Myanmar Living

The Haves and the Have Nots

I wish I could record up close the interesting dynamics of how the rich, the poor, the expats and the inbetweens live here in Yangon. The other day, like many days when I take Grab taxi from work, I watched the people hanging out at the beautiful park across from Myanmar plaza. Mostly couples and groups of friends, chilling in the park (taking in this Sahara desert heat), many on their phones. And in between the couples and friends would be singular seemingly homeless people…just out there sleeping in nothing but a longyi. No other belongings, no shoes and very visible dirt and grime. And they go mostly ignored as couples cuddle each other, groups angle their self sticks and the evening sun turns a beautiful pink and orange.

And at nighttime, when we hit up popular dining places like Sharky’s or other downtown expat hotspots, just as you exit the doors, you may be greeted by homeless children begging for money and you can’t help but to feel for them…or feel awkwardly uncomfortable as you’ve just finished your pricy meal waiting on a taxi.

There’s a particular traffic light that I frequently pass, when I’m on my way to the gym (a luxury to some). A short and round woman walking through traffic approaches the taxi with two babes at the teat…maybe twins. And another light where a young boy knocks and begs in Myanmar with his hands extended, walking from one taxi to the other during the 80 seconds of the red light.

These are the images I wish I could record somehow and share because it just shows how crazy the world is. How vastly different the life experiences of people living in the same city can be. Seeing these things is often a reminder to be grateful, to not be wasteful and in some ways enjoy the little privileges I have as an expat in someone else’s country.

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