Flying Submarine: June 18, 1937

Amelia Earhart's plane being serviced in Rangoon on June 19, 1937

Amelia Earhart's plane being serviced in Rangoon on June 19, 1937

18 June 1937

18 June 1937: Leg 20. Amelia Earhart departed Calcutta, India enroute to Rangoon, Burma. After a fuel stop at Akyab, she and Fred Noonan continued on their way, but monsoon rains forced them to return to Akyab.

“When we reached the airport at dawn nocturnal rains had soaked it. The ground was thoroughly wet, precarious for a take-off. But meteorologists advised that more rain was coming and that likely we could dodge through the intermittent deluges of the day but that if we remained the field might become waterlogged beyond use. That take-off was precarious, perhaps as risky as any we had. The plane clung for what seemed like ages to the heavy sticky soil before the wheels finally lifted, and we cleared with nothing at all to spare the fringe of trees at the airdrome’s edge. For a time we flew through gray skies crowded with clouds that lowered at us as we passed over the many mouths of the Ganges and Brahmapurra rivers…Much of the way from Calcutta to Akyab we flew very low over endless paddies…Akyab is a picturesque place from the air. Two pagodas, covered with gold leaf, stand out…The airport is a port of call for most pilots passing this way. It has two runways and a large hangar. Imperial Airways and Air France stops regularly, and K.L.M., the Dutch line, when necessary to refuel or on account of the weather. . .

“We did not intend to stay at Akyab overnight. Instead we hoped to reach Rangoon at least, and started off from Akyab after checking the weather and fueling. Once in the air the elements grew progressively hostile. The wind, dead ahead, began to whip furiously. Relentless rain pelted us. The monsoon, I find, lets down more liquid per second that I thought could come out of the skies. Everything was obliterated in the deluge, so savage that is beat off patches of paint along the leading edge of my plane’s wings. Only a flying submarine could have prospered. It was wetter even than it had been in that deluge of the mid-South Atlantic. The heavens unloosed an almost unbroken wall of water which would have drowned us had our cockpit not been secure. After trying to get through for a couple of hours we give up, forced to retreat to Akyab.

“Back-tracking, we headed out to sea, flying just off the surface of the water. We were afraid to come low over land on account of the hills. When it’s impossible to see a few hundred yards ahead through the driving moisture the prospect of suddenly encountering hilltops is not a pleasant one. By uncanny powers, Fred Noonan managed to navigate us back to the airport, without being able to see anything but the waves beneath our plane. His comment was, ‘Two hours and six minutes of going nowhere.’ For my part, I was glad that our landing gear was retractable, lest it be scraped on trees or waves. . . .” —Amelia Earhart

This Day in Aviation

Brands and Myanmar's Child Workers

Image Courtesy: via Apparel Resources

Image Courtesy: via Apparel Resources

In a startling piece entitled "Huge numbers of Myanmar’s children forced to work", Daniel Breasant writes in the Southeast Asia Globe

"Newly released census data shows that more than 20% of the country’s 10 to 17 year olds are in work
"More than 1.5 million school-age children between 10 and 17 years of age in Myanmar are forced to work, according to data released on Tuesday from a 2014 census, the country’s first in three decades.
“After the census, we found that over 1.5 million children aged between 10 and 17 have to work, though they should go to school,” said Khaing Khaing Soe of the Ministry of Immigration and Population. The figure represents 21% of children in that age group."

So where are these child workers? Where are they working?

They are working in factories that are suppliers to the world's biggest and profitable brands. 

The ILO has issued a Rapid Assessment on the issue. In the Report, the ILO identifies the Hlaing Thar Yar Industrial Zone within Yangon as having a very high prevalence of child workers.

This Rapid Assessment (is) intended to capture data on the living, working and education status conditions of child labourers in the Hlaing Thar Yar Industrial Zone to inform the design of child labour prevention and elimination interventions for industrial zones. It also aimed to gather the perceptions of different groups about child labour, the effect of prior programmes for the elimination of child labour, and the attitudes of employers and local authorities to possible programme interventions.

Brands and apparel companies need to be cautious. There is much wrong and misleading information. For example, in this May 2016 Report from BSR, an organization that touts itself as a champion for worker's rights, there is the simply wrong and dangerous statement 

 Young workers are participating in the garment sector but usually make up a small percentage of a factory’s workforce, and underage workers are rare. 

The above statement is by BSR in their own recent publication. Its wrong. 

President Obama has lifted the restrictions there were on the Military backers. And brands are flocking to Myanmar. 

Children should be in school. Not working. They should be learning skills in school that give them opportunities for choice throughout their later life. Working in a garment factory at age 13, 14, 15 effectively enslaves an economic class to poverty and low wages their entire life. 

ILO Rapid Assessment concerning Hlaing Thar Yar Industrial Zone

Daniel Breasant's article  in the Southeast Asia Globe

Helping Make Yangon Safer for Women

This week saw the launch of the Safe Cities for Women Campaign in Myanmar co-sponsored by ActionAid.

The Safe Cities for Women Campaign is a worldwide project started in July 2014 in 20 countries in order to reduce abuse towards women and the ensuing constant fear they experience.

The Myanmar campaign comprises a series of events aimed at raising awareness and efforts to make the streets safer.

Action Aid

JICA Master Pan for Yangon to be Revised by 2016 End

“The conditions in Yangon have changed much since the plan was drafted in 2012,” he said. “For example, the traffic jams are worse now.”
After the National League for Democracy was elected, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi asked JICA to amend the master plan to reflect the current situation, Mr Nakazawa said.
“So we did, and we will make the new report before [the start of] next year,” he told The Myanmar Times.

Myanmar Times