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What is the situation down there right now, foreigners?


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4 hours ago, scammed said:

the famine sets in 10 pm as 7/11 closes,

and no relief until 5 am next day

? - there is no 7/11 in Myanmar....  I always managed to 'survive' living in Naypyitaw, where my local shops (3 Km away) closed at 8pm and didn't reopen until 10am.

 

I'm confused by your post.  Or am I being too 'thick' and missing your joke? 🙂

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On 5/7/2021 at 8:45 PM, Argus Tuft said:

Yes, there are foreigners still here. Didn't appreciate the lol response to that question above, but there has been a mass exodus since Feb and into March - this includes Burmese too, not only Foreigners.

And the situation, while not as dire as it was up to late March - is still nowhere near good. But that goes for locals as well as expats

I am in Yangon and a long term expat here (as well as working in Thailand for many periods in the last 10 years). SVB ring a bell to anyone?

Summary:

Let's do the day-to-day stuff (commerce/banking/Internet/Living) first, going over the questions above. I will leave the suppression/violence and what people have been seeing here until last.

 

- Mobile Internet: mobile data for limited services was restored last week (local banking apps 26th April, Microsoft suites then some food delivery services on Monday just past). Mobile data had been 100% blocked from February, as well as public WiFi hotspots and mobile broadband. Mobile broadband & public WiFi is still totally blocked.

- Fixed/cable internet connections to home or office - had been blocked every night from 0100-0900 from February until last week 28th April. It is now on 24 hours again.

-  Social media/messaging apps. Blocked since Feb without a VPN. Since the mobile data started being relaxed last week and more this week - some users can access certain platforms, but most rely on a VPN
- Banking Feb-March. Since the CDM movement kicked off in early Feb - all banks were closed. The military ordered the re-opening of some branches of the 4-5 major banks here since late March/early April, but with the majority of staff opting to protest under CDM - this didn't happen.
- Banking now. Since early April, branches have been re-opening but limited services, meaning long queues. ATM's were mostly empty since March so any time an ATM was filled there were huge queues (going to repeat that phrase a few more times now). After Thingyan (Myanmar's New Year, think Songkran) banks have re-opened but with huge queues. The CBM (Central Bank of Myanmar, under military control) ordered opening of banks and a new account system, but this has led to a run on the banks. As of this week, daily queues at branches reach to hundreds of people and last all day.
- The heads of the major consumer & service corporations were hauled in by the army in late March (Think: Grab, City Mart, Restaurant chains etc). Not kidding about the 'hauled in' phrase - they were taken away and questioned. CMHL is like Tesco or Big C here - they were ordered to get back to normal hours of operation, get their supply chains and staff back in (they were ALL out protesting under CDM) and get back to work. Grab head was asked why they had shut down taxi/transport and food delivery services. Anyone want to guess what the reply was, given there was zero mobile internet availability?
- Local shops? Virtually all closed. The whole city was shuttered. I have photos of the main CBD, neighbourhoods, street intersections and it looks like a warzone. Which is exactly what it was.


Moving on  - on the ground:

- Have been through 2 decades + here. This is the worst its been. Saffron Revolution was bad - but for context that was a country still under military control, and a suppression by the military, which I witnessed. In terms of now - as if Covid hadn't hit Myanmar hard enough last year (yes I know every other country has suffered also) - 1st Feb the Military took control here and it was a text book coup. The context this time is different - there is a democracy here and has been for some years, so imagine 55 million people who have had a few years of freedom and couple of free elections suddenly having it taken away by one guy in an hour.
- The first few weeks, everyone got out en masse. I saw tens of thousands in the streets, hundreds of thousands in the city and millions across the country who were <deleted> off. For weeks, apart from a visible police presence and blockades around notable/strategic locations - it was peaceful and MASSIVE
- I have always held a 3 week view here when <deleted> kicks off. People get confident when protests kick off and there is no response. Then it goes bad. By late Feb - the police started retaliating with teargas, percussion rounds, rubber bullets and the odd live round. Protestors adapted and moved to more dynamic responses. They would surge on the main roads, then retreat into the back streets when the <deleted> hit the fan. We were outside washing teargas off kids with water bottles and buckets, keeping them fed and supplied. It was *** mad.
- Police began raiding the protestor groups by day, and local suburbs (& houses/apartments) after dark. The populace began building makeshift barricades on the entry streets to local townships. No car/taxi was able to get in or out of my suburb (any suburb) for nearly 2 months
- Raids intensified - Whole platoons/squads would run down our local streets, stopping to fire up at balcony windows if they saw anyone watching or (especially) filming on mobiles. 
 But this was still all the police....

