Most Read Stories of 2017

By The Irrawaddy 23 December 2017

YANGON — Here is a look back to some of the most-read stories published by The Irrawaddy in 2017. The list includes features, opinion pieces and interviews covering the full range of issues confronting Myanmar, from headline-grabbing political intrigues and diplomatic tensions, to development and business affairs, social and gender issues as well as human interest stories about people, places and the arts. It’s been a year that was at different times exhilarating and disheartening, but always fascinating. We trust you found the journey as engaging as we did covering it.


Daw Khin Khin Win signs her autograph for her memoir. (Photo: Pyay Kyaw / The Irrawaddy)

Housekeeper Recalls Swimmer who Surprised Suu Kyi’s House

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s caretaker recalls her time with the democracy icon when she was under house arrest, including the strange visit by the American John Yettaw.

Burma’s 200-Mile Shopping Trip

A tribe from the foothills of the Himalayas treks nearly two weeks across Kachin State to buy and sell foodstuffs in the Putao market.

Taxi Driver U Nay Win, A True Citizen

‘I’ll impress upon my children the spirit of their father—to be helpful to anyone and to be good citizens,’ said Ma Su Thet Khaing, U Nay Win’s widow.


Daw Aung San Suu Kyi at peace talks with youth in Naypyidaw on Jan. 1, 2017. (Photo: Htet Naing Zaw / The Irrawaddy)

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s Trend of Silence

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi remains noticeably silent on human rights issues lately, causing people to question her allegiance to the people.

Who Killed U Ko Ni?

If powerful figures were involved in the killing, the mastermind behind the lawyer’s murder may never be brought to justice.

The Reality in Rakhine and Myanmar’s Complex Political Conundrum

If the internatioal community wants to see a stable Myanmar, it needs to help the government halt the violence in Rakhine and implement Kofi Annan’s recommendations.

Britain is Still Being Beastly to its Former Colony Myanmar

The misdemeanor of Britain’s foreign secretary is just the tip of the iceberg of bullying of Myanmar by its ex-colonizer.


General Sumlut Gun Maw, vice chairman of the Kachin Independence Organization. (Photo: The Irrawaddy)

KIA General Gun Maw: ‘To Talk and Live as Equals, That is Genuine Peace’

‘We are not terrorists or insurgents as long as our ethnic Kachin people and all the local people do not consider us as terrorists.’

Book Highlights Women’s ‘Unique Role and Contribution’ to Burmese Society

In ‘The World of Women Myanmar’, author Carin Salerno explains the importance of sharing stories by women from diverse ethnic and professional backgrounds.

Bertil Lintner Recalls Slain NLD Lawyer

He was ‘a man of high integrity whose main devotion was to make this country more democratic than it is,’ the journalist says about U Ko Ni.

Arakan Army Chief: ‘The Burma Army’s Real Intentions Are to Continue Fighting’

Brig-Gen Tun Myat Naing speaks about the conflict between the Burma Army and the Northern Alliance, and China’s role in the peace process.

Burmese Jaggery ‘A Reflection of Childhood’ for Local Entrepreneur

Ma Cho Lei Aung transformed a traditional dessert into a bite-sized piece of nostalgia—her jaggery has become a story of traditional Burmese identity.


U Aye Naing, Lawi Weng, and Ko Pyae Bone Naing. (Photo: The Irrawaddy)

TIMELINE:  Reporters’ 67 Days Behind Bars

Freed after 67 days in detention, The Irrawaddy looks at the most pivotal moments during the arrest and imprisonment of three journalists.

TIMELINE: China-Myanmar Relations

From Mao’s revolution to Belt and Road engagement — A chronology of relations between China and Myanmar from 1949 to today.

A Tide of Trash Swamping Setse Beach

A resort in Mon State has been popular since the 19th century, but successive governments have failed to clean and develop the beach.

