Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Mystery of the Missing Malaysian Airliner

I received this document as a pdf file hours after it was uploaded on the Rainbow Phoenix website. Around that time I was receiving a great deal of information about the missing Flight MH370 from diverse sources. In view of the intense hysteria surrounding the event - and the coordinated attempt to cover up what appeared to be a black ops on an even more spectacular scale than 9/11 -  it seemed pointless to add to the confusion - especially with such controversial, channeled information from sources not known to me personally. However, seven months have elapsed and nobody seems any closer to knowing what happened. Just for the record, I have decided to share this data on my blog. It comes closest to what I'm personally inclined to favor as the most probable scenario.

13 March 2014

The Mystery of the Missing Airliner

That this Awareness is available. Please proceed.

Thank you. Today is March 13, 2014. Welcome, Awareness, and thank you for being with us for the Rainbow-Phoenix session of March 13. Will Berlinghof is the Interpreter for your messages, Joan Mills the Questioner and Energizer. The Law of Love, the Law of Light and the Law of Unity have been invoked. Is there an opening message or current event you wish to discuss prior to moving into the questions at this time, please? Thank you.

That this Awareness does have information that It wishes to share about the Malaysian airliner. Previously this Awareness did speak of an accusation being made towards involvement by North Korea. This Awareness did also explain why this may occur, and since this message was delivered there have been indications that perhaps North Korea was involved. This Awareness would state at this time that this is not the case.

That it was not a North Korean missile that shot down the Malaysian airliner. That there are other purposes served by raising this red herring, by pushing this so that some can link the North Korean involvement to the Chinese, thus further discrediting the Chinese who are aligned with the Russians at this time in that conflict which is the Ukrainian situation.

MAS Flight MH370 mysteriously disappeared an hour or so after takeoff on 8 March 2014

That this red herring has not been energized to the degree that was planned. For many have a sense that something extraordinary occurred with this airline that has gone missing, and that even though it was, and is even, the intent of those powers that are in charge in the Western world that would dearly love to create a situation of confusion and blaming of the North Koreans and Chinese, this has not received sufficient energy in the public sector, although the accusations have been made, as this Awareness has said. That the airliner, the Malaysian airliner, was not shot down by the North Koreans, nor did China have any involvement in this matter.

That this Awareness stated a moment ago that many have had a sense that something other than that which is being spoken of occurred. Indeed, many upon hearing the news of the disappearance of this airliner immediately had a sense that something else was up, something else occurred. This before any other information came forward. Therefore, as many had a sense that something extraordinary occurred, it is difficult for those who have had such a sense to settle upon the explanations, the speculations, that have been offered so far.

That this Awareness at this time will state that this aircraft was shot down but not in a way that is normally understood when such a statement is made, such a claim is made. If this airliner had been shot down by traditional means, there would have been debris found, the black boxes would have been found, or at the very least would have taken those searching for the wreckage to that place in the seas where the wreckage is located. So far this has not proven to be the case and despite all previous claims that the black box or black boxes, as there are two, would withstand tremendous force and destruction of a plane that it is that they are embedded into.

That which is most puzzling even for the experts say who are investigating this situation is that up until now, there has been no signal from the black box. That this is that which defies physics and defies that which would normally be the case upon the destruction of an aircraft, especially an aircraft that goes missing at approximately 35,000 feet in altitude. This is because the means by which this aircraft was removed are not means that one could understand in traditional ways in accordance with the laws of physics.

This Awareness will state at this time that it was indeed extraterrestrial technologies that were used to remove this aircraft.

There has been some report of the plane turning and flying off in another direction, but the truth of the matter is that the plane did not simply fly somewhere else. The movements of the plane that are shown on radar indicate that the aircraft took evasion movements, tried to avert from its course due to some other factor. What is also shown on the radar that was available at that time is the appearance of two other craft. That these two other craft did have much to do with the disappearance of the aircraft. One of the two craft moved at high speed and placed itself in front of the airliner, at which point the pilot did try to avert his course, did try to lose the one that had appeared in front of him, in front of the aircraft. It is here that the movements of the aircraft are shown on radar: it turning left and right several times before it disappeared from the radar.

This point is of prime importance. That it disappeared, not because it was shot down, not because it came apart at high altitude, but rather because the whole aircraft was simply vanished. There is, as this Awareness said, extraterrestrial technology that is involved in this incident, and it is seen and stated by this Awareness that this extraterrestrial technology was that which did cause the disappearance of this plane.

