Siddharth Varadarajan, a journalist for The Hindu, an Indian newspaper, published a blog entry about a month ago with fascinating high-resolution photographs of the emerging Burmese capital, Naypyidaw. The entry can be found here: “Nay Pyi Taw – a photo album”. He also published an article named “In phantom capital, a city slowly takes shape” for The Hindu, which explains the design of the new city.
Meanwhile, Agence France-Presse has published the article “Myanmar’s new capital offers small luxuries in total isolation”, revealing problems Naypyidaw residents face. Among those issues include bans on cell phones and telephone lines for private usage. Civil servants living in government flats have to share telephones in their buildings, and cell phone coverage will not be introduced in Naypyidaw, “to guarantee security for the senior officials living here.” Also, schools have not been built in the capital, which is apparently why many civil servants have not chosen to move their families.
By using apartments to lure civil servants, the government has effectively shut them off from the world. Foreigners are not allowed in the city, and there are many restrictive bans. The cell phone ban is indeed wise, because this will quell quick dissemination of information and communication and help ward off insurrections or protest in the city.
The new capital of Naypyidaw is calm compared to the chaos that is Rangoon, but lacks the cultural and economic vitality of the former capital.