Good Road

Yangon, Myanmar: Punk Rock Buddha

Season 1, Episode 8 of 8

This episode finds Earl and Craig back on the road in Southeast Asia in the former capital of one of the most politically controversial countries in the region, Myanmar. War, genocide, and conflict have raged in this country dominated by ethnic struggle for decades. But beyond the headlines there are powerful stories of unexpected heroes like Burmese punk rocker Kyaw Thu Win or Kyaw Kyaw (pronounced Joe Joe). Based out of Yangon, Kyaw Kyaw fronts a punk rock band called The Rebel Riot. But when he's not performing under a bridge with rented instruments he and his band are working hard to help street kids through food distributions and education/reading projects. He and his punk rock friends run the local chapter of Food not Bombs in their effort to do something about the people caught in the cracks of global conflict. What starts as an "off the beaten path" glimpse of the city of Yangon on the colonial era circular train turns into an exciting romp around one of the most interesting cities in the world. Craig and Earl tag along with Kyaw Kyaw and crew for a slice of life experience from tea-houses, and DIY screen printing co-ops, to Pirate Bars and Punk Shops. Only to see that the punks of Yangon find real meaning in helping communities in need. Do-gooders get a first-hand look at The Rebel Riot's philanthropic work from downtown Yangon to semi-legal villages on the outskirts of the city only reachable by ferry. Craig and Earl also reconnect with an old friend and Burmese refugee Hnin Hnin Pyne. Her unique perspective on the city and love of fish soup provides just the insight they need. Kyaw Kyaw and his bandmates cap off the episode by treating Craig, Earl and the crew to a world of beauty, wonder and Buddhist history at the Golden Rock Temple hours outside of Yangon. The highlight is a pagoda built on a rock that seemingly hovers at the edge of a cliff hanging atop the Kyaiktiyo Hill in Mon State.

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