The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on November 7, 1968 · Page 31
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November 7, 1968

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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 31

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West Palm Beach, Florida
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Thursday, November 7, 1968
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Page 31
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Palm Beach Post, Thursday, Nov. 7, 1968-C! Smuggling Thrives As Mandalay's Economy Plunges all around town. But the monks, like most Burmese Buddhists, don't see It that way. They reason that they are kind enough to animals by not killing them. If someone else kills them, It Is hardly their fault, and it's a shame to let good food go to waste. The most revered monks never have to beg. People think it an honor to bring them their food. But a number of monks who are fastidious about their vows have gotten so fed up with tasteless, curryless meals that they have forsaken their orange robes and drifted back to their villages. If even monks are becoming more preoccupied with what Buddhists call the "flux" of the world's daily life, it is no surprise that the people are too. In fact, all over Burma newspaper circulation has been rapidly soaring. This Is surprising because the newspapers most of which have been nationalized are much less Interesting than thev used to be. Their columns seen to be filled with moral exhortations bv armv officers and officials ed since paper imports from the United States were stopped. In fact, in Mandalay old newspapers are more valuable than new ones for wrapping dishes, nuts or fish. A man can subscribe for a month, then sell all his papers at a small profit. regarding the "seminars" the government is forever conducting on libraries, nutrition, youth, housing, textbooks, to cite some recent examples. A possible reason for the popularity of such reading fare can be found in the scarcity of waste paper that has occurr wimtmwm r : I Superior unVr'tol no or dm- I I vvloot ma iimum p war for I I moximumiowparfc rmanca! I market is to go to a state store. At a Nationalized People's Beer shop the waiter sorrowfully explains that there is a shortage of Mandalay palt ale, a product of a near by nationalized brewery. But then his face brightens as he offers for a small considera-'ion to slip out and fetch the beer from the blackmarket. Even the orange cloth that people buy to donate to the Buddhist monks usually has to be purchased on the black-market. Mandalay Is the center of Burma's main monastic orders. About 20,000 of the 200,000 persons who live here wear the orange robes of the monk. The monks go out in platoons from their monasteries every morning with their begging bowls to collect food from the faithful for their only daily meal. But as good food becomes costlier and the faithful become poorer, they sometimes return with only rice and no meat curries. "Be kind to animals by not eating them," says signs that some philanthropist has put up Cuti 4-in. finithtd twmtr. Uti you tocklo biggoit jfht quickly and tasily! ((' I YV. TintM NrwoHrrvirr MANDALAY, Burma The Burmese kings believed they were fulfilling a prophecy of Buddha when Ihey built their last capital here. Lord Buddha had picked the site, they thought, because It was "the center of the universe." Times are a bit hard at the center of the universe these days. But as far as the Burmese are concerned, Mandalay remains the still point of the turning world, a peaceful repository of everything that is finest in their way of life. The best Burmese is spoken here, the best fish curries ferment here. Burma's most admired musicians, most beguiling dancers and holiest monks all call this dusty Irra-"vaddy river port home. Kven the impact of Burma's sleep economic decline seems somewhat softened here, for many people in Mandalay work at traditional crafts that are hardly affected by mundane economic currents. There is no decline in the demand for Buddhas chis led from marble or cast in bronze; the market tor gold umbrellas for the pagodas or gilded altars is always bullish. But Mandalay's immunities are weakening. Burma's national industries, under a regime that never tires of preaching the virtues of a self-sufficient socialism, have become smuggling and black-marketeering. "Corporation 2'f," people call the black-market a jibe at the 22 public corporations established bv the stale. Corporation 23 thrives In Mandalay. Smuggled foreign goods may be less conspicuous here than they are in Rangoon, where it is now possible to order foreign cigarettes, beer and watches by brand, or in Taungyl, where consumer items from Thailand sell openly in the bazaar. But many of those same items are under the counters here. In the bazaar women study swatches of cloth so they can place orders with the smugglers. The infatuation with things foreign has spread even to the sanctuaries. Yellow bat tin. ri ''Irs from Italy are now being used Instead of gold leaf paint o g'ic 'he pillars of the Ai;-kan yagocla here. 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