That this technology is of such a nature that it introduces a new level of weaponry to certain factions. That the extraterrestrial technology that was employed was not employed by those of the Galactic Federation. Indeed this Awareness would say also that it was not directly the result of extraterrestrial involvement involving the Orion/Reptilian Greys, although it is from this source that the extraterrestrial technology was derived.

It is seen that the two ships that were also recorded on radar which are not being mentioned, were craft that was of an earthly origin. That these craft are craft that are being used by the Powers That Be, that are extraterrestrial in nature but built upon this planet and used by those who are in alliance with the Orion/ Reptilian faction. That this has been brought forward as a warning shot, a warning event, that is designed at the highest level to impart to those with knowledge of such matters, a message and a warning. That the aircraft in some ways was vaporized when the technology, the weaponry of extraterrestrial origin, was turned upon it.

But it is even more complex than this.

For in a way the vaporization of this aircraft was in actuality the opening of a rift in physical space in that which is commonly called the time/space continuum. And that this aircraft flew through this rift and was transported into another dimension. That if one were to have seen the event from the ground or even from another aircraft that was able to observe this event, it would have appeared that the aircraft was hit by a beam upon which the aircraft vaporized and disappeared. But what is seen by this Awareness is that the craft that had placed itself in front of this airliner had opened this rift and drew the airliner through this rift into another dimensional space. Therefore in this, the aircraft could not be said to have been destroyed, but rather transported instantaneously elsewhere, and it was at this moment that the plane disappeared from radar.

That at this time this Awareness would say that this craft was not destroyed even after it was transported, but remained in one piece. That it is also the case that this airliner could be re-materialized back into this third dimensional space from which it exited if it is the intent of those who have caused this event to occur, if it is their wish and their desire.

It is not seen at this time that this will occur but such is the technology that if it was desired by those who have caused this event, it could indeed come to be. This Awareness at this time does not predict this, does not say this aircraft will re-appear but It does ask one and all to be open to this possibility.

It asks one and all to understand a large leap was taken with this action, a leap that will project matters beyond that which has always traditionally been the known, the rules and laws of physics, when an aircraft disappears. The presumption being that it has somehow been destroyed.

Never before has such weaponry been used in modern times to create such an occurrence, and many will find this matter hard to accept.

But if it is so, as has so often been spoken of by this Awareness and many others, that there is an extraterrestrial presence on this planet and that there are many factors behind the scenes that have not been divulged or brought into the open and that these matters have now escalated to bring forward such an action.

That this is that which could be understood to be a game-changer. That humanity if, you will, has stepped through an opening into a realm that has not until now been publicly available, publicly acknowledged. This event is of such a nature due to the extreme interest of so many around the world, that it cannot be swept away or covered up. Many have a sense that something else occurred, something untoward and up until now, something that has never been known before. At this time this Awareness would say: stay open to that which is the extraordinary. Stay open to your own individual sense of what may have occurred, the voice within that is niggling, that is speaking softly that something else happened here.

That in the next few days, other events will occur that will challenge, that may add light to the situation, including statements of denial, red herrings designed to take matters in other directions, known directions, accepted rules of physics and reality. Even if such reports come through, trust your own sense of things. Trust your own instincts, the niggly feeling that this is not what it appears to be.

This is a crucial time; a time of stepping through from one reality to a new reality, the hidden reality that has so long been underway that has so long been hidden and kept secret.

This also has much to do with the revelation of extraterrestrial forces that are currently upon this planet, in this planet and above in the skies of this planet.

That the perception of reality that has been held for so long, that has been controlled and manipulated for so long, is ready to come apart, is ready to be shaken apart.

That in these next days, weeks and months, it is recommended by this Awareness that one stays centered, despite what may be disclosed, what may come forward. It is to be remembered that each individual has chosen to be upon this planet in these epic times to be part of something greater. To go into fear and chaos will not serve an individual at this time. Trust and have faith that there are indeed greater forces at play here and that this period of time is the period of time so long awaited by so many, and that now when things are starting to happen, it behooves each and every individual to stay calm, to stay centered, to live in trust and faith that no matter what the Powers That Be are playing at, no matter what is occurring in the world or even around oneself in their own personal life, that this is simply a period of readjustment, of new beginnings and new possibilities.

Please proceed if there is a question on that which was the opening message.

Yes there was, Awareness. Are the people who occupied that plane, are they still in the physical? In other words, are they alright or are they totally confused at what has happened?

