Reading in Myanmar: They were five

No pictures, just some words describing a scene while waiting for a flight in the domestic terminal at Yangon Airport.

They were five
Off the plane
Crossing the airport hall
In jungle green

In control – the tallest
A  ranger hat slouched over his head
Protecting a face already turned to stone

On the right flank – the one just grown
His teak brown cheeks newly shaven
Smooth as planed wood and as unmoved

Then two more – pushing a baggage cart
Captives? Cargo?  Kin?
I couldn’t say …

One was a woman with an idiot’s smile
Gawking here and there at the newness of us all
One leg dragging

Next to her a stick man almost bald
With black eyes that stared and stared

He had a left hand that fluttered like a crow
Up to scratch his scabby head it went
Then down again to circle and re-circle the other wrist
A manacle or cuff
Might recently have been

And bringing up the rear – the half grown one
Not tall enough and not yet seasoned
His teeth gritting as if his soul depended on it

My overactive imagination?

What I know for sure

They were five
In jungle green
Off the plane
Crossing the airport hall

A story I couldn’t understand

2 Responses to “Reading in Myanmar: They were five”
  1. Audrey, I’m reading ‘Two Brothers’ by Ben Elton. It’s about the Nazi’s and the Jews and what happened in Berlin between 1920 and 1956. Your description gave me goosebumps. Our political situation is precarious – we have an election at the end of April. It’s 2014 and nothing much has changed, there’s so much hateful currents running underneath the surface of my country. Your observations and the book makes me realize how easy something can go wrong. How one word sets of an avalanche of destruction.

    • Audrey Chin says:

      Patricia … you’re right that things are precarious. But it’s not just in your country, it’s every where. Look at the posts on Thailand and the Ukraine (hopefully at a temporary end).

      A friend said to me the other day – evil triumphs when good people keep quiet. Did you know that at the end of WW2, Rangoon, Saigon and Manila were thought to be the 3 South East Asian cities that would have the brightest futures. Now look where we’re at!

      I wonder what the future holds for Bangkok or Hong Kong or Singapore or Pretoria or Capetown or Johannesburg? I wonder what we, each of us one by one, can do to secure those futures?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: