Religious clothing and modern technology
After almost a month in amazing Borneo, I’m back in Kuala Lumpur. I’ve either had very little internet connection or a connection and no time over the last week so I’ve got lots of blips still to upload (once I’ve gone through hundreds of photos to select them).
I went to a Hindu temple this afternoon. I saw it from a train the first time I was in KL with my friend N. It stood out from the surrounding buildings and I meant to find it before. It’s a small, colourful temple and it looked like they were just finishing clearing up after an event, perhaps a wedding. While I was looking round, an elderly man came over to talk to me about Stonehenge and to show me a magic trick he could do with 3 coins!
I’ve spent most of the rest of the day planning the next few weeks. I’m heading back to Vietnam, but I’m not yet sure where I’m going on the way. I know where I’m not going; Myanmar. I’ve wanted to visit Myanmar for years. When I was working in Vietnam the only way to go there involved giving vast amounts of money to the military government – a very expensive visa and regulations requiring you to stay at government owned (expensive) hotels. I decided I didn’t want to support the regime and I didn’t go.
Myanmar was high on my list of places I wanted to visit on this trip now that there's a (partly) civilian government. But the situation in Rakhine state and the abuses against the Rohingya are still so bad, likely amounting to crimes against humanity and possibly even genocide. The current government continues to deny the violations and to refuse to allow access to the area for independent aid organisations and journalists. The UN Human Rights Council’s decision in March to conduct an investigation was the final thing that made me decide that now is not the time to go either. Plenty of people are visiting Myanmar (I’ve met a few who’ve just been). Apart from Rakhine, the rest of the country is open for tourism. There are political problems and human rights abuses happening in countries I have visited, but this is on a different scale. I just don’t feel comfortable going to a country where there’s such repression and violence being perpetrated in part of the country. So Myanmar remains on my list of places I’d like to visit one day when the situation changes.