Faces of Burma Part 6

Faces of Burma Part 6

Easily the most elaborate and beautiful thanaka I saw throughout Burma. The young children hawking trinkets and souvenirs near a ferry across the Irrawaddy in Mandalay definitely go out of their way to have their faces decorated exceptionally well with thanaka paste.

While beautiful, it's also quite sad. Two things that became immediately clear to me in Burma are that one, children seem to be working everywhere. And two, I'm really bad at guessing the age of these young workers. It was a poignant moment when my guide informed me ahead of time that we'd be going to a coffee shop in Yangon where the boys working are as young as nine. All throughout the country, it seemed that children of all ages were working. My only conclusion was that it has sadly become socially acceptable for children to work, but maybe a bit unacceptable if they were under the age of about 13.

Still, everyday I saw children cheerfully hustling, trying to sell their trinkets. It's a bit of a double edged sword though. If they are not friendly, they may be reported as giving a bad impression to foreign tourists about the country. Be cheerful, and they may sell some trinkets, but not sure if that's as successful as sadness and desperation. I much prefer to buy a trinket over giving a handout, but I'm not sure how universal my views are.

There is hope, however. With the recent elections giving a huge boost to Democracy, perhaps this beautiful country will finally open up, and with it, enjoy the fruits of a growing economy.

The most elaborate and decorative of thanaka applications I came across.