Mandalay 2014

2 3 STUART ALANBECKER W HEN young boys play marbles, they choose only the smooth, shiny, perfectly round tamarind seeds with which to play – and they discard any small or odd- shaped seeds. “But when the rain comes,” Mandalay essayist U Phone points out, “the discarded seed starts to grow. As time goes by that small odd seed becomes a beautiful tree in the centre of the village ofering shade to the people.” While the big shady tamarind stands over the village, U Ph
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  2 3 STUART ALAN BECKER  W  HEN young boys play marbles, they choose only the smooth, shiny, perfectly round tamarind seeds with which to play – and they discard any small or odd-shaped seeds.“But when the rain comes,” Mandalay essayist U Phone points out, “the discarded seed starts to grow.  As time goes by that small odd seed  becomes a beautiful tree in the centre of the village offering shade to the people.” While the big shady tamarind stands over the village, U Phone says, “nobody remembers that it started out as a seed that had been discarded for being too small”. But everyone appreciates it even so, and benefits from the way it cools the mind and  body.Such are U Phone’s observations on the value of a self-made life that challenges convention. Like those seeds, only in the fullness of time has he learned both the heavy cost and high value of being true to one’s self. But he has come to know that standing out from the rest is never something to shy away from.U Phone grew up in a big family  with many brothers and sisters. He  was particularly influenced by a favorite uncle, who was a thinker and a chemistry teacher. Following in his uncle’s footsteps, U Phone also became a chemistry teacher. “I had a lot of students and the opportunity to teach them. I was happy at first. Then I realized it  became a burden because it was like holding a weight.”By way of illustration, U Phone, sitting across the table holds up a glass of beer in his hand.“It is like you are holding something that weighs 2 pounds, a stone or anything. In the first few minutes it is still 2 pounds, but after  you hold it for half an hour it becomes different. It becomes heavier but the  weight never changes. There comes a time when you have to put it down.”The realisation of this came with age, as he matured through different periods of his life. “When I was young at college, it  was about love. When I was working, it was about money. Today it is about  benefiting the world.”In order to do what he believed in while he still had the chance, he realised he was going to have to stop teaching chemistry and start writing.“I started reading, and I shared  what I read with my students and I became less satisfied talking only to students. In print I knew I would reach a larger audience of more people and that compelled me.”He hasn’t abandoned teaching completely – he now conducts a small class at his home in order to provide encouragement to students in person – but speeches are “temporary and transient”, he says. “When you write it lasts for a long time.”Since committing himself to the literary life, U Phone has written 13 collections of essays. All are available only in Myanmar language, though translations are a possibility for the future. His most popular book is called  Near or Far  , published by the Lin Lun Khin Sarpay Publishing House in  Yangon (2004).In addition to his own volumes, U Phone’s work has been published in journals such as The First Weekly  and The First Music , and he has also appeared on television and on radio. He’s married but has no children except two adopted nieces. He’s now focussed on a new book:  Soul Tribunal  , a collection of 100 essays.“Now I am 55. I think I can work for ten more years. I can work nearly 4000 more days in my life.”U Phone says some don’t understand his decision. “People usually wake up thinking about making money and go to bed thinking about making money,” he says; “very few” are doing what they believe in. But for him it’s a simple choice.