Sunday, February 23, 2014

Burma sends military to protect precious rock

Seth Auberon, Pfc. Sandoval, CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly; (
Myanmar's "Golden Rock," Kyaiktiyo Pagoda, Mon State, Burma (hjuengst/
Thai cave temple, Wat Umong (Decha Thapanya)
RANGOON, Burma - A massive precious jade stone recently discovered near a village in Kachin State’s Hpakant region is believed to weigh 50+ tons.

But with half the rock yet to be unearthed, its exact mass remains unknown.
After visiting the discovery site and sizing up the raw jade stone in Wai Ka Village amid tight security, local jade merchant U Cho said initial reports of its size were likely underestimated.
  • Jade boulders still buried (The Irrawaddy)
    [Prior to becoming a military dictatorship and, along with England, part of the inspiration for George Orwell's dystopian Nineteen Eighty-Four, Burma was the richest country in Southeast Asia. (Orwell was born in British India but stationed in Burma during his military service. See Shooting an Elephant). It is still a tremendous source of raw resources fought over by the USA and China, both aspiring to strip the land and its corrupt military dictatorship/false front democratically elected parliament to enrich themselves. Dictator and head of the ruling military junta, Gen. Than Shwe took a backseat while still pulling the levers of political control, as former U.S. Sec'y of State, and potential future presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton cut deals and helped put pressure on the junta to give opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi a seat in parliament.]
“We estimate that the stone might be bigger,” he told The Irrawaddy. “What we had heard [that the stone was thought to weigh about 20 tons] was because the body of the stone is still buried in the ground. But we don’t know how much it will be worth.”
Jade stone used for life-sized Buddha (R-E)
Government troops were deployed this week to guard the area where the jade stone is located. As a result, local small-scale jade miners have been completely barred from s[caveng]ing for jade in the surrounding area.

The jade [boulder], described by locals as being “as big as a Mitsubishi Pajero truck,” was found by a small-scale miner, Aung Naing Win, on Feb. 9th in Hpakant Township. The region, west of the Kachin State capital Myitkyina, is known for possessing some of the world’s best jade.
Theravada novices on alms (Hilde Juengst)
Contacted by The Irrawaddy on Wednesday, a staffer at the state-owned Myanmar Gems Enterprise in [the new Burmese capital and secretive military headquarters] Naypyidaw (WSJ video) said she was not allowed to comment on the jade stone discovery in Hpakant. Asked for contact details for an individual authorized to speak to the media, the staffer said she was not at liberty to provide that information.
The Myanmar Gems Enterprise operates under Burma’s Ministry of Mines.
Small-scale miners in the region operate unlicensed, and thus have no legal claim to jade that they discover. Most of them deal in the black market trade. More

(This World Rocks) Burma with its massive golden, jewel-encrusted Shwedagon Pagoda (housing the Buddha's first relics, a few hairs given to merchants shortly after the great enlightenment and decision to teach, according to legend), a testament to the country's wealth.

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