A civilized start to a Rangoon day

By Observer
4 Oct 2001

Don't know about you, but what chuffs me right up to the old geezer on a blistering Rangoon morning is a US$15 poached egg on toast in the dining room of the old Strand Hotel, just a paving stone's throw down from the collapsed customs house.

But I must tell you no breakfast is near complete without a cracking good scan of the morning's news in the New Light of Myanmar. Why just this morning I was lucky enough to catch this item at the top of page one:

"Secretary-1 of the State Peace and Development Council Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt, accompanied by officials, inspected all-round renovation tasks of the Shwephonpwint Pagoda in Pazundaung Township this morning. The Secretary-1 arrived at the pagoda at 9 am and was welcomed by Minister for Religious Affairs U Aung Khin, the deputy ministers, departmental heads, officials of Yangon East District and Pazundaung Township Peace and Development Council, members of the Union Solidarity and Development Association, Maternal and Child Welfare Association and pagoda board of trustees. The Secretary-1 heard reports on redecoration of the pagoda and Sasanika Buildings in the precinct of the pagoda and cash donations to the fund presented by Chairman of the Leading Committee for Second All-round Renovation of Shwe-phonpwint Pagoda and Sasanika Buildings Deputy Minister for Commerce Brig-Gen Kyaw Hsan. Then, the Secretary - 1 gave instructions regarding the reports and inspected the Sasanika buildings, which will be renovated. Afterwards, the Secretary-1 and party inspected and paid homage to Seinbudaw, Hngetmyatnadaw and Shwe-htidaw and left there."

Cracking good blow by blow reporting is what I call it and jolly good on those New Light of Myanmar chaps too!

Myanmar-scale drug seizures

With Afghan drug producers poised to teeter, Burma's poppy growers have their work cut out if they hope to seize the hideous moment and fill in the supply gap.

All the same, Myanmar's thug generals want everyone to know they're doing their darnest to contain the country's pharmaceutical sector, putting three agencies on the case.

Just released numbers for the August catch reveal that the Tatmadaw, Myanmar Police Force and Myanmar Customs together "exposed" 281 drug-related cases. Customs claimed the biggest haul -- 288.5673 kilos of opium in 45 cases, 21.3388 kilos of heroin in 84 cases, 2.3385 kilos of opium oil in six cases, 2.5143 kilos of low-grade opium in 14 cases, 11.3291 kilos of marijuana in 28 cases, 10.864 litres of Phensedyl in three cases, 3,751,045 stimulant tablets in 55 cases, four kilos of Ephedrine in one case, 83.2 kilos of stimulant powder in one case, eight litres of cough syrup in one case, 18 kilos of caffeine in one case, 1.59 kilos of opium paper in three cases, 107 bottles of morphine injection in one case, 327.312 litres of Acetic Anhydride in one case, 2718.508 litres of chemical liquid in two cases, 12.9 kilos of chemical powder in one case, 675 kilos of Phenyl Acetic Acid in one case, 30 cases for failure to register and 8 other cases.

Army and police seizures were not insubstantial. Of course, if this is a true reflection of what's being stopped, monthly output, not to mention, drugs freely flowing out, don't bear thinking about. Authorities declined to offer estimates.