Burma: Hour there, hour here. . .

posted on 14 Jan 2013 08:04 by nathablog in FORBETTERSWEETLIVE

Burma: Hour there, hour here . . .

Part 1


It was odd, after the trip to Shan state- Burma is over. I find no other convenient way to redo this trip like the one I had.  As the matter of fact, my short trip to Burma wasn’t that pretty. This country, basically, has been globally acknowledged as a savage land or land of the barbarians. My friend of friends having this statement right before I went there: ‘That doesn’t even a country!’

Even though I didn’t really mind at first, but apparently I couldn’t get this thought out of my head when I crossed the border and stepped into the land of…

What is the word of the country?

                Every city, every country has a single word to defines it. The first word that popped into my head is ‘dust.’  It might be unfair if I defines the whole country as dust because I hadn’t travelled anywhere but Shan state. So the word ‘dust’, which appeals to me on a personal level that it can use in two different terms, referring two difference meaning.  Which means the  actual dry dirt in the form of powder, you know because it’s cover every surfaces in every corners , every street - everywhere, and another obnoxious metaphorical meaning I loved to use it in term of the state of dirty unclear view of the whole country.    



When you look into the houses or temples, you see no real enclosure. Every doors here is half-close, half-open. Like the whole country itself (Like everything around here.) Unlike other big developed countries that manifestation many of pleasure and easy to get overwhelmed. But every door is protecting with guards and you have to empty your pocket to participate.  During my short stay here I didn’t have to declare myself what to do in order to experience Burmese’s pleasure. Their definitions of pleasure are unbelievably simple and it doesn’t required lot of money. They like dirt or used to dirt. I can tell by looking at their feet, hard-rock and black as stone, their children wearing dirty-torn clothes as if it doesn’t get laundry for years. But they seemed to be happy by this statement. There is political issue as well as poverty but I decided not to discuss it on my blog. (So you can get why I used the word ‘dust’ as metaphoric.)


The question I’ve been asking myself is “What’s makes them happy?” that’s the main question I’m going to answer while I’m exploring several tribal villages around Shan state. It was a big question. (In truth, it’d be easier to have something to stick around while I’m doing short-schedule trip.) And it can be answer in a hundred ways. Would it be the state of unknown, lack of information that makes them worriless?  Or would it be tasks that matter to them and they have more time to spare for sitting by the deck made of bamboo of the long shared bungalow, sipping tea and roasting rats?

I walked up the hill to visit the tribal village. The road is very dusting and dirty. My guide name ‘Moe’. She’s Burmese and speaks my language perfectly, a bit slow, though, like when I’m speaking English. At first I find it easy to entertain myself by mimicking her voice, which sounds hilarious. Other than my tour guide it seems like I couldn’t speak to anybody. She told me that the tribalian (I created the word myself; from civilian.) they didn’t pay attention to the Burmese government. They provided their own living, their own currencies, which is supremely odd because there’s no house open for a groceries store up there. It like they just loved to collect the coins. And they can’t use these coins outside their village anyway. It’s unacceptable from the outside world. Whenever the work is done, the price is deals they find the way to transfer the acceptable money into their coins, very specific coins, which valuable upon how old it is.



She also told me that, Burmese is one of the extremely Buddhist land. If you read my blog before, remember how I told you no matter how poor the country is they’re always rich in something? For this land, religions seem to be the only thing they’re rich of. Beside the forest and wild lives animals they infrequently touched. 95% of their populations, minority of majority ethnic are Buddhist. So they have a temple close to the village. But there’s also Christians as well, the story here is interesting; according to the story I heard from my tour guide, that long ago there was a vast scale of ghost worshipper village. And if a couple delivered whether a twin or a cripple, the babies has to be killed immediately and the couple whose released this deformed infant were exile from the village. Later there’re a group of tribalian make a move against this idea and decided to build their own village and provided their own believe. This is where Christ take part in the area.

When I arrived at the tribal village called ‘Mou Ban Hha.’ I felt the urge to take of my shoes and run into the temple of the village. I’m Christian, by the way, but I couldn’t resist the celebration vibe when some group of people are preparing a feast or gathering party.  I took of my shoed. I ran. I snapped the pictures of the whole temple. Here’s the thing I found very strange. That it doesn’t matter what your religion is. To get these pictures you have to drop down on your knees no matter what. You caught your breathe; you’re holding your camera steady and elaborately inhaled-exhaled. You even pray so you can get the nice photos.



Money is worth nothing here. And foods are more sacred. I was surrounded by a group of adorable kids of ‘Mou Ban Hha.’ I gave them foods and snacks and toys. Surprisingly some of them speaks my language so that I gave them compliment of their appearance; ‘You are cute.’ And then I walked inside the temple where men do all the paper decorate and women were out cutting woods and hunting animals. The brimstones outside the front gate smelled like pissed and rats. I joined the group of men who neither speak English, obviously, nor my language. I helped them decorate the temple and derived from the facial expressions of them that I am allowed to do the work. For about half an hour I cut, I glued, and I prayed that I would have more time to stay in this village. I would helped them through the celebration and deliberately become one of them. Even though I couldn’t speak Burmese, or read Arabic, but who says I can’t learn. I also have faith in learning and observing. Eventually someone that does speak my language show up and we sat down next to each other and began to talk. I really sure loved this village and its people automatically and unconditionally. They were giving me the happiest moment of the year (so far.)  When I told them, through the guy who can speaks my language, that I can’t stayed here for long even if I wanted to. One of the guy who smoking joint close to the gate of the temple leaned to me and gave a warmth-smiled that says ‘Welcome.’  But he actually said Thai proverbs; despite he couldn’t speak Thai, ‘Do good get-good, Do bad get-bad.’ Then he offered me a joint.

            I smoked.

            They’re watching me.

            I coughed.

            They’re all laughed. (Big gasp.) I felt embarrassed.

            And I leave. That fast like a grain of sand inside a sand-glass  it’s time to flip it. It’s time to move on and start counting again.



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edit @ 14 Jan 2013 08:05:27 by TunG

edit @ 14 Jan 2013 08:26:26 by TunG