“Would you rather spend the rest of  your life doing things you don’t believe in or doing things that you believe in?” he asks. “I chose the latter. The first thing I gave up was a lot of money. The second was colleagues.”It is clear from U Phone’s manner of speaking that he – like those seeds – he belongs to a different category than most. He often answers questions with parables, illustrating larger meanings  with simple examples to make them easy to understand.For instance: “I see people as  buttons,” he says at one point, “and one if button gets misplaced, everything is wrong. Like the head of a society – if the leader is in the right place, everything follows correctly.”Similarly, when explaining the contributions that writers make to society, U Phone turns to Mandalay’s palace moat to state his case.“Everybody travels and lives around the moat. But when you ask them, ‘Do  you know of any rich person from the king’s time?’, they don’t know anyone.  When you ask them, ‘Do you know any writer or poet from the period?’, of course they know.”U Phone lists U Boya and A Choketan Saya Pe as two of the many important historical poets and playwrights who have put Mandalay on the nation’s literary and cultural map. Like the nation’s respect for these writers, his own commitment to art has only increased with age. Meanwhile, the self-awareness his literary reflections have led to has also brought him to a broader, more enlightened view of society.“It would be nice to see a person as a person and not judged by their ethnicity, property or education,  whether they are a man or a woman, Indian, Chinese, Burmese, Thai, Malay and whatever property or education they have … Once you are able to see a person as a person, you have inner peace – you have spiritual freedom.”In typical fashion, U Phone chooses a metaphor to illustrate his point – in this case, the fact that people love seeing balloons released. “Think like this: It is not just the balloon,  but also the string that is used to tie the balloons that is released. Giving freedom to one person would offer freedom to you. “So wouldn’t that be great? Balloons are lifeless, they’re just things, and even we humans applaud.  And how about giving freedom to the living people: Wouldn’t it be great if they were released? Wouldn’t that be happy?” Staff writers   Khin Su Wai, Stuart Alan Becker, Si Thu Lwin, Phyo Wai Kyaw, Maung Zaw, Mya Kay Khine, Kyaw Ko Ko, Kyay Mohn Win Guest editor  Stuart Alan Becker Editors Myo Lwin, Wade Guyitt Sub editor Mya Kay Khine Soe Photography   Khin Su Wai, Stuart Alan Becker, Si Thu Lwin, Phyo Wai Kyaw, Maung Zaw, Mya Kay Khine, Kyay Mohn Win,  Aung Htay Hlaing Cover photo  Aung Htay Hlaing (Shwe Kyaung Gyi Monastery, Mandalay) Cover design   Ko Htway Page layout Ko Khin Zaw KHIN SU WAI T HE woman was shy, but at the same time showed excitement that I had come round to look at her beautiful golden embroideries. The scene she was depicting was a traditional one: novices, making their ceremonial rounds. Her own  work is something of a tradition as  well: When I asked how long she had  worked in the shop making golden embroidery, or shwe chi hto , she replied it had been 20 years.Tapestries like these start in Mandalay shops. But they end up in senior government buildings, such as the President’s Office and the hluttaws, or in the homes of those  who display them proudly. They are both works of art and symbols of status – and they are a symbol of Myanmar culture, at home and abroad. One well-known tapestry artist, U Sein Myint, explained the history of such work. “It is srcinated in Myanmar about a thousand years ago,” he said, tracing the srcins back to the time of the Bagan dynasty. While the tapestries resemble India’s  zarbozi  , they have unique  ways of depicting characters, making them distinct.Most tapestries show religious scenes such as Buddhist histories, nats, or the binding ties between parents and children. Such tapestries, which are framed and hung on walls, cost between K5000 to K50,000, with larger or more elaborate pieces costing much, much more. Some even request custom works. “We are now sewing the tapestries for a noviciation ceremony for a  wealthy family in Myawaddy,” he said.Some works end up still further away. U Sein Myint has just finished depictions of four of the most worthy pilgramage sites, and the result will  be sent to a monastery in Moscow.Flat panels are not the only artworks made. Clothing for traditional puppets is one use for such embroidery. Clothing for noviciations is another. Originally shwe chi hto  clothing  was reserved for royals. The earliest recorded instances date to 800AD,  when Chinese chronicles describe the costumes worn by Pyu-era artists and musicians visiting China on a cultural mission. Another noteworthy example is a  wall frieze in Bagan’s