The golden light of the setting December sun flooded the hillsides of Mt. Kyaiktiyo, casting a warm glow over the crowds of pilgrims gathered around the gravity-defying Kyaiktiyo Pagoda. Balanced on a single strand of the Buddha’s hair, according to local legend, the pagoda, also known as Golden Rock, is the third most important pilgrimage site for Buddhists in Myanmar. For myself and my fellow interns at Mizzima, it represented an opportunity to get away from the dusty, congested streets of Yangon to Mon State, if only for a couple days.
Twenty-eight-year-old Cing Zeel Niang was born in Chin State but left home at an early age to attend boarding school in Pyin Oo Lwin and later studied medicine in Mandalay. Her parents felt that it was in their daughter’s best interests to be educated outside her home state, as standards are lower than in other parts of the country. Chin State lacks a single university - the closest is in neighbouring Sagaing Region – and it is the most underdeveloped nationwide in terms of infrastructure. Cing Zeel Niang - Rosy - graduated in 2012 and began working at a private hospital, but had long had plans to start a business in a completely different walk of life and one that was closer to her roots – selling Chin textiles online via Facebook.
Salai Kyaw Moe — The following interviews are with representatives from two ethnic Chin political parties on the future of Chin state in the wake of the recent national election. Cheery Zahau, a renowned women rights activist and previous Chin person of the year award winner, is the Chin Progressive Party (CPP) Secretary. Salai Pi Pi and U Ngai Sak are both from the Chin League for Democracy (CLD).
Salai Kyaw Moe Tun — An interim committee tasked with the goal of creating cooperation among ethnic Chin parties was formed last month during a meeting of Chin political parties. According to U Salai Aung Min Hlaing from the Asho Chin National Party the committee's formation was a major breakthrough.