National Geographic : 2011 Aug
Billboards show how consumer culture is taking hold in Yangon, the former capital known as Rangoon. The city is a bustling commercial center, yet the layers of its past are still evident in religious structures like the 2,000-year-old Sule Pagoda (center rear) and in the British colonial architecture. every evening to practice their English idioms. Tonight, over cups of milky tea, they will ban- ter for hours, showing o new expressions like nuggets of gold. Now, in the dark, the three friends hesitate for a minute, puzzling over the lyrics of an old Eagles hit. "Hey, maybe you can help," Tom says. "What do they mean when they say, 'We are all just prisoners here of our own device?' " Myanmar is a land of shadows, a place where even the most innocent question can seem load- ed with hidden intent. For most of the past half century this largely Buddhist nation of some 50 million has been shaped by the power---and Beijing-based writer Brook Larmer is the author of Operation Yao Ming. Chien-Chi Chang's most recent books are e Chain and Double Happiness.