Passing a newsstand this morning, I saw a picture of Myanmar on the cover of The New York Times. In the picture was a monk running through a street past a pile of burning bicycles. I didn't read the story because you could just tell it was bad news. Something about protests. Depressing!And what does The New York Times know about Myanmar anyway? New York is totally far from Myanmar, which is located in Asia. Leave it to the liberal bias of New York media to make it out like it's just all fleeing monks and burning bicycles over there.
Where's the good news about Myanmar? Do they have fabulous parties, hot models or a new rice-husk power plant? Well, guess what? All you have to do is read the Myanmar Times, their national weekly newspaper, and you'll find out that they, in fact, do have those things and more!I know you're probably, like, 'D.A., I don't have time to read the Myanmar Times. I haven't even figured out what I'm gonna be for Halloween yet!'
I feel you. That's why I am going to read the Myanmar Times (www.mmtimes.com) and pull out all the tasty nuggets for you, and then if somebody at the club goes, 'What's up with Myanmar?' You can be all, like, 'Let me tell you what's up with Myanmar,' and then rattle off a bunch of cool shit and come off totally awesome.
The first attention-grabber is the 'Your Stars' astrology column by Prophet Myat Thit. Prophet Thit not only looks mystical, wearing a white, high-collared tunic in his photo, but he also gives you tons of useful advice for the week and even rates your week on a scale of stars from ***** (dynamic) to * (terrible).
My sign is Cancer. Prophet Thit predicts a *** week for me (average), but also informs me that my 'social life is about to get out of control,' so I should 'find some time to prepare for the parties ahead.' Hello, Halloween! It's like he totally knows me.
In other advice, Aquarians are warned to 'take care not to step on anybody's toes this week'; Sagittarians should 'avoid arguments with your superiors'; Scorpios shouldn't 'make any rash decisions'; and you Librans 'will be held accountable for your actions.' Hear that, monks? You couldn't have picked an astrologically worse week to protest! And, oh yeah, Taurans should 'avoid seafood.' My stars!
Next is the social column. The author is an anonymous Myanmar hottie who refers to herself as 'Socialite' and is always attending the best parties in Yangon City and schmoozing with the in-crowd. This weekend, Socialite 'partied like never before.' On Monday, she hit up the launch party for NOW! Myanmar's new fashion and lifestyle magazine at House of Memories Restaurant, where she 'stepped onto the red carpet and joined the throng of elegantly clad celebrities and beautiful people all cramming to get inside as cameras flashed.'
Inside the party, 'the ‘Pink Glamour' theme had everyone there looking fabulous in a sea of pink and fuchsia hues as they sipped colourful cocktails and nibbled on hors d'ouevres provided by the venue. Entertainment by Plan B included cool tunes spun by Brian J, glam models and fabulous dancers. The Face of NOW! 2007 competition and amazing prize giveaways... throughout the night kept Socialite and everyone else rocking for hours.'
So whatever those monks are bellyaching about, there's plenty of way more glamorous stuff to aspire to in Myanmar-just ask any star-struck reader of the Socialite column.
At this point, you're probably wondering: Daayyyammmm, D.A., Myanmar sounds like the bomb. If they got DJs, do they got anybody dropping sick rhymes in Yangon? Fo' shizz! This weekend, nine of Yangon's best rappers and singers will get busy at 'Street Knock Out': J-Me, Ratha, Yan Yan Chan, Yi Mon, Ontrack, Cyclone and Uranium are slated to perform. Tickets can be purchased at Ko Ko Beauty Salon. You can count on 'Street Knock Out' performers to keep it real on the down low.
If the party gets too hot, no worries: Yangon is getting a new fire station. In one of the top news items of the week, the new station that has been under construction in Mayangone township since last month will be finished before the start of the 2008-2009 fiscal year, according to U Aung Kyaw Myint, the Yangon divisional officer with the Fire Services Department under the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement.
Officer Myint says the first 'modern' fire station in Yangon Division 'will be equipped with water tanks that can be used to refill the fire engines, so if fire engines run out of water while they are putting out a fire, they can come back to the station and immediately refill.' Look out protestors, your piles of burning bikes don't stand a chance against the new fire engines with refillable water tanks!In other top news, a Buddhist organization is providing sewing lessons for women living with HIV; the government arrested 262 suspected drug dealers; the rice-husk power plant construction in Twante township and road paving in Yangon are underway; Japan is providing training in tuberculosis screening to Myanmar lab technicians; and the Taungoo Hotel in Bago Division is 75-percent complete.And, yes, there is one brief, five-paragraph story buried in the news section about the protests, if you absolutely have to be a bummer and ask. Basically, the Information Committee of the State Peace and Development Council says that the groups who are causing the 'disturbances' are trying to exploit increased fuel prices by 'mounting a political attack' against the government, which will 'never tolerate such malicious acts and will take effective action against those committing such acts.' Whew! I hope Socialite is OK.
You know what it feels like to read the Myanmar Times? It's that same feeling you get from Fox News. It makes you feel like you could be proud to be a part of almost anything-if you just had the right perspective.