On the 29th March - the army made a massive move from Naypyidaw (the capital) overnight in long convoys and by the next morning they were all over the streets in Yangon.

The protests were suppressed more brutally from there. The aim was to stop the mass demonstrations before Thingyan and it worked.

Now, getting back to the question of what is it like here now?

Local neighbourhoods have re-opened, barricades gone, no daily mass groups protesting, local shops and street stalls open, even some bars and restaurants.
People are out on the streets every day.

But they (the guys with the weapons, and a lot more and newer/upgraded tech than before) are still here and everywhere. There are a few with some serious guns sitting smoking on chairs in the small lane behind my apartment as I write this. And I am in a small neighbourhood (think like off one of the Soi's up off 71 in Pra Khanong)

Google Pots and Pans Myanmar - that still happens, without fail, at 8pm EVERY night

This has been a bit of a catharsis for me tonight, so I am grateful to @andApples for the question. First time I have logged into TV for a long stretch. I used to mod the Myanmar forum lol

Happy to field more questions but if its anything political or inflammatory then go to **** we're dealing with that here already

Stay safe, and hope you are all well in Thailand with the Covid stuff - watching it closely so respect.

 

The most interesting and informative post I have read on TV in a while from 'our man' in Burma........................thank you and 'stay safe' to you and your family.................regards

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, simon43 said:

? - there is no 7/11 in Myanmar....  I always managed to 'survive' living in Naypyitaw, where my local shops (3 Km away) closed at 8pm and didn't reopen until 10am.

 

I'm confused by your post.  Or am I being too 'thick' and missing your joke? 🙂

there is no food to be had from 10 pm to 5 am, everythings closed,

and i am way too undisciplined to store anything edible within arms reach

Edited by scammed
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8 hours ago, scammed said:

there is no food to be had from 10 pm to 5 am, everythings closed...

 

But that's nothing new 🙂 , at least not in Naypyitaw.  Everything closes at 8pm - 10am, except for some local restaurants, and the military or police always followed me if I tried to visit them and warned the locals not to try to speak with me!!  That was 2 or so years ago.

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On 6/1/2021 at 12:49 AM, simon43 said:

My colleagues teach at a school where many of the students are sons and daughters of the police and military.  You can't choose your parents, but I'm happy under the current circumstances not to be teaching there anymore.

 

Naypyitaw was a very clean and safe place to live and work - sterile really is the best descriptive word.

 

 

From pictures I have seen, sterile is also the impression I got from it.

 

Those HUGE empty roads, makes it look very artificial and almost like a ghost town of some sort.

 

 

 

 

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On 6/4/2021 at 10:29 PM, scammed said:

there is no food to be had from 10 pm to 5 am, everythings closed,

and i am way too undisciplined to store anything edible within arms reach

No instant noodle packs?  Even if you live somewhere without a kitchen or even a hot pad, I've eaten plenty of meals with ramen boiled in an electric kettle.

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On 5/7/2021 at 5:26 AM, simon43 said:

Where is 'there'?

 

AFAIK (I'm in Laos), in Thailand there are no food shortages and banks are not shutting down.  No foreigners are trapped in Thailand.

 

Perhaps you mean the USA or another country?

duh. Dont you know where Myanmar is? 

 

Why are you posting about Laos....

