Category Archives: Hal’s Blog

Myitkina – Looking Forward with Partners Asia-partners

My recent adventure into Burma took me and my photographer buddy to a place we had not yet seen in country. We spent a short two days in Myitkina, a town near the center of the Kachin State. Myitkina has big, unhurried and uncrowded streets and quite pleasant weather, at least when we were there. It borders the Irrawaddy River as it flows south into central Burma and then to the far delta. The mountains surrounding the town appear lush […]

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Nay Aung – struggles and successes of young entrepreneurs

This Associated Press article featured on The Irrawaddy provides the reader with some insight into the struggles and successes of young entrepreneurs like Nay Aung returning to Burma. They are brave risk takers who have entered a business environment still wobbly on its feet. At the same time they are the hope for Burma’s future. I met Nay in California when he was working at Google and after that at some tech startups. He is a very good friend and […]

Birding in Burma

Partners Asia’s donor birding tour that took place in January to February 2013 produced over 200 different birds and a great deal of bonding with two distinct groups. One group came from the Seattle area and the other from the San Francisco area, with one stray from Portland/Hawaii. Our two groups became one cohesive and compatible company very early on. We did bird-watching and touring in many different areas of the country including Yangon, Mt. Victoria (at 10,500 feet, the […]


Change in Myanmar – Fall Update from Hal

My recent trip to Burma – Myanmar and Thailand proved very interesting and rewarding.  I visited Rangoon (Yangon), the northern Shan State and southern Thailand.  In each area we support a significant number of projects led by local groups that are doing extremely well.  The generous funding from our donors has allowed us to continue our work successfully in these areas. When I arrived in Rangoon I was surprised at the large number of new cars that crowded the streets. […]

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Rejuvenation: Update from the Field

I am just back from a two week trip to our projects in Burma and on the Thai border. The environment is changing rapidly there, but virtually all in the big cities (more on that later). What I would like to report here is that our projects and our staff are doing great. Our approach to development that builds on local leadership is paying off. I can now sustainable improvements in the areas we have provided funding. One important lesson […]

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The Struggle Ahead for the Myanmar Economy

Jared Bissinger’s recent article in Foreign Policy is the most comprehensive discussion of the current Myanmar economy that I have read. I highly recommend it to anyone who has an interest in this area. But be prepared, it is not all that optimistic. Many analysts recently have dubbed Burma as the new “Asian Tiger.” However, as Bissinger details, the external economic environment and internal economic policy make this comparison flawed in many respects. Historically, Burma has been a commodity based […]

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Partners Asia on NPR blog Humanosphere

Hello from Southern Thailand, I am down here visiting with the education projects we support for Burmese migrants in this area. Very interesting here and these programs are well established with good staffing. I was also in Burma for about 10 days visiting programs there. Many changes in-country, but mainly in Rangoon. More about my trip after I return to the States. For now, I want to alert you to a story about Partners Asia on the NPR blog Humanosphere, […]

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Burmese Spring and the Road Ahead for Burma – Myanmar

This recent article on Burma in The New Yorker presents a comprehensive look at what is going on in Burma and the prospects for the future. As we have been saying, the road ahead is full of potential serious problems. To overcome these issues, the president of Myanmar and the government will have to remain dedicated to forging a more democratic society. Little by little with an eye to the ultimate objective seems the only feasible approach. I am sure […]

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Reality of Burma’s Rapid Changes

As enthusiasm about Burma’s rises to new heights, I think it is important to have at least one foot on the ground about the reality of the situation.  I think this article on Myanmar – Burma in The Economist is a good way to begin. Despite the rapid changes taking place at the top political level, fifty years on mismanagement of the economy has created problems that will not be quickly resolved. Education and healthcare, areas where Partners Asia is […]

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Avoiding Mistakes of the Past in Burma

“[I]n these heady days of Burma’s opening up to the world, let’s not forget the risks and lessons from scaling up the level of foreign aid too quickly.” Tom Parks of the Asia Foundation has written a great article describing the kinds of problems that the international community has faced (and caused) after taking sudden and great interests in  countries experiencing significant changes. The lessons the international community should heed as it dives into Burma are fairly clear. Because our team […]

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