Powerless

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Disruptive! That was how I would describe the power outage that started from 4PM of September 29 that extended up to 5PM of September 30, a total of 25 hours!

My main concern was that I don’t know what was happening. I live with my wife in downtown Yangon with locals around who cannot speak English! I asked the street vendor in front of our house what was happening and she just sighed, smiled and said something I don’t understand. I have to call one of our staff who is staying in Hpa-an, some 300 kilometers away, to ask what happened. It was late in the evening when I learned there was a broken transformer in Pansodan Street and the government people had a hard time fixing it. Either the transformer was old, or the current load was too high for it. I just thought this is just a preview of days to come as demand for energy will increase with the economic growth experienced by the country. More industries will arrive gobbling more power, and at the rate the government is responding to business concerns brought to it, I thought addressing demand for energy will have to have to wait longer.

On the lighter side, the disruption happened a week before Thandingyut festival, a full moon festival, described as the festival of dancing lights. Maybe the outage was intentional for the people to feel the moonlight! Ah, that was a romantic thought.

So there, we suffered some inconveniences. We cannot brew coffee! We cannot cook, so we had to buy from the street food vendors, a not so appealing thought. No light so we have to use a solar lantern. No aircon, and the windless night pushed us to use a hand fan fashioned from newspapers. We cannot open the windows because the mosquitoes will join us inside. No work, my laptop gave up and reminded me that it has less than 10% power remaining.

The other side of the powerless event was the rediscovery of things unnoticed until now. We were able to appreciate basic things in our home. We laugh at first when we saw that we have a water tank inside the bathroom instead of water that will flow directly from the pipes. Now we appreciate that even without power, we have lots of water. We let the windows open in the morning and enjoy the view from the outside. We also appreciate the solar lantern we brought from Cambodia!

Day 2, our priority is battery charging for cell and laptop. Off we go to Bar Boon our favourite coffee shop to charge our laptops and cell phones. After several hours in the coffee shop downing a cup of Americano, with fully charged laptops and cell phones, we went back to our home with expectant heart. Sorry, lights in the adjacent buildings were still out.

We prepared for another sleepless night, but God was good, light came back an hour after we arrived!

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