Burma City emptyEmpty Burma City
This empty feeling: Myanmar's banned capitol
Naypyidaw was secretly constructed by a paranoiac army jungle and has been a puzzle ever since. It may be the main city of Myanmar, but few aliens have been allowed to enter the heavily watched, tank-friendly highways. NAYPYIDAW, MYANMAR - It's the material for espionage-thriller. And even then, the city stayed enshrouded in secrecy.
Naypyidaw (pronounced "diaper door") remains a hidden city: taboo for most aliens and completely banned for reporters. Myanmar is no longer the army ruling it once was. However, despite his powerful regimes, Thein Sein has confused things a little and introduced a range of reform measures that have gradually led Myanmar out of the game.
The aim of the reform is to safeguard the state by getting it a little bit nearer to the outside. Myanmar's army jungle seems to be on the same path. I was on my way to Naypyidaw. The employees say they are employed, but every room I went to was empty, or almost so, my steps echoed in lobby.
Blank refers to most of the city. Aside from the unfortunate police officers who stand at the roadside, the spacious, tank-friendly streets are empty, trembling and soaking in the relentless rain of the monsoons. There' s nothing in the stores. The passports for touristic attraction are empty. Most of the brand-new residential areas are empty, the colour is already fading away.
This should be changed in further election in 2015 if Thein Sein and his regime do not keep their covenants. Aung San Suu Kyi herself is now spending a great deal of patience in Naypyidaw - as a deputy she has to. But this will always be the city that the army has constructed.
Sometimes Nyapyidaw is more of a showplace than a city. It' an imposing building, but like the city, it feel compelled and weird. The Shwedagon - an eye-catcher that will stand next to the Pyrramids and Angkor Wat once Myanmar opens correctly - is more than 2,000 years old, a result of hundreds of years of dedication and sophistication.