That it is seen by this Awareness that those who were onboard the plane were not killed at that time when this weapon was used that opened the rift that the plane flew through. That therefore it could be said that these ones are still alive but they are not at this moment on that timeline that most are involved with. They are alive in another dimensional state, a parallel state, a parallel reality.

That it cannot be said at this time whether or not these ones will be returned alive and well, for there are factors here that have not yet been decided. Therefore there are many options as to what could occur. If it did occur that the plane was re-materialized and brought back into that which is this current timeline, that it would be the greatest challenge of all to cover this up, to have individuals returned who were gone for a space of time.

That there are actions that are being taken by those who are the Galactic Federation to achieve this, to return the aircraft and the individuals aboard. It could be said there is a battle raging at this time for this to be accomplished, but it is not at all a given that it will happen. However should this happen, again due to the most public nature of this event, it would be an event impossible to cover up. It would be an event of such historic proportion that the reality of those who live now with certain beliefs and conceptions about reality, that this would be shaken irrevocably and that the world as it is known now and has been understood for many centuries will no longer apply, will no longer make sense, and that which many have spoken of will begin in earnest.

That at this time it is not seen that the individuals aboard this aircraft are dead. It is simply seen they are elsewhere and that there is the possibility that they may be returned if the Galactic Federation force are successful in their efforts.

It is to be remembered that the Powers That Be do not hesitate in the least from sacrificing the lives of many innocents and that they are fully prepared to do so again. It is that which could be called a "tricky" situation and it is not the intent of the Powers That Be to return this aircraft and those who are aboard, for it is their intent to send a message to those who would oppose the Powers That Be.

That they have a weapon now of such magnitude and power that they can make aircraft or missiles or ships or anything else disappear if they wish. That this is part of the hidden battle that is taking place at this time. That many actions are not intended for the public's awareness and understanding, but are actually warnings to the ones that would oppose the Powers That Be. But again, many factors are now changing and it is even seen there are factions within this group, the elites, the Powers That Be, the hidden cabal, that are in opposition to these ones in charge and in control. That this too is part of a hidden battle that is taking place at this time, even amongst the rank and file of the Powers That Be.

It is not the purpose of this Awareness at this time to predict outcomes. It is simply sharing alternative information, the information of possibilities, the information of alternatives that this Awareness is engaged in at this time. Still this Awareness does state that as it is now, as seen by this Awareness, those aboard the aircraft are still alive even though they are located elsewhere, and that there are timelines seen by this Awareness that will see these ones returned.

Unfortunately it is also seen by this Awareness timelines where these ones will be sacrificed and will not return. At this time it is not a certainty as to which timeline will be the prevalent one or the one the majority will experience. Therefore, in terms of an individual recognition of this matter, it is again recommended that one holds that there is more out there, that other factors are playing out, and that the reality that the individual wishes to experience would be a reality that sees the return of the aircraft and all aboard.

That this is the strongest action individuals can take at this time: to energize a timeline of an event that would see the return of the aircraft and all aboard. However at this time this Awareness will leave it at that and ask all to stay positive and focused upon those who have been used in this way and in this event, and to visualize the reality of their return.

That this will of course prove much. That the reality that so many are still clinging to that has been presented to one and all as the only reality, that it will be shown that it is not the case, and that this will of course open all of the doors to all other events that could occur. It is always a matter of focus and choice as to that which one wishes to experience in terms of who have reached a point of awareness that is great enough to understand this concept and principle and to accept it and to work it. There is much more that is yet to come forward but at this time, this Awareness feels complete upon this issue and upon this matter, and with this matter.

Thank you, Awareness, that is very, very much appreciated, and it is hoped that all who hear or read this message that they will offer their prayers and positive energies to those onboard the craft, that they are returned safely. Thank you very much for the information. It is appreciated. The Law of Gratitude is invoked.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Imagine John Lennon at 74...

John Lennon was born 9 October 1940. Shot dead by Mark David Chapman on 8 December 1980. Lennon would have celebrated his 74th yesterday.

Still miss the guy - but there are days it doesn't seem such a bad idea to go out in a glorious blaze, before we get too old to rock.

Bless you forever, Mr Lennon.

You can't clean a dirty windscreen with a filthy rag (the situation remains unchanged!)

Malaysia's political outlook: not at all promising right now!