Alternative School Near Inle Reimagines Primary Education

Built from sustainable materials and emphasizing play and inclusivity, the Inle Heritage Private School is the first of its kind in the area.

Left Behind: Karen Refugees at Mae La Camp

Disconnected from their homeland and losing funds for humanitarian assistance, Karen refugees face a tougher existence at a camp in western Thailand.

Saving Cultures in Karenni

Guides use community-based tourism to help save Karenni State’s waning traditions.


Laib adjusts the rice of his brass shops installation. (Photo: Pyay Kyaw)

‘Where the Land and Water End’ Exhibition

A showing by German conceptual artist Wolfgang Laib is set up in Rangoon’s Secretariat building.

Win Tint Craves New Ideas, Even After Success

Artist Win Tint employs new painting techniques in his sixth solo show.

The Art of Politics

Artists, sculptors, installation artists and photographers showcase work that reflects on political changes in Myanmar over the past decade.


Tourists leave the Haw after a visit. (Photo: Zaw Zaw / The Irrawaddy)

The Tragedy and Hope of a Palace

Locals fear for the future of a dilapidated but storied manor in northern Shan State.

Hearing Burma: Teaching Artistry in Rangoon

Community music center Gitameit is taking new, bold steps in its efforts to protect and promote music in Burma.

‘Psycho Zero’—Myanmar’s First Zero-Budget Movie?

Premiering at Yangon’s human rights film festival, the 85-minute movie features shorts by 14 different directors.

The Art of Street Stories

A Myanmar artist travels to France to share everyday stories of children he has met around the country.


Michelle, the co-founder of the Myanmar Women’s Self-defense Center in Yangon. (Photo: Tin Htet Paing / The Irrawaddy)

A Fighter in Heels

‘Women have their own rights, and not because they are given by men,’ says a co-founder of the Myanmar Women’s Self-defense Center.

Champions for Change

On International Women’s Day, we celebrate some of the inspiring private sector business leaders championing inclusivity and diversity.

Burma’s Gender Gap: Only Four Women Ministers in Nearly a Century

The government is presented with a mammoth struggle to improve gender equality.

Transforming Futures of Female Kachin IDPs Through Sex Education

Community-based groups are educating girls and young women about sexual and reproductive health to decide their own futures.

The Women of 1988

The Irrawaddy profiles seven women who were involved in or inspired by the events of 1988.


(Photo : The Irrawaddy)

Rakhine Violence: On the Ground in Maungdaw

With violence raging in Rakhine State’s Maungdaw District, reporter Moe Myint shares what he saw and heard on a recent trip.

‘Internal Peace and National Reconciliation are Preconditions for Building Democratic Federalism’

Irrawaddy reporters discuss the social and political outlooks for Burma as reflected in politicians’ New Year’s greetings.

‘This System Calls for Cooperation’

The Irrawaddy discusses the impact of the new public transit system on commuters soon after its launch, as well as the challenges ahead.

‘The Govt Must Reform State-Run Media’

The Irrawaddy discusses the development of private media and necessary reforms to state-run media.

‘The Politics of Young People Today Is About Their Part in Rebuilding the State’

The Irrawaddy discusses the role of Burma’s youth in shaping the political landscape.


A man pays his respects outside the home of lawyer U Ko Ni who was assassinated on Sunday. (Photo: Chan Son / The Irrawaddy)

A Hero to Remember

U Ko Ni was a fearless fighter who spoke up for his views, and he was a strong force in the democratic movement.

The Failed UN Mission in Myanmar

Myanmar could be a UN success story if the organization appointed effective personnel to the country.

Where Does Burma Stand on China’s ‘One Belt, One Road?’

Burma faces the challenge of negotiating with its giant neighbor over varied interests stretching from the Bay of Bengal to the Burma-China border.

NLD Government Needs to Shut Down Ma Ba Tha Affiliates

The government was quick to take action against nationalists disrupting Muslim ceremonies, but more needs to be done so Ma Ba Tha is not resurrected.