Our third home visit as part of a Qualitative research in Yangon brought us to a Zaw Min’s home. We walked up to the second floor of the wooden home and sat on the floor. Zaw Min is a 32 year old single man living with his parents, brothers, sisters and sister in laws.
Shyly he told us about having no time to meet any girls. His life revolved round religion, his family and above all his work. He ran a candle making factory. We took a trip downstairs to the candle making factory. It was set up by his father at a time when power failure was common in Myanmar. All the machines were manual and workers continued to make candles even when the power was cut off.
Now however, the machines lay idle, smothered in cobwebs. With improving infrastructure there was dwindling demand for candles.
Zaw Min now spend his time trying to find alternative business opportunities. His fortunes tied closely to the future of the country. And so when we asked him about his dream life of the future he was unable to verbalise what that life would be like.
As we continued our journey across consumer homes in Yangon, again and again we encountered only vague ideas of a future life. In Myanmar the country’s uncertain future is tied closely with the uncertainty of consumer’s future.