The current rogue regime has been in power since 1957. That's plenty of time to become utterly complacent, arrogant, corrupt, and malevolent. After it nearly lost power in the political tsunami of 8 March 2008, one would expect UMNO-BN to do some desperately needed housekeeping, at least toss out a few irredeemably tainted ministers. Instead, they forced Abdullah Badawi to step down and put Najib Razak in his place.

5,000 signatures were collected in a petition sent to every member of parliament, expressing public concern over the prospect of being saddled with a prime minister nobody admires or respects; especially one under a heavy cloud of suspicion over massive corruption and even cold-blooded murder.

This is what Najib Razak looks like. That's right, a badly soiled rag. As defence minister for 14 years he had plenty of opportunities to skim the cream off the milk and buy himself a political support network amongst retired generals and defence contractors.

The people Najib appointed to his new cabinet in April 2009 look like this. Yup, more filthy rags. I guess filthy rags like to hang together. Can you seriously expect these filthy rags to do a good job cleaning your windscreen, so you can at least see what lies ahead?

This is what Malaysia urgently needs: a stack of clean micro-fiber towels to tackle the huge mess left behind by 22 years of self-serving misrule under Mahathir Mohamad. We need dedicated, dynamic young visionaries and a fresh perspective on what Malaysia is really all about.

We need a diversity of viewpoints and a broad spectrum of options. In other words, we want more voices from across the colorful spectrum of cultures that today constitute Malaysia. Leaders and top civil servants who are comfortably bi-lingual, if not tri- or even quadri-lingual, who have a cosmopolitan worldview and are plugged into what's happening around them.

We can't afford to have heads of departments and public institutions with medieval mindsets - whose outlook remains mired in petty jealousies, rivalries and narrow, provincial attitudes. Who are threatened by those from different racial and cultural backgrounds and feel safer when they flock together with their own kind. And whose only reaction when faced with the prospect of being demoted is to wave their kerises and jibber and jabber like baboons.

In effect, the formulas that might have worked back in the 1950s can no longer be applied to the 21st century. Race-based political parties, for instance, are today a serious obstacle to our forging an authentic national identity and shared vision, beyond the limiting confines of tribal loyalties and prejudices spawned by perverted religious doctrine.

Personalities like Ibrahim Ali (right) belong in the museum of political history, along with the dinosaurian despots who use him as a paid rabble-rouser and incendiary device.

They have long overstayed their welcome and it's time for them to go.

[First posted 20 May 2011. Reposted 14 November 2013]

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Where Demon Kings Reign ~ postscript to Burma Revisited

A typical back alley in downtown Yangon, near the Bogyoke Aung San market, taken from my friend's kitchen window. Rubbish had been piling up uncleared for weeks, but two days after I arrived we noticed workers hard at work, hoeing away the hideous mess. My guess is that some municipal bureaucrat "forgot" to settle the invoice of a private contractor - until barraged by complaints from local residents.

Power outages are a regular occurrence in Yangon. It happened almost every day I was there - sometimes for only an hour, other times for three or four. Each time that happened, the water pump would stall and had to be manually restarted. Obviously, Myanmar 's middle class is still too new and voiceless to demand higher standards of utilities and services. I bet the ruling elite in Naypyidaw don't experience frequent power outages or lousy plumbing. On the other hand, without cellphone services and with their bosses breathing down their necks, I doubt the families of high-ranking civil servants get to experience much of anything - except when they manage to get out of Myanmar.

Young Burmese at Yangon International Airport, waiting for their AirAsia flight to Kuala Lumpur,
where jobs await at food outlets, gas stations and construction sites

Many end up in detention centers run by Malaysian Immigration - a fate worse than hell.

General Than Shwe reviews the troops during a grand ceremony in Naypyidaw
(photo: Khin Maung Win/AFP/Getty)

City Hall in Myanmar's spanking new administrative capital, Naypyidaw
located in the mountains 250 miles north of Yangon 
(photo by David Longstreath/Associated Press)
Isn't it remarkable how alike the Burmese military junta's "vision" is to Mahathir Mohamad's Wawasan 2020? In 2005 General Than Shwe decided to build a colossal new city from the ground up - not unlike Putrajaya (Victorious Principality) - exclusively to house the families of the military junta and high-ranking civil servants. The new administrative capital was named Naypyidaw (Abode of Kings). It's not some place you would wish to visit - unless, of course, you have an environmentally ruinous mega-project to pitch to the Myanmar government.

