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Myanmar Miscellany

 

Why Visit Myanmar and
buy Myanmar Products?

It's the people who suffer when sanctions are applied...

Fortunately since the article below was written 10 years ago things have changed dramatically in Myanmar this past year and the country is fast becoming a major tourist destination and with many investors eagerly wanting to participate in the country's development.
 
Myanmar will surely progress to its rightful place in Southeast Asia...
 
...AT THE TOP!!!
 
And now I've been here for 20 years!!

*********

Some people - especially members of the Western Press - question the ethics of buying Myanmar products or visiting Myanmar: these people have obviously never been to the country to experience first hand Myanmar and it's peoples. Until cyclone Nargis tourism was increasing year by year in this beautiful country but since the adverse publicity in the Western media about the cyclone and its aftermath tourism numbers dwindled and AGAIN people were put out of a job thanks to the West. We all know the Press/Media love to sensationalise events - that’s how they sell newspapers and advertising space. There are also various anti-Myanmar campaigns around the world usually led by people sitting in their ivory towers and supported by Western Governments - they sure know how to keep the Myanmar people poor and I hope that one day, when they are older and wiser they will reflect and regret their actions against innocent people.

Due to our activities there are many direct benefits to the local populace, the most important of these being jobs. We employ local people and buy from local artisans who are then able to support their families - how else can they support their families? And the owners of the companies in Myanmar are Myanmar people themselves.

There are no restrictions on visitors' movements in most places in Myanmar and visitors are free to chat and interact with the local peoples despite what you read in the press or hear on the BBC (where reporters sometimes whisper to give a false sense of danger).

The Government actively promotes conservation and have inaugurated a 20,000 sq Kilometer Tiger reserve in the north and declared a shark protection zone in the Myeik (Mergui) Archipelago because of illegal fishing. Although the Government has a conservation approach towards logging it's difficult protecting areas along the long land borders with China and Thailand. And sanctions reduce the amount of money available for forest protection.

We totally oppose sanctions against Myanmar: we believe that ‘constructive engagement’ is more beneficial to the people of Myanmar in the long term. The benefits that tourism and trade bring to society are immeasurable and the Myanmar people show great hospitality and friendship despite their hardships. The subjective criteria used to justify sanctions may well ensure that most countries in the world should have sanctions applied against them!!

My experience is contrary to what you hear in a lot of the world media: I have lived in South East Asia since time immemorial and over the years have observed all the vitriol which countries in this region have had to endure from some of the Western Press and Western Governments: Singapore is a prime example and look where the Singapore people are today.  Nothing has changed much at the top levels but Singapore is now the darling of the West - and so it should be!!

In all the 11 years I have been involved with business in Myanmar I have NEVER ONCE been attacked, NEVER ONCE had anything stolen and NEVER ONCE had anyone even shout at me ~ despite the fact that the street lighting in Myanmar leaves a lot to be desired !!

And I almost NEVER hear screaming police car sirens!!

Come and see for yourself and confound the critics!! As we say SEEING IS BELIEVING!!

Gerry Haines
Managing Director
Road to Mandalay Ltd UK