Photo from LA Times: the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis
LA Times said: MAKING DO: Using basic hand tools, two men in Yangon, like many Myanmar residents, are performing much of the cleanup work themselves for lack of foreign or domestic assistance.
DIY Way of Life
We, the Burmese, are used to solving problems on our own because we all know our government does not care about us. Almost everything in Burma is DIY (Do It Yourself), to borrow a geeky terms.
In our town in Southern Burma, the electricity from the government is not reliable at all (We honor Thomas Alva Edison every day by staying in the dark) Guess what the solution of the community is? A well-to-do family would buy a generator and install power line -- only the home-quality one -- to each house in the street, who wants the electricity. The family runs the generator, let's say, from 6:00 PM till 9:00 PM. The family then collects the fees every two weeks, based on the number of fluorescent lamps you have agreed to install in the first place. How democratic and market-oriented our community is! :)
Burmese migrants in Thailand have been using the family-run telephone exchange in the border area to call their family back home. Here is what you do. You dial a Thailand registered number of the family-owned telephone switch in the border and tell them the number in Burma you are trying to call. The exchange having several phones registered both in Thailand and Burma, can route your call from Thailand's phone system to Burma's. You have just dialed a telephone number in Thailand and yet you are talking to your family in Burma. They collect the fees at the end of the month based on how many minutes you talked (or hours if you talked to your sweethearts :). Well, the Burmese have just installed a home-made telephone switch without any investment from governments or businesses.
Survival of the Fittest
We have learned to survive and live with inefficiencies, thanks to our government. The educated Burmese also acknowledge that this is not good in the long run. But what else can we do, except to live with it? To fight the mighty guns pointing at us is an insurmountable task (at least for me).
Back to Nargis
If the government does not care about the victims, and relief experts cannot get to ground zero in time, we will have to do what it takes to survive. Not a good solution, I agree. But what else can we do? What would you do?