Strange story. Sunday evening around dinner time I found a crumpled 100 Myanmar Kyat on the kitchen floor. The bill has been on the fridge for years with magnets, pictures and what not. The bill is currency left over from my travels in Myanmar back in 2012. The bill had just been another simple fixture on the fridge until I found it on the floor. That’s weird since the kids haven’t really paid attention to the bill all these years (animal magnets are more fun). I picked it up, uncrumpled it, and put it back on the fridge. Saving it for my next trip. Then it gets weirder. Next morning I wake up to the news that the military has staged a coup in Myanmar and has taken over the country (claiming election fraud, I thought that only happened in rich countries). It also occurred to me that because of the time difference (11.5hr), the Myanmar bill was crumpled around the same time as the coup (5am their time). I should probably not read too much into it but the coincidence is striking. But I can’t stop wondering how did Lexa, my almost three year old knew?
Myanmar: Democracy is fragile. I had the opportunity to visit in 2012 just 4 months after they announced they were making changes. I loved it. Beautiful country with no tourists at the time. I imagined that’s what Thailand looked like before it became a mass tourist destination. At the time Myanmar/Burma always played the international community. When they needed something, they would pretend to open the country, get what they needed, only to shut it from the world. It had a North Korea lite approach to the world with some strangeness in their actions (moving the capital in the mountains, changing the time zone to confuse the West in case they wanted to invade). But in 2012 it felt different. This time the reforms were real. I saw a great future for the country. Now I’m not sure how this will play out. Military coup is a thing in that part of the world. Just look at next door Thailand. Even if they return to democracy and open up the country again, it will be hard to trust. I reached to a friend over there but now they are shutting down Facebook for the “sake of stability” (another rich world trick). #Myanmar#Burma#democracy