In Photos – Faith & Optimism In Myanmar

Faith: a belief based on trust.

Optimism: an expectation of optimum outcome.

Both illogical sentiments, each fuelling the other. Mine have consistently eroded over the years. But the faith and optimism we encountered throughout Myanmar, close on the heels of the show of solidarity during the recent deluge in my city, has left me feeling humbled.

“Do you honestly believe the new government will be able to take the country significantly forward?” we ask.

The answer, without exception or the slightest trace of doubt, is a confident “Of course!”

That most speak without fear is a singularly optimistic sign.

I wish, with all my heart, that their belief will move the mountain of challenges along the way to the free future they have awaited with utmost patience and grace.

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The littlest of a group of newly ordained novice monks!

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The anticipation is palpable……

Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.
Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”
~ Helen Keller

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Madhu is an Interior designer turned travel blogger on a long sabbatical to explore the world. When not crafting stories on The Urge To Wander, she's probably Tweeting @theurgetowander or sharing special moments on

37 thoughts on “In Photos – Faith & Optimism In Myanmar

  1. I always wanted to include Burma on my Asian trip but back then it was the seven day rule thing and it sounded like a nightmare.
    I too hope the country can look forward to a brighter future.

    1. You might not have recognised the Myanmar of today if you had! It is poised for a boom. Think Kentucky Fried Chicken vying for space with temples (in Yangon). Good for them with the prosperity and employment opportunities it augurs, bad news for travellers 🙂

  2. A wonderful post – again. Those faces speak to hope fulfilled. I was particularly drawn to the flower seller wearing the rabbit jacket. I too find it hard to weigh up the goodness of people against the horrors they commit, and find optimism. A dichotomous world indeed.

  3. I suppose it’s one thing to fight the good cause but then someone almost always drives off in the victory car. I should be more optimistic! Another great adventure with you Madhu. Those baby monks . . . . !

  4. The children’s faces are so beautifully captured, Madhu. 🙂 I don’t know that I would wish Kentucky Fried Chicken on them, but who am I to judge? I think you probably arrived at a good time.

  5. You are absolutely correct, the people of Myanmar are graceful and patient. I always enjoyed my visits with the common people. Getting through customs and immigration during the hey day of the regime was a challenge. It’s the generals who held the people hostage. The rank and file soldiers were not bad people but there were some who enjoyed being in control and people suffered greatly during those years.

  6. Yes Myanmar as country is attempting to change its fate, each country goes through these transition and when faced with challenges, and of insurmountable nature it is the hope and the belief that powers the courage and determination to get going.
    It is ultimately the freedom in life that matters, freedom from problem is not the case, the case of subjugation and the case of space to follow one’s aspiration without fear and favor, perhaps these are signs and smiles one can see in innocent faces of the kids, the baby monks are epitome of those expectation and the old lady in the last picture is what the anxiety and the expectation with caution reflects…

    Love the whole array of emotions depicted in each of the photograph…

  7. I truly hope the country, and the military, stick to the democratization process. The people deserve it after living for so long under oppression and isolation. Really enjoyed your photos, Madhu!

  8. Madhu such a heartfelt post – I feel the emotion in your words and wish everyone well with an uncertain future. Your images are incredibly beautiful.

  9. Madhu I think you went to Myanmar at the right time, soon it may not be recognisable. These photos are so vibrant, love the little monks, I have a grandson about that age and i couldn’t imagine him sitting so calmly. I hope your city recovers well. Lovely to see you 🙂

  10. A beautiful statement on the theme of optimism. Yours shows, too, when you choose to capture hopeful faces and educate others on what’s happening in this patient country.

  11. Beautiful pics! I was also struck by the sense of optimism everywhere – really hope the country sees better times now…

  12. Madhu…I agree with all above. Just lovely photos, and those faces!! And nicely phrased with optimism. I especially like the youngest monk. I’m wondering just what he is thinking.
    Hey…I’m planning a trip to Myanmar soon. Do they have ATM’s yet? Any tips? Are you still there?

  13. Yeah, the very fact that they expressed their optimism without fear is a very positive sign that change will take place or is taking place. Great photos 🙂

  14. Madhu, I needed this one today. As I struggle with my own faith and optimism in the face of all that is wrong in my own nation I look upon the faces you captured, beautiful. Each of those faces speak volumes and are uplifting.

  15. I wish them a future of freedom, health and prosperity. Your portraits and your thoughts are beautiful.

  16. Explicit emotions reveal the irony of life through different age groups in the photos, Madhu. As Nihar Pradhan says ” to follow one’s aspiration without fear and favor” – if that could be achieved………

  17. Your photographs are beautiful. Even though we were just there for our first visit…your photos made me feel nostalgic already.

    People are very optimistic and hopefully democracy will come soon. The genocide of minority people is a modern day tragedy that many know little about. Very complex history to overcome.

  18. Madhu, what a heartwarming series of portraits. You could feel the anticipation already in the lead-up to the election – back in October I saw so many NLD flags waving from cars and taxis, NLD booklets on their dashboards, and stickers in outdoor restaurants, while the local English-language papers and magazines were outspoken in their criticism of the then-government and military. I hope the people of Myanmar can determine their own future even as some of their near neighbours (particularly China and Thailand) go the other direction.

  19. If we lose hope, we’ve lost everything. I’d rather be optimistic – like you, Madhu – that positive changes will happen. Love the photos, especially of the little ones. 😉

  20. You capture faith and optimism so well in each of these photos ~ I am still amazed my the Myanmar people, and their incredible belief and confidence in the future. The youth have attached themselves onto the future like no other group of people I’ve seen, and your photos show this and it gives me even more reason to believe in them and Myanmar. I’m excited with their future although there is a steep road ahead. Great post.

  21. She was amazing, Hellen Keller. Baby monks photo keeps me smiling long after I close this page. Terrific post, Madhu!

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