Rising Stakes
Project info

The winds of change sweeping through Myanmar right now, following the ousting of the military junta and implementation of democratic measures, and the effect on the everyday lives of the people, run the gamut from stale to gale force. It is perhaps best represented by the fate of Aung San Suu Kyi, the democratic movements figurehead and leader who took power in 2015, and her response to the current crisis in Rakhine State. Having had to make concessions to the junta to form government and to maintain security, she risks her own morality, her own standards or way of being, in the compromise. As is often the case with newly liberated states, a relaxation of oppressive policies can negatively gear the populace as they express their freedom and individuality and affect social discord through lack of unity. Hard times test the resilience of principle, and Burma's is surely being tested now as the foreign world floods in through the now broken dam gates, and uproots established traditions root and twig. The danger lies in Myanmar going from bright light to pariah state in the way Zimbabwe did; insecurity grips in moments of change, and that fear can be manipulated. Suu Kyi, and Myanmar at large, must find a way to keep consensus together and not allow her country to devolve into chaos as the unity of the past that was either enforced or unenlightened comes up against new ideas and conflicting preferences. Globalisation has many inherent dangers and even in regions where life has barely changed since centuries ago, the ball is rolling, and it is only a matter of time before the winds either hit walls or the institutions and beliefs behind them.