It’s not that easy to squat in Yangon!
Hey, men! I am sure you had heard about squatters. It’s all everywhere in news journals, about squatters, about illegal settlement and about clearing them up by government’s force.
Some people may think. What may they think? Well, sort of hope to get a place in turn of their illegal settlements.
By the way, do you think it is so easy to become a squatter after you put two or three bamboos into spare ground with palm roof over it?? No way. Better not think it’s that easy.
First, you need to be a person who has nothing at all, who cannot afford to rent a room with a-lakh-paid per month. Not only that, you must have no relatives, or your relatives have nothing either. And also you have no friends. Well, first step to become a squatter is done.
Then, you have to think of place. What do you do? It must be a place near to your job, at least transportation cost should cost very little to go to job. Don’t think for your kids’ schooling. You don’t even have a shelter. It makes no difference whether you are literate or not. Okay, let’s say you have thought of the most convenient place and you are already. Still, it’s not easy. Your hut will be destroyed for sure. By the government? Simply not! There are brokers for those free lands. Surprised? Yes, you have to pay them money. If not a group of them will destroy yours, saying they are from this party or that party.
You think they tell you, “Give me money”? Definitely not! “Mister, you have to submit an application form” That’s what they will tell you. Application form is ten thousand (kyats). Then you can live! “No worries, this place can be your own land months later”, that’s what they say you as you hand in money.
After some days, you will see lots of people come and build huts near your settlement. Don’t think that they are going to live as you do; they just come here to build huts after giving ten thousand as you did. Then what is it for? Well, they think (a silly thought) that they can also get some lands in return of keeping back those illegal land from squatters by the government. They did not know that they already threw some money to build huts and ten thousand for brokers. There are those crazy and greedy people too. Those who do live and survive in illegal settlements are only a hundred but there are a thousand of huts, just huts for show. Owners don’t live there but keep a signboard on huts. Signboard says “Every citizen has rights to live legally in any part of Myanmar”. It’s like they are living legally or semi-legal. What a funny make-up story! In fact, those huts are also non-legal.
Very soon, your hut gets destroyed! It’s not destroyed by those who took ten thousand from you. It’s done by a concerned authority. If you are living on military land, military will destroy it. If it is on government land, YCDC will clear it.
Take a deep breath and see it get destroyed step by step! Or you will be eating meals at a jail.
Done! It’s all gone. Where do you think you’re going to live? Where do you think you are going to die? Kyaw Thu helps you pass away, but no one can help you stay. So you’re to think of where to squat illegally. Again!
Fields in townships like Shwe-Pyi-Thar and Hlaing-Thar-Yar are being kept to build industrial zone for future by the department of human settlement and housing development. But the department resells those fields to companies. Companies resell to those who want to build factories. Then those fields become pricey lands. So far, those lands are free so that you can squat! Yet you have to give at least hundred thousand, not ten thousand. You wonder who you have to give? They are same people from this party or that party. Actually they are just fighters.
Let’s continue this. You are now living on this pricey land after giving just hundred thousand. Do you think you will be living peacefully?
Order! Every illegal settlement must get removed NOW. One time announced, then second time, but you still stick on it. Well, YCDC or concerned men will remove your hut or house in person. Maybe it’s cleared up by bulldozers. Now, your hut is well-destroyed. No party will notice or care about it. Then you want to accuse them for selling fields to you? No one will take action because those who sold you that land know big big powerful men personally.
So, lack of house, well lack of even a place, makes you think of new settlement again. Where then? Let me give you advice. Just go to Yoma jungle where there are no trees now. You might get arrested according to forestation laws. But at least, people there will not care about your stay. Job? No way, so just clear up trees in woods and grow paddy.
Hang on! Readers, don’t think that your house will not get removed. As soon as they (whom you know well) found out there’s a treasure underground of your house, or they plan to extend the military area, your house or flat or whatever will be cleared up anytime time of a day!
Article translated from the voice journal by Mingalapar team writer