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9 minutes ago, pl8lad said:

Hi Simon43,

I hardly ever reply here, so I hope this is the correct section to reply to you. I'm Pete from Yangon, but in Siam now.  Last March I came here for my usual 3/4 week holiday, but got stuck here as the country shut down the airlines a few days before I was due to depart, & I've been trying to get back ever since. 

Very very tragic and sad situation going on with so many defenseless protesters killed, and some friends I know there have had to go into hiding, just to try to stay safe.

How's life for you in Laos? A very nice & friendly place to be.

Pete from the 'white' school?  Long time no chat, and I hope you are doing well!!  I left Naypyitaw about 2 years ago because I wanted to teach online, and the international internet was too unreliable from Myanmar!  I had been teaching at I*** for a couple of years in Naypyitaw, with regular weekend motorbike trips to Inle Lake to donate/teach at the various orphan schools in South Shan State.

 

Life in north Laos is very pleasant indeed, but I miss visiting my friends in Yangon, Mandalay and Naypyitaw.  I hope when (if?) the violence in the country is resolved, I can go back for many visits!

 

Really good to see your post 🙂

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On 5/7/2021 at 5:26 AM, simon43 said:

Perhaps you mean the USA or another country?

 

You responded with USA after this........

 

On 5/7/2021 at 4:48 AM, andApples said:

Any foreigners still there? I can imagine, in some aspects, it must be even more difficult for a foreigner to be trapped inside the country with banks shutting down, food shortage, limited to no internet, etc

 

Bro...........I'm mean, bro.......................... come on............................dude, really??????????????

 

Perhaps he meant the Thread that said Myanmar..  took me one second to find it after I asked myself that same question....

 

Let me ask you.........................Have you been to America?   Do you think foreigners are still there?  Do you think Google, an American company, has internet??????????

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15 hours ago, andApples said:

 

 

From pictures I have seen, sterile is also the impression I got from it.

 

Those HUGE empty roads, makes it look very artificial and almost like a ghost town of some sort.

 

 

 

 

Yep - those huge roads are full of traffic 🙂

 

npt.jpg.d365fd8415a9fe042426f44150ac9de4.jpg

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On 5/7/2021 at 9:45 PM, Argus Tuft said:

Yes, there are foreigners still here. Didn't appreciate the lol response to that question above, but there has been a mass exodus since Feb and into March - this includes Burmese too, not only Foreigners.

And the situation, while not as dire as it was up to late March - is still nowhere near good. But that goes for locals as well as expats

I am in Yangon and a long term expat here (as well as working in Thailand for many periods in the last 10 years). SVB ring a bell to anyone?

Summary:

Let's do the day-to-day stuff (commerce/banking/Internet/Living) first, going over the questions above. I will leave the suppression/violence and what people have been seeing here until last.

 

- Mobile Internet: mobile data for limited services was restored last week (local banking apps 26th April, Microsoft suites then some food delivery services on Monday just past). Mobile data had been 100% blocked from February, as well as public WiFi hotspots and mobile broadband. Mobile broadband & public WiFi is still totally blocked.

- Fixed/cable internet connections to home or office - had been blocked every night from 0100-0900 from February until last week 28th April. It is now on 24 hours again.

-  Social media/messaging apps. Blocked since Feb without a VPN. Since the mobile data started being relaxed last week and more this week - some users can access certain platforms, but most rely on a VPN
- Banking Feb-March. Since the CDM movement kicked off in early Feb - all banks were closed. The military ordered the re-opening of some branches of the 4-5 major banks here since late March/early April, but with the majority of staff opting to protest under CDM - this didn't happen.
- Banking now. Since early April, branches have been re-opening but limited services, meaning long queues. ATM's were mostly empty since March so any time an ATM was filled there were huge queues (going to repeat that phrase a few more times now). After Thingyan (Myanmar's New Year, think Songkran) banks have re-opened but with huge queues. The CBM (Central Bank of Myanmar, under military control) ordered opening of banks and a new account system, but this has led to a run on the banks. As of this week, daily queues at branches reach to hundreds of people and last all day.
- The heads of the major consumer & service corporations were hauled in by the army in late March (Think: Grab, City Mart, Restaurant chains etc). Not kidding about the 'hauled in' phrase - they were taken away and questioned. CMHL is like Tesco or Big C here - they were ordered to get back to normal hours of operation, get their supply chains and staff back in (they were ALL out protesting under CDM) and get back to work. Grab head was asked why they had shut down taxi/transport and food delivery services. Anyone want to guess what the reply was, given there was zero mobile internet availability?
- Local shops? Virtually all closed. The whole city was shuttered. I have photos of the main CBD, neighbourhoods, street intersections and it looks like a warzone. Which is exactly what it was.


