Photographs by Cedric Arnold
Text by Jaime Cunningham
Sandwiched between economic superpowers India and China and coming off recent democratic reforms, Burma is beginning to sound like a good investment. The nation has gained the attention of big players such as Chevron, General Electric, and Coca-Cola. Yet beyond the select few business hotels catering to foreign travelers exists a very different reality. Burma is the second-poorest country in Asia, after Afghanistan, and only a quarter of the population has access to electricity. In Rangoon, laborers who earn a mere $2 a day chew betel nut, a stimulant that reduces hunger, to sustain themselves. And while cellphones are no longer an anomaly, 30-year-old rusted automobiles and impassable rural roads following heavy rains are still the norm.
Bangkok-based photographer Cedric Arnold shot portraits of today’s diverse Burmese—young and old, traditional and noncomformist.