Monday, 30 June 2014

Street Market, Yangon, Myanmar

Myanmar, described as the final frontier of Asia. Still in the early stages of development, the country is vulnerable to external exploitations and this is being seen in the heavy influx of foreign investers who all want a cut of the virgin pie.

I am visiting my parents who have moved to Yangon last September (for some of this humble pie) and can not help feeling like I am part of the problem. Listening to expats whine and moan about the poor water quality, the lack of sanitation and the communication issues they have with their drivers is a little tiresome and frustrating. Worse still is the insistent trips to the only three air-conditioned malls/super-markets with "proper coffee", "sugar-free bread" and "cheese". I needed to escape and see what lay beyond Western Superficiality. So I took a trip down-town with chef Tuk Tuk from Horizon Golf Club, and ventured beyond the pagodas and river boats into the busy narrow streets of old Yangon. What I found was the most diverse variety of food, colour, and smells I had experienced since my arrival.

With 80% of the population still relying on agriculture as their main source of income, I truly hope this variety continues as Yangon develops, especially as padi-fields and farms around the city are being gobbled up by factories and high rise buildings. Like similar Asian cities, as competition increases with economic growth, there could be a reduction in variety of produce and an increase in more intensive agricultural practices. I wonder how this would effect the livelihoods of low-input agricultural farmers that supply majority of the city's fresh produce.

The polite patient nature of the Burmese people is something we could all learn from, but I feel it could also be detrimental when it comes to resisting the exploitation of human and environmental rights that are not being stripped by the government, but by foreign hands.

I dont want this post to be overly political. I would just like to show people what is worth preserving...

One of the many market streets in Down Town Yangon

...More Roots... 
...And Pickled Roots
Dried Mushrooms
Achari (Pickles)
Dried Chilli 
Fish Products
Chicken with all the bits and bobs
Live Eels
Fish, prawns, squid, clams and cray fish
Lobster and Langoustine 
Pig and all the bits and bobs
Indoor fish and meat market
Typical street in Old Yangon

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