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Myanmar publication in music and art under repressive junta
YANGON, Myanmar - Dancing music roared through a bunch of thousand drunk supporters, past the gazebos, where thin ladies in unimaginably high paragraphs circle around metallic bars and into the street full of cabs that brought the party guests to this free whiskey-soaked show in the garden. Burma is a land where it is against the law to own a facsimile device without permission, where even impromptu meetings of more than five persons are technologically prohibited and where critic of the regime is routinely imprisoned in minute jail booths for years.
But despite this oppression, or perhaps because of it, youngsters here come up against the boundaries of what the army rulers, let alone their families, regard as reasonable arts and amusement. Yangon, Myanmar's capital, hosts almost weekly shows of the arts, some of which feature dangerous, concealed policy statements. Twice a year Yangon has an annual celebration of subterranean music, which includes punkbands.
Enthusiasts of the most famous music styles, hip-hop and electronical dancing music, carry deep drawn bags to the regular shows here. Thxa Soe, a famous performer who blends old-fashioned "ghost dances" with something similar to technical music, said he believes the regime has been tolerating frenzied concert in recent years, not least because it was in line with its policy of controlling.
Thxa Soe' s popularity often erodes Myanmar's monochrome picture as a place of zero freedom. However, even if the general wanted it, according to the folks here, the regime would probably not be able to impose totalitarian rule on the basis of the model of northern Korea. The society here is too unmanageable, unorganized and dirty; the population is too imaginative, the atmosphere too warm for 24-hour-suppression.
VHF broadcasters in Yangon, formerly Rangoon, have grown from just one a few years ago to a fistful playing both Myanmar and West African music. In the past year, a privately owned business launched the country's first TV station for music video. There can be a devastating difference between the unwieldy authority of the army rulers and the unexpectedly unrestrained entertaining world.
Policemen sometimes lifted their batons threateningly, but were largely ignored by the multitude who had come to see a bill from famous performers who played music ranging from hard rock to popp. A long-standing Myanmar psychoanalyst said the Myanmar administration tolerates policy with a small meeting of the intellectual and members of smaller groupings.
However, it goes against politics, with a big letter of intent that the analysts define as anyone who questions the credentials of army leaders, such as groups that endorse Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the head of the oppositions and Nobelist. Analysts like this journalist did not want to be diagnosed because the regime does not allow the presence of international reporters, helpers or graduates who work here without a permit, which is often withheld.
He' s one of the most annoyed musician in the land, who was continuously reprimanded by the censorship that forbade 9 of the 12 albums on a recent one. Over the years, they ordered him to erase other music from DVD's and CD's and last year adopted a bill forbidding his new music.
But in a clear indication of the complexity of Burma's community, his hard-driving music is loved by officials. Sometimes he is joking with the secret service officials who are supposed to be spying on his missions. "I' m liked by some members of the administration and hated by others," said Mr. Thxa Soe. One of his tracks is "We Have No Money", a song that seems to have passed censorship.
In Myanmar, the issue of povernourishment is a sensitive one because many attribute the country's bad economy to maladministration and bribery. Speculation about what kind of activity the state tolerates is a frequent subject of discussion here, especially among those who cross borders. 24-year-old U Thu Myat Aung, an artiste inspired by Banksy, a UK road performer, staged the country's first ever graffity show this past few days, on the evening before Farmers' Day.
The censorship often disapproved of the work of U Nyein Chan Su, an artists, said the regime was particularly cautious about abstraction.