They are still counting the votes, but it appears Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi's pro-democratic political party, National League for Democracy, will win a majority of seats in the legislature. This will be the first free election in 25 years as the military has ruled with a heavy iron fist. For many she has been a symbol of conviction, courage, and moral authority. The constitution may prevent her from taking the presidency, but she will govern much like a C.E.O. as she negotiates with the military regime. We wish her and her beleaguered country the very best!
We will never forget our first visit in 2001 to Myanmar, or Burma, as many still call the country. We were visiting the amazing Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon and witnessed a novitiate ceremony. It was an auspicious day as young boys from 7 to 13 would become monks and live in a monastery. This young man carried on a palanquin was a privileged relative of one of the ruling generals. He seems to have an air of entitlement.
This was a young novitiate from a rural village carried on the shoulders of his relatives, wearing patterned Thanaka cream, commonly used for cooling purposes and protection against sunburn. The scent is similar to sandalwood. During this important ceremony a boy arrives in the temple dressed symbolically like Buddha when he was a prince. Afterwards his head is shaved as he enters the monastery as a novice monk.
A young girl sells watermelon in the town of Bago.
A traveling circus sets up in Bago and causes quite a commotion. The men are wearing traditional longyi.
For many years Marla and I have sourced Burmese Antiques, carvings, & lacquerware to sell in our Wesco Fabrics' showroom in the Denver Design District. This early 20th century Burmese Buddha pavilion is in the entrance to our Denver warehouse. It is very rare and unique and is for sale for the discriminating collector. For information please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Youtube video on the Shwedagon Pagoda.
Photo credits: All photos by DickGentry except political rally image from Time.