Throughout April and May, the heatwave and water shortages gripping Myanmar took up a lot of space in Weekly Eleven, another news journal to which the National Library of Australia has recently begun subscribing. The current affairs and business periodical took a special interest in the dramatic fall in water levels of the Inle Lake, publishing a series of photos like those above contrasting the scene at the Phaungdaw-oo Pagoda in the winter of 2009 with that of April 2010. It also covered the dwindling drinking water in Bago, the rise in market prices of beans for sowing in response to higher demand caused by climate change, increased sales of bottled water, and the beginning of the monsoon in the south of the country.
With declining water supplies hydroelectric power generation also falls, and the journal reported on various plans to accommodate the shortfall. These include a scheme to use large private generators such as those at supermarkets to distribute electricity back into local areas, and to increase hours available for drivers in Yangon to fill vehicles running on CNG (mostly taxis) in response to long queues caused by power outages.
Erratic electricity supplies have been blamed for a series of fires in markets where vendors have used various techniques to boost and maximise available power. Weekly Eleven reported on the May 1 fire that gutted one market in Monywa, citing an official figure of around 1100 fires to property annually.
Other topics covered in May were a decline in visitors to shopping centres in Yangon following rumours of further imminent bomb attacks, increased numbers of vehicle accidents and deaths in accidents in the city, and the introducing of visas on arrival for tourists and businesspeople as well bar-coded passports for citizens.
The journal also has a long-running historical feature by Tin Naing Toe, which in recent editions has covered the role of the Oway magazine in the independence struggle; the 1923-37 dyarchy government; and prominent writers and editors like U Chit Maung, U Thein Pe Myint, U Ba Shein (Sayagyi Maha Swe), and Thakin Kodaw Hmaing. Other regular features include a page of prices for various commodities in Yangon markets each week, and local news from around the country.
[This post is provided by the National Library of Australia as part of our Book Zone feature. For further information on the featured publications contact Nick Cheesman at [email protected]]