Sign on KTM Komuter warning against indecent behavior, petrol bombs, and dogs.
Does that mean the entire UMNO/BN cabinet is banned from using this service?
[First posted 3 October 2011]

Snapshots of 21st Century Burma (repost)

After days of rain, some sunshine to dry the wash

Teatime in Yangon
I first visited Burma in 1984 with my 13-year-old daughter in tow. Those days tourists were only issued a 7-day visa but we ended up staying 8 days because our Burma Airways flight to Kathmandu was delayed 24 hours and the airline put us up an extra night in the Strand Hotel, a colonial relic with musty charm.

Burma in the 1980s was pretty much a timewarp reality – everywhere you looked you would find buses and jeeps from World War Two still plying the mostly untarred roads outside the urban areas. Coca-Cola was mercifully unavailable – except, perhaps, at the swankiest establishments.

No PlayStation... glass marbles on the sidewalk
Gleaming in the afternoon sun
No more World War Two buses...

Food and transport were cheap – if you knew the ropes. The official exchange rate for US dollars was about 7 times below the blackmarket rates – and every tourist arrived with a carton of State Express 555 cigarettes and a liter bottle of Johnny Walker Red Label whisky. There was such a demand for imported tobacco and alcohol, a streetwise backpacker could just about pay for a week’s stay if he knew where to get the best deals.

A thriving local movie industry... but Korean imports are a big hit with young Myanmar
Kid at the entrance of Shwedagon
Indeed, Burma was a prison economy (cigarettes and whisky serve as legal tender in every jailhouse anywhere in the world) – and most Burmese were prisoners of their own inept government, unless they were from the elite families. For one thing, their relative poverty made travel outside Burma an impossible dream for most working class folks.

Notwithstanding their anal-retentive bureaucracy, the Burmese struck me as the friendliest, most likeable, and most sincere folk I’ve met anywhere in Asia (the Balinese come a pretty close second). Indeed, my daughter was so charmed by the young Burmese who flocked around her (believing she was a teenaged movie star from Hong Kong) she subsequently became a species of patron saint to Burmese refugees in Malaysia.

My second visit to Burma (now officially known as the Republic of the Union of Myanmar) was in August 2011. This time it was an even shorter stay, even though tourists are now issued 28-day visas, so I didn’t venture beyond a few streets in Rangoon (now Yangon). The trip was inspired by my young friend Arakah from Singapore, who was offered a 3-month contract to teach dance and drama in an international school. I figured it would be nice to drop in on her - and at the same time catch a quick glimpse of what Rangoon had become in 27 years.

Lots of vintage Mazdas; and right-hand-
drive cars on left-hand-drive roads
The new Yangon international airport looks like any modern air terminal and I noticed well-lit highways where none existed. Lots more neon signs everywhere, even highrise buildings sprouting across the Yangon skyline, almost eclipsing the illuminated golden dome of the landmark Shwedagon pagoda.

I was told that a few years ago the Myanmar ruling junta decided to double the salaries of all civil servants. The idea was to encourage the expansion of a new middle class – but the cost of living has also spiraled upwards, so I don’t know if life has improved at all for those on the lower rungs of the economic order. I got a lousy deal changing ringgits to kyats – they prefer Singapore dollars, and who can blame them?

The Korean influence has become visible – and young Burmese appear to copy their fashions from popular Korean movies. I’m sure China exerts a fair amount of economic influence, too, though I didn’t bump into any Chinese tourists. In fact, I recently read a report about 3,900 kilometers (more than 2,400 miles) of pipeline the Chinese are building to pump natural gas all the way to Yunnan. An estimated 30,000 people will be displaced by the pipeline. Saruman rules in Myanmar too.

Burmese kebab on the go
Administrative hub of Yangon
Yangon in 2011 is no longer a cheap place to eat – despite the proliferation of street vendors hawking local delights like cold noodles and deep-fried pastries. A simple thosai meal today costs the equivalent of USD2 – and if you go for western fast foods, double that.

Roadside dining: routine for the locals, an adventure for tourists
Walking past the Modern English Center...
I was informed that owning and operating a cellphone was a luxury in Myanmar. Nevertheless I saw cellphones and accessories on sale everywhere. Computer shops and internet cafes abound, too, but the Myanmar government uses Chinese firewall technology to block access to various sites – especially Blogger, just because some Burmese activist created a ruckus back in 1992 with an anti-establishment blog.

