Saturday, March 12, 2016

Messages From Myanmar #12

Messages From Myanmar #12
13 March 2016

Hello there… Rodger French here.

Miscellaneous updates…

Here in Yangon, the pleasant days of “winter” - fine and dry, highs topping out at a frosty 32C (90F) - have given way to the “brutal” season - hazy and dry, highs exceeding 38 C (100F) - which, I have been assured, will get much worse before the monsoon rains arrive in May/June. We are very fortunate, however, in that we (a) have A/C and (b) The Shang keeps a seven-day supply of diesel on hand for the generators that are required daily.

I am still waiting on action concerning my application for a Top Secret Squirrel security clearance so that I might commence gainful employment at American Embassy Rangoon. It’s been almost five months since I applied and, frankly, I am ready to start working again. But, it happens when it happens. Meanwhile, I continue rummaging through piles of sheet music, brushing up on tunes I can actually play and searching for new music to explore.

Speaking of… the Album Release Concert for “Che, AcordeĆ³n - Tangos from Buenos Aires” was a great success. Quite a few Embassy folks showed up, along with residents of The Shang and some locals as well. Anne did a great job of catering and a fine time was had by all. We even sold a few CDs.

[Music Bidness Sidebar - Just in case you’re wondering, the reviews are in and are very favourable indeed. The album is, of course, available for downloading at cdbaby.]

This past Friday evening, A.J. and I went to a concert by the Orchestra for Myanmar held in the Grand Ballroom of the Strand Hotel. The program featured a small, but very good string orchestra comprised of local players supplemented with a few European musicians, a piano soloist from Taiwan, and a local children’s choir. The Orchestra, now in its second year, is the result of a cooperative effort of several arts, business, and scholarly institutions. Good stuff; more details on Facebook, if you’re interested.

Finally, the big news is that the NLD has picked Htin Kyaw, a confidant of Aung San Suu Kyi, as a candidate to become the new president of Myanmar. Since Daw Suu Kyi is constitutionally prohibited from becoming president (thanks to some truly breathtaking chicanery on the part of the military), it is assumed that she will attempt to rule through U Kyaw, a trusted proxy.

This is undisputedly the will of the people, but it remains to be seen how much resistance the thoroughly discredited, but still powerful military establishment is prepared to employ. The next few months will be critical.

As well as hot.