Ananda Pagoda,  which depicts a scene from the birth of the Buddha, and clearly shows his mother wearing gold embroidery of the same sort made today.Daw Kyi Kyi Mar, of Daw Kont Shwe Chi Hto, says her ancestors served the royal family when they lived in Mandalay. Her forebears were responsible for the king’s crown, a crested headdress, and she inherited the shwe chi hto  art from them.Today she sells and rents clothing for noviciation ceremonies. Prices depend on the elaborateness of the sash, she says, but most are rented rather than bought. At the time of her ancestors, when Mandalay served as the royal capital, trade was further opened up to the  West and East, and shwe chi hto  technique become more advanced, sometimes incorporating materials imported from the West. But the exile of King Thibaw and the royal family created a shortage, and consequently increased demand in the subsequent decades.So long as young boys and girls follow Buddhist custom and become novices, U Sein Myint said, they will  wear shwe chi hto  and the art will be preserved. But U Sein Myint started his shwe chi hto  business in 1985 and has been around long enough to know that mass product in recent years has led to lower standards of quality. He says there are only about five businesses left which do shwe chi hto  properly. He should know: One of his wall hangings has been presented to the UN by the Myanmar government and now hangs in the UN building in New  York.  Whether enough dedicated artists  will remain to continue to export Myanmar’s fine traditions in future is uncertain. Tapestry The vast potential of odd-shaped seeds   “Do what you believe in” and other insights from Mandalay writer U Phone ‘When you write it lasts for a long time.’ Works in progress at U Sein Myint Art Gallery,62 nd  Street;at left,Daw Moe Moe,U Sein Myint’s daughter. Photos: Khin Su Wai Photo:Si Thu Lwin JUST north of Mandalay, Monywa serves as a hub for up-country commerce, and much of the dealing, at least for agriculture, takes place in one building.The Brokers, Merchants and Millers of Mahar Bonkahtain  Association of Monywa, also known as the Monywa Wholesale Commodity Exchange Centre, is headquartered in Monywa’s south ward, between Bogyoke and Pyidaungsu streets near a bus station compound. Here traders  buy and sell edible oil crops from across Upper Myanmar, providing a  boost to the local economy.Established in 1970, the association  began as a place for trading locally grown crops. Later an executive was established, and the body occupied its present permanent office in 1990.Today the centre sees average transactions of around 120,000 tonnes of crops per year. “Monywa Wholesale Commodity Exchange Centre is run on a non-profit basis for crop transactions,” says chair U Thein Oo,“with the good intention of helping the town’s  business activity to flourish and establishing it as a well-organised commercial hub.”U Thein Oo says every day sees transactions of commodities brought down to Monywa to be traded from Sagaing and Magwe regions and Chin State, with wheat, edible oil crops, and beans and pulses most common.“Business is normally good in harvest time from January to August,” says U Thein Oo. “Prices are fixed  based on the needs of the locale, in line with other wholesale commodity exchange centres in nearby cities.”The association has around 580 members, including more than 150 merchants, up to 240 wholesale owners and brokers, and more than 180 millers. Elections of executive members are held once every two  years. The association also participates in annual Kahtain robe-offering ceremonies, and has offered food at Monywa’s Su Taung Pyae Pagoda over 20 times. Members also band together to support one another in occasions of joy or grief, and to provide relief to those affected by natural disaster. – Si Thu Lwin, translation by Zar Zar Soe MONYWA    Trading centre brings profit  Trading centre brings profit  PHYO WAI KYAW BOOMING Mandalay is finally getting places worth shopping in. Residents’ appetites for retail therapy were first whetted by Zaygyodaw (since renovated), Skywalk mall (which burned down in 2008), and 78 Centre (which closed a few years back), but replacements have been long in coming.Until now. Yadanarbone Diamond Plaza, launched in 2011 on the site of the former Yadanarbone market, offers an Ocean super-market, cinema, jewellery show-rooms, coffee bars, restaurants,  beauty salons and fashion shops, and  brings in the crowds with its attractive architecture and interior and exterior decor. And Mingalar Mandalay, located on 73 rd  Street in Chan Mya Tharsi township, includes not only shops but also five-star hotels, condominiums and detached houses.The 47-acre project, started in September 2012, was built  by CAD and New Star Light, in collaboration with Mandalay City Development Committee, connecting the developing new town with the established downtown and drawing customers from both.