Go to any neighborhood in any town or city around Myanmar and you will find a group of boys — including young monks — playing football, or soccer as it’s known in some parts. It’s rare that kids have access to a proper football pitch, so most games are held on an empty field or even on the street.
Whenever I visit Tat Ein village in Shan State, just down the bumpy dirt road from Nyaungshwe, I bring a football with me. Believe me, the gift of a good quality football (I usually buy them in Mandalay or Yangon where the selection is better) is much appreciated by these boys. This time I brought two balls, and there was such a demand that had to go out and bought a third football in Nyaungshwe after the novice monks requested one of their own too.
There’s no doubt that these boys love to play football, yet almost every time I would take any photographs of the action, the game would come to a complete halt and the players would ask to have their photo taken. What a bunch of hams!