Vietnamese in Myanmar nervous in unsettling situation

Vietnamese people in Myanmar are insecure because of work stagnation, unstable working conditions. Some even lose their jobs, while "always hear gunshots by the ear" in the post-coup situation.
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Photo: VN Express

More than a month after the quick coup in the capital Naypyidaw, Myanmar is still deep in a political crisis. There is a tidal wave of protests against the military government and demand the release of State Counselor Aung San Suu Ky. Across cities, large and small, tens of thousands of people flocked to the streets to protest, despite the military's ban on crowds.

Living in Yangon, Myanmar's largest city, which is rolling during protests, Ms. Thanh Huynh, owner of a Vietnamese restaurant, is extremely worried. "Actually, people feel very insecure with the current situation. The Vietnamese business here is also getting bad. Everyone is looking forward to returning home," said Thanh Huynh. Myanmar's security forces have also stepped up more drastic repression measures, such as the use of stun grenades, gas, and ammunition in some cities and towns. However, the protests have not shown signs of cooling, especially in big cities like Yangon and Mandalay.

Ms. Huynh said the delivery of food to her customers over the past time has encountered many difficulties due to closed roads. She herself and many Vietnamese people also had to raise their guard, when listening to many Burmese people talking about damage and theft that has appeared in some places. "I have not heard any Vietnamese people reflect this situation, but I still have to be careful. The Vietnamese Embassy is also constantly updating information to help the community here," Ms. Huynh said.

Photo: VN Express

Mr. Le Du, a construction worker in Hmawbi, about 50 km from downtown Yangon, said that although the Vietnamese living in Myanmar are "not really in danger", the instability has had a great impact on them. "In Thilawa, many companies cannot operate," said Du. "My job is also affected a lot. After going to work one day, I have to take a few days off". Unexpectedly, Du "always heard gunshots by the ears".

Meanwhile, Dao Tung, a tour guide in Yangon, shared that he had spent really difficult and troubled days in Myanmar. "The army blocked the internet and Facebook. From 8:00 am to 24:00, the access was congested. From 0 am to 9 am the next morning the network was completely cut off, then it was back but at a very slow speed. In general, it was very difficult to do anything." Tung said.

Tung moved to Myanmar about a year ago. Things changed with the pandemic of Covid-19 and worse after the coup. "After the outbreak, I was traumatic because I did not know when I could return to Vietnam and hoped the pandemic would be controlled to reunite with my family. But as the pandemic just eases, the military coups happened. The flight back home is now more difficult," Tung said.

According to Tung, many Vietnamese in Myanmar lose their jobs as companies shutdown due to the pandemic and political turmoil. Many people just wait for their flight to return home. Tung feels lucky that he has just booked his return flight earlier this month. "I hope to have more flights so that everyone in need can return to the country," Tung said.

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Valerie Mai
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