I figured I would take a wander yesterday as it was my last weekend in Myeik, Myanmar (or Burma as the Anglo-American empire insist on calling it).
Myeik is a multicultural and multi-ethnic city in one of the most isolated provinces of Myanmar- way down South and surrounded by jungle plantations. Religion is very important in the lives of the locals- whether Buddhist, Hindu, Catholic or Muslim. There’s not much else to do round here.
I hadn’t gone far when I stumbled across an intense Hindu religious ceremony in which the priest danced himself into a frenzy like he was at Atomic Jam in 1994.
At the climax outside the temple, the drumming and energy being created by the crowd actually made it rain, which was the purpose of the ceremony. Crazy. A real rain dance.
My cynical friend Simon suggested later, via Skype, that maybe they had just checked the weather forecast. No sense of magic, him.
It went from light to thunderous clouds in minutes then a storm started directly overhead. I had to shelter from the intense rain in a friendly Myeik family’s house with coffee and everything. I will say, the locals are very hospitable. They have some effective magic too, it seems.
I spent an hour or so chatting to a Buddhist monk who turned up at the house. Shame I didn’t meet him months ago as he had very good English and a nice sense of humour. He offered me betel nut but I politely declined.
He knows a few of the families whose kids I have been teaching and says how much their English has improved in the last three years. This was gratifying as I’ve only been with them for eight months and that’s a very small slice of time really. Good to know I have helped with this process.
There are things I shall miss about Myeik. There’s a lot to be said for prolonged spells of isolation and I had a lot to reflect on this past few months. Processing is pretty much done now, thankfully. Looking forward to my next adventure in Vietnam.
(Photos to be added shortly)