Burma,  Cross Post,  Economy

Burma: Open for Business


Friends of Kim eagerly have adopted Facebook, Twitter and YouTube (although it is not recommended that Koreans under the yoke of American occupation befriend them), but as of yet none of Shwe’s friends have follow suit.

Maybe the astrologists for the aspic-addled State Peace and Development Council have decreed that the chicken entrails do not recommend social networking.

After all, Shwe has relied on their advice when selecting the date of the upcoming General Election, now scheduled for 7 November. Combining his own lucky number, 11, with the auspicious seven (he will have been born on one of the seven days of the week), iterative addition directs to nine: 7+11=18 […] 8+1=9. Nine had been the lucky number of his predecessor, U Ne Win who un-valued the national currency to base-9 for this reason.

This follows the annulment of the 1990 General Election, and exclusion of the previous winner, Aung San Suu Kyi.

Meanwhile, no doubt coincidentially, a fire-sale of State-owned businesses and natural resources has started in the land some call Myanmar. Benefits have been seen, it has to be said, as in the nine months since MPPE lost its State monopoly for petroleum distribution, this company quickly has fallen by the wayside.

The main beneficiaries will be, however, Generals looking for a pension pot and junior kleptocrats like Tay Za, a tycoon under UN-led sanctions. In June, the Australian Government confirmed the deportation of Zin Mon Aye, the student daughter of a leading Burmese General; although the damage wrought on Australian politics by the Elders of Capel Seion may weaken this resolve.

Other countries are seeking business with Burma. Following an assassination attempt on the South Korea President Chun Doo-hwan during a visit to the country in 1994, which was attributed to North Korean agents, diplomatic relations between the Burma and North Korea were broken. The two regiemes now have established a dictatorial tag-team with a 2007 rapprochement, with the assumption that North Korea is seeking access to the natural resources in the region.

Perhaps recognizing one of the failings of their vision of socialism, the diplomat-capitalists of North Korea have long since been suspected of supplying illegal narcotics to other nations. In 2007, a niche was vacated with the death of Khun Sain in Burma, offering more opportunities to North Korea.

More surprising are reports of increasing trade-relations between Burma and Timor-Leste. Proof, maybe, that collective experience and common suffering are not necessarily blocks to making a quick buck.