Yangon Time JournalThe Yangon Time Journal
She' the junta' s girlfriend (and that's out of fashion)
There was Miriam Marshall Segal, a blanket dressed in fashion, who was drawn over her couture-clad frames and visited her new prawn packaging facility in a storage area in this most decayed of the Asiatic capital cities. "Mrs. Segal said and admired the work of her young Myanmar laborers as they clean and packaged the fleshy Black Tiger prawns caught in the mornings.
That is what it is all about with regard to the issue of people. "Comments like these, which drive the work of the Manhattan business woman to the top among those who say that she has done the devil's work in Myanmar, the land that used to be Burma. Mrs Segal, they say, is an unfeeling advocate of a army government that locks up, torments and sometimes murders those who dare to defend themselves against it.
Rubbish, says Ms. Segal, who seems to be an unlikely contender for a one-woman crime spree to polish the picture of one of the world's best-known oppressive states. In the 1960s, she opened trend-setting accessory shops at Henri Bendel, Neiman Marcus and other high-priced shopping malls - Mrs. Segal could not have chosen a less stylish item for someone who has made a name for herself as a designer of clothing.
There are almost no outside boyfriends in the CIA. "I' m not worried about the critics because I know what I believe," said Ms. Segal, whose design clothing, long purple nails and ruby red jewellery make her an uncommon vision of the fracturing roads of Yangon, formerly Rangoon. She' s been working in Myanmar for almost two years and travels here often from her home in New York.
"I' m here to do deal. "Ms Segal says that Myanmar is wrongly selected for world contempt, even if major Asiatic nations with just as serious violations of fundamental freedoms - especially China and Indonesia - are granted US trading privilege and embraced diplomacy. Mrs Segal's commendation of the regime brings conflict not only with respect for humanitarian groups but also with Washington.
For a long time, the United States was reluctant to trade weapons to Myanmar, and as a consequence of the violence against the democratic movements in the latter 1980s, they declined to appoint an envoy. Despite the junta's acceptance of the free economy and welcome overseas investments, few large US companies do doing small businesses in Myanmar.
The Coalition for Corporate Withdrawal from Burma leader Simon Billenness, a Boston-based international group, said that Ms. Segal "has an undue zeal for referencing the nature of this government. "Ms. Segal recently gave testimony in Congress to assist US investments in Myanmar and to compare the fighting of the Burma army with that of the United States during the civil war.
"Is it really possible to put the guilt on the Myanmar leaders to do the same? "This settlement seemed preposterous to some in the courtroom, but it pleased the ruling party, who fully expressed their statement on two pages of the government newpaper. One photo on page 1 showed Mrs. Segal talking to Lieut General Khin Nyunt, the head of secret service of the Forces.
Ms. Segal first came here in 1976 looking for Myanmar arts and crafts to be sold as clothing outfits. It was only after the army took action against the democratic movements, in which thousand of citizens were shot down, that their commercial relations became an important part. She' s only a few steps away from the Yangon home of Mrs. Segal.
However, when Myanmar was transformed into a para-state, Ms. Segal extended her operations and set up a fisheries enterprise in a j-jur. three years ago. When asked about the government's violent action in the mid-1980s, Ms Segal replied: "It was a very panic- what do you do when you are confronted with such a state?
" Regarding Mrs Aung San Suu Kyi, who was Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1991 and who is loved by tens of thousands here for her readiness to oppose the regime, Mrs Segal provides a view that is not very complimentary. Thou canst not be stubborn in business."