musings on music, travel, books, and life from Southeast Asia

Photos by Zin Ko

Today’s guest photographer is the youngest member of the Garlic Never Sleeps photo corps, 8-year old Zin Ko (pictured above), a primary school student in Mandalay. He’s one of the kids who can be found around, in, and out of the friendly little teashop that I frequent on 90th Street. Over the last three or four years I’ve taken the kids from this neighborhood on field trips to destinations in the area such as Pyin U Lwin, Monywa, Amarapura, Inwa, Paleik, and Mingun. Zin Ko wasn’t among the inaugural bunch that went on trips the first year, but at some point he joined the rest of the gang.


It’s still not clear to me how the kids are chosen for these trips. Instead of choosing them by myself, I leave it to the teashop tribunal. Whenever I arrive in town I usually talk to the teashop owner, Ko Tin Chit, or one of the parents that hang out at the 24-hour teashop, and let them know where I’m thinking about going this time. They will ask me how many kids I want to go, and I follow that with a question of my own: It’s up to you; how many kids can the truck handle? And when I show up the next day, the truck is packed with about fifteen —or sometimes close to twenty — children from the neighborhood. Zin Ko is now one of those trip regulars, but I still have no idea if I’ve met his parents or if he has any brothers or sisters amongst the crew.

The rest of the photos in the post today are ones that Zin Ko took with my camera when I was in Mandalay last month. It took him a while to get used to the camera, but like most kids, after he started taking photos it was hard to take the camera away from him! Most of the shots were taken inside or outside the teashop, or down the narrow dirt lane that constitutes this section of 90th Street.


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