The Punk of Burma
Living as a punk in Burma is not only a lifestyle or just a copy of Western trends, it is an act of rebellion. Even though his father is a policeman Kyaw Kyaw, 26, has decided to become a punk to protest against the political and economical situation in his country.
„In Burma I only have freedom of mind“, says Kyaw Kyaw. „The new government is mostly made up of members of the former military junta. The change to democracy is just a change in words not a real change.“ Kyaw Kyaw is the lead singer of the band Rebel Riot, he founded in 2007. He is attracted to punk music, because he likes the disrespectful words of the songs and because the music offers him a way to tackle the problems in Burmese society. Kyaw Kyaw objects mostly to the monk Ashin Wirathu, who implies that the Muslims (accounting for 4 percent of the population) endanger Buddhism and Burma itself. “They make the Muslims a scapegoat to distract from other problems,” he says.
Kyaw Kyaw left school at age 16. At school, he had witnessed the military government’s attitude toward the educational system. He had watched schools being left to deteriorate due to the government’s fear of student riots and of the criticism of an intellectual elite. Today, he earns money by selling handmade punk clothes, jewelry and CDs on roadsides.
Every monday evening Kyaw Kyaw and his punk friends arrange „Food not Bombs“. „We don’t need war. We need food and Human Rights. I can’t change the world or Burma, but I can at least influence the people around me“, he says. „The people have two eyes, but they use only one.“