Amidst the frequent blackouts and daily thunderstorms, Yangon steadily drums to the rhythm of its simple life.
Unscathed. That comes to mind when comparing Yangon to the modern cities of Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and where home is – Singapore. People are simple, genuine and hardworking. They take what they are given and make the best of it.
Progress is inching in little by little – at least for tourism with new hotels and malls built touting ‘International Standard’ below their names. That may be but the items there are sold at prices way out of league for the common people. But that is not the top concern since the target groups are typically tourists and expatriates. Or their elites.
As Myanmar opens up, more people will come and go. With exposure, the differences between the haves and have-nots will be felt. This gap, or rather the closure of the gap, will be the motivation for the pursuit of progress, a better life.
We all know what that is; with sanitary practices and flushable toilets come competition, tension, stress and all their wild, unsavory cousins. Unscathed will hardly be something too foreign.
But till then, for a country that spent many rainy seasons wondering what it would be like to live as their neighbours do, I think the lure of good bathroom facilities far outweighs the pitfalls of progress for now.