Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Conservatism for Punks: Architecture of Burma

Maybe there's hope for Myanmar.

Ali T. Kokmen tells me NPR did a story about how modernization -- specifically a real estate boom -- in Myanmar is causing some (perfectly reasonable) lamentation among those who value the British colonial architectural style that had for so long predominated during the nation's more isolationist years.

Among those interviewed is "nineteen year-old punk rocker" Maung Nyan (heard on the radio version of the story singing the Ramones' "I Want to Be Sedated"), who is described as "rebellious by Burmese standards, but when it comes to construction, he's a traditionalist" (the precious conservative-punk combo I wrote about in an essay for this book!):

"'Because of the valuable architecture, I prefer this kind of old building to new buildings,' says Maung Nyan, whose apartment is really a cagelike, cavernous stall with a wire-mesh door. 'I'm also proud to live here. If it's possible, I'd like to stay here until I die'."

(Of course, I can't help wondering how the regime would react if he performed Mission of Burma's "That's When I Reach for My Revolver.")

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