In memoriam: Wa Doke, the Win Star dog

Submitted by Chrys Ann Kuntong.

Wa Doke, the lovable porcine dog who shared countless meals with humans at Yangon’s popular Win Star beer station, died about a month ago, the bar’s staff told Coconuts recently.

The dog walked into Win Star one day five or six years ago and never left. He made a name for himself by spending hours every day sitting coyly beside tables, waiting for people to drop their scraps. Sometimes, he would reach out with his tiny paw to expedite the process.

He was known to some workers at the bar as “Wa Doke” – probably a compound of the Myanmar word for “fat” and a rough transliteration of the English word “dog.” However, others didn’t call him anything because he was a free dog, and he mostly did his own thing.One Yangon resident told Coconuts: “Wa Doke also had another life. After hours, he waddled down Sanchaung Street and slept near the 24-hour tea shop on Bagayar. From there, he was perfectly positioned to hang around the meat stalls of Sanchaung Market and breakfast on scraps and off-cuts.”

By the end of his life, Wa Doke’s relentless search for food left him looking fat and misshapen. His back was almost flat enough to carry glasses of Myanmar beer around the bar. His admirers frequently compared him to a burrito. When an MRTV4 film crew came to shoot a news segment about Win Star’s growing popularity a few years ago, the crew took an interest in the dog and included him in the story.

According to the bar’s staff, Wa Doke died from a “disease” related to his “fatness.” His penultimate resting place was the back of a garbage truck.

When asked to share a memorable story about the dog, one longtime Win Star worker said there weren’t any; all Wa Doke did was roam around begging for food. He did say, however, that everyone in the bar found this behavior endearing.

“We all loved him,” he said.

Photo submitted by Martin Groenstege.
Wa Doke, sharing a meal with humans. Photo submitted by Martin Groenstege.
Submitted by Andy Annett.
Submitted by Chrys Ann Kuntong.
Wa Doke, resting.
RIP Wa Doke.

If you can find the MRTV4 clip, or if you want to share a story about Wa Doke, the Win Star dog, please send it to yangon@coconuts.co.

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