This year I didn’t make it to Myitkyina for the annual Kachin State Day Manau held in the week around 10 January. I was there last year and readers interested in some of my pictures (and thoughts) from then can find them here.

I have, however, been following the coverage of this year’s event online. The Kachin News Group has kept up a steady stream of interesting reports.

One report highlights the particular attention that the Burmese security forces paid to foreigners who made the journey to Myitkyina. Of course, this is hardly a new (or unexpected) development. It must be exciting for the local Military Affairs Security guys to get on “high alert” with the influx of foreign visitors. It’s not like Myitkyina gets many tourists at other times of the year. (As an aside, I was intrigued to read that the subversive Swiss were the largest group of non-Chinese visitors to this year’s Manau.)

In 2008 all of the gates to the Manau ground had a regular photographer to snap anybody interesting who passed their way. And then there were the dozen or so guys with their standard black leather jackets, sunnies and (for the more senior ones) ear pieces. They were very high profile in their efforts to keep tabs on the town’s foreign guests.

With that in mind, I wonder if the Burmese bloke with the camera that takes pictures from the side was still plying his trade this year? He was, ummm, very “James Bond”.