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U Pein Bridge (1): What Does a Bridge Mean to a Community?


I want to maintain this bridge as our daily wage depends on this,” told to me (Khin Khin Nyein) by one of the women vendors. We observed that she was chewing the beetle leaves and we asked, “where do you spit the beetle juice?” She replied immediately, “[o]n the ground” with a shy laugh. I think the reason why she laughed was because she recognised that she herself did something which made the bridge dirty. 

We continued asking, “[s]o if you see someone spit the beetle juice on the bridge, what will be your action plan?” She said shamefacedly, “nothing. There is nothing I do for that. That is not my business.”  

As part of our awareness plan, we encouraged her not to spit beetle juice and she responded positively.  

The bridge not only connects the places but also provides avenue for vendors to earn a livelihood.  Many school children also drew the U Pein Bridge as a site they identify as part of their cultural heritage but for many adults the same site is more valuable as a site for economic activity.

Credits / copyrights

Notes from the field and photographs by Ms. Khin Khin Nyein (Third Year Honors)

Yadanabon University
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Myanmar (Burma)

Site of knowledge & meaning
Feeling & motive