The Key To Burma's Woes: Excessive Tea Consumption


As of 2002, roughly a tenth of a percent of Burma's 47 million people had access to television channels other than the state-run MRTV. The powers that be have deemed this too many:

Burma's military government has unexpectedly raised the annual fee for television satellite dishes in an apparent attempt to block public access to outside broadcasts.

The massive price hike was discovered when residents went to renew their licenses Wednesday. They were told the annual fee had increased from about $5 to nearly $800.

Subtle! Since no normal person could afford satellite TV even before the government fees became multiples of the average annual salary, most people who watch do so from tea shops or other public spaces. Reports The Irrawaddy:

Rangoon's mayor, Brig-Gen Aung Thein Lin has announced a cutback in the number of restaurant and tea shop licenses to be issued in 2008, reportedly because he believes people waste too much time and money in them.

The cutback was reported by a Rangoon journal, which quoted the killjoy mayor as saying: "There will not be any improvement for the people as long as there are so many tea shops in the city, so we have stopped issuing licenses to open more."

As one Rangoon journalist points out, the tea shops being targeted happen to be the ones with satellite dishes.