Anti-Government Sentiments

Trip Start Dec 28, 2011
Trip End Jan 19, 2012

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Where I stayed
New Wave Guesthouse

Flag of Myanmar  , Mandalay,
Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Challenging Toilet
I had pretty much spent most of today with my bum stuck on a bus seat. Bus transfer to Mandalay bus station was at 730am for the 830am Bagan departure. The last time I was at Mandalay bus station was in a wicked 5am morning. This time I got to experience the chaotic bus station at its peak hour. And the public toilet at this bus station has got to be the most 'challenging' amongst other contenders in Southeast Asia. 

The journey to Bagan took almost 7 hours. The first 2 hours, we were treated to various anti-government video clips highlighting shocking acts of aggression against the burmese people by the military, accompanied by some poignant soundtrack. There were other clips of amateur footage showing Aung Sung Su Kyi's arrest and a standoff at the airport. Bear in mind that Burmese people have no access to many internet news sites and also youtube where we can freely view amateur footages. This was definitely a pro-democracy bus!

Some of the local passengers were exchanging glances and the tone of their conversations were heavy whenever there were footages of the military personnels hammering their batons on helpless burmese citizens. It was not hard to understand the sentiments of the burmese people. In many of my conversations with the locals, the everyday burmese seems to ignore that their oppression by their military government. Only when I digged a little into our conversations, I sensed the anger and dissent to the military. The last clip which we can freely view on youtube was a speech made by Wai Hnin Pwint Thon, a Free Burma Campaigns Officer at Burma Campaign UK. In her speech, she revealed many humanitarian crimes (including rapes and killings of ethnic burmese) by the military government.

The US$10 Bagan Ticket
Finally arrived in Bagan under a hot sun. Prior to entering Nyaung U, the bus would stop and an official will instruct all foreigners to alight and purchase this US$10 Bagan Archaeological Sites ticket. Anyone coming into Nyaung U for Bagan, could try staying put in the bus and avoid paying money to this criminal government. No one checks your ticket in Nyaung U, Old Bagan or New Bagan. Things may change though but if you can avoid it, then try to. Most of the heritage conservations are funded by overseas groups anyway. Contributions from the myanmar government are questionable, to say the least. But dont take my word for it. Research before you go.

New Wave Guesthouse
It had been awhile since I had trishaw drivers scrambling to earn my money for a ride. 1000 kyats to get me to my choice of guesthouse. Rocked up to Winner Guesthouse (almost midway between Old Bagan and Nyaung U) but their rooms were full. Next door New Wave Guesthouse had an empty room for US$10. Room was in reasonable shape but the toilet was erm..unkempt. I took it anyway, without much of a choice.

Walked my way out to Nyaung U town, passing some rural looking District Court and Town Court before visiting the grand Shwezigon Paya basking under the setting sun.
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