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In the shoes of ASEAN reporters in Naypyitaw

There were plenty of hours leaning against walls, sitting on step-ladders or standing on steps at the recent Assocaition of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Naypyitaw. With the limited information reporters were getting from ASEAN leaders in the Summit rooms, I turned to the reporters to ask them of their impressions of the Summit, and more broadly, Naypyitaw.

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Reporter from Myanmar

ASEAN Summit impressions: “It’s good for Myanmar, and Burmese people. We can learn from the experience and gain knowledge from working with the international media”

Naypyitaw impressions: “It’s hard work”

 

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Reporter from China

(Second shoe from the right)

ASEAN Summit impressions: “So far so good. But we don’t know what they’re talking about inside. There are just lots of smiles”

Naypyitaw impressions: “I’ve been to Yangon many times. Here in Naypyitaw, there’s nothing to do. There’s no public transport, no taxis. It’s all very inconvenient, to tell you the truth”

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Reporter from China

(First shoe from the left)

ASEAN Summit impressions: “As a journalist, it’s not very friendly. We spend three hours standing, take four photos and then leave these rooms. These closed sessions and press releases are just not good enough”

Naypyitaw impressions: “I was told yesterday Naypyitaw is six times bigger than Beijing. But it must be a very inconvenient city to live in”

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Reporter from China

ASEAN Summit impressions: “The Summit isn’t open enough. We want to learn about the future of ASEAN and China, but we cannot learn from these sessions.”

Naypyitaw impressions: “At least at MICC [the Myanamr International Convention Center], it’s modern. Elsewhere, it’s not.”

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Reporter from China

ASEAN Summit impressions: “It’s a good opportunity for countries to talk”

Naypyitaw impressions: “It’s big”

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Reporter from China

ASEAN Summit impressions: “China is very important. I’m looking for China’s participation and ASEAN’s cooperation with China, and how the two can organise economic issues together, and the environment”

Naypyitaw impressions: “I’m very impressed with Naypyitaw. It’s a new capital and they’ve done very well to prepare the buildings in such a short time. Setting up telecommunications isn’t easy to build, but they established it very well”

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Reporter from the Philippines

ASEAN Summit impressions: “I believe in the Summit. Like WWII, the Japanese vision was Asia for Asians. The Japanese wanted the same. The motive is good. The summit is good for developing countries. It’s good for Myanmar”

Naypyitaw impressions: “I’m staying for two days. I haven’t seen anything but the convention centre and the hotel. It’s a big government centre, built so there would be no more rallies, people demonstrating”

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Reporter from Myanmar

[Shoe requested not to be used]

ASEAN Summit impressions: “ASEAN was expecting too much from Myanmar. They expected Myanmar could do something on the Summit, like deal with the South China Sea, but Myanmar couldn’t.”

Naypyitaw impressions: “Many years ago, I wrote a story and called it a ghost town. It’s improving gradually, in the last five years. They’re spending a fortune. As a Yangon dweller, I wish to have these streets and a garden like this in Yangon.”

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Staff from Myanmar’s Ministry of Information

ASEAN Summit Impressions: “The ASEAN Summit is good for the development of our country and we can learn from other diplomats”

Naypyitaw impressions: “Naypyitaw is modern for Myanmar. It has fresh air, and it’s clean air“

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Staff from Myanmar’s Ministry of Information

ASEAN Summit impressions: #nocomment

Naypyitaw impressions: “Naypyitaw is very much an official city. It’s also very hot!”

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Technical support staff from Myanmar

(Sandals fourth from top)

ASEAN Summit impressions: “I work for technical support to the Summit. There were no problems. The flow worked very well”

Naypyitaw impressions: “We work to support audio and video journalists. We are engineers and from time to time we have problems with the journalists. We arrived [from Yangon] one month ago and stay in Pyinmana. Our transmitter is in Pyinmana so we’re based there”

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Reporter from Southeast Asia

ASEAN Summit impressions: “Myanmar is hosting ASEAN for the first time, so there’s a lot of protocol Myanmar’s doesn’t understand, especially when dealing with the press, which frustrates journalists including myself”

Naypyitaw impressions: “Naypyitaw is way too spread out for anyone to live here and enjoy it”

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Reporter from Malaysia

ASEAN Summit impressions: “It’s like a journalists’ summit, but the room set up isn’t good so we can’t do our job properly”

Naypyitaw impressions: “I like Naypyitaw. It’s very peaceful. The police are very friendly.”