It’s the hot season in Burma – 39 degrees in Rangoon and Mae Sot today. Ugh. It’s also Burmese New Year on Tuesday 17th April 2012, which is preceded today, 13 April, by Thingyan, the water festival. Thingyan is quite incredible. Standpipes are put up in the streets and passers by are sprayed with water and drenched. Throughout the country, the whole nation indulge in a national water fight. A child’s dream, eh? So much so that at Forthview in 2009, I finally persuaded staff to let me teach the children about Thingyan in Assembly, then ask for one volunteer from each class to take part in a water fight against the DHT and I. The classes all went to the windows facing the courtyard and watched with disbelief as Richard Napier in his suit and I (more appropriately dressed) took 12 kids on and yes… I think we won… and I don’t think those children will ever forget learning about Thingyan. Extreme Active Learning as you can see if you click on this powerpoint.
Today, David Cameron met Aung San Suu Kyi and, apparently convinced that Thein Sein and the government are ‘genuine’ in progressing reforms, Cameron called for the EU to begin lifing sanctions on Burma. Along with our Burmese friends, we continue to wait and watch and see… some believe sanctions never worked, some believe it’s way too soon given the ongoing atrocities committed to the Karen and Kachin people. Let’s hope justice prevails finally for the ethnic groups in Burma.