Myanmar Spring Chronicle – The story of the Myanmar Diaspora 

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – August 21 Scenes

MoeMaKa, August 22 2022

The story of the Myanmar Diaspora

Out of the 37 townships in Sagaing, about 29 townships are experiencing armed conflicts. In more than half of these 29 townships, armed battles, the military council’s raids and destruction, looting of valuables and food, arson attacks, arrests, beatings, interrogations, and killings are taking place in one village or another on a daily or weekly basis. If you look at the map, there are frequent armed clashes in places like Tamu in the upper west, and in Chin State in the west, in regions related to Magway, such as Kalay, Min Kin and Kani, there are frequent battles. It is also seen that in the southwest, near the intersection of Chindwin and Irrawaddy, Myoung Township, which is connected to Magway, PDF forces are getting stronger. We also read in the news that there are places around Monywa Township and Shwe Bo Township where battles are happening almost every day.

Similar to the Sagaing region, frequent battles have occurred in areas such as Loikaw, Demoso, Pekon and Hpruso in Kayah state. We can hear news of the battle every day or every week in Karen State’s Myawadi, around Kawkareik, Hpapun District, Thaton District and Kyauk Kyi.

Battles between newly emerging armed groups and military council troops in some areas, the military council’s earth-scorched system and clearance, which have seen a resurgence after the military coup, have added more than 900,000 war refugees in more than a year. As the number of refugees has increased by more than 900,000, though it can be said that they are more displaced and forced-to -migrate people in Myanmar. There are people who have to move to work in other parts of country due to the economic downturn, scarcity of jobs and the high cost of living, that were further affected by the war after the Covid-19 disaster, and people are leaving abroad for employment opportunities, both legally and illegally, like a wave. Over the past year, more than 80,000 people have been arrested for illegally crossing the Thai-Myanmar border and those who arrived without being arrested may be more than the number of those arrested. Not only neighboring Thailand, there are people almost every day or every month who sneak into the third country, Malaysia, through Thailand. It is estimated that there will be hundreds of thousands of people who applied for UN refugee cards to work and live in Malaysia but later would leave to settle in other countries after a period of time.

There are hundreds of thousands of people every day at the passport issuing offices where they get official passports to go to work in countries like Thailand, South Korea, some countries in the Middle East, and Japan. Before the outbreak of Covid-19 and before the military coup, people in armed conflict areas sent young people to work in cities like Yangon and Mandalay. But after the coup, during the period when foreign investment declined significantly, people started to send and encouraged to go abroad. As for young and middle-aged people, the concerns are growing that they may be drafted into armed forces if they live in their own region so that if they were to leave and work abroad, they would be able to support their family’s livelihood while staying alive away from trouble. The flow of young & able  people going abroad is accelerating.

Before 2020, there was already a trend of people from Mon, Karen and Thanintharyi going to work in Thailand, but now, after the coup and Covid-19, this wave has increased and young and middle-aged people in many regions of the country are trying to leave and work abroad.

It is not an easy situation to survive the rising cost of living while working locally. The minimum wage set by law for factory workers became unnatural compared to the rapid devaluation of the Kyat after the military coup, so some workers asked the relevant Ministry of Labor to increase their wages. After the significant change in the exchange rate between the foreign currency and the Myanmar Kyat, the workers who were processing foreign labor orders demanded that their daily wages should also be changed.

Myanmar’s political crisis and economic crisis have forced young and middle-aged people who can work in the country to leave abroad. Some are trying to live until they have the opportunity to move and live permanently in foreign countries.

There are people from the lower classes in the countryside and small towns trying to go abroad, as well as educated people, those who have their own business and capital, in big cities, are also trying to prepare to settle abroad. It is what we see and hear in our environment that there were also people who immigrated to Thailand with a valid visa and sent their children to school in Thailand and, some people from the political field and people who had worked in civil society organizations and international NGOs were working to settle in neighboring countries or third countries.


If we compare Myanmar with a gradually sinking ship, people with various choices are seen, such as those who leave before the ship sinks, those who are leaving after deciding while the ship is gradually sinking, those who don’t leave the gradually sinking ship deciding to help each other and those who will step on others to rise above the sunken ones who are in a similar situation.