Thousands Enjoy Rangoon’s First New Year’s Countdown

Rangoon was in a festive mood on Monday night as thousands of people enjoyed the city’s first-ever public New Year’s Eve countdown. (Photo: JPaing / The Irrawaddy)

RANGOON—As the last sunlight of 2012 faded on Monday, Rangoon seemed to be in more festive mood than on any other day this year and thousands of people began to stream into Myoma Parade Ground, where the city’s first-ever public New Year’s Eve countdown was being held.

Excitement started build at the ‘Myanmar Countdown 2013’ as the large crowds—mostly city youths dressed in their newest outfits—gathered at the big stage, where DJs began to bring their sound systems to life.

“Now is the time to celebrate. So it’s good for us to have a place like this to ring in the New Year,” said Thin Thin, a 20-something Rangoon girl who joined the celebrations with her friends.

Myanmar Index Creative Village, a Burmese subsidiary of Thailand’s largest event organizer Index Creative Village (ICV), and several other Burmese companies had taken the initiative to host the company-sponsored countdown, which offered six hours of musical performances, comedy sketches, lights effects and fireworks.

Burma’s first-ever New Year countdown—paid for by ICV at $1 million—made a deep impression on Rangoon’s New Year revelers and they danced and sang along with Burmese renditions of the Welsh singer Bonnie Tyler’s 1992 hit ‘Call me’ and Swedish rock band Europe’s 1986 hit ‘The Final Countdown.’

Performances by Burmese comedians also went down well, in particular when they took on popular issues such as Rangoon’s perennial power shortages, which frequently blackout large parts of the city for many hours.

“Please only sell our natural gas to neighboring countries if we have a power surplus!” one comedian yelled to loud applause from a rapturous audience. “Yeah, you are striking the right chord, good boys!” shouted a middle-aged woman in appreciation.

When midnight finally approached and the MC counted down, the crowds joined in unison. As a big LCD display light up and showed 12:00 a loud “Happy New Year” could be heard among the revelers. For the first time in their lives Rangoon’s citizens had welcomed the New Year together in a public event, offering another sign of how fast Burma’s transition is changing society.

As midnight arrived a young couple in the crowd kissed—an uncommon sight in public in Burma—and onlookers reacted with joy and cheered.

Some foreign tourists at the event seemed equally impressed with Burma’s rapid pace of change.

“Man, I can’t believe it! I’ve joined the first ever official public New Year countdown in Burma,” said an American visitor, who was carrying a beer can in each hand. “It’s amazing,” he added, before making his way out of the grounds.

5 Responses to Thousands Enjoy Rangoon’s First New Year’s Countdown

  1. Our brothers and sisters from Rangoon enjoy life. The Kachins must be allowed to enjoy life too. Just leave them alone and let them enjoy their own life on their own land. They are the children of the Union of Burma too.

  2. Today’s Burma where “fire mountain is taken as golden mountain” and monks urge escalation of ” Lawba” and “Mawha” and sometime “Dawtha” as well, it is no surprise that alcohol fuelled frivolities are take pen as being “progressed”. Like cigarette promotion of old which is currently producing unprecedented number of lung cancer patients in Burma, Grand Royal,drinks and fast food chains will entice and trap the “hip” and “cool” modern idiots on their way to decadence. Aung San’s “Phar-nai-gan” is one step closer.

    Paradoxically, having Burmesse diaspora abroad does not help the Burmese populace but facilitate the rape and loot of the country and eviction and dispossession of the majority populace, the farmers.

    Exactly like the son being sent to acquire higher education in town coming back so that the poor supporting parents simply ends up being looked down upon and having to wash the new posh wife’s tameins as well.

    Promotion of greed and covetousness can only give bad things. Next step “Proactive” commercials. Make people feel ashamed of themselves and take advantage of it to sell products they never knew they need it.

  3. I am happy that lots of citizens in the big city had fun! That was really a good thing. But, this only brings into sharp focus the cruelty and unfairness that is going on in the ethnic regions of the country. WHEN? When are we going to have nationwide peace and happiness?

  4. Buddhist Monks always used to say they are the peace maker but here they are celebrating happy new year after killing millions of Rohingyas with the target of Rakhine state’s violance.
    So In Myanmar the New Year could only be happy for burmese people. Where is that right for the Rohingyas and other ethnic group in Myanmar.

  5. Just a taste of freedom, not real freedom yet. Just the taste. Do you love it? Do you want to have it? If “yes”, tell Thein Sein to withdraw the Burmese troops from all fronts. Freedom is great, but self-determination is greater.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available. Comments with external links in the body text will be deleted by moderators.