Yangon revisited

Three years passed since my last visit to Myanmar, many changes happens in the country… since 2014, the military government that run the country since 1962 was pushed away, the first democratic election gave a smashing victory to the National League for Democracy, open the door for the elections of the first non-military president in 54 years, resulting in big political, economic and social reforms in a country that conquer again the freedom of speech. Aung San Suu Kyi, the face of the fight for freedom, human rights and democracy in Myanmar is now everywhere, more visible than ever, has her father, Aung San, whose features are printed on the old kyat bill, that people proudly hang on the house walls.

Despite all these positive changes, Myanmar is still far from be a pacified country: nowadays fights resulting from ethnic conflicts still going on between the army and “rebel” groups in Shan hills, and religious and ethnic differences are responsible for the massacre of the Rohingya people in Rakhine State, in a country where the Buddhism is the dominant religion and where the monks play a strong influence in the rule of Myanmar.

Yangon... Where bodhi tree grows freely on the buildings, taking advantage of the wall cracks, softening the austerity of colonial British-style buildings
Yangon… Where bodhi trees grow freely on the old buildings, taking advantage of the wall cracks, softening the austerity of colonial British-style buildings

But all these don’t change much the life at the old capital of Myanmar, before called Rangon, where the old colonial buildings keep the decadent charm, resulting of years of neglect…

…where a layer of mold slowly takes over the blue and green pale color of the walls…

…where bodhi trees grow freely on the old buildings, taking advantage of the wall cracks, softening the austerity of colonial British-style buildings…

…where the pigeons wait patiently aligned along electric cables, nearby a corner where a corn seller wait for customers that will come to create good karma feeding the birds…

…where every morning monks walk along the city begging for alms, dyed the street with the maroon color.

…where the markets keep their usual fuss, and where the smell of dry fish mixes with the fermented bamboo sprouts, with the people’s voices muting the beeps of the cars…

…where fortune tellers and astrologers wait for customers on the shade of a tree, in a country where the Buddhism didn’t erase totally superstition and the animist traditions…

…where reading the news is an almost mandatory activity between male citizens, no matter religion or ethnic group…

…where the rickshaw drivers wait quietly indifferent to the busy traffic of the city, chewing paan or smoking a cigar…

…where the street food is present everywhere, following a precise but indecipherable schedule, with a paratha stall vanish and replaced by a paan hawker in a blink…

…where a Synagogue is located a few meters from a Buddhist temple, from where you can see the minaret of the mosque, while listening to the sound of the bells from the Hindu temple…

…where the teahouses, remind us of the Chinese presence, a heritage of the Chinese presence in the country, serve an excessively sweetened milk tea mixed with the sound of the male chat, under the freshness of the lazy ceiling fans…

…where the smiles pop up easily from any faces revealing, most of the times, the teeth red dyed by the areca nut and the betel leaf, as chewing paan is a national addiction.

Yangon... where the smiles pop up easily from any faces revealing, most of the times, the teeth red dyed by the areca nut and the betel leaf, as chewing paan is a national addiction
Yangon… where the smiles pop up easily from any faces revealing, most of the times, the teeth red dyed by the areca nut and the betel leaf, as chewing paan is a national addiction

Yangon... where the teahouses, remind us of the Chinese presence, a heritage of the Chinese presence in the country, serve an excessively sweetened milk tea mixed with the sound of the male chat, under the freshness of the lazy ceiling fans
Yangon… where the teahouses, remind us of the Chinese presence, a heritage of the Chinese presence in the country, serve an excessively sweetened milk tea mixed with the sound of the male chat, under the freshness of the lazy ceiling fans

Yangon... here every morning monks walk along the city begging for alms, dyed the street with the maroon color
Yangon… here every morning monks walk along the city begging for alms, dyed the street with the maroon color

Yangon... where the rickshaw drivers wait quietly indifferent to the busy traffic of the city, chewing paan or smoking a cigar.
Yangon… where the rickshaw drivers wait quietly indifferent to the busy traffic of the city, chewing paan or smoking a cigar

Yangon... where the street food is present everywhere, following a precise but indecipherable schedule, with a paratha stall vanish and replaced by a paan hawker in a blink.
Yangon… where the street food is present everywhere, following a precise but indecipherable schedule, with a paratha stall vanish and replaced by a paan hawker in a blink.

Yangon... where the pigeons wait patiently aligned along electric cables, nearby a corner where a corn seller wait for customers that will come to create good karma feeding the birds
Yangon… where the pigeons wait patiently aligned along electric cables, nearby a corner where a corn seller wait for customers that will come to create good karma feeding the birds

Yangom... Where fortune tellers and astrologers wait for customers on the shade of a tree, in a country where the Buddhism didn’t erase totally superstition and the animist traditions
Yangom… Where fortune tellers and astrologers wait for customers on the shade of a tree, in a country where the Buddhism didn’t erase totally superstition and the animist traditions

Yangon
Yangon… a tea shop in every corner

Yangon definitively is a city that seduces and engages, cosmopolitan and authentic, where the different cultures, ethnic and religions live together in a peaceful and respectful way.

Yangon... multiethnic and multicultural and multireligious
Yangon… multiethnic and multicultural and multireligious

 

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