Features - The Irrawaddy
Building Bamboo Bikes in Burma

An American couple plan a new project that aims to harness local skills and knowledge to build bamboo bike frames in Myitkyina, Kachin State.

Gaming With a Side of Culture? There’s a Burmese App for That

A team of Burmese videogame developers hopes to use technology to help preserve the country’s cultural traditions and revive its historical heritage.

The Rising Power of Burma’s Women’s Workforce

As Burma lifts long-standing restrictions on labor unions, its largely female industrial workforce is organizing itself to fight for better working conditions and pay.

Burma’s Last Armenians to Pray With Supreme Patriarch

Armenians who worship at the oldest church in Rangoon hope an important religious visitor will help bring them together with the greater Armenian community.

Killer Elephants Creating Ghost Villages in Burma

A combination of land-grabs and deforestation is increasingly bringing elephants and people into conflict at the base of the Pegu mountain range.

Kachin Dam Critic Remains Defiant Despite Being Punished for Speaking Out

Ja Hkawn, a vocal critic of the suspended Myitsone dam project in Kachin State, says she will not rest until the project is permanently shelved

Burmese Boatmen Enslaved by Drugs in Southern Thailand

The hardships experienced by many Burmese fishermen have led to a downward spiral of drug use.

‘It Was a Tragic Scene to See the Dead Bodies of Our Brothers and Sisters’

Twenty six years ago, the Burma Army seized power after a crackdown on a democratic uprising. Two doctors recall how they treated numerous wounded protestors.

Art for Peace

The works of more than 100 artists including prominent activist Min Ko Naing go on sale at a peace-themed exhibit in Burma’s biggest city.

From Plastic, Ex-Political Prisoner Makes Art

A Burmese artist on display in London this month learned to make collages in prison with plastic bags, instant coffee packets and other recycled goods.

Prison Fight

Prisoners in Thailand can win respect, better conditions and time off their sentences if they defeat foreign opponents in jail-yard boxing matches.

The Ties That Bind

An army past has long been the businessman’s best asset—but the rules of the game may now be shifting.

Shan Model-Waitress A Draw for Thai Restaurant

Despite working 10 hours a day as a waitress, an ethnic Shan migrant in Chiang Mai pursues her dream of becoming a famous model.

What Burma’s Rebel Educators Want From School Reform

Can the government find a way to negotiate with non-state education systems created by ethnic Karen and other rebel groups during decades of civil war?

Sex Sells in Burma’s Sin City

Nowhere in culturally conservative Burma is it easier to find sex than in Mong La, a Sino-Burmese border town with a reputation for the illicit.

Market Growth and Moral Decline in Mong La

The Sino-Burmese border town of Mong La has long been a den of vice, but that hasn’t stopped Burma’s president from exhorting its economic success.

Mandalay’s Handmade Gold Leaf Industry Under Threat

Golf leaf manufacturers in Mandalay say cheaper, machine-made foil—which is of lower quality—is now being used at Rangoon’s Shwedagon Pagoda.

In US, Burmese Sushi Chef Crafts New Career on Incubator Farm

A physicist from Armenia, a juice-maker from Bermuda and a Burmese sushi chef all join a program that applies the business incubator model to farming.

Getting the Word Out

Yangon’s music scene is flowering, with an open mic night at Transit Shed No. 1 and a concert including world-class musicians at the National Theater.

Phantoms of Flight

In Myanmar and elsewhere in Southeast Asia, ghosts are said to haunt airports, popping up everywhere from cockpits to arrivals halls.