Laukkai casinos thrive under military

Despite nine months of military rule and being declared illegal, the notorious casinos of Laukkai are still thriving in the conflict-torn region on the border with China. In their crisp uniforms, the hundreds of young men and women who work as croupiers have become a well-recognised symbol of the town. Police officers of the Kokang […]

What Burma’s general election means for British business

Burma, the last major territory among the world’s most populous 25 countries to emerge from an extended period of enforced isolation, goes to the polls on Sunday in its first openly contested general election since 1990. More than 90 parties are standing in the election, the first since a nominally civilian government was introduced in […]

Doing good in Myanmar is a murky business for foreign aid groups tied to powerful elites

YANGON, Myanmar – Staff hired to work with the U.S. government’s aid agency in Myanmar are preparing to move out of their office following revelations their landlord is a notorious former spymaster who oversaw the imprisonment and torture of thousands of pro-democracy activists. The debacle surrounding Development Alternatives Inc., a company contracted by USAID to […]

Obama’s West Point Speech Sparks Reaction in Myanmar

RANGOON — Politicians and activists in Rangoon have expressed mixed reactions after President Barack Obama claimed reform in Burma, also known as Myanmar, as a success for U.S. foreign policy. In a speech to graduates of the West Point military academy on Wednesday, Obama said that with the courage of the Burmese people, U.S. diplomatic […]

Asean Chair – Myanmar’s new challenge

YANGON – For years after joining the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in 1997, Myanmar was the regional albatross, dragging the group’s reputation down with its human rights record and refusal to ditch military rule.  The annual Southeast Asia summits, often lacking in other substance, became forums for western democracies and human rights groups […]

In Myanmar, Newly Free Media Struggle to Turn a Profit

YANGON, Myanmar — Myanmar’s journalists celebrated this year when the government lifted a five-decade ban on private newspapers. But six months after a dozen dailies rushed into production, journalists who had withstood the wrath and cruelty of a military dictatorship are struggling against something much more mundane: market forces. Despite expectations of pent-up demand, publishers […]

Big tobacco eyes Myanmar market

A smoky haze greets customers walking into any of Yangon’s tea shops as patrons light up hand-rolled cigarettes known locally as cheroots. Elsewhere in Myanmar’s main city, vendors sell cheap cigarettes smuggled from China to drivers stopped at traffic lights. The pavement is painted red with the spit of people chewing tobacco wrapped in betel […]

Myanmar growing at breakneck speed

When Singapore lawyer Chester Toh starting working in Yangon, Myanmar’s commercial centre, 18 months ago, his commute to the centre took 15 minutes; now it’s a 45-minute slog through increasingly clogged streets. Call it the price of progress, or reform to be more exact. Toh, a partner at law firm Rajah & Tann, told The […]