Sometimes the tea was bitter. Other times it was cloyingly sweet with condensed milk. But the whispered questions at teahouses in Rangoon and across Burma were always delivered the same way. Head flick to the right, head flick to the left. A nervous glance backward. No one listening, not even the waiter shuffling up to slosh hot water into our glasses?

– Extracted from Hannah Beech, “Postcard from Rangoon”, TIME, 2 April 2009.