Voices from Burma

"In your country, you work two days and you have food for a week," says Maung Lwin, a welder taking a break for tea after lunch. "Here, you work for one day and you eat for one day." Lwin supports his family on an average daily wage of $2.30, the same salary the government pays a specialized doctor. Money is so tight that even sitting down for a 15 cent cup of tea takes careful consideration.

"You are human, I am also human," he tells me. "But my luck is not the same as your luck."

TeakNone of it makes any sense. Blessed with wealthy deposits of gemstones, teak forests, agricultural land, natural gas and oil, Burma has the potential to be the wealthiest nation in Southeast Asia. ...

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