“This project will change the Mandalay lifestyle,” said U Zin Min Swe, managing director of CAD. “Bangkok and Singapore have their night-life, and now we will have ours.  We plan to develop a night market and three 3D cinemas in December. Fashion, household goods and a food court are also included in the project.” He added Ocean Super Center,  with its innovative design, will attract customers with coffee bars, restaurants,  boutiques and shops. And for those who fear Mandalay’s traffic is heading in the same direction as Yangon’s – nowhere fast – Mingalar Mandalay’s five-story car park can accommodate hundreds of vehicles as they watch the entertainment in Art Platform and Mingalar Mandalay Square.Developers also plan a 350-room five-star hotel, an office tower, condominiums and detached houses. – Translation by Thiri Min Htun Shoppers converge on the full moon day of Thadingyut (October 8). Photo: Phyo Wai Kyaw Best spots  to shop Photos: Stuart Alan BeckerPhoto: Si Thu Lwin For feedback and enquiries,please contact,  4 5 STUART ALAN BECKER I T’S one day before the full-moon celebration of Thadingyut, and walking into the pagoda compound in Kyaukse, at the base of a hill crowned with golden spires, you see pairs of men on stage – or rather,  you don’t see them, for they are concealed inside colourful elephant costumes, and are imitating the movements of the great amd noble animals in an uncanny manner as they circle the stage three times. Motivated by the playful gymnasts inside, a few of these brilliantly decorated elephants rear up for acrobatic stage dances. They stand on hind legs, heads rotating side to side, trunks swinging in the air. The scene delights the locals, for  whom it never gets old, and thrills the  visitors as well, both those who have come from elsewhere in the country and the smattering of foreigners from abroad.Unlike some festivals, the Kyaukse Elephant Donation Festival is not a  wild or boozy event. This is a family affair, where the whole town comes out – parents, children, older relatives – and everyone takes pride in and enjoys the sights together. For the performers, though, it isn’t only fun and games. There are 57 groups competing in three different categories: traditional elephants, sequined elephants and children’s elephants. They’re competing for prizes of up to K5,000,000, for best elephant and best performance, and their composure and discipline in the early morning sun is remarkable.Every year on the day before Thadingyut, in the seventh month of the traditional calendar, people converge on Kyaukse, a town about an hour’s drive south of Mandalay on the old highway to Yangon. They  watch the performers put on the elephant dance, which happens in precise sequence and requires both people inside the costume to act in perfect concert.The following day, on the full moon day, thousands of pilgrims carry small paper elephants 900 feet (275 metres) uphill to the pagoda on top of the Tha Lyaung Mountain. They often dance or play musical instruments. At the top, they walk around the pagoda three times clockwise and present their donations. As well as being an act of Buddhist reverence, the offerings commemorate the reign of King  Anawrahta, who started the tradition  by instructing his followers to offer food on the full moon day during the month of Tabaung. According to the story, King  Anawrahta sent a replica of one of the Buddha’s teeth on a white elephant. The elephant climbed a number of mountains and where it stopped – Kyaukse’s Tha Lyaung – was built Shwe Tha Lyaung Pagoda. The elephant festival has been keeping this memory alive ever since.  