A YouTube video that is quickly going viral points out the most memorable things about Yangon from the point of view of a former resident, including the large numbers of stray dogs, men in longyis, frequent power cuts, and the grandeur of the Shwedagon Pagoda.
The video, titled “5 Culture Shock in Myanmar”, posted by Hannah Lim, a Korean model and aspiring actress who lived in Myanmar for 20 months when she was working at a job in marketing, was watched by nearly 10,000 people only one day after it was posted. The video has since been shared by other popular YouTube pages and social media users, quickly boosting the number of times it’s been watched to over 200,000, Lim said.
“I always wanted to talk about my experiences living in Myanmar”, said Lim, who arrived in Myanmar in May 2015 and moved back to Seoul, South Korea in January 2017. “I consider Yangon my second hometown, and I stay in contact with friends.”
Lim, who speaks English, Korean and Myanmar in the video www.youtube.com/c/HannahLim, received some criticism on her Facebook page because “some of the fact(s) she mentioned are not cultural”, but she pointed out that the video was from the perspective of a foreigner.
“Locals said it’s not a culture thing, but every foreigner I’ve talked to agree with it,” Lim said in a phone interview from Seoul.
The five topics brought up in the video are:
1) The lack of crosswalks. “On a major street like Kabar Aye Pagoda Road, there are tons of cars coming from both directions. (To successfully cross), I’ve found the safest way is not to stop because the cars will go around you”.
2) Power cuts. “The first time I experienced a power cut (in Myanmar) was when I was in a shopping mall. Everything went dark and it was like, no big deal. In Korea, power cuts are something that don’t happen normally”.
3) Longyi. “I knew women wore longyi in Myanmar, but I was surprised to see men wearing longyi. One time an older man was walking toward me and he started untying his longyi. I just kept staring down at my phone”.
4) Stray dogs. “They’re pretty much doing nothing, except at night, when they start barking — a lot. Sometimes one dog barks from this end of the street, and another dog answers from the other end of the street”.
5) Shwedagon Pagoda. “Just how big it is! On my last birthday in 2017 I went to the pagoda early in the morning to pray, and there were already so many people (there). They were not tourists, these were local people. I was impressed by how many people come to pray”.
Lim, who is currently in acting school and is continuing her modelling work, plans a visit back to Myanmar for a friend’s university graduation.
She says she has kept in touch with close friends.
“Thet Mhu Lwin, Swe Zin Aye and Pyi Thein Kyaw, they were my lifesavers. They took me to parties, explained the celebration of the Burmese holidays, introduce me to restaurants and new trends, and helped me understand the culture”, she said.
One of those friends, Thet Mhu Lwin, experienced the accuracy of Lim’s video while watching it on her computer.
“Now, power cut in my neighbourhood”, Thet Mhu Lwin wrote on Lim’s Facebook page.
By Mark Angeles