New Values of Yangon – Myanmar

Let’s travel to Myanmar to learn about the new values of Yangon, a world where cultural and religious practices are constantly creating con...

Let’s travel to Myanmar to learn about the new values of Yangon, a world where cultural and religious practices are constantly creating contradictions but persist and growing.


Yangon has been “frozen” for almost 50 years under military dictatorship. Then one day Myanmar opened. On the street, you start to see all sorts of new things: red trucks with the Coca-Cola logo running all over the city, or even Unilever trucks featuring the singer My Linh advertising a brand of detergent (perhaps because the company has not yet launched a separate promotion campaign for the Myanmar market).

Near the Boyoke gems market with legendary artifacts, a Parkson has sprung up.

Coca-Cola's red truck stops right on Sule Pagoda. At the end of the road, in the middle of the square, is the Sule Pagoda, with its large yellow tower rising between the colonial administration colonial era.

Next to it is a mosque. Across the street, people of Indian descent are still working hard to sell their signature hot tea. Chinese people are watering the bowl of noodles. A new cafes open in this street corner.

Burmese people do not really "sit at coffee shops" in the usual way around the globe. It is a very new culture. They walk into a coffee shop, order a hot water bottle and a package of Nescafe - a new "cultural product" introduced a few years ago - then mixed and drunk.

Many civilizations coexist in a dense space, mixed together. Even centuries are parallel: at the beginning of this road are the big signage of Ooredoo - Qatar's enormous telecom operator, the hired tycoon on the other end and a public telephone booth, with a fixed phone pulled to the sidewalk.
Myanmar these days is a rare blend. Most "globalization" processes taking place elsewhere have been silently deployed for decades.

In Myanmar, the unique geography and history that has made them a gathering of cultures has been fueled by a sudden opening up after decades of closure.

Up to now, Coca-Cola, Ooredoo, Parkson, Nestlé still live well with old things.

One day, I walked into the Myanmar Times, the country's largest English-language newspaper. No papers, no appointment, I told myself from Vietnam to, want to meet someone who can chat about the press Myanmar. Very civilized and open, they agree.

Deputy General of the Myanmar Times came to me. The office is very beautiful. It is even more beautiful than many of the major US publishers that I have seen. Open space, exquisitely designed glass, steel and ceiling tiles - reminiscent of the headquarters of technology companies or are featured on the "architecture".

The conversations were comfortable. We also talked about politics. The English of the Deputy General is perfect. But what impressed me the most during the conversation was when he stood up midway, took off his longyi, revealing the underwear and then tied it again.

Longyi is a big scarf that Myanmar men wrap around their belly instead of a skirt. They do not wear pants in. The deputy editor-in-chief made the movement very natural, without showing any concern to the foreign guests in the room.

A modern English editorial board with international correspondents, Western democratic values, has nothing to do with his skirt.

On the roads Myanmar now has two red highlights. The color of the Coca-Cola brand is increasingly dense. And the red color of the betel leaves is spit out on the sidewalk into peculiar streaks.

The people still eat betel nuts, betel nut pieces are sold everywhere as cigarettes. It may take a while to see the change in the fate of betel nut or longyi. Now they are as natural as the breath of Myanmar.


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Cambodia Travel Forum: New Values of Yangon – Myanmar
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