• Joshua Van Lare

Fading into Extinction

This extraordinarily intoxicating country, and especially its warm, genuine, humble people, captured my imagination and heart over the course of the 5 years I spent living and working in Myanmar. Witnessing the transition from military dictatorship to its current quasi-democracy was intriguing to say the least. While this transformation has taken many forms, one that I was drawn to document was the relative disappearance of the once ubiquitous Hino busses. Not long ago, around 5,000 of these 40 plus year old busses rattled, sputtered and sped down every thoroughfare and alleyway in Yangon. Each bus jostled and vibrated as it carried people to and and from work, shopping and occasionally leisure activities.

The busses were driven by betelnut chewing men; racing to earn a few thousand kyat, which was collected by conductors who notoriously shoved people in and out of doorless stairways. Perhaps I'm a bit nostalgic for the timeworn and battered, but to me these old busses were beautiful. I loved the way that a photo taken in 2017 could look 50 years old. Over the course of the past five years, they have mostly disappeared in favor of a slightly more 'modern' transportation system. Certainly this is a good thing for many of Yangon's residents, as some of the busses are less crowded and even air conditioned. Nonetheless, I feel fortunate to have witnessed these dinosaurs in action.

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