First, the good news. There is no shortage of puppet shows throughout the country. You can even see them in restaurants and hotel dining rooms, watching while you eat. But, say devotees of the art, this ubiquity bears a heavy price. The quality of the shows, the sound and lighting effects, the music, the crafting of the marionettes themselves, is not up to scratch.
The familiar, mundane geography of topographical features, roadways and shopping malls is overlaid with countless maps invisible to those who lack the tools, faculties or knowledge to interpret the signs: Gang territory demarcations, the scavenging routes of urban wildlife and sacred zones governed by local nats all exist in domains subliminal to our own.
I first became aware of health and fitness in my late teens. I began running, first 5 kilometres, and by the time I was in college, I began to train for marathons. I loved the adrenaline rush, the sweat and sheer expenditure of energy. It was a perfect release for the stress of university life and young adulthood, and I was in great shape.
For most people, the choice to live in a small space is all about location, the chance to live on a busy city block in the centre of the action. But for others, it’s about the freedom of living light.
As hobbyists go, they are apt to stand out in a crowd more prominently than, say, numismatists, toxophilists, topiarists or philatelists. Unlike, say, train-spotters or people who like growing huge vegetable marrows, they are apt to wear capes, carry facsimiles of deadly weapons, and have hair and eyes in colours that no human being would have.
The abandoned lot in Thilawa special economic zone, crosscut by long stretches of pavement and bordered by a sprinkling of low houses, looks like an airfield in miniature. A small group of men and women has converged on this lonely, overgrown spot on the outskirts of Yangon to fly unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – an activity neither fully allowed nor forbidden in Myanmar.
In a characteristic blend of old and new, U Aung Soe Min’s latest gallery presents hundreds of photos: vintage, modern, personal, documentary and artistic. The space, Pansuriya, at 100 Bogalayzay Street in Yangon, is open to the public, but not yet officially inaugurated.