Their friends distinguish them as Ko Ko, or big brother, and Nyi Lay, or younger brother. But it’s hard to say who is old and young when you’re talking about two of the most promising young actors in Myanmar – who happen to be twins.
On a recent day in the studio, Sai Sai runs his lines, checks his mark and – as the cameraman presses “record” – delivers his performance. But this time it’s no music video or hit single: It’s a commercial for “Unite to End TB”, a national effort to raise awareness about tuberculosis in Myanmar.
In 2012, Myanmar’s mobile penetration was estimated at just 4 percent. By June 2015, the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology reported it had reached 50pc, a 12-fold increase in just three years.
The World Happiness Report 2016 reported Myanmar as one of the least happy countries the planet in March, ranking The Golden Land 119th out of 156 countries – but some in Myanmar have taken issue with the parameters.
The offerings are enticing: fish crackers, chocolate and a bowl of whiskey mixed with turtle blood. And the songs the women sing, in the dying tongue of the Salone, are meant to persuade the spirits to continue to extend their protection to the dwindling band of the faithful.