Who is the richest person in Burma

Myanmar : The golden land in the crosshairs

If you look at our earth as a space traveler, you should not only see the blue planet of the seas, you should also discover a region on the continents that sparkles and flashes like a jewel of Myanmar into space.

Lovers of the country that was once called Burma (or Burma) say that everything that glitters is gold here! And they are right insofar as nowhere else has the precious metal been poured so lavishly as here between the southeastern foothills of the Himalayas and the long coast of the Bay of Bengal: so that Buddha's sanctuaries shine into nirvana.

The legendary Shwedagon Pagoda in Myanmar's metropolis Yangon (formerly: Rangoon) shines the brightest. On a hill in the northern part of the city of five million, the landmark rises amid a wreath of countless golden side temples, Buddha statues and altars: the almost one hundred meter high stupa of the Shwedagon, which is more than a thousand years old.

The tower-like stupa is the symbol of Buddhist teachings that is locked inside for everyone, half burial mound, half ladder to heaven. From a polygonal base and over many tapering terraces, over lotus blossom and banana bud ornaments, it swings up to an inverted bell, crowned by a needle-shaped tip. The Shwedagon stupa covers more gold than the Bank of England is supposed to have in its vault, plus 5000 diamonds wreath the top, the largest at the top is 76 carats.

Pagodas, monasteries, monks in Myanmar

The true magic, however, creates the overwhelming light, especially when the rising or setting sun bathes the giant pagoda in red gold, which also finds its earthly reflection in the orange or purple of the robes of the omnipresent Buddhist monks.

Old Burma is considered the spiritual center of Buddhism. That is why there are so many pagodas, monasteries and monks. In the old royal city of Bagan alone, 700 kilometers north of Yangon, where a thousand years ago the rulers competed to build bigger and bigger pagodas or individual stupas, there are still over two thousand testimonies of piety and power today. Establishing a pagoda with an altar for Buddha improves karma and prospects in future life. So to this day new pagodas are being built and covered with gold leaf - in a country whose people are still among the poorest in Asia. At the same time, Myanmar is one of the countries richest in natural resources.

And this is where the contradictions begin, which have already been seriously expressed in the recent history of Myanmar. From 1962 to 2011 a pseudo-communist military junta ruled for almost 50 years, whose allies in the end were only China and North Korea. At the beginning of the 1960s, long before Bangkok or Singapore, Rangoon was the most important air hub in Southeast Asia. The country's per capita income was twice that of Thailand. As the heir of the generals, it is one twentieth today.

Back to the world community

Revolts against the dictatorship, supported primarily by monks and students, were brutally suppressed in 1988 and most recently in 2007. When cyclone “Nargis” devastated the delta of the Ayeryawady River, the country's great waterway, and killed 130,000 people in 2008, the generals initially refused any foreign aid. That was also the beginning of the end of their own rule.

In autumn 2010, the opposition Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi in Yangon was released from house arrest after 15 years, thousands of political prisoners were released, and since 2011 the former general and since then civil president Thein Sein has been trying to return Myanmar to the world community after decades of isolation. Last year, US President Obama gave a speech on freedom and democracy at the University of Yangon, and this spring, Federal President Joachim Gauck followed him with a speech on civil rights.

At the same time, Gauck came to the reopening of the Yangon Goethe-Institut, which had been closed for almost 50 years and will in future present German culture in a colonial-style villa that has yet to be restored. The house was built around 1920 by a Chinese teak tycoon, and the young General Aung San, father of the current icon of freedom, Aung San Suu Kyi, used it as the headquarters of his anti-British independence movement at the end of World War II. Taxi drivers in Yangon will find the picturesque address on Ko Min Ko Chin Road, a little east of the Shwedagon Pagoda and near the small Kandawgyi Lake, which is popular on hot tropical days because of its garden restaurants and walking paths.

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