Life During the Pandemic

Japanese Language below and click here to download the PDF file

Thazin Oo (Ms.)
Senior Associate
Japan Valuers (Myanmar) Co., Ltd.

Since the first case of tested positive was announced in Myanmar on March 24, suddenly, panic and chaos arose. At that time, I was still in Yangon City. But I was aware that many people in Yangon were already taking precautions way before it and kept their distance, openly called out others who weren’t following the rules and of course, doing panic shopping at the nearby malls. Then a few days later, I also forced myself to go back to home early to my family. Now, it has been a month into self- quarantine at home and I can say, without a doubt, my life style has changed.
My hometown is a town called “Yenanchaung” located in the central part of Myanmar, known for its extreme weather condition and richness in natural gas and edible oil. It is one of the rural areas in Myanmar and the kind of place where everyone knows each other. It is comprised with the total area of 388.95 square miles and the total population of 155,296. With the highest temperature of 41 Degree Celsius, it has the Dry Weather Condition and it is one of the least developing in economy towns within Magway Region. But there is something comforting and safe about being here. Maybe it’s the fact that “home” is a powerful place for all of us and its presence feels particularly acute right now.
Normally, I used to wake up by the noise of the loudspeakers whenever I come back here during the long holidays. These days, I get up from bed by hearing nature’s voices such as birds singing and roosters crowing instead of man-made noises. It was the time of “Myanmar New Year Holidays (“Thingyan Holidays)” when I arrived back here. “Thingyan Festival” is the celebration of water festival among large crowds with fun activities such as splashing water, going out with friends and gathering parties on New Year Eve and religious activities on New Year’s Day. It was so surreal for me because this is the very first time experiencing in my life that my neighborhood sounded complete silence and everyone was staying inside even in that most significant time of the year.
Although it was strangely quiet during the Thingyan holidays, I notice that things are going back to normal right after the holidays in my hometown. While I am at home, I see people walking around outside and acting like the earth is back to normal. The town market is congested as usual with the crowds. It explains that the initial panicking idea of getting infected by the devious virus was completely overwhelmed by the fundamental struggles of hunger. Even though a few of us had the privilege of staying at home following whatever the Government’s rules and refraining ourselves, most of the people here were still risking themselves by going outside and working to feed their beloved families. The poor families here work largely in agriculture and service sectors and are usually self-employed or informally employed mainly in micro and family enterprises. For the minority of high-income and middle-income families, it is possible to refrain from the situation and staying safe. But it seems like the poorest people have to pay the highest price. On the other hand, even though their daily activities cannot be limited or adapted like ours, I found out rather they are happier and less stressful than people like us who are privileged enough to stay safe at home and yet facing with dissatisfaction, anxiety and depression during this crisis.
Not to mention, as for an office worker, “working from home” is indeed challenging, difficult and hard to focus on. Like many individuals all across the world, I am also coping with the coronavirus pandemic’s unwanted effects to my life. I’ve noticed my motivation to grow and practice has dwindled because it seems that we are working towards nothing. We are not only experiencing social and emotional isolation, but isolation from our craft and passion. However, after rejecting on these past few weeks, I try to remain patient and calm during these trying times knowing that the leaders of ordinations and governments are working their hardest to handle the situation and set a strong precedent for future pandemics. Moreover, now since we have to eat at home, I have been enjoying home cooked meals. Fortunately, today we have technology that allows us much better stay in touch with peers. If there is any silver lining in this crisis, for me, it’s that the complete uncertainty of anything beyond the present moment has allowed me to focus more to live in the moment and not to take granted of what I have now.
To be conclude, I believe this pandemic is just a technical problem such as the plague, Ebola, SARS and similar epidemic diseases that we have overcame throughout our human history. Every technical problem has a technical solution and therefore, sooner or later it will become as one of the manageable challenges. Nevertheless, if we are trying to look for the lessons from it, indeed, Human beings are needed a warning of the way things were going. Now, we human have the time to re-think about what we have done to our mother nature. It took a pandemic to expose that we all humans are now focusing mainly on “to be alive”, however, “to be alive” is measured in different ways depending on the race and the economic status. I believe that this pandemic experience we are all put into is teaching us to be prepared when there are unexpected events happen. We as a society also should be humbled enough to realize how easily life can change. Besides all the negative it brings to us; I can say that it forces to be appreciative to what we have and we had before the virus. When the moment comes and the world will be opened again, I sincerely hope the world leaders pay attention to “the ecological equilibrium” as much as to “the economic growth”.


