For WIRED, Doug Bock Clark interviewed six people, inviting them to share their experiences from the forefront of Myanmar’s mobile revolution.

Each account offers a glimpse of the boon of sudden connectivity—along with the wide-ranging, and sometimes violent, consequences of disruption. Farmer U Ohn Maung, a Golden Paddy user, was one of the interviewees. Read about how the mobile application has affected his work on this page. Read the full article on WIRED

wired (2).jpg
 

Myanmar's Internet Disrupted Society—and Fueled Extremists

BY DOUG BOCK CLARK, FOR WIRED. Published on 28th of September, 2017.

 

U Ohn Maung
Age: 56
A tea and ginger farmer in the Shan state

My father and my grandfather were tea leaf farmers. We’d pick fresh tea leaves very early in the morning and work until dark—and then we had to boil, knead, and pickle the leaves. Today I still cultivate the same land they did and have 5,700 bushes. It’s our family business but also our tradition.

I have always lived in the same town with about 900 people, which is in a very beautiful forest but also very isolated. When I was a child, we lived in wooden houses and used candles at night, and the mountain footpaths were too small even for oxcarts. For a long time, life didn’t change. But around 2012 we got 24/7 electricity. In 2014 a cell phone tower was built on the mountain ridge nearby. And last year a local NGO visited and demonstrated the Golden Paddy app. I was excited. Before that I had used my phone only for calling and Facebook. But now I could get information about the weather, market prices, and pesticides. Being able to know the weather in advance is amazing—before, I just had to watch the clouds! And the market information is very important. Before, we would sell our products to the brokers for very low prices, because we had no idea they sold them for higher prices in the city. But in the app I can see what the prices are in the big towns, so I don’t get cheated—especially for ginger and avocados.

The web connection is not good here, so I walk all around looking for a better connection so I can use the app. Sometimes I like to look at prices for crops I don’t even grow, in places I will never go, just because I’m curious. When I meet other farmers, I tell them how useful it is. Still, I wish someone would train me. I’m very hopeful about the future. I just have to learn how to use my phone better.

 

Read the full article on WIRED, click here for the link.