A Pox on Both Their Houses

A Pox on Both Their Houses
Anti-government protesters wave Thai national flags as they march toward the Labour Ministry in Bangkok November 27, 2013. Thousands of Thai demonstrators massed outside four ministries, a major government office complex and 19 provincial halls on Wednesday in an effort to cripple the administration and oust Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha (THAILAND - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)

    YANGON—To borrow from a favourite line by Captain Willard in “Apocalypse Now,” sometimes the bullshit piles up so fast in Thailand that you need wings to stay above it. The “bullshit” in this case—as in the 2008 and 2010 rounds of political gridlock in the kingdom—is the braying and sloganeering of both “red shirt” and “yellow shirt” sides in a series of anti-government demonstrations and pro-government pushback rallies that have once again turned…

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Yangon Diaries III – The Post-Dictatorship Newsroom

YANGON—The independent newspaper I’m working for is located in a six-storey low-rise just two blocks from our apartment. The English edition is on the fifth floor, where foreign staffers enjoy an air-conditioned room while local reporters and translators share a long, two-sided bank of open cubicles in the main hallway. The locals use decrepit PCs that seem ready for the dust heap—but at least they have computers. It was only after I got here that I…

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Good Morning, Myanmar!

YANGON—Well, it took a quarter of a century, but I’m finally here. Finally seeing a country that, ever since that certain famous uprising in 1988, has captured my imagination, altered my thinking about things like freedom and dissent, and even gifted me my life partner—all without the benefit of once having visited. Myanmar is a country whose history, politics and ethnic makeup I knew more about—with the exception of the United States and England—than those…

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