repression in myanmar?

Jul 30th, 2004, 12:40 PM
  #1  
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repression in myanmar?

sorry. i wasn't clear on my previous posting. is there any evidence of oppression towards the people or towards tourists, in myanmar? anyone gone and felt uncomfortable?
bodhijack is offline  
Jul 30th, 2004, 01:18 PM
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You definitely have to be careful but more because you can get a local in trouble by discussing politics with them than anything else. And you have to follow the rules -- don't try to smuggle anything out or try to buy from a non government store. I had a meeting set up the last day of my trip with Aung Sun Suu Kyi which the government knew about prior to giving me my visa so I was particularly careful. When we went into Moguk we had a guide whom we knew was a government spy but he got drunk day one and stayed that way so we didn't see him until we left. We did know that he was supposed to report in on our whereabouts every 4 hours. However, for the day before he got drunk he took us everywhere we wanted to go and was quite pleasant.

Our various guides and other people we met would talk to us about politics but only after they got to know us and only when they were sure we were alone and often outside.

There are a lot of soldiers all over and the signs of repression are everywhere -- even in their signs.

That said it was the best trip of my life. We felt we touched people, helped people and learned more about them than we expected. And they were hungry for contact with the outside world. We took out 22 rolls of film of pictures of them which we sent to family members in Thailand and the U.S. -- often their mail doesn't get out. We also called about 30 relatives in other countries to let them know their relatives in Burma were ok and mailed over 50 letters in Bangkok for people. We bought sweaters for all the children in a village who had no warm clothes and spent hours talking to people who were hungry for talk. It was an extraordinary experience and one I cherish.
glorialf is offline  
Jul 30th, 2004, 04:32 PM
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Stay clear of the politics of countries you visit. Tourist are very safe. Criminals are killed! Visiting Myanmar is an experience I cherish, like glorialf (who gives good advice). Among the several lovely locals we met were a wonderful, articulate well-educated young guide in Bagan and a gentle young doctor flying to Bangkok for training in paediatrics. We let them know the world was aware of the oppression their people were suffering. There are people there who will one day overcome the tyranny. It's only a matter of time, imho. Go and enjoy the place without being judgemental (difficult to do, I know!)
Lyndie is offline  
Jul 30th, 2004, 05:53 PM
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we were in myanmar two years ago and saw no signs of repression as such...it seemed like any other time wharped place with an authoritarian leadership...you keep you mouth shut about politics, etc unless your guide brings it up...

we were only around yangon where i would think it would be the most difficult...we did see quite a number of military people but not really on street corners, mostly in their camp near our hotel, which was near to high gov't officials homes...

the people are lovely...it is very cheap
rhkkmk is offline  
Jul 30th, 2004, 06:40 PM
  #5  
 
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The government doesn't care what you say among yourselves. However, it is prudent to be careful with the locals. You can indeed bring them trouble. The military intelligence is pretty much every where and watching.

As a tourist, if you are just doing tourist business, you are fine and you are unlikely to feel repression except for being careful talking to the locals.

However, I did talk to the locals. Tour guides I hired temperately, or intelletuas I met on the road. Most were scared by the government and they did hope to get more assiatance from outside.

But there is certainly another side of life in Myanmar.

Are ordinary Myanmaran's life misterable? Or more acturately, do they feel that way? It is a very subjective thing. I am not sure the picture is as simple as most western tourists would think. The private sectors are booming and people are busying with their lives. Life is tough but no tougher than some other neibhoring countries or than it has always been. Frankly, the bottom line is that most local people simply don't care about politics.

I stayed in a guest house($5 a day outside old Bagan)in Bagan for 4 days. The guy in my next door was an archaelogist from a university in Austrilia. He spent six months there every year for the past several years doing research on the sites. He hired local people working for him, and he had close contact with government officials. We had lengthy conversations for two evenings. I learned a lot from him about this country, including politics of course.

It is a deplorable but complex situation. Nothing is pure black and white as so often people want to depict the world.

Myanmar is an interesting country. Extremely safe for travelling. Go now if you have the chance before it is flooded by tourists. It is heading there.
kang is offline  
Jul 30th, 2004, 09:10 PM
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can I have the e-mail for Mr SPY the tour guide.

orgy7 is offline  
Jul 31st, 2004, 07:51 PM
  #7  
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thank you all for your thoughtful replies. kudos to glorialf for his (her) selfless acts.......
bodhijack is offline  
Aug 1st, 2004, 08:25 AM
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There is a large article on Burma in today's NY Times (Sunday, August 1)---section 1 (the main news part), p. 3. You can open it from the NY Times Web site, if you don't have other access. ZZ
Zambezi is offline  
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