Rangoon City in which CountryYangon city, where the country
Yangon is Asia's most thrilling town
What has change d and what has remained the same in this vast town. Hardly any other Asian town has undergone such a fundamental change in the last five years as Yangon. The Myanmar government's attempt to lose its position as a regional offender is an attempt by the country's south trading centre to suggest new dynamics and new perspectives.
Yangon's isolated location has kept the city' s six million inhabitants' cultures and skylines largely untouched, making it one of the most beautiful towns of its magnitude. Just a few leagues after the 2010 elections - the first since the 1990 elections were annulled by the army regime - the democratic symbol Aung San Suu Kyi was freed from her third and longest detention in Yangon.
Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy soon abandoned its long-standing appeal to boycotts. Most of the explorers had stayed away from Myanmar before, but more than three million travellers crossed custom this year, most of them came and went via Yangon. The last time I went to Myanmar two years ago, the drive from Yangon city centre to the Yangon International Airfield took 20 min; now you're in luck if you make it in less than two inches.
Yangon's inner-city network in Bangkok's congested arteries is creating the feeling of riding a missile vehicle through the Mojave Desert right now. This is exacerbated by the complete prohibition of motorcycles, in contrast to almost every other town in Southeast Asia. According to one of them, one of them met a high-ranking official's convoy a few years ago and petted the town council to prohibit them allightight.
As soon as you have reached the center of the town, it is best to move on walking. This was in part due to the sophisticated state of the urban telephone system, but the administration was probably also reluctant to make mobile phones available to the population after the Saffron Uprising. Today, Yangon has become a member of the world' s top walking lists of towns where every walk on the sidewalk is a clash with a teenage text flirt instead of observing where they're going.
Yangon's long standing punkscene is well documentated, but it has always been at a low point: to have a high image and to borrow the aesthetics of such different things as Fonzi's coat at Happy Days to Insane Clown Posse has not worked well in a culture where those responsible have identified international influences with subversion.
The Toten Hosen performed in front of 2000 spectators in Kandawgyi Park and were eclipsed by their supporters. Simultaneously, month-to-month night shows of lgt housing and technical music have become an integral part of the Yangon Street Calendars and a domestic hip-hop community seems to be establishing itself.
Which other place has such a powerful debating style that it is not even possible to reach agreement on the name of the state? First and foremost, after the takeover in 1988, the Myanmar army renamed Burma, allegedly to give a broader name to the country's countless minority groups, not just the Congolese.
Yangon (Some of the changes were Rangoon's move to Yangon to better reproduce it. The name someone uses for the town in the discussion is still a pretty good indicator of where his sentiments are. On many levels, the discussion on the naming system is a microscopic issue for the Yangon population.
It' s not possible to just stand on the wall; the men here are driven by need and passionate in their arguments. In the morning it is inevitable to walk past lines of spectators seated on sculptural chairs that read from some of the many newspapers offered, and rumours and innuendos keep their place in official debate despite the progressive relaxation of state ban.
There is no town in the whole wide earth where you are standing at the edge of a road and less than 200 meters away from a Buddha school, a Baptist congregation, a Synagoge and at the same moment you are hearing the call to pray from a Moscow. Its composition still has vestiges of this heritage, along with several hundred thousand inhabitants from the more than 100 ethnical minorities that inhabit the country's frontier area.
This astonishing and historic secretarial building in the center of the town quickly crumbled after the administration relocated the capitol to Naypyidaw in 2005, but was partially remodeled when Barack Obama toured last months and promised funding for cultural inheritance programmes to maintain the unmistakable mix of old and new.