Diary Twenty-Twenty Five (Winning Essay)
Updated: Jan 23
Winning Essay from Purrfect Essay Competition
by May Myat Noe Khant
People say that good things take time, but how much time and effort do we need to invest to see the actual fruit of changes? It was a chilly day in November when this question kept me wondering the whole day. On the way back from the airport after picking up our executive senior officer from the overseas headquarters who visited Myanmar again for the first time after the 2020 world pandemic, she asked me “What major changes do you see between 2020 and 2025 Myanmar?”. I could not give a satisfying answer at that time, except the fact that the 2025 election has ended with surprising results, followed by a brief discussion about the current politics of Myanmar and the world. The irony was that finally a four-year worth of studying social science was somehow paying off in my career. However, the question still lingered on my mind throughout the day. The only answer I could provide was the fact that the ethnic parties have arisen in popularity and dominated in their respective states and have taken more seats in the parliament compared to that in the 2020 Election. We could say that our country is finally on the right track of achieving its long lost Pin Lon Dreams.
After a long ride home due to Yangon traffic during rush hour, we arrived at our destination, a penthouse in front of the Inya Lake. The penthouse overlooked the city nightlife: the view of Shwedagon Pagoda and busy Yangon streets made the city more alive and mesmerizing that I was left breathless for a moment. No doubt, I wouldn't mind waking up to that view everyday. Decades ago, we did not need a fancy penthouse to see the stunning view, however due to increasing urbanization, nearby older apartments have been blocked by the fancier condominiums, putting a price tag on the view we get. While I was lost in my train of thoughts, she interrupted me and asked whether the shop where she had her first mohinga was still there. The irony was that she complained to the manager to switch rooms because she was not satisfied with the sight of the city from the initial penthouse she booked, which in my opinion, it was an unnecessary upgrade because both penthouses had similar sceneries. In that moment, the thought of capitalism; the rich get richer, however poor remains poor; dawned upon me.
The next day, the officer and I went to the on-campus recruitment day at the University of Yangon as representatives of the company. The event venue; Recreation Centre, was filled with enthusiastic students queuing in front of the booths set up by various companies they are interested in, which brought back nostalgic feelings from my days in university. Looking around the event, I noticed many local and foreign companies, scouting the fresh graduates and the seniors, offering a wide range of job options to choose from. The only difference was that back in our time, we did not have any job fairs for us to explore the job opportunities upon graduation. We could say that the education sector has made some improvements in the past years. On the other hand, an increase in foreign investments and companies means the local businesses will suffer as a result. Despite that, it was not long since the local businesses have fully recovered from their loss due to the global pandemic.
In the evening, we joined the campus tour and when I saw the maintenance team renovating the directional sign boards on the Chancellor Road, it made me question whether replacing those sign boards will still cost 9 millions Kyats like it did 5 years ago. I was curious to find out the truth but hesitated to ask in front of all those foreigners, so all I could do was to hope that much less things were going under the table. Besides, in the last five years, it has become more significant that there were less falsely accused crimes, just as people used to say; justice will prevail at the end of the day. I suppose the angel of Justice no longer turns a blind eye to prejudice against innocent victims anymore like the well-known Victoria case back in the early 2020s.
Done with reminiscing of the university days, I found myself sitting in my office in front of the computer which meant I was back to reality; a typical sedentary lifestyle. Although further advances in technology have made our lives much better than ever, there are also downsides to it, especially for people living in rural areas as an agricultural country. For instance, the use of advanced machinery means most of the manual labor has been replaced by the use of machines and vehicles with much less people to administer them, and thus leaving the remaining workers unemployed in traditional agriculture. The only option remaining for them is to leave their hometowns for bigger cities in search of jobs for their living. But it is not that simple in reality for them to secure a job, considering the high unemployment rate for fresh university graduates in cities already. Even though more foreign investments have increased, the unemployment rate still remains high which leaves the government some room for adjustments to create a variety of job opportunities.
When the clock struck five, I traveled home by using public transportation and noticed the same old exhausted faces of the working class citizens, striving each day for their lives although five-year time has passed by in a blink of an eye. In the last five years, the cities have become more developed in various sectors but the road home feels the same. I suppose Yangon and its people remain the same, despite the fear that the growing urbanization would take away a sense of Yangon that makes us feel like home. You can call me being conservative for this. But for now, it is still the Yangon we once know.
May Myat Noe Khant is a final year student, specializing in International Relations in University of Yangon. It took her almost three weeks for the preparation of the essay and she would like to express her gratitude towards her friends and especially her good friend, Kyaw Thwe Tun, for giving her advice and occasionally having lengthy discussions on how Myanmar would be like in 2025 throughout the essay writing process.