The road to Tarmoenye winds through some of the most picturesque countryside in Myanmar. High mountains etched with tea plantations sweep down to lush valleys bursting with flowers and trees blossoming in white, pale-shell pink and fiery reds.
A group of sickle-wielding vigilantes made its way through Myanmar’s northern Kachin State in January and February, clearing poppy fields nearly ready to be harvested in a quest to end production of the illicit drug. The mission turned farmers whose livelihoods were being cut down into angry and, at times, armed adversaries.
Each year, a handful of Myanmar’s young leaders are selected to travel more than 10,000 kilometres journey to New Zealand. With a population of more than 4.5 million, snow-capped mountains, a thriving cafe culture and left-hand drive, New Zealand is a world apart from the temple-adorned townships and bustling cities of Myanmar.
Thousands are expected in parliament today to watch the National League for Democracy name its two nominees for the presidency, with a former military doctor now firming as favourite to become Myanmar’s next head of state.
Expectations are high among the villagers near the controversial Letpadaung copper mine that the incoming National League for Democracy government will take their side in what could be a resumption of hostilities with the operator – and possibly police.
How much do you think your public representatives are worth? Not much, if the recent furore over “political pensions” is any guide.
A relationship with an older man, an unwanted pregnancy, failure at school, loss of family income and status through natural disaster, low-paid unskilled work away from home – and then came the approach from a seemingly friendly woman, offering easy money.