Moving on  - on the ground:

- Have been through 2 decades + here. This is the worst its been. Saffron Revolution was bad - but for context that was a country still under military control, and a suppression by the military, which I witnessed. In terms of now - as if Covid hadn't hit Myanmar hard enough last year (yes I know every other country has suffered also) - 1st Feb the Military took control here and it was a text book coup. The context this time is different - there is a democracy here and has been for some years, so imagine 55 million people who have had a few years of freedom and couple of free elections suddenly having it taken away by one guy in an hour.
- The first few weeks, everyone got out en masse. I saw tens of thousands in the streets, hundreds of thousands in the city and millions across the country who were <deleted> off. For weeks, apart from a visible police presence and blockades around notable/strategic locations - it was peaceful and MASSIVE
- I have always held a 3 week view here when <deleted> kicks off. People get confident when protests kick off and there is no response. Then it goes bad. By late Feb - the police started retaliating with teargas, percussion rounds, rubber bullets and the odd live round. Protestors adapted and moved to more dynamic responses. They would surge on the main roads, then retreat into the back streets when the <deleted> hit the fan. We were outside washing teargas off kids with water bottles and buckets, keeping them fed and supplied. It was *** mad.
- Police began raiding the protestor groups by day, and local suburbs (& houses/apartments) after dark. The populace began building makeshift barricades on the entry streets to local townships. No car/taxi was able to get in or out of my suburb (any suburb) for nearly 2 months
- Raids intensified - Whole platoons/squads would run down our local streets, stopping to fire up at balcony windows if they saw anyone watching or (especially) filming on mobiles. 
 But this was still all the police....

On the 29th March - the army made a massive move from Naypyidaw (the capital) overnight in long convoys and by the next morning they were all over the streets in Yangon.

The protests were suppressed more brutally from there. The aim was to stop the mass demonstrations before Thingyan and it worked.

Now, getting back to the question of what is it like here now?

Local neighbourhoods have re-opened, barricades gone, no daily mass groups protesting, local shops and street stalls open, even some bars and restaurants.
People are out on the streets every day.

But they (the guys with the weapons, and a lot more and newer/upgraded tech than before) are still here and everywhere. There are a few with some serious guns sitting smoking on chairs in the small lane behind my apartment as I write this. And I am in a small neighbourhood (think like off one of the Soi's up off 71 in Pra Khanong)

Google Pots and Pans Myanmar - that still happens, without fail, at 8pm EVERY night

This has been a bit of a catharsis for me tonight, so I am grateful to @andApples for the question. First time I have logged into TV for a long stretch. I used to mod the Myanmar forum lol

Happy to field more questions but if its anything political or inflammatory then go to **** we're dealing with that here already

Stay safe, and hope you are all well in Thailand with the Covid stuff - watching it closely so respect.

 

 

Thank you. Take care.🙏

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Posted (edited)
On 5/7/2021 at 4:48 AM, andApples said:

Anyone knows anything about the situation first hand so to speak? 

 Unfortunately I cannot help you as contact with friends has been blocked. However snippets do reach the outside world via pro-democracy "organizations" and anti-Junta militias but nothing so far regarding trapped foreigners/tourists, other than what Angus Tuft has quoted above. For reference (Wikipedia);-

 

After the coup on February 1, 2021, Social Media network such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc were banned by the military coup. And also most of international and local media, Wikipedia and related sister projects and websites of organizations, including CRPH, that against military coups are banned in later. The internet was cut off between the hours of 1:00AM to 9:00AM daily.

