THE MYANMAR TIMES
FEBRUARY 24 MARCH 2, 2014
Great news for stamp fans
While not everyone is thrilled about the upcoming census and its taxonomy of Myanmar’s ethnic groups, there’s good news on the horizon for one minority: stamp collectors. Yes, February 24 is widely predicted to be a red-letter day for philately fans, with a new issue of FIVE NEW STAMPS going on sale to mark the census-taking process.The special stamps are valued at K200 each, and will be available at Yangon, Nay Pyi Taw and Mandalay general post ofﬁces from 9:30am.
MoI blanks sect: damning indictment on religious freedom in Myanmar, say analysts
Two members of a UFO-based religious sect wrapped up their second visit to Myanmar last week, after their efforts in trying to attain permission to hold a public information session came to naught.The pair of Raëlians, as they are known, had reached out to Ministry of Information deputy spokesperson U Ye Htut in order to hold their gathering, but had no response.Raëlism, a fringe religion some might label a cult, began in 1973 when a Frenchman named Claude had an encounter with extraterrestrials called the Elohim.Following this chance meeting Claude, a former motor sports journalist and race-car driver, changed his name to Raël (meaning “messenger”) and began to spread the word that humans were created by a race of sentient beings from outer space.
met with the Raëlian “guides”, who conﬁrmed that they also applied over a year ago to the Myanmar government to establish an embassy in-country. While the religion reportedly counts some 85,000 followers worldwide, there is – as yet – no embassy on earth. The speciﬁcations for this facility were outlined by the Elohim, requiring at least a 1km sq plot of land as well as sovereign airspace for UFOs to land (once world peace is attained). Again, they have not yet received a response. Still, this has done little to shake the resolve of the gentle Raëlians, who plan on doing everything by the book. “We plan to hold [our lecture] once we make sure that we are not illegal”, said Dan, Raëlian Guide for Myanmar.Three Raëlian tomes have been published as free e-books in Myanmar language, in a translation job that was reportedly commissioned by a Japanese member around the summer of ‘97. “The Messages Given by the Extraterrestrials” has had over 3000 downloads, while “Let’s Welcome the Extraterrestrials” and “Yes to Human Cloning” have proven slightly less popular.
More on this next week.
The right to bear alms
A knife-wielding monk was arrested while collecting alms near Kyaik Kasan Pagoda on February 20, after being reported by onlookers. Aung Than (U Pyin Nya Thiha) was interrogated by police, township-level authorities, and a monk from the religious disciplinary committee. It was found he was not carrying the appropriate monk ID card, Mizzima reported on February 20. He was disrobed before being charged by Thingyan Gyun Township Police Force under section 19 (c) for illegal possession of arms as well as 295/295a for defaming religion, and is set to face court.
Potato Fries ﬂammable, still delicious
In a controlled scientiﬁc experiment conducted in
The Myanmar Times
ofﬁces on February 22, it was conﬁrmed that reports originating on social media that Oishi Beer Match™ Potato Fries share certain qualities with candles are, indeed, accurate. For science’s sake, we also tested Oishi’s other popular offering, the choco-ﬁlled Pillows. While they certainly catch a ﬂame, they don’t burn anywhere near as well as the Potato Fries.
Please see the news section for the full story on the FDA investigation into the snacks.
From the mailbag
A Denmark-based internet activist contacted
The Myanmar Times
(along with, presumably, every other media outlet on earth) last week, to vent her outrage over the summary execution of a Copenhagen Zoo resident – a perfectly healthy 18-month-old giraffe named Marius who was shot with a bolt gun on February 9, dissected and fed to lions, while schoolchildren looked on in horror. The rambling email called for the zoo’s scientiﬁc director Bengt Holst to resign. Holst reportedly considered the giraffe surplus to requirement, and its death was in order to prevent inbreeding at the zoo. “I know the giraffe is a nice-looking animal, but I don’t think there would have been such an outrage if it had been an antelope, and I don’t think anyone would have lifted an eyebrow if it was a pig,” Holst said. While he may have a point there, one would have thought the logical course of action might have been to transfer the creature to another facility rather than instilling an entire grade class with a lifelong cognitive association between zoos and fresh baby giraffe entrails. Either way, Yangon Zoo is looking pretty good by comparison – which is nice.
Major, credible scientiﬁc study ﬁnds majority of tourists dress like they’re on safari.
The local lowdown & best of the web
When Myanmar was Burma...
Archival material provided by Pansodan Gallery
Japanese occupation-era “Basic Japanese Lessons” by Saya Kyaw, exact date unknown.