A positive step by the Myanmar Government

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Laan Yaa Mo
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A positive step by the Myanmar Government

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » May 7, 2019, 7:20 pm

The Government of Myanmar took a major step forward by releasing the two journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who had been imprisoned since December 2017 for their investigative reporting on 10 Rohingya villagers who had been killed by the Tatmadaw in the aftermath of Rohingya attacks on Burmese police. The Government had jailed seven of the soldiers found guilty of the murder of the villagers.

https://www.mmtimes.com/news/reuters-jo ... freed.html


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Re: A positive step by the Myanmar Government

Post by tamada » May 8, 2019, 6:45 am

A HUGE positive.

A Presidential pardon from the fairly recently elected, younger than the old guard, non-military, degreed former political prisoner, NLD member, but getting back into bed with the Chinese style President.

From his wiki (shortly after his election): "On 17 April 2018, Win Myint granted amnesty to 8,500 prisoners, including 51 foreigners and 36 political prisoners."

The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades.

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Re: A positive step by the Myanmar Government

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » May 8, 2019, 9:18 am

Don't be too hasty with those shades, the government has a long, long way to go yet.
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Re: A positive step by the Myanmar Government

Post by tamada » May 8, 2019, 10:03 am

Laan Yaa Mo wrote:
May 8, 2019, 9:18 am
Don't be too hasty with those shades, the government has a long, long way to go yet.
I've been working there for over a year and I would say the government has a long, long, LONG way to go yet.

One thing I did pick up on working out in the boonies in Bago and further north in Mawlaik, the oversight of foreigners was quite lax late 2017 and early 2018. Later in 2018, there was suddenly a whole lot of weekly check-ins to be done with the local immigration offices. Then this year, the local army wanted a separate weekly names and activities list. The latter was only about 30 minutes from Bago, maybe 2 hours from Yangon.

We reckoned it was probably blow-back from the Rohingya debacle and possible fears of foreign reporters and the like pretending to be tourists and passing through on their way to that state. Surprisingly, there are few areas that are officially listed as restricted to foreigners. Unsurprisingly, once you stumble across one, they're not too happy about it and you're turned back.

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Re: A positive step by the Myanmar Government

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » May 8, 2019, 10:16 am

It is still better than back in the '70s and 80s when Ne Win only permitted one week visits to Rangoon, Pagan, Mandalay and Inle Lake. Everything else was off limits. Notwithstanding the restrictions, it was a great place to visit.
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Re: A positive step by the Myanmar Government

Post by tamada » May 8, 2019, 10:39 am

Laan Yaa Mo wrote:
May 8, 2019, 10:16 am
It is still better than back in the '70s and 80s when Ne Win only permitted one week visits to Rangoon, Pagan, Mandalay and Inle Lake. Everything else was off limits. Notwithstanding the restrictions, it was a great place to visit.
An American guy I worked with up in China visited Burma on break back in the early '80's. He picked up a 7-day visa in Bangkok and planned on doing those standard must-see locations. Foreigners were prohibited to travel overland and could only fly internally on their crap domestic service but his flight back to Yangon was canceled on a technical. When he tried to leave Yangon 1 day over his permitted 7-days, he had all sorts of grief from the army/immigration/police before they let him go.

It is a great place to visit and there's a choice of a couple of reliable domestic carriers using new ATR's. Myanmar International now do a non-stop from Phuket maybe 3 days a week. Thai/Thai Smile and Bangkok Air each do Yangon 3 to 4 times daily from BKK in high season. I think AirAsia serves it once a day from DMK? Maybe other LCC's as well?

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Re: A positive step by the Myanmar Government

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » May 8, 2019, 6:24 pm

I am not too sure about the land travel restrictions. The first time I went to Burma in 1978 I took the overnight train to Mandalay and was covered in soot by the time it arrived in the old capital. Subsequently, I stood on the back of a passenger bus for 6+ hours going from Pagan to Yawnghwe, the former capital of the Shan State of the same name. Inside the bus the floor was reserved for a number of chickens en route to Inle Lake. I was the only white guy who went that route. Most foreigners took a plane from Mandalay to the Shan State.

In those days if one took Johnny Walker Red Label, 555 cigarettes, Johnson's baby powder, pens and a few other items that were scarce in Burma, it paid for your trip. One of the army men who worked at immigration would take you into a room and bargain for the goods you brought in.

Eventually I flew back to Rangoon on a Burmese Airline. I met a Christian Kachin stewardess at the airport who asked if I could get her out of the country. Interesting times, interesting country and very interesting people.

Looking back, I think I took a local bus from Mandalay to Sagaing to visit the so-called 'tit' pagoda. The British gave it that name owing to its shape. It was a sunny day and I was squinting the whole time as the Sun's rays reflected off the white structures.
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