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Jakarta Post

Yangon: Where a whistle is louder than a holler

  • Fitri Bintang Timur

Yangon   /   Sat, June 2 2012   /  02:33 pm

Getting a bus in the city of Rangoon (or Yangon as it was renamed by the military junta in 1989) for a woman traveling solo is a challenge. As my face is similar to the face of locals, everybody was talking to me in Burmese and I don’t know which bus I should take, as the number is also written using the Myanmar alphabet. In peak hour, the travelers are mostly men and I need to fight my way through. Suddenly I feel something brushing against my posterior... I look back and see a group of men, one of them smiling. I was so upset, this is harassment!

“What do you want, Mister? I’ll call the police if you do that again.” I shout in English. The faces in the crowd alter as they realized I am not Burmese and they quickly disperse.

A bus conductor approaches me, asking in broken English where I am going and pointed me to one of the weather-beaten buses that looked like ...