Earlier this year, a Quora user asked the world: “What are the best aspects of living in Yangon as a young adult?”
So far, one foreigner and one local – both Yangon residents – have answered the question, and their answers shed some light on how one’s background can tint the experience of living in this city.
Noémie Pinta, a Yangon resident originally from a French-speaking part of the world, answered rosily:
From the very personal point of view of a foreigner, the first things I can think of are:
- A growing nightlife scene where you have always a new place to check out.
- Inexpensive stuff: movie tickets, 4G data for your mobile, beers, food, and so on!
- Safety! Yangon stays way safer than many places in the world, and you don’t have to worry so much when you come back home in the middle of the night.
- Traveling in Myanmar and in the region: thanks to inexpensive and reliable buses, it is no trouble to cross half of the country in just one night; and with more and more direct flights from Yangon, you can go to a dozen countries in less than three hours.
Htoo Htet Aung, a Quora contributor originally from Myanmar, is less dazzled by life in Yangon, and it’s easy to see why:
This applies to middle-class people:
- We can pirate movies and stuff easily because there are no laws against it.
- We don’t need to worry much about money because we don’t have the tradition of moving out of the home. (Most people stay with their parents until they go overseas or get married, or their parents die.)
- No SJWs (social justice warriors) and no PC (politically correct) culture. (This one I’m very proud of.)
- That’s all I can think of. On the other hand, there are crap-tons of disadvantages for young adults in Myanmar.
So there’s your trite-but-true lesson of the day. There’s always more than one way to look at a thing, and sometimes the way that comes less naturally to you comes totally naturally to someone in different circumstances.
More and more, foreigners and Yangon natives are sharing this city. Hopefully, these two answers – though they don’t speak for all locals or all foreigners – can help us all see what the other is trying to get out of life here and help us be supportive of those goals.
There are millions of other little nuances that produce other useful ways to see Yangon. Do you have one? Get on Quora and share it with the rest of us.