Tuning in on the world
Thinking cap
Facebook, however, is accessible and fairly popular amongst the younger generation. English is less often understood in the streets of Yangon in 2011 than in 1984 – except among the elderly and the offspring of the prosperous elite. Those old enough to remember the days when Burma was under British colonial rule would be now in their 60s at least (Burma became independent in 1948 when the British left India).

And those with political connections would want to ensure that their children have access to a wider range of experience – thus the importance of mastering an international language. Everybody else under the military junta was encouraged to grow up culturally more insular, more nationalistic – and therefore easier to control.

Pretty much the same pattern you will find in any former colony – whether in Indonesia, Ghana, or Malaya - except in Singapore where available land is so limited the citizens have little option but to fully embrace cultural cosmopolitanism and, for better or worse, globalization.

Was she a widow?
Burmese love to read... but business isn't too brisk for this sidewalk outlet
Yangon River
On the waterfront...
Wandering along the Yangon riverfront we got into a conversation with Raj, who said he was born a year before Burmese independence and worked most of his life as a linotypesetter for an English-language daily. Now he was earning US$80 a month as a driver for a restaurant owner. Like almost everyone I had a chance to chat with, Raj was yearning for better times: the return of Aung San Suu Kyi to political power and full civilian government was what the majority were dreaming of and silently praying for. While I was in Myanmar there were rumors of Aung San Suu Kyi holding secret talks with a faction of the military junta about ways and means to effect a peaceful transition.

Under the military junta the ordinary citizen felt powerless and completely at the mercy of petty bureaucrats – little Napoleons who abused their authority with impunity. The cab driver who delivered me to the airport on my way home was visibly nervous when dropping me off because some policeman or security guard was barking orders at everybody and totally throwing his weight around. In a country like Myanmar under the military junta, natural-born bullies can don a uniform and have a good time intimidating the meek.

The restaurant downstairs served really good tea and chop suey
Moh Moh San helps out
in her parents' restaurant
It’s fascinating that such gentle, gracious people can be transformed into big bullies as soon as they are issued a uniform and some official rank. The contrast between the romantic and warlike aspects of the Burmese psyche reminded me of what I noticed about the Cambodians.

As in Cambodia, Burma’s history began to be documented only in the 9th or 10th century CE. Prior to that it’s pretty much conjecture, although the Mon people are believed to have migrated to the Irrawaddy Delta during the Holocene period (about 12,000 years ago). We read about ambitious warlords unifying the country, subjugating the bewildering variety of remote tribes in the highlands, and threatening to invade Siam, a rival ancient kingdom.

Collapsible stall
I didn’t have the opportunity to venture beyond Yangon this time around – but I did spend a few days in Pagan back in 1984. It was then a dusty frontier town surrounded by a vast and desolate expanse of desert from which sprouted thousands of exquisite chandis and stupas dating back at least a thousand years.

Clearly, some demon king - having defeated all his earthly enemies and recently converted to the Buddha’s teachings - had wanted to prove his religious fervor and stake his claim on Nirvana by cutting down entire tracts of lush forest to build a monument to his spiritual ambitions.

Never mind if in the process he only succeeded in ruining the ecosystem and impoverishing his entire kingdom.

Shwedagon pagoda at dusk...
Shelter from the drizzle...
Ornate roof trimmings at Shwedagon
Such a simplistic and materialistic approach to expressing one’s religious zeal is aptly symbolized by the glittering splendor of the Shwedagon pagoda whose prominent dome is lustrous with a mind-boggling quantity of gold plates – not to mention the “5,448 diamonds and 2,317 rubies” that adorn its crown. The original 27-foot structure was built in 588 BCE, making Shwedagon the oldest pagoda not only in Burma but in the entire world. It was rebuilt and extended between the 6th and the 10th centuries – and again between the 14th and 18th centuries when it attained its present height of 368 feet (including its spire).

View of Shwedagon pagoda... 5,000 kyats admission for foreigners
Barefoot pilgrimage
Unearthly splendor amidst the squalor
Gold donated by generations of Burmese

A few hundred yards from the Shwedagon, on the fringes of a half-abandoned recreational park, I stumbled upon some of the most squalid homes I have ever encountered in my life. I believe more than half of Myanmar’s 58.8 million population have lived at this level of poverty since time immemorial.

And yet, the visitor to Yangon cannot walk more than 10 minutes without encountering some magnificent edifice of worship – be it a pagoda, a temple, a church, or a mosque.

It appears that whatever the average Myanmarese may lack in worldly wealth, they more than make up for it in terms of faith.

[First posted 2 October 2011. Text & photos by Antares]