Burma

The Asia Development Bank estimates that Burma

INDONESIA

Senin, 29 Des 2014 12:25 WIB

Author

Banyol Kong Janoi

Burma

Burma, rich, income, import, Banyol Kong Janoi

The Asia Development Bank estimates that Burma’s income per capita could increase sixfold by 2030.

And another report from a wealth intelligence firm predicts that the country’s economic growth will outpace that of all other nations.

In a popular shopping mall like this one Yangon, it’s easy to find products from Thailand or Hong Kong.

Two years ago, none of this would have been possible – as foreign products were banned under the military junta.

21-year-old university graduate Hnin Su Hlain is here at the mall to watch a Western movie.

She’s come from southern Burma and she’s impressed with all the foreign products on sale.

“I’ve been here before, but now everything is changing. There are lots of shopping malls in Yangon now. People’s living standards are changing and there are more employment opportunities. We have agents who are finding jobs for us. And our wage is increasing too.”

When the semi-reformist government took power in 2011, things started to change.

A lot of Burmese people who used to live in exile are returning home.

And foreign investors are pouring money into local industries.

Migrant labor experts say that 10 percent of Burma’s labor force currently works abroad.

And the passport office is full of people waiting to process documents.

English and Chinese are now being taught in schools to help students find overseas employment.

34-year-old Zin Zaw Htet Tun took advantage of the new demand to open a language school in Yangon.

He now has many students learning English, Korean, Japanese and Chinese.

Dressed in a smart western suit, he admits that he has liking for modern technology and is willing to pay for it.

“Fashion trend is changing, you know. When I was young, we just used dial-up telephone after that we used just like Nokia. Now, we can use very expensive cell phone because you know the trend is changing so we feel a bit proud when I use such kind of thing.” 

21-year-old Phyo Nanda works as a Chinese language instructor at the language school.

In class, she notices the growing trend for high-end smart phones.

“Everyone has a smart phone now. They can check the internet through their smart phone. We don’t have to spend money at the internet cafe to surf the internet anymore. There’s also some changes in fashion too – sometimes I feel under-dressed when I see all the young girls dressed in the latest western fashions.”

31-year-old Khin Sitt Pyu has been working in Dubai for 8 years now.

She didn’t finish her university degree and is now working as a cashier.

She earns 900 US dollars a month, which she regularly sends home.

She’s back in Yangon for a while and after the party, she will fly back to Dubai again.

Crabs… fried fish… are served at the table – for ordinary Burmese, this is expensive food.

“The basic salary overseas is ten times higher. This made me want to work abroad. At first my relatives didn’t allow me to go because I’m a woman. But my parents and my siblings agreed and supported my decision. Now I have a regular income and everything is fine with me.”

The World Bank has praised Burma for its economic growth rate of 6.5% last year - which is related to its progress in making political and economic reforms.

And you can see it clearly on the streets of Yangon… with its worsening traffic jams.

But for 39-year-old taxi driver Ye Lin Latt, business is good.

“A friend told me that I should try to drive a taxi. My friend seemed to live a good life, so I started renting a taxi to drive passengers.”

Dr Maung Aung is the government’s economic advisor.

He believes Burma’s economy will grow even stronger….

“Now, our economy does not only depend on Asian markets, but also European markets. We expect to enter the US market soon. So now we are trading globally. We have lots of opportunity to grow in our economy.”

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