Naypyidaw, the Myanmar capitol, has no one at home | Post Magazine
When you drive through Naypyidaw, Myanmar's specially constructed capitol, it is quite obvious that you are in the heart of one of the impoverished lands of Southeast Asia. Naypyidaw doesn't have only man. NAYPYIDAV (often transliterated as the "seat of the King") was revealed as the new Myanmar capitol by the then army government in November 2005.
It is said to have been completely rebuilt in the midst of paddy and canefields, costing up to 4 billion US dollars to build in a land that only 0.4 percent of its GDP is spent on healthcare for its population - by far the smallest in the state.
Naypyidaws broad, empty roads have some pedestrians: the omnipresent road sweepers that run in twos in their neon-green west and sweep the already untouched roads for hour after hour every single workday. Though Myanmar has had a nominal civil rule since 2011, the natives are careful to talk to us. "It' s not safe," says a 26-year-old man who two years ago left his small city in Kayin State in the southern part of the nation to Naypyidaw.
"but it' s still the same one. "The man who sits in the center where he works complains, "This town is mainly for administrative personnel, administrative building. The majority of them are not so lucky; they only live here because they can make their own income, because they can work here.
" Naypyidaw, where the administration is located, is where the strengths of the police force are omnipresent. In 2006, according to Reporters Without Borders, a South African photo journalist and author were imprisoned for taking pictures of the town. Naypyidaw's origin is surrounded by rumours and speculations.
There are many who believe that the "bold" name of the town " delusions of greatness or.... perhaps another indication of[Than Shwe's] potential presence of people suffering from senile dementia ", according to a 2006 US administration official WikiLeaks film. Others suggest that the increasing paranoia of the Yangon regime wanted to remove the capitol from the ocean for fear of an AMPI.
Than Shwe and the government threw the move to Naypyidaw like the construction of a Canberra or Brasilia, an administration capitol away from Yangon's overcrowding. Only a few folks have purchased this history. "In retreating from the big cities, Yangon, Than Shwe and the leaders protected themselves from any public uprising," wrote Benedict Rogers in his Than Shwe book:
Naypyidaw's ensemble of monuments of parliament is surrounded by a ditch. However, armed forces guard stations are preventing the visitor from getting near enough to the building to visit it. Rumors are also spreading about a huge web of underground galleries, with photographs apparently taken by engineers from the DPRK to advise the DPRK on construction.
From Yangon, THE RAD TO NAYPYIDAW travels more than 300 km northwards across farmland and upland. At the roadside, signposts are a reminder to remain vigilant and adhere to cruise limit. Though the motorway is practically empty and travelers say it is the best street in the land, it has been hit by deaths.
Several have called it "Death Highway", and some say that the way to the new capitol has been rush and little money has been spent on security precautions. At Yangon, overseas helpers smile when asked if they are ready to move to Naypyidaw. "It' s a challenge," admitted a UK NGO employee in Yangon; she and two coworkers had flew to a Naypyidaw flight the early bird night and flew back that night.
I' m going back tomorrow," added a top sales representative in Yangon. "Under the umbrella of a café in front of one of Naypyidaw's huge retail centers, two United Nations advisers are talking about their laptop computers. It is their first time in Myanmar and they curse their happiness to have been sent here instead of Yangon.
"One of the counsellors says that the properties are really fun, they don't look so good on the outside and not so good on the inside, everything is coming apart and no warmth, mildew or stink", and she wants to stay anonimous because of her work with the state.
" The town is situated in large, bulky areas devoted to the hotel, administration building, official housing, army grounds (surrounded by impressive metallic fencing and soldiers), so there is no such thing as a characteristic citycenter. It was described by an indian journalist who came to the town as a "dictatorship through cartography".
Indeed, an authoritative feeling seems to be firmly embedded in the Naypyidaw's desig. Tales of those who have been compelled to move here - or to move away - have clouded the meticulously planned victory of this purpose-built capitol since its inception. Myanmar's government "threatened to issue tough jail terms or pension refusals to officials who refuse to move; there have been records of several arrests," a 2006 official WikiLeaks released the 2006 Diplomacy Cabel.
Nobody knows exactly when work began on the town, because it was carried out in secrecy. "Naypyidaw was stripped of its population to isolate the vast area from the outside world," said a Thai pub. However, the village inhabitants were "recruited" to help with the construction of the new capitol.
" Downtown designers have incorporated a number of recreational amenities into their design to "soften" the town. Next to the nursery and gulf courts there is a huge, 67 hectare, carefully maintained garden and an eco-resort with waterslides, a spas and a shore on an artificial pond just outside the town.
Only a few of the low-income inhabitants of Naypyidaw can allow themselves to savour these rides. Sunday afternoons, half a half of the crowd will be standing in the midst of a course in suitable wearing a pair of poloshirts and practicing their putting on perfect tended weed. However, at the bottom of the Yepyar course you make a false turn and find yourself on a slippery, dirt track full of dump.
Take a close look at the Uppatasanti Pagoda and you will see that it is a copy of the old Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon. We got a dozen employees, but no clients. The roofs of the town' s housing areas are colour-coded, depending on where residents work in the department. Numerous members of staff are living in residences and army bars, while top civil servants are living in sumptuous villas.
Naypyidaw has been joining the international summits in recent years, organising activities and get-togethers with leading personalities and professionals from around the globe. In the same year, after gaining her historical parliamentary chair, Aung San Suu Kyi, the spine in the eye of the government, also moved to Naypyidaw. National League for Democracy official say she has leased a suburban home - far from the famous Lake Yangon mansion, where she was held under home detention for 15 years.
Naypyidaw is also far removed from the glowing badge of the "new Myanmar" that the regime is trying to forge. The new glittering inauguration of the world' s first ever shiny aerodrome makes the town feel like an ultimate test of the concept that "If you construct it, they will come". However, so far, with the goverment already having relocated at least one of its investments to Yangon, it looks like a dramatic fail.