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Jakarta Post

Commentary: Drip, drip, democracy – Myanmar’s revolution from above

  • Meidyatama Suryodiningrat

    The Jakarta Post

Yangon   /   Thu, February 16 2012   /  08:40 am

It’s time to be cautiously optimistic and give Myanmar a chance. While ASEAN may not have been right, perhaps it wasn’t mistaken in its much-maligned gambit of “constructive engagement” with the nation.

Change is indeed occurring in Myanmar. From the quaint roads of decaying colonial mansions to the idyllic plateau where the Shwedagon Pagoda sits, opportunity, opportunism and a sense of readiness are palpable.

The world, too, has noticed. Foreign dignitaries and tycoons have been lining up at Yangon International Airport, anxious to take credit for encouraging change — or fearful of missing out on the next big thing in Asia.

The reasons for this “sudden” political turnaround are as complicated as the ethnic rivalries within Myanmar.

It was not due to a single cause or person. Sanctions alone did not bring about change, nor did ASEAN’s construc...