Myanmar Spring Chronicle – September 01 Scenes
MoeMaKa, September 02 2022
The depreciation of the Myanmar currency that is hitting these days, and rising prices of dollars and gold every day, is having an impact on other products such as the edible oil that we consume every day, medicine and travel expenses. I would like to think that the daily rise of the dollar exchange rate is not directly related to me, but day-to-day living and eating activity is having affect due to rising dollar price so it is a situation that cannot be ignored.
Some newspapers has announced that the price of daily private newspapers will increase by around 100 kyat next week. Due to the increase in the price of paper imported from abroad, the prices of newspapers and weekly journals have to be raised.
I have noticed that the prices of everyday items such as Samosa, Ei Kra Kwe and various fried foods, which are bought from the market, have increased again in the past few days. Samosa, sold for 200 kyats, was reduced in size to 1/4. Because the price of raw materials such as onions, potatoes and edible oil went up, the size was reduced without changing the price. There are also shops that sell a reduced size Ei Kra Kwe without changing the price. Some shops that sell various fried snacks changed selling packet glutinous rice and steamed glutinous rice to avoid use of oil. People’s income is still the same, so they have to choose a way to save and the food they buy becomes less. As the prices of morning snacks like bread and tea have gone up, they have to cut back on spending, and in order to spend less, each family has to adjust their income to match the current price of goods. However, for workers who work 10 hours or more a day in a factory that produces goods such as textiles, the minimum daily wage is still 4,800 kyats without changing, and the worst affected will be those factory workers. Although prices have risen sharply abroad, wages have yet to rise quickly and keep changing.
As for workers, they no longer dare to demand labor rights as forcefully as in previous years under the junta, which often severely oppressed and destroyed people lawlessly. Some labor activists have been arrested, and some labor rights organizations have fled abroad, so domestic demand for labor rights has weakened.
Reduction in time of delivering electricity and taking more control of foreign exchange related to import and export by issuing various rules and regulations by the Central bank, have affected the local wage factories and consumer goods manufacturing businesses, and some factories to shutdown. Myanmar wage workers have to consider priority of not losing job under these hard time than fighting for labour justice.
These were the difficulties faced by the workers who earned their living by selling their physical strength locally from the impact of high commodity prices.
People in areas of armed conflict were facing far worse conditions than workers and those at the grassroots level in urban areas. In today’s news article, there is news that the children of those living in refugee camps in Naung Cho Township are suffering from the flu and are facing the difficulties of having no medicine to treat it. IDPs fleeing from their villages where armed conflict is taking place are completely dependent on aid for food. When they encounter health problems like this, they face problems of having no medicine.
Civilians and children are suffering the consequences of the military council’s 4-cuts in the delivery of medicine from one city to another to prevent medicine from reaching the ethnic armed groups or PDFs that are fighting with the military council.
Southern Chin State, Kayah State and many places in Sagaing are already experiencing the kind of incident that happened in war-evading camps in Naung Cho. Deaths due to guns, mines and heavy weapons, arrests and killings are often reported in the news. Although it is a number that can be counted, the loss of life as a consequence of the war is not recorded and it is a difficult number to count.