An ambiguous sight

An old woman selling fruits in Bagan

Myanmar had existential problems for many years. Now with the new government trying hard to create a modern state within its existing borders, different ethnic groups are perhaps coming together. That’s a long-winded way to lead in to the featured photo.

I saw this old lady selling fruits at a temple in Bagan, famous for being the first temple which was visited by the newly freed Aung San Suu Kiy a few years ago. I thought that the lady looked like she had an unusually long neck. Perhaps she was Kayan, one of the group of Karen people who were displaced in the 1980s due to an ethnic uprising against the government of Myanmar. A large fraction of Kayans became refugees in Thailand.

The most well-known fact about Kayan people is the neck rings which the women wear traditionally. This pushes down their collar bones and is supposed to give them a longer neck. Without the rings, it was not clear whether this lady was Kayan. I strongly suspect that she is, but I did not want to ask.

Lack of development gives rise to many conflicts. A far-sighted leader can sometimes end these conflicts by a mixture of pragmatism and generosity. We have seen this work in parts of India (and not work in other parts). As we travel in Myanmar and meet so many extremely friendly and generous people, we hope that Myanmar is now about to get lucky.

Advertisements

Author: I. J. Khanewala

I travel on work. When that gets too tiring then I relax by travelling for holidays. The holidays are pretty hectic, so I need to unwind by getting back home. But that means work.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s