Regime bosses turn monuments into eyesores; Russians tout Myanmar tourism; and more

Junta boss vandalizes iconic waterfall

On 17 April, coup leader Min Aung Hlaing visited Pyin Oo Lwin National Garden and Pwe Kauk Waterfall.

Min Aung Hlaing visited Pwe Kauk Waterfall in Pyin Oo Lwin on the traditional New Year’s Day and took the newly opened aerial cable car.

A few months after the coup, Min Aung Hlaing ordered the construction of a glass bridge in front of Pwe Kauk Waterfall, an iconic landmark in Pyin Oo Lwin, which he said met international standards and was the first of its kind in Myanmar. Entry fees to the falls have since been raised and a group of junta-linked cronies are doing business there.

Under Min Aung Hlaing’s so-called upgrade, Pwe Kauk is now packed with shops, restaurants, playgrounds and music acts, as well as a new cable car, turning the once-famous attraction into something of a street bazaar. Therefore, anyone who wants to commune with nature will avoid this place.

Russian blogger promotes tourism in Myanmar

A group of Russian bloggers attend a dinner hosted by junta spokesman Maj. Gen. Jomin Tun (centre, facing the camera) on April 18.

While the U.S. and the U.K. advise their citizens not to travel to military-ruled Myanmar, Russian bloggers who recently visited the country at the regime’s invitation are busy running videos promoting the country’s main tourist destination and the junta-organized Songkran festival. It was boycotted by most of the Burmese people.

Destinations featured in the promotional video include Yangon, Mandalay, Nay Pyi Taw and Bagan. On April 18, the junta spokesman, Major General Zaw Min Tun, hosted a dinner for Russian bloggers to thank them.

If Russian tourists who prefer neighboring countries in Southeast Asia such as Thailand and Indonesia are misled by promotional videos and head to Myanmar, they will be greeted first with scorching heat and prolonged power outages. Around town, they’ll see novel sights of bunkers left and right, and may even experience explosions.

Dictator hiding in Thingyan

Pic 4
Min Aung Hlaing, in casual clothes and bandaged hands, plays with his granddaughter. // Facebook – Khit Thit Media

As people across the country endured sweltering heat and daily power outages, junta leader Min Aung Hlaing was relaxing with his family after a minor operation in Pyin Oo Lwin For relaxing time, Pyin Oo Lwin has been a summer resort since British colonial times.

In previous years, the junta leader had shined at Thingyan parties organized by the local army in Pyin Oo Lwin, where the military academy is located. But this time, he sent his wife, Kyu Kyu Hla, to undergo routine surgery on his left hand on his behalf during the annual national celebration. Photos showed Min Aung Hlaing playing with his granddaughter with one bandaged hand in tracksuit. On Myanmar’s traditional New Year’s Day, he chose to visit Kawdawgyi Garden and Pwe Kauk Waterfall. Unlike previous years, he did not meet with staff and cadets at the Pyin Oo Lwin Military Academy, nor did he look around town.

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