“A lot of people I meet are surprised to learn that I’m Burmese American. You don’t come across so many Burmese wine professionals here in Bangkok. And unfortunately, many people’s preconceived idea is that all Burmese people work as manual laborers or domestic help. It wasn’t until I was 19 when I first visited Myanmar. I felt so American there, despite having a lot of Burmese parts of my upbringing. I realized there was so much about my mother’s country that I hadn’t ever directly experienced. There’s not a fixed narrative for many of us mixed kids in the diaspora. This means there’s always a different story and ways we connect with our cultures.
The people of Myanmar are suffering from an absolute human rights crisis where a dictatorship has seized social justice and autonomy. Younger people see their futures taken from them, and older folks are forced to relive decades of trauma and violence. These things have been happening to our people for so long. And it’s a common theme that I think is shared with many countries in the region. They are rising up against the institutions that they have been held under for several decades. And they unite under a communal feeling of hope. These institutions feel the need to forcefully take back control over fear that they might lose it forever.”
Ottara, Manager of @modkaewbkk