A Lesson In The Modern History Of Myanmar, With Or Without Drugs

Review:

Venue: Drug Elimination Museum

Address: Drug Eliminating Museum, Kyun Taw Rd, (Cnr Hanthawady Rd and Kyun Taw Rd), Kamaryut Township, Yangon (Rangoon), Myanmar.

Hours Of Operation: Tuesday to Sunday 9-4pm. Closed: Monday

The Drug Elimination Museum

Level Of Difficulty: There is a short flat walk from the road.

There are stairs to the second level with no visible lift.

Lighting in places is dangerous and difficult:

  • Plaques in places are almost impossible to read
  • There is an interactive exhibition room which is dark, you can’t see the floor and is a trip risk.

Bathrooms: ?

Cafes: None: Not even a coffee or a beer (who would have thought at a drug museum!)

Other: Other than staff we had the museum to ourselves. However there was no airconditioning, so the air was very stuffy.

Hours Of Operation: Tuesday to Sunday 9-4pm. Close: Monday

The Government has clearly invested significant capital into the stunning building that houses the museum and it’s currently going through an upgrade. However, the exhibition feels like a 1960’s horror movie, with a few photo’s from the 1970’s.

Drugs and Colonisation Exhibition

The beauty of the museum is the historical information you can pick while reading about the horrors of the drug trade through Myanmar.

The history traces back the history to the 18th century. It’s here you’ll get some appreciation of the structure government, from monarchs, society to the colonisation of the nation.

That’s not to take away the importance of the work the Government has done to reduce drug production and transportation. It’s easy to forget that Myanmar is seen as part of the “Golden Triangle”, along with Thailand and Laos.

The museum was opened in 2001 and is clearly on message. From a Government perceptive, ‘drugs were imposed on Myanmar from other nations, now we have to clean up the mess.’

Even so, some of the most interesting exhibitions are directly rated to the drug industry. As you walk into the showroom lights twinkle, clearly showing the modern distribution of Heroin, Ice and Cocaine.

It’s worth spending a few minutes looking at the police photos of drug traffickers standing behind tables filled with tones of wrapped or bottle drugs caught in transit out of Myanmar.

The gap of the museum is that we are looking at the drug trade from a law enforcement perspective.

We know little of the impact of drugs on the people of Myanmar nor if there are social or health programs set up to assist in rehabilitation.

The one mention of drug users is in a bizarre room on the second floor. The room is a darkened room with back lighting of photos of the victims of drugs. (NB) Don’t miss the button on the exhibition before you walk out. Just for a giggle!!

The museum isn’t flash, it isn’t well presented but still, for something different with a smattering of history, a trip to the Drug Eliminating Museum is well worth the effort. It’s not to be forgotten.

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