If you've got an interest in Burma then you're in for a treat today...
To coincide with the launch of the second trailer for Hot Knees 'Altered Focus: Burma' documentary, we've got an exclusive blog from the excursion from The Harmony, Etnies and Analog rider Ali Drummond.
As with the previous Bangkok blog, there's plenty of interesting information packed into the captions, and the blog is stretched out over two pages, so be sure to click onto page 2 when you reach the end of this page.
Get stuck in below, and head back to the front page to check out the trailer...
Snaps and captions by Ali Drummond.
We chatted to these kids outside where we were staying in Yangon. They were stoked on our skateboards. Even more stoked when we got out an issue of Kingpin for them to look through.
We had heard there was some skatepark type thing in Yangon but the info was sketchy. We took a taxi to this Thuwyanna Stadium and saw the place from the road, these epic concrete quarters sticking out of the jungle!
The Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon. It's all gold and this is where the many people came to congregate when the protests of 2007 took place. The day we were there it rained, that floor was like walking on ice.
Irony? Yangon is the capital city of Burma and this is on one of the main roads downtown. The city is so dilapidated. This is mainly due to the military government spending over 50% of the national budget on itself, building grand military structures and secret mansions, letting the urban centres decay into ruin.
Grot was stoked when we found this. To bad he doesn't like drinking beer!
This is the Burmese skate scene. The only dudes in the country which skate, you can only buy skateboards in Yangon from crap sports shops. Chinese wood, which they painted with their own designs. The guy standing up at the back organises skate sessions at the park every Saturday and this lot built some ramps and grind boxes. We chatted to them about skating, one of their favourite skate vids is Lost and Found. But you cant by skate vids out there, all downloads off the net.
Happy Wonderful? An advertisement brought to you by Wack Donald's.
Saw these wanted posters outside the police station in Mandalay. The only crime these people have committed is speaking out against the government and condeming it. If found they expect lengthy sentences in jail, some 20 years some recent in the news of 65 years.
In Mandalay we worked in a school for 2 weeks teaching kids English. We noticed that a load of them were wearing these green cargo shorts with Alien Workshop patches on them. That or they were actually AWS shorts. Either way we were stoked and surprised.
Aung San Suu Kyi (Left) with Par Par Lay (Right). In Mandalay we went to see the famous Moustache Brothers. They are a comedian troupe, that used to perform nation wide. Yet since doing a show at Suu Kyi's house in the mid 90's they have been blacklisted. Par Par Lay pictured here as sent 7 years in hard labour camps for it. He is now released and was there when we visited. In their home they have all these photos of Aung San Suu Kyi. She is the leader of the opposition to the military government and after winning 82% of the vote in an election in 1990 see has been under house arrest ever since. It is amazing that in a country where you can't speak her name for fear of imprisonment the Moustache brothers have her plastered around there front room for tourists to see. If you ever visit Mandalay fuck paying the $10 entrance fee to the government to see Mandalay Palace. Go see and support the Moustache Brothers instead!
Grot in his wedding gown. Pas ripped up pieces of paper and through them into the fan above for added confetti affect.
Continues on Page Two...
Burmese Breakfast. We ate at this sick little cafe near our hotel in Mandalay most days. This spicy noodle salad is a classic Burmese breakfast dish along with Mohinga which is a noodle fish soup.
Spot check. One of the spots we found in Mandalay, there aren't many. This one is alongside the Mandalay Place. We were a bit worried about getting the camera out as out of view of the photo, about 50 yards to the left, were two army soldiers with AK47's. Above them is one of the many huge propaganda posters around the city. The one here read "The Tatmadaw (Army) Shall Never Betray The National Cause". It was pretty intense.
This is downtown Yangon at night. The main road in the capital is pitch black at night as there is no power in the whole city. Street lights don't work and during the day the power is off for about 5 hours but its very erratic so you never know when its going to go off. All along the street are generators outside shops, its crazy. Again the reason this is the case in Burma is due to the government inability to development the nation in the interests of the people.
Monks skateboarding. One weekend we went to the school we taught at in Mandalay to get some footage of the school, on the roof is the playground where during the week the kids play football. We brought our boards along for a roll around as we thought the place would be empty. It was, apart from all the monks that live on campus in a small monastery. They all came up when the heard the sounds of our boards and were keen to have ago. They loved it.
Me and Pas eating watermelon mid climb up Mandalay Hill. No Haribo or Mars Bars out here. The only thing you can get in Burma which we have in England in terms of snacks and drinks is cans of Coka Cola.
Fuck Than Shwe! On the top on Mandalay Hill are these photos of the government when they visited. The guy on the far right of the pic is Than Shwe. He is the head of the Burmese Government and is responsible for untold amounts of human rights abuses.
In Mandalay there is a Zoo, we went to check it out. There was this huge poster in the middle of the Zoo, it looked pretty rad. You know a woman cuddling a small deer. Everything looks great, good vibes.
We walked round the corner and saw this. A black bear tied to a tree we about 5 feet to walk around it. The bear had gone a bit crazy, it just paced back and forth all day. Someone call the RSPCA.
This is probably my favourite photo I took when in Burma. I think it says a lot about the place. In 2007 thousands and thousands of Monks protested all the country against the government. The result of this protest was a government crack down on the Monks, raiding Monasteries at night and murdering untold amount of monks in the process.
This is one of the massive propaganda posters all over the place. That small box of the left of the poster is a police box/station. The last line reads "Crush all internal and external destructive elements as the common enemy". Gnarly.
What more can be said, no shotguns allowed in the van.