On March 15th 2021, the military completely shut off mobile internet access in Myanmar and all internet access also on March 18th.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_in_Myanmar

 

What a bunch of evil Burmese Junta terrorists!!!

Edited by Burma Bill
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On 5/8/2021 at 2:49 AM, Argus Tuft said:

Yes. There are still foreigners here.
And a load of p***ed off locals too.

I posted a similar question on TripAdvisor a month or two ago, and was told that there had been lots of repatriation flights after the coup whisking foreigners to safety, and that basically nearly all were gone. You must be one of the last holdouts. Anyway, interesting reporting. I have visited Burma (still prefer to call it that) a few times starting in 1985, and do love the country and its very courageous people. 

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Argus Tuft , thank you for the report. Like many others I’ve traveled many times to Myanmar and got to love the people there. Last visit was end of February 2020. My heart breaks for them, and your post brought tears to my eyes. Unfortunately, the international news are not taking much notice anymore, only on FB you see anything. I can’t  understand  why there isn’t a harder view taken by the governments in the west. 
Take care !

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9 hours ago, Iron Tongue said:

No instant noodle packs?  Even if you live somewhere without a kitchen or even a hot pad, I've eaten plenty of meals with ramen boiled in an electric kettle.

i cant keep anything edible in the fridge,

i just keep eating regardless if im hungry or not,

at least if i have to make the effort to get out,

its at least going to be some form of hunger driving me

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Hey there Simon,   yep, Pete from ALBA, good that I put the reply to you in the right place. And good to hear you are enjoying life in Laos,.

I'm hoping to get back to Yangon, but could be a while due to all the <deleted> going on there, Joel is principle at ALBA, don't think he was when you were there. After CV19 hit, the school started online teaching, which I'm not so good at,  the internet had improved a lot before I left, good enough to watch streaming videos and TV programs.

I've been selling old Burmese license plates on ebay since I've been trapped in Siam, and about to do some teaching at a small private school here where I'm staying, the govt. postponed the regular May re-opening here due to CV19, so about Jun/ 14th, if they don't postpone again. 

 

Wheels within wheels, within wheels !!!

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With Thailand finally getting out of the blocks with yesterday's vaccine roll out just wonder how Burma is fairing.
 

Infrastructure isn't the best and with priorities no doubt going to those in uniform what are the chances of mass inoculations for common folk?

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On 7/2/2021 at 9:48 AM, wangotango said:

Hello there,

A quick update on the situation in Bagan.

A couple of banks have opened but only for deposits, no withdrawals ( unless you know someone on the inside and grease their palm from what I have heard ) I think you can register to withdraw at ATM but max 200,000 kyat and the numbers are limited with big queues waiting to register. The violence seems to have died down as the protestors seem to have stopped marching as much as they were at the beginning. We still hear the occasional gunshot or bang and there is are a few truckloads of police and army patrolling. Markets are open although the range of food has decreased. Covid took a bit of a back seat after Feb 1st as all the focus was on "the troubles" but it has started to take off around the country and I'm not sure how it's going to be handled. People here were getting a bit complacent in recent months ( no masks etc ) but I think that is changing now they see the reports on facebook etc. via VPN. The village people a few months back were collecting donations from those who could afford it to go towards mass cook ups which would then be distributed among the village people but that stopped months ago and I can see it starting again as some people are in dire need of food. Nyaung-u and Bagan are heavily dependant on overseas tourists for income and a helluva lot have no jobs as restaurants, hotels, tour operators, boat operators, taxi and tuk tuk drivers, tour guides are all out of work. There was a freeze on electricity bills until recently but then they slapped the last 4 months bills on at once, don't pay- cut off. It is not a very bright outlook in the near future unless something good happens on the troubles/ covid front.

P.S. Pardon my grammar, I just write as I'm thinking.

Take care All

 

 

Interesting, thank you very much, keep us up to date of what is happening when and if you have time to write more. 

 

How do you feel about your own situation, are you worried? 

 

 

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