How skate punks are ushering in a new era of freedom in myanmar

For decades, Myanmar, also known as Burma, was ruled by a repressive military junta. Cut off from the outside world, the Burmese people were stifled in every sense of the word. As other countries embraced emerging technologies, developed, and enjoyed increasing quality of living, Myanmar was stuck in the past without modern technologies like the internet, TV, or cell phones. As a result of this extreme isolation, the country remained among the poorest in the world.

Then, in 2011, things began to change.

The government dramatically loosened its vice-like grip on society and a once isolated populace started to get a taste of the outside world. Things that were totally unavailable or only accessible on the black market, were increasingly out in the open.

“Dangerous” things. Like skateboards.

Once forced to buy boards and Tony Hawk video games on the black market, the country’s skaters are embracing their new-found freedom. With access to the internet and mobile phones, they’re catching up on what’s cool and current, and merging it with their own culture to create a unique skate scene that’s gaining a reputation around the world.

No one is quite sure what’s next for Myanmar. The government still intimidates vocal opposition. And there are reports of violence against ethnic minorities across the country. But for young people discovering a new world outside their borders, it’s hard to imagine they’ll ever be willing to go back to the way things were.

Related
The Supreme Court will soon decide the future of social media
Should social media platforms have the right to decide what speech is permitted? Should the government?
How patients are using technology to kick-start a healthcare revolution
Susannah Fox, former chief technology officer for the HHS, explains how technology can empower a patient-led healthcare revolution.
How building more backyard homes, granny flats, and in-law suites can help alleviate the housing crisis
Accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, are sometimes called “granny flats,” “backyard homes,” “in-law suites,” or “backyard cottages.”
More Americans than ever have no friends. Here are 5 steps to make more friends.
The last decade has seen a steep drop in adult friendships and a worrying increase in loneliness. Is this the cost of our modern life?
The secrets of cooperation
Most people care what others think of them. In many situations, that can be leveraged for the common good — cooperation.
Up Next
Subscribe to Freethink for more great stories