As one local teenager said, “We always have a wonderful time during the festival, with the elephants dancing. This festival makes the people very happy and they don’t have to go to school – and they don’t have to go to work. Every child of Kyaukse loves the elephant dance.”Indeed, the day of play and imagination seemed to have left all the festival’s visitors in a good mood – not even the mammoth-sized traffic  jam that resulted as they headed back to Mandalay seemed to cause them to forget the fun they’d had. Where elephants dance KHIN SU WAI F OR a city with so much history, it’s sometimes surprising to remember that Mandalay was only founded in 1857. Before Mandalay took the name Mandalay from Mandalay Hill, in the early years of its existence the city was officially called Yadanabon. One event already established back in those days drew visitors from as far away as Thailand, and this festival continues to give character to the modern city today.The festival is named the Thae Pone Pagoda Festival, or in full the Maha War Lu Ka Thae Pone Pagoda Festival. It honours the Maha War Lu Ka pagoda – but this isn’t the sort of pagoda you’d expect. In fact, it’s built  with sand ( thae  means sand;  pone  means piling up). Though not as grand as the Kyaut Taw Gyi Pagoda Festival held at the foot of the Mandalay Hill, the Thae Pone Pagoda festival has its own important history. The story goes like this: When the King of Innwa, Shin Pyu Min, defeated the regions of Thailand in 1767 AD (or 1129 in the Myanmar calendar), the king of Thailand and his relatives and followers were brought back to Myanmar as prisoners. The Thais were settled in different places according to their social classes: royals in Min Tharsu ward, advisers in Mont Tisu, retinue in two other places. Over time, as they settled in their new homes, a spread of Thai heritage resulted .“The Myanmar king approved their request to build sand pagodas,” explained U Khin Mg Kyuu, chair of the Mont Tisu Pagoda board of trustees. “They used their sand [brought from Thailand] mixed with local sand to build the sand pagodas in the custom of Buddhist worship.”In Mandalay, there were once four thae pone  festivals, but now there are only two, because Dar Tan and Pale Ngwe Yaung pagodas are now made of brick. Mont Tisu still follows the old  ways, says patron U Sein Kyi, 66.“After the full moon day of Tabaung, we take back the umbrella crown, so it is no longer a pagoda. On the eigth day of Kasone, we start to distribute water to the pagoda compound that will cause the sand pagoda to become softer so it is easier to disassemble. And every 13 th  day of Kasone, we rebuild our sand pagoda in a single day,” said U Sein Kyi. “Every year, we rebuild the pagoda,” said U Myo Swe, trustee for Min Tharsu. “Sometimes we need to  buy new sand, but mostly we don’t need it.”U Sein Kyi, who remembers the  year of the pagoda’s 200 th  anniversary, said residents made extra donations that year, and also compiled a history of the pagoda with the help of a famous historian, U Mg Mg Tin (MA). So does sand make for good pagoda-building? Oil added to the sand keeps it sticky and makes it more consistent. And there are some advantages to using such a malleable medium, U Sein Kyi said.“When we depicted the Arnanda [giant] fish that circles round the  bottom terraces,” he said, “we made its skin wrongly. Later we amended it. That was not hard, because it is sand.”But some say that the skills of the new generation of sand artists are not as good as those of the olden days. “Now the generation can’t make the bargeboards of ogre decorations on the pagoda, nor the fish,” said U Khin Mg Kyuu. “If the art does not meet the standards of the srcinal art, it will make pilgrims laugh. That’s why we don’t put this art on the pagoda.”Following tradition, only men  build the pagoda, while women take a supporting role. The exercise is  believed to bring good merit. And the festival involves many traditional foods made by residents. “It is very enjoyable. For the past five years, we have provided the participants with Thai mont ti  ,” said U Khin Mg Kyuu, whose grandfather and father both served as chair for the festival in their days. Myanmar mont ti  , he added, evolved from the Thai snack – and now Mandalay’s version is especially good.Just like the pagoda itself, the traditions of thae pone  pagodas are a little bit Thai, a little bit Myanmar – and likely quite the opposite of what Shin Pyu Min anticipated back when he “conquered” his enemies. Pagodas made of sand How an ancient war between Myanmar and Thailand led to a peaceful festival tradition MYA KAY KHINE  WHENEVER visitors travel to Mandalay, there’s one thing friends and relatives are sure to ask them to  bring back: thanakha. The trees from  which thanakha paste is produced grow best in tropical zones, and the dry climate in the area around Mandalay is well-suited for producing the cosmetic traditionally  worn to keep cool in the hot season.