Thazin Oo (Ms.)
Senior Associate
Japan Valuers (Myanmar) Co., Ltd

パンデミック体験は、予想を超える事態が起きた時どうすべきかを教えてくれているのだと思うのです。生活がいかに簡単に変わってしまうかということについて、私たちの社会はもっと謙虚でなければならないでしょう。多くのマイナス面と共に、今私たちが持っていられるものや、ウィルス前に私たちが持っていられたものに感謝すべきだと思います。事態が収束し世界が再びオ ープンになった時、世界中のリーダー達が”経済成長”と”エコロジカルな均衡”を同時に重視する ようになっていることを心から願っています。

Daily Life amidst the spread of COVID-19 in Myanmar

Japanese Language below and click the link to download

Ei Thinzar Jue(Ms.)
Research Assistant
Japan Valuers (Myanmar) Co.,Ltd.

It has been a month that the coronavirus, or COVID-19, which has spread across the globe and terrified the world’s countries had arrived in Myanmar. On March 24, Myanmar reported its first cases of COVID-19 in two men, who returned from the United States and the United Kingdom. Things are getting change since that time. Although people were already well expected the spread of the virus would come in a way, most of them shocked at the time the reality strikes. In Yangon, supermarkets were full with people buying goods even at midnight. Authorities had to request not to do panic buying at the time announcing there wouldn’t be any shortage of the essential good supplies for everyday livings. Schools were closed, students returned to their families, social events were postponed, yet some were canceled and highway transportations criteria were limited.

Government started preparations for the un-expectable consequences that might happen in every sector by the COVID-19 pandemic. Government enforced Quarantine on returnees and the people who had been suspected to get coronavirus contact. On April 21, Yangon authorities announced a night curfew to contain the spread of the corona virus. The curfew runs from 10pm to 4am affecting some 7 million people. Myanmar Health and Sports Ministry has also imposed a stay-at-home order with some exceptions in ten townships around Yangon where COVID-19 infections are relatively high. Regional authorities around the country recently announced a night curfew in their respective states and divisions. Things are changing very fast.

The urban people seem to be stressed more than rural people do because of high population density and limited transportation ways which could be serious medium to spread the coronavirus. It happens people to see social and cultural change caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in a way they could never imagined. Myanmar Organization of Health and Sports encouraged people to follow the given instructions such as social distancing to reduce the coronavirus contact. And it leads people to say no to any religious ceremonies and activities. How could I say? If the pandemic wouldn’t happen in the world, April is the time for Thingyan festival which Myanmar people eagerly look forward to participate. And some unique cultural inheritances from our ancestors were not being able to celebrate. The crisis breaks all the rules in man-made society. However, people recognize that even in the crisis, they need to show love, sympathize and help others socially while keeping a distance from them physically. So, the term “Social Distancing” changed to “Physical Distancing”, doesn’t it?

The COVID-19 pandemic strikes the world’s economy largely; most business could be shut down. And it is happening in the whole world. Workers in Myanmar also get to worry about their work stabilization for living. It would be the same for rural people and urban people. Even though the situation is difficult for the people, they do the best in everything they can do under the limited conditions hoping the virus is confined quickly. People get to recognize the importance of a better system needed to be entrenched in the country. The global crisis seems like it cannot be covered just with public health response dimensions. Researchers say that it is very important for the government to give decisive instructions in economic response, social response and administrative response during the pandemic. Policy and actions taken must have coherence.

The pandemic makes people aware about the importance of natural environment including plants and animals in some ways. The formerly smog-veiled peaks of the Himalayas are now clearly visible along the northern edge of India for the first time in 30 years. The air pollution index significantly decreased in China, India and other parts of the world. Venice canals run clear; dolphins appear in Italy’s waterways amid coronavirus lockdown. We could see the world has been suffering for a very long time.

It is also very hopeful and essential thing to bring a peace process in Myanmar in whole range. There are still some conflicts in Rakhine and Shan State which cause many regional people being homeless and hopeless. Tens of thousands of people are displaced as a result of conflict in Rakhine State. Some say the risk of large-scale community spread of the COVID-19 virus is extremely high. The government has taken a whole-of-government approach to respond to the challenges ensuring that no one is left uncared for. The UN agencies, together with partners, have been working tirelessly to contribute to the prevention and fighting against of COVID-19 in the areas.

Our State Counselor addressed the key factor of citizenship-participation in combating against the coronavirus. Many youths and people in Myanmar are volunteering in every movement they could join. Medical personnel, firefighters, facility donors, supporters, reporters and workers, etc. definitely deserve a huge honor for their participation and hard work. Humanity is winning the people’s hearts in daily lives. Many lessons are there to be learnt during the pandemic. When the crisis is over, we should already be upgraded with new skills learnt for challenges we could face in a new modern world.

