Wednesday, April 16, 2014

MYANMAR - The Transition From Isolation Part-2

"Will development overshadow Myanmar’s rich cultural history?" PBS NewsHour 4/15/2014


GWEN IFILL (NewsHour):  Now part two of Jeffrey Brown’s look at Myanmar, the country formerly known as Burma.

After years of turmoil, the military government is moving toward political reform.  But, as the country begins to open up to the outside world, there’s a new concern: how development could overshadow its architectural and archaeological past.

That’s the subject of Jeff’s report tonight, which also marks the beginning of a new series, one we call Culture at Risk.  We will explore the impact of war, climate change, neglect and more on cultural artifacts around the world.

JEFFREY BROWN (NewsHour):  The afternoon rush hour in Yangon, as workers board water taxis for the commute home.

On the streets, food vendors serve tea and noodles.  Buddhist monks in their maroon robes are everywhere.  And the ancient Shwedagon Pagoda, hundreds of temples, statues and stupas, remains the country’s most important shrine.

Yangon, the city once known as Rangoon, is often said to be frozen in time, the result of a military regime that kept this country largely isolated from the outside world for more than 50 years.  But that’s changing now, and quickly, and a key question here is how to preserve something of the past while moving into a 21st century future.

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