangon who also has a home in Tokyo. “For me, it’s cars and watches.” For years Mr. Thiri Thein Than, 40, has done his higher-end shopping overseas. But in March, he visited a boutique that the Swiss […]

Myanmar tourism boom set to bring 7.5m visitors a year

YANGON (AFP) – Myanmar is hoping to lure 7.5 million tourists a year by 2019, an official said on Tuesday (Aug 2), as the impoverished former junta-ruled nation emerges as one of Southeast Asia’s hot destinations. Travel to the once-cloistered country used to be reserved for the well-heeled and intrepid, prepared to endure the travails […]

Myanmar census data undercuts Buddhist hardliner claims

NAY PYI TAW: Muslims make up just over two per cent of Myanmar’s population, government census figures showed on Thursday (Jul 21), undercutting claims by Buddhist hardliners that Islam poses a threat to the dominance of their faith. Full details from the 2014 count, the first of its kind in decades, was withheld for almost […]