When people says sanction penalties applied by West don’t hurt people, I usually say “Oh, really?” with a smirk. Everyone knows and condemns the mismanagement of SPDC. Half of GDP supporting to feed the army, one twentieth of GDP for health and education, who knows where oil, gas, jade and timber money goes and monopolization are enough to keep a normal citizen poor. In mid of 90s, US started to bring up the sanctions on Myanmar. To add it more flavors, some geniuses advised to bring up more sanctions and tourism boycotts.

After the sanctions, Myanmar became the gold mine heaven for China, Japan, Thai, India, Singapore and Korea. The have less competitors, cheap labors, no environmental regulations, bribable corrupted officers for sure-profit-investments. Unstable policies of SPDC make them difficult for long term investments. So those chity investors and local tycoons dig the oils out, pump the gases off, cut the forests empty, wipe the mountains out (Kyay Zin mountains have been dug flat for their copper), take the jades home with cheapest available prices and low risks. And the money earned from natural resources was lost during official unrealistic exchange rate of 6 kyats per dollar (the actual exchange rate is roughly about 1000 kyats per dollar). Nobody knows where the lost money goes (actually we know, but no proof).

With economic policies under mismanagement and tight sanctions, the ecosystem of Myanmar is also endangered. Reduced forests make climate hotter inviting the cyclones which used to become weaker in Bingil Bay in the last decades. Dams, along the Irrawaddy river which is called life blood of Myanmar, make the water level lower damaging the millions people lives. Irrawaddy’s delta region is one of the rare deltas in Asia and it was expending 200ft to sea every year. Controlling water flow lesser makes Irrawaddy and it’s people and animals suffered. The birth of Irrawaddy, the beautiful Maykha-Malikha junction which could have became the future tourist attraction, was also destroyed for constructing a dam aiming to sell electricity to China.

Are the sanctions effective to the targets? Sure they do, so do to the normal citizens of Myanmar as side effects. The targets cannot visit to West, cannot deposit money in West banks, only their relatives can do. They are still billionaires from selling natural resources and paying full salaries to all soldiers (probably with some bonuses) despite the sanctions. So I will point out a few things occurred only because of sanctions by West.

  • We cannot use international money transaction systems.
  • We cannot have Myanmar Language supports in commercial OSs.
  • We do not have direct flights to many countries. Less competitive airlines make flights to Myanmar expensive.
  • We cannot do direct businesses with the companies based in West.
  • We have trouble getting visas for a lot of countries, let alone the arrival visas.
  • The investments from foreign countries are less competitive making Myanmar less profit.
  • The tourism boycott made the whole tourism business of Myanmar crippled.
  • The future brains of Myanmar drain to abroad.

So, are you still saying those do not hurt Myanmar people and only aim for a few people?

We were taught that Myanmar is a resource-rich country in which I was being proud. Then I learned something called resource curse. A resource curse usually happens when a country is rich in resources. It makes the country’s people poorer while making a few of them to be extremely rich. The government usually doesn’t care much about the development of human resources when they can earn billions from natural resources. A resource cursed country is usually weak in implementation of human right too. The money from resources is used in arms to keep people in check. Myanmar certainly is a resource cursed country to make everything worse. The day of democracy is probably bound to happen when there is no resource left in Myanmar.

##Well, you can call me negative sighted person.

Read more:

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resource_curse
  • http://data.worldbank.org/country/myanmar
  • http://www.gfmag.com/gdp-data-country-reports/214-myanmar-gdp-country-report.html

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