COVID‐19 が拡がるミャンマーでの日常

Ei Thinzar Jue (Ms.)
Research Assistant
Japan Valuers (Myanmar) Co., Ltd.

世界中で拡がるコロナウィルスがミャンマーに到達して約一ヶ月が経ちます。3 月24 日、米国と英国からの帰国者二人から初めて感染者が出たのです。その後、状況は刻々と変化しています。人々は感染の拡大をすでに覚悟はしていましたが、それが現実になるとやはりショックは隠せませんでした。ヤンゴンではスーパーマーケットに人々が殺到して深夜でさえも買いだめする人々でごった返し
政府は。COPVID‐19 パンデミックがあらゆるセクターで引き起こす可能性のある不測の事態に対して対応を開始しました。政府はまた、帰国者やコロナウィルス感染者との接触の可能性のある人々に対する隔離を義務づけました。4 月21 日、ヤンゴン管区政府は感染拡大封じ込めのため、700 万の市民に対し午後10 時から午前4 時までの夜間外出禁止令を出しました。保健・スポーツ省はまた、
感染度の比較的高いヤンゴン管内10 タウンシップに対し一定の例外を除き在宅命令を出しました。
国内の各圏域当局も、圏域内の州や管区に対し夜間外出禁止令を出しました。事態は急速に変化しているのです。都市住民は、地方住民よりもストレスが高いと考えられます。高い人口密度や交通網は感染の深刻な媒体になり得るからです。COVID‐19 パンデミックにより人々は、これまで想像さえしなかった社会的・文化的な変化を体験しています。保健・スポーツ省ではソーシャル・ディスタンシングのような、ウィルスとの接触リスク軽減のための指示に従うよう要請していますし、宗教的儀式や行事に参加しないようにも指導しています。世界でこのパンデミックが起きていなかったら?と言うことはもはやできないでしょう?4 月には、ミャンマーの人々が1 年でもっとも楽しみにしている水祭り(ティンジャン)、ミャンマー新年の長い連休があるのですが、このユニークな文化的伝統行事を祝うこともできなかったのです。危機によって、人間社会の多くのルールが破壊されています。ただし、こんな危機の中にあって人々は、物理的な距離を一定程度保たざるを得ない中で、愛と親愛の情と相互扶助の気持ちの重要さに改めて気がついたようにも思えます。ソーシャル・ディスタンシングという考え方は、人々の間の距離感の考え方に変化をもたらしているのですね。
COVID‐19 パンデミックで世界の経済は大きな打撃を受け、多くのビジネスはシャットダウンされています。世界中で起きているこのことはミャンマーも例外ではありません。ミャンマーの勤労者も、生活のための仕事が今後どうなるのかという不安の中にいます。そのことは、都市、地方にかかわらず同じです。しかし、状況が困難であっても、人々は限られた条件の下で、ウィルスが早期に封じ込められることを期待しながら、今できる最善を尽くしているように見えます。一方、人々はよりよいシステムが国に定着することの大切さについても気がついてきています。今回のグローバルな危機は、単に公共的な保健という視点だけで対応できるようなものではないと思います。専門家は、経済的対応、社会的対応、そして行政的対応などについて、パンデミックの今、政府の指導力が非常に大切だと言っています。そして、採用されたポリシーとアクションは一貫性を持ったモノでなければなりません。
、このパンデミックによって、人々は植物や動物を含めた、いわゆる自然環境の大切さを再認識するようになっています。 スモッグのベールに包まれたヒマラヤの山々の頂きが、30 年ぶりにインドの北端部からはっきりと見えるようになったそうです。中国、インドを始め、多くの国々で大気汚染の指標が大きく低下したとか。コロナウィルス・ロックダウンのさなか、ヴェニスの運河ではイルカ
ミャンマーで、少数民族との和平交渉が包括的に進む気配が見えてきたことは大きな希望ですし、とても重要です。ラカイン州やシャン州では現状まだ対立があり、多くの地域住民はそのために家を失い希望をなくしています。ラカイン州では、対立のせいで何十万人という人々が避難を余儀なくされていますし、COVID‐19 の大量感染リスクは、そうしたコミュニティなどで非常に高いと言われています。すべての人に支援が行き届くことよう挑戦するべく、政府は一体となったアプローチを取ってきているように思います。これら地域でのCOVID‐19 支援については、国連機関も政府と共に尽力しています。