Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Shrimp peelers and fish gutters

(Photo shared by Burma Election 2010)

New York Times has an article about Aung San Suu Kyi's visit to Mahachai, Thailand, where many Burmese migrants work as shrimp peelers and fish gutters.

In Mahachai, workers gut fish and peel shrimp for 300 baht, or about $10, a day. Much of the nearly 580 tons of shrimp exported from Thailand every day passes through their hands and ends up in supermarkets in the United States, Europe and Japan.

Workers at the King Fisher factory peel shrimp in vast quantities. Depending on the size of the shrimp, each worker goes through about 11 to 33 pounds an hour.

Aung San Suu Kyi wished the best for them.

"May you prosper with health, wealth and be free from danger," Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi said before leaving Wednesday. "And may you be able to come home soon."

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Peter Chou in Mandalay

I noticed that some Burmese news groups are heavily using Facebook to disseminate news, where they don't face censorship. I will talk about this some time.

For now, the purpose of this post is to share some photos of Peter Chou in Burma. I talked about him being in Mandalay a few posts back.

Today, I came across a photo of him talking to IT people in Mandalay, Burma (Myanmar). I think the photo was taken by Ye Myat Thu of ALPHA Mandalay and somehow it ended up on the Freedom News Group's wall.

I tracked down Ye Myat Thu and he has some more photos. Mr. Chou was apparently giving an impromptu talk organized by IT people in Mandalay.

Please note that the photos seems to be public but you might need a Facebook account to view it.

Mr. Chou was originally from Mandalay. He immigrated to Taiwan and later founded HTC, a manufacturer of smartphones and tablets.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

HTC's CEO Peter Chou visited Burma, his birthplace

(photo by Edourdoo)

Today, I read a news article that Peter Chou went back to visit Mandalay, his birthplace (here is the same article in English). Peter Chou is the CEO of HTC, a Taiwanese manufacturer of smart phones and tablets.

According to Focus Taiwan News Channel:

Chou studied at National Taiwan Ocean University (NTOU) after he came to Taiwan from Myanmar and worked as an engineer for two years, according to an NTOU statement.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Tibi Kawbi

I came across the following song on YouTube. I like it because of its mix of traditional styles and melodies with modern twist. It is in three languages, Karen, Thai and English.

Todd Tongdee (Lavelle), Lanna Commins and Chee Pakakayaw recorded this. Todd is an expat living in Thailand. Lanna Commins and Chee Pakakayaw are Thai singers.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Travel back in time

This article from Bloomberg by Flavia Krause-Jackson summed up what travelling in Burma was like.

On landing in Myanmar, prepare to travel back in time, cut off from the rest of the world. Your smart phones won't work here, and your plastic is no good.

I kind of like not having a cell phone or a credit card even though I admit that it's frustrating and inconvenient sometimes.

I can attest to the following experience of the reporter.

My pockets lined with cash, I tried to rent a local mobile phone at the airport, only to have the saleswoman reject my $100 bills one-by-one because they were not "new" and showed folds, creases, crinkles or other negligible imperfections.

My experience was with the US Embassy in Burma when I paid for my visa fees. The embassy wouldn't accept my twenty dollar bills because they showed folds and creases. It was beyond me --- the US Embassy not accepting perfectly fine US dollar bills. This, my friend, is Burma!

Yet, there is still hope.

On my final day, I lost my mobile phone and my Burmese interpreter offered to call my number to locate it. Accustomed to New York, I told him not to bother, though he went ahead anyway.

I was wrong. A taxi driver drove an hour out of his way to return the phone.
Perhaps this was a sign that the character of the Burmese people will prove my Western cynicism wrong in a land rich not only in natural resources, but now also in hope.

Read the whole article here.