Yesterday there was a power cut. It’s not an unusual occurrence, and power was restored in less than an hour. Being without a fan to keep me cool is a minor inconvenience, as is not having any water supply. Had the power been out for much longer I might have contemplated contacting the electricity supplier. If I were living in Burma, I wouldn’t.

Back in August U Khin Maung Kyi ‘phoned the electricity company in Rangoon to complain about a power surge. It wasn’t the first time he’d complained. He’d already been charged with “obstructing the work of the electricity company’s staff” with his complaints. This time he was arrested and imprisoned. The man who’d taken his ‘phone call agreed that the caller hadn’t used offensive language or made any unlawful threat. However, his manner was “impolite” and his calls were “an inconvenience”. The court was told that he had encouraged people to vote “no” in last year’s (farcical) constitutional referendum, and had photographed flooded roads after heavy rains. The people of Burma must surely be grateful that such a dangerous criminal is off the streets.


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