My third trip to Myanmar

I do not actually remember how I got around to conducting block teaching twice in Yangon, Myanmar, for the past two years to two batches of MBA candidates between 2016 (January) and 2017 (February). Myanmar has reportedly developed quite a lot, and I was fortunate enough to meet very bright Myanmar students and call them friends.

Here are some of Myanmar’s brightest and the second batch I taught this year (Feb, 2017).

My experience in web strategies, precisely digital marketing, ain’t that extensive, but perhaps my name was recommended to the university and its foreign parter university in Switzerland thanks to the impact of this blog and my work in the #SoutheastAsian region. Especially after setting up #REDHILLCambodia, I have some more things to share with my future students in Myanmar.
Besides teaching, I also had time to explore Myanmar the third time this year. And, this time I made more effort to discover some historical bits about Yangon city and got myself hosted by a Myanmar friend, Htaike Htaike Aung, one of the co-founders of Myanmar ICT for Development Orgamization (MIDO). She also introduced me to yoga at her office in downtown Yangon. (Thanks, Ma Htaike).
Just a fun scenario which I came across within my previous three visits to Yangon: it was/is indeed easy for the locals to mistake me for another Burmese because first of all, I look like them, and secondly, my name “Nila” sounds like Burmese “Nilar” which means “a blue gemstone or sapphire”.
One of the most photographed places in Yangon: Myanmar, Yangon, Independence monument in Maha Bandoola Garden.

From the Phandeeyar co-working space floor

MFTB (Central Bank of Myanmar)

The current skyline of Myanmar is changing so fast

Looks like a heritage building (Yangon)

Yangon’s City Hall

At a popular local restaurant in Myanmar “Feel restaurant”

Inside Feel restaurant

Some fried stuff at Feel restaurant

Both men and women in Myanmar like applying Thanakar on their face during the day to keep cool

Htaike Htaike Aung, a prominent tech figure in Myanmar and the one behind MIDO

A lady selling eggs outside Feel restaurant

While I was there, Htaike Htaike took me to Phandeeyar, a community tech hub (also a co-working space) where I got to meet very bright young people who are running amazing tech projects. Htaike happened to give a talk to a few people there about the latest stats and landscape of Myanmar’s mobile tech.

With population of nearly 53 million people, Myanmar, in many eyes, is an attractive destination for a lot of investors and business people. I arrived in Yangon earlier this year, shortly after the assassination of a top muslim lawyer (U Ko Ni) of the country happened at the airport, and I knowingly stood near the spot before I got into my taxi.
A lot of my Myanmar friends are against the terrible treatment of people in Rakhine state. Yes, I also realized after chats with some locals that certain people in Myanmar can have very strong (and often anti-Rohingya) opinions about what has been going on at Rakhine state. Coming from pretty much a homogeneous society/country like Cambodia, I do not have a lot of experience to share (unfortunately except about the Khmer Rouge), but have a lot to learn and discover facts about this huge country which presents wealth of opportunities but also challenges because of ethnic strife and some ongoing armed conflict. The media reports about Rakhine state do not look so good at all, but I hope that other friendly countries will extend more support for the country.
On another note, I was fortunate to learn about/from this country, assist some students in their academic endeavor, and make some good friends there.
It is these intelligent young people that will help navigate Myanmar as a country towards its future (the same goes for Cambodia, of course)

1 thought on “My third trip to Myanmar”

  1. I went there 3 times already but i didn’t see it quite interesting because i didn’t have enough time to engage with people and explore the city. Hopefully, i’ll have another chance to go there soon, let’s say 60% chance for touring 🙂

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