Sam's blog on getting merit in Yangon

sam birds 2.jpg

Sam's been writing blogs too while we've been away - part schoolwork, part interest. I thought I should publish the odd one, so here's his first one from Myanmar...

I am in Myanmar (Burma) now, and I am enjoying it. It is extremely hot here even though it's meant to be their winter, and I always want the air conditioning on in our room. When it is at the temperature I like, Mum complains that it is too cold. When it's at the temperature she likes, I complain that it is too hot.

sule paya.jpg

Close to where we are staying there is the Buddhist equivalent of a church [the Sule Pagoda, which sits, rather strangely, in the middle of a central city roundabout] surrounded by shops. At one of the entrances were women holding boxes full of finches. You could pay to release some birds from a box, which was supposed to give you good luck*. I released some birds, and there was something oddly satisfying about taking one from the box (holding it very softly of course) and throwing it in a certain direction, and then watching it fly away up high in that direction.

 A young monk gets a bit of merit too 

A young monk gets a bit of merit too 

*We discovered afterwards that there are various ethical problems with the Buddhist practice of "fang sheng" (animal release in English, not sure what it's called in Burmese), including the fact that previously captive birds don't tend to last more than a few days once released into a busy city. Also releasing random species can have an impact on biodiversity. But the thought was there, and it's still magical watching them fly away...