Business Philosophy – Visiting Myanmar

In January 2024, I paid a specific visit to a factory in Myanmar to gain further insight into the client in Yangon, which is newly developed. Before the visit, I learned from various news sources that Myanmar had transitioned from a military government to a democratic one in recent years but experienced a coup last year. The country is still undergoing intense conflicts between military authorities and civilian organizations in different regions. Many countries have listed it as unsafe and unsuitable for travel, with even the United States issuing advisories warning citizens against traveling there, citing a potential lack of standard protections in the country.


In the 1980s, former Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew expressed affirmation and appreciation for Myanmar’s national development. Myanmar was seen as one of the most promising countries in the Southeast Asian region economically. Political commentators attribute this to the foundation laid during British colonial rule, contributing to its strength. Additionally, history records Myanmar as one of the most powerful and influential kingdoms in the region during the Pagan Empire from the 9th to 13th centuries, with even Thailand looking to Myanmar for inspiration.

Visiting Myanmar requires obtaining a visa and purchasing insurance on designated websites before boarding. Only one-third of the seats on the plane were occupied; most of them seemed to be business people and government officials. After landing, I smoothly went through immigration and customs procedures, as there was sparse foot traffic. The client’s representative picked me up, and we had lunch at a Chinese restaurant before heading to the factory. Along the way, I saw locals setting up stalls on the road, crowded by labourers and monks. One notable inconvenience was the sporadic cellphone signal, which made me quite uncomfortable.


In the evening, I had dinner with some Chinese people who had managed to stay during this difficult period. They were engaged in the footwear, clothing, and logistics industries, and our communication was very pleasant. Time flew by as we dined, drank, and chatted, and it was already 8 p.m. Due to the curfew, I was eager to return to the hotel, but the locals seemed accustomed to it.


The hotel service was excellent and courteous, with the only drawback being occasional power outages. I will visit again.


Original by Dr. Steve Wong

February 5 , 2024

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