“Pakokku and Shwebo were once famous for thanakha,” says U Kyaw  Win, who sells lengths of the cuttings at Mandalay’s Mahamyatmuni Pagoda. “But their plants are being renewed now. Currently, Ayadaw, situated in east Monywa in Sagaing Region, is best.” Traditionally thanakha trees aren’t trimmed until the age of 35. But now some are trimmed young, even at five or 10 years, because they are grown more quickly using chemical fertiliser. The younger cuttings, though, bring less yield: If 50 years ago six inches of thanakha could last two months  with twice-daily applications, now the same length may last a month at best, even if only applied once a day.Ground against a stone, the bark and wood of thanakha releases a pasty fluid, either white or brown-coloured. Spread on the skin, both types are trumpeted by those who use them as being able to produce lighter, smoother skin, and prevent and even cure, heat-related skin problems.Some say that a face smeared consistently for 40 years will always look more youthful than a face treated with other cosmetics instead.Thanakha in its raw form is sorted into three categories to be sold: third (normal), second (better) and first (best). Lengths of the best plants can be worth over K15000 each, while second-class can fetch K8000-K10,000. The normal category goes for K2000 to K10,000 for a 18-inch (46-centimetre) length. When I visited Mandalay in 2012, I found it a thanakha haven, with many places to shop, from Zay Cho market to Mahamyatmuni Pagoda. But my friend advised me that the cheapest and best place was in Sagaing, 10 miles (16 kilometres) away – and specifically on the platform of Kaunghmudaw Pagoda. Now I find that’s the only thanakha I prefer. “During pagoda festivals and other periods of high demand, I sell nearly K1,000,000 worth a day, and during a normal period I sell K300,000,” said May Thet Oo, owner of Silver Moon Thanakha shop, one of 35 thanakha shops around Kaunghmudaw Pagoda. There are over 70 other kinds of shops, but thanakha vendors are particularly common here, especially on the north stairway. May Thet Oo says visitors may come and buy a few sticks for themselves and their friends,  but that the majority of their business comes wholesale, meaning the pagoda grounds have become a favourite spot for area vendors to stock up.“We built these shops and have allowed them to sell on the flat ground around the pagoda since three years ago,” said U Than Saung of the pagoda administration. Rent costs only K2000 a month, so profit margins are high.If you’re shopping for thanakha, remember that the best segments are straight, with no irregularities on the surfaces. Curved lengths can’t be ground properly, leading to waste. Check also to see if the length gives off a sweet smell on the cut surface. If it is not fragrant, it means it is a  young plant, and the surface can peel and won’t last as long. Mandalay make-up    The face of Myanmar is thanakha, and some of the best is on sale just outside the royal city  AS well as beauty, jade offers considerable possibility for return on investment. After all, in what other industry could you get started with a mere K100,000? And possibly turn a profit on your very first day?“In 2012, a friend of mine who is not a jade trader had K2 million and  bought some bracelet-shape jade,” recalls experienced Mandalay jade  broker U Myo Lwin. “He had to spend K1.8 million for the precious stones. Three days later, a customer from China bought them from him, paying K2.3 million. That is exactly what we call luck!”Even experienced jade traders usually don’t earn K500,000 in  just a couple of days, U Myo Lwin added. On the other hand, such sudden gains are a sign of a volatile industry, and the same factors that allow unexpected profits can bring unexpected losses.The jade pieces being bought and sold at the Mandalay market can be broken down into five categories: finished products (jewellery); raw stones; bracelets;  beads; and carvings. The first three categories require a more substantial investment. But beads and carved sculptures are generally priced lower, and make a good starting point for those looking to enter the trade. Rosary-bead-shaped jade is a low-risk bet for most, who later move up to blossom- and plate-shaped pieces.  As with any business, though, it’s not just a matter of having the right stock. Success with jade requires social skills, cleverness and luck – a rare combination.Jade deals usually involve three parties: a buyer, a seller and a broker as intermediary. Some  brokers, however, have their own profits first in mind, U Myo Lwin said. Fortunately it has been a long time since he has heard of any egregious swindles in which  brokers were found to be lying to the buyer, the seller or both, though it has happened in the past.Jade means big money, and Mandalay is well-situated to capitalise on it, especially given Myanmar’s resources and the city’s easy proximity to China,  where eager buyers wait. (“Gold is  valuable, jade is priceless,” goes one Chinese saying). That philosophy is a boon for Myanmar: A 2013 report  by Harvard’s Ash Centre for Democratic Governance and Innovation estimated 2011 output at around $7.8 billion – though at least $3.4 of that was through unauthorised channels.Total trade at the Mandalay market alone reaches around K100 million a day, estimates Ko Gu Gu, a trader – though the days when  buyers from China are in town there are heaps of cash everywhere.“When stone traders from China come to buy, this [average] amount can be much higher,” Ko Gu Gu says.Dividing these spoils are  brokers, jade crafters, jade firms and young apprentices who are learning the trade. Ko Gu Gu said there are also a few businesspeople handling large trades who no longer come to the market but  work out of their residences.One lesson Ko Gu Gu has learned is that traders of an ethnic Chinese  background are willing to hold on to stones longer, while Myanmar traders – who he says have fewer financial resources – are more often looking for a faster flip. “They often sell the stones as soon as they are offered a higher price than what they bought at. They do not give profit enough time to grow,” Ko Gu Gu says.One student of jade, Ko Myo Min, said the life-changing possibilities are why he is taking up this career. “The quickest way to riches here is through the jade  business,” he says, adding that luck does play a role but that jade is still the best bet for bringing “great change” in life. “It attracted me to  jump in and swim in this ocean of the jade business.” – Translation by Lun Min Mang  Visiting Mandalay’s jade market, MT  ’s Maung Zaw  finds auspicious possibilities ‘Every child of Kyaukse loves the elephant dance.’‘They used their sand mixed with local sand to build the sand pagodas.’ Look behind you! A child gets caught up in the action in Kyaukse. Photo: Stuart Alan Becker Traders at Mandalay’s jade market compare wares. Photo: Maung Zaw Men cook food for donating,Mont Tisu ward,85 th  St,Mandalay. Photo: Khin Su Wai Photo: Khin Su Wai Thanakha is big business at Kaunghmudaw Pagoda in Sagaing Region,16 kilometres from Mandalay. Photo: Mya Kay Khine KYAUKSE Photo: Stuart Alan Becker KAUNGHMUDAW  Your road t MMID’s Myotha Ind Semeikhon Port (SMP) STUART ALAN BECKER  W  hen you drive toward the airport from Mandalay, about three-quarters of the way you take a right turn at the roundabout near Tada U, and proceed southeast on Highway 18 to the town of Myotha, which has been growing since the project has been under development. Past Myotha about 7 miles (11 kilometres) is the entrance to the Mandalay Myotha Industrial Park, where workers are busy on the stonework gate that marks the entry to the 11,000-acre site that covers a total of 45 square kilometres.Managing director Dr Tun Tun Aung, the third son of well-known Mandalay businessman U Aung Win Khaing, receives visitors from around the world at the site’s showroom where a detailed model of the development shows the construction works both planned and under way.Mandalay Myotha Industrial Development Public Company Ltd. (MMID) is the Myanmar public company developing the Myotha Industrial Park (MIP) and the Semeikhon Port (SMP).MMID Project Director Bruce Reynolds said MMID selected fallow land that  would, most likely, never have otherwise been developed.“One of our major goals for the project is to help alleviate poverty within the Mandalay Region,” Reynolds said. “Our three key projects – the industrial park, the port link road and the port facility – will be the catalysts that will jumpstart development in the Myotha area. MMID is very confident about that.”Reynolds, 62, who has spent the last 23 years managing projects in Southeast  Asia, China and the Middle East, says people in his profession don’t often get a chance to work on a project of this scale.