Thursday, 29 October 2009

Time to bring back Khin Nyunt? But who’s the architect?


Isn’t it funny how posting a chequerboard pattern can get your mind off onto things long considered but not actually realized in type?


Ceremony and ritual.



Myanmar's new capital: Remote, lavish and off limits



Naypyidaw
Great City
of the Sun Abode of Kings



So bearing in mind that these guys have a nuclear program, don’t hear much about that do you, they run Special Forces for the ChiComms into East India, and the place is knee deep in drugs, what’s going on?


If someone could actually identify the Architect behind it like Lúcio Costa /Brasilia then we can work out is this just a dump in the jungle for a bunch of nutjobs, or has it got top ritualistic clearance to emerge as a controlling entity in a century’s time?


If it is the latter then that would stop me scratching my head about why Aung San Suu Kyi is always given MSM smothering cover. She’s most probably not a Satanist Initiate of the highest order.

The item below is quite illuminating about lots of things.

new frontiers

Briefing on Tourism, Development and Environment Issues in the Mekong Subregion

Vol. 12, No. 5 September-October 2006

BURMA

Special Report

NAYPYIDAW: A DUSTY WORK IN PROGRESS

The October edition of The Irrawaddy focuses on Burma’s capital relocation. Editor Aung Saw’s essay reads: “Three of Burma’s most celebrated kings stand watch over Naypyidaw, the ‘royal city’ where Than Shwe presides over what might be called a new empire. What lies in store for him, and the kingdom he is carving out of the dusty hills of central Burma, will undoubtedly remain a topic of speculation for politicians, pundits, and perhaps even the country’s many soothsayers.” The following story is excerpted from an article by The Irrawaddy’s Clive Parker, one of the first foreign journalists who had the chance to visit the new capital [The Irrawaddy: Oct.06]

Naypyidaw’s new city hall stands at the end of a road so long and wide it could almost serve as an airport runway. The imposing building—a colonnaded structure with an interior courtyard—will look better, though, when it is completed.

After more than two years of construction, Asia World Company, the private Burmese contractor responsible for the building, says it will be a further 12 months before the project is completed, locals say, despite pressure from the authorities to finish by the end of 2006. Each week that passes costs the state millions of kyat in labour costs that it cannot afford. Asia World is the country’s biggest construction enterprise, run by Tun Myint Naing, also known as Steven Law, barred from entering the US because of suspected links with drugs trafficking.

Nearly a year since the ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) first began moving civil servants to its new administrative centre, Burma is learning the hard way that relocating a capital city is a difficult and expensive undertaking.

Burma’s new capital is still very much a work in progress, and the civil servants transferred there since last November—at least those prepared to talk—are unanimous in their dissatisfaction. One could be forgiven for thinking otherwise, from the highly embellished reports in Burma’s state- run press.

One article in The New Light of Myanmar in August provided this rosy depiction of the dusty capital: “A long row of new departmental buildings…in Naypyidaw has become a majestic scene for anyone visiting the place,” the article declared. “It will not be wrong to say that service personnel have entered a new age.”

Asia World Company has been contracted by the government for another six years, which means that Naypyidaw will remain under construction until at least 2012. And for the 80,000 workers enlisted to build the new city, conditions have reportedly been poor from the start.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) received reports that at least 2,800 people from the surrounding area were forced to build camps for three army battalions and an air force battalion to secure Pyinmana ahead of construction. “In addition to labour, each village had to provide roofing and construction materials and transport for the project,” an ILO report from March 2005 said. The government has denied the allegations. The ILO has not received any verifiable evidence of forced labour since then, and says it is reluctant to draw attention to labour complaints from Naypyidaw for fear that the government might punish complainants for “spreading false information,” as it has in numerous other cases. The government agreed to a moratorium on such prosecutions in July.

The relocation project has had some positive economic impact. Local companies have benefited from the influx of new business, notwithstanding their allegations of the government’s confiscation of land. Big construction companies—Asia World Company, Htoo Trading, Eden Group, Max Myanmar and Shwe Thanlwin—have also seen significant revenues, but the government’s reported inability to pay for services has required companies to generate income from numerous concessions offered in the place of cash.

These companies were all given the opportunity to build hotels in Naypyidaw, while the government simultaneously prohibited smaller operations in old Pyinmana from accepting foreign guests, thereby denying them the ability to earn foreign currency.

Max Myanmar has made the most of government concessions. It’s Royal Kumudra hotel, located in Naypyidaw’s new guest accommodation zone along an unfinished stretch of two-lane highway, is the busiest of the city’s new hotels—and one of the most expensive, charging US$144 per night for its top-tier executive villas.

Air Bagan, owned by Htoo Trading chief Tay Za, became the first private airline to offer service to Pyinmana’s Ela Airport on 1 March. Other companies not involved in construction in Naypyidaw—including Air Mandalay—were permitted to fly to the new capital two weeks later.

In Naypyidaw, residents’ discontent is as evident as their confusion about why the move was necessary in the first place. The civil servants and laborers who toil each day in the dust and despair that shrouds the new capital give little or no importance to the government’s construction timetables or cost projections. Being uprooted from their families and homes by force is all that concerns them. q