FEATURE - The Irrawaddy Magazine
Burma’s Oldest Art Gallery Celebrates Anniversary

Famous artists showcase their works at Burma’s longest running gallery, with a collection of paintings showing how Rangoon’s urban landscape has changed since 1962.

Naypyidawdling

With its water slides and swings and cafés half-hidden in the shrubbery, the Fountain Park in Naypyitaw is meant as an evening retreat for the country’s civil servants and their families—somewhere to chill out after a day’s toil inside the city’s imposing and far-flung government buildings.

Tracing the Last of Burma’s Once Influential Armenians

A number of Armenians had professions and commercial interests in Burma under British rule, but their numbers in Rangoon are dwindling.

Hope Springs From Heartbreak in Drug-Plagued Kachin

A former heroin addict now runs a drug rehabilitation center in Kachin State, where locals say the need is great as narcotics become increasingly prevalent.

Naypyidaw’s Synthetic Shwedagon Shimmers, but in Solitude

A pagoda constructed as a replica of the most sacred shrine in Burma shines a light on the quirks of the country’s built-from-scratch capital.

Natural Beauty Blighted by Myitsone Dam, Locals Say

Plans for the hydropower dam in Myanmar were halted two years ago, but local residents say the effects on the landscape and their livelihoods continue.

In Burma, Children With Disabilities Struggle to Access Schools

Education access is limited for Burma’s disabled, who face challenges ranging from the country’s capacity to accommodate their needs to social attitudes toward them.

Burma Cartoonists Share Strategies for Beating Censorship

An exhibition shows how cartoonists took creative steps to avoid government censorship during the former military regime.

A Visit to Laiza Town

In northern Burma, the town of Laiza is much more than a base for ethnic rebels—with a unique culture that mixes Chinese and Kachin.

Girl Power Rises in Burma

Hundreds of teenage girls in Rangoon and Mandalay speak out about gender discrimination in Burma’s underfunded education system.

In Burma, a Debate Over Mother-Tongue Teaching

The language of instruction in public schools is Burmese, but as part of education reform the government is considering the possibility of teaching ethnic minority languages.

In Bagan, Child Guides Eke Out a Living for Their Families

At the temple complex, dozens of children, some as young as eight years of age, show visitors around in order to support their poor families.

Despite Ceasefire Talks, No End in Sight for Displaced Kachin

Displaced Kachin villagers in Myitkyina say that, despite ongoing ceasefire talks, they face numerous problems before they can return home to their abandoned villages.

A Refuge for Girls and Women in Rangoon

Orphaned and impoverished girls and women are welcome at a shelter in Burma’s biggest city, but 66 years after the establishment was founded, funding is declining.

Burma School Offers Dose of Imagination

With the opening of expensive private schools in Burma, one institution in Rangoon caters more to middle-class families and encourages students to nurture their curiosity.

U Thant Library Project Stalling Due to Lack of Funds

The library to U Thant has a floor and walls, but no roof, windows or doors, with the project far from completion and facing a funding shortfall.

Rangoon’s Ruined Glass Palace

As Cyclone Nargis hit in 2008, a well-known, family-owned glass factory was destroyed. Amid the ruins and piles of glass, the owners recall better days.

Burma’s First Hijacking—Soon on Film

A film will tell the true story of Karen rebels who hijacked an airplane in 1954 with hopes of finding Japanese weapons hidden in the mountains.

Singing Reggae, Seeking Reconciliation

With dreadlocks and a rastacap, reggae musician Saw Phoe Khwar stands out, but insists he is just one of millions who want peace for Burma.

A Legendary Artist, an Austere Life: ‘Less is More’ for Kin Maung Yin

The 75-year-old leader of Burma’s modern art movement doesn’t own a refrigerator or bed, but with a brush in hand, he has everything he needs.