“More importantly, we are doing something that can change the lives of local people in a positive manner. I am very appreciative for this opportunity.”Reynolds said companies which are interested in Myanmar but not yet pre-pared to make a long-term commitment will have the option of renting ready-made factories and warehouses. Natural logistics hub MMIDFACTFILE . MMID is a Myanmar Public Company with more than 1200 shareholders including farmers and other local residents . 11,000-acre, 45-sq-km site development 36 miles from Mandalay and 28 miles from Mandalay Internationa Airport . Linked to Ayeyarwady River with 200-foot-wide port link road . 380-acre Semeikhon Port Facility is located 13.6 miles from Myotha  Industrial Park  . 1500metresofjettyatSemeikhonPort–masterplancompletedJanuary2014 . General Cargo Ramp and set-down area scheduled to be operational first quarter 2015 . Full investment privileges from Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) available to clients . 18-hole golf course and master-planned housing estate on 1700 acres . 8000-yard championship golf course developed by American Schmidt- Curley Design . GolfcourseconstructionstartedMay18,2014,scheduledforcompletionDec2015 Chairman U Aung Win Khaing (left) shares a laugh with Project DirectorBruce Reynolds (right) and I.T. Manager Kyaw Naing OoMMID Managing Director Dr Tun Tun AungMyotha Industrial Park: Artist’s conceptThe port link road that connects the industrial park with the Semeikhon portEntrance to the Myotha Industrial Park (MIP)  For more information please visit our Sponsored advertising section  o Mandalay   ustrial Park (MIP) and begin to attract investors Leading a tour of the site, project director Bruce Reynolds explained that U Aung Win Khaing and his family saw the potential for a significant industrial development near Mandalay several years ago and engaged in conversations with the Mandalay Region Government for a suitable site.Those conversations led to a joint-venture agreement whereby MMID  became the master developer and the Mandalay Region Government provided the property for the industrial park. As of October 2014, MMID has constructed buildings, warehouses, a central visitor centre plus staff quarters and a canteen, along with a river port link road, significant works on the river port facility as well as design on a championship golf course, as an increasing number of international  visitors and potential investors from Japan, Korea, Thailand, India, Singapore and China continue to visit the site. The golf course One of the inspired features of the Myotha Industrial Park is the 18-hole golf course that has been under construction since May 2014 with American designers Schmidt-Curley.The golf course begins and ends at a clubhouse compound, also under construction. Pleased with Schmidt-Curley’s work, MMID managers retained the firm to carry out the master plan for the housing estate which is scheduled for completion before the end of November 2014.The integration of the golf course into the entire development constitutes a recognition that international factory owners often enjoy the game of golf, as well as the fact that the presence of the golf course enhances the attractiveness of the adjacent housing estate and provides recreation for the residents.The person in charge of construction of the golf course, which is currently well under way, is American Blayne Hull of Green Dynasty, who seems to be enjoying the work of building an entire brand-new golf course on the rolling landscape on the edges of the Ayeyarwady River valley. SEMEIKHONPORT ã Located 13.6 kilometres (8.45 miles) from the Myotha Industrial Park ã Located on a 380-acre port site with a 1500-metre jetty ã Fully master-planned site capable of processing general cargo, roll-on/ roll-off (RORO) ã Capable of handling containers and bulk materialsã Areas provided for liquid bulk storage facilities The Myotha National Golf ClubMyotha Industrial Park (MIP) and Semeikhon Port (SMP): A logistics hub within Mandalay Region  website at The general cargo ramp at Semeikhon Port (SMP)The general set-down area at Semeikhon Port (SMP) Sponsored advertising section
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