And here we are: the Flying Circus Animals, drawn from a dozen nations and disciplines; some of us natives, some of us tourists, some of us somewhere in between.

KS assembled us before dinner for introductions: ourselves and FCP itself. 
KS: It took three years to prepare for this. And what this is, is a very preliminary meeting of artists. Because I want to start off by saying that maybe we cannot hope for too much in this time, because it’s very short. But at the same time it’s the beginning of some kind of discussion, dialogue, relationship.
Seems he’s had the idea to set us up here since 2010, when he asked artists what country in Southeast Asia would benefit from an FCP intervention, and they immediately said Myanmar/Burma (even KS struggles with the dichotomy of names). 

This was before the wave of economic-political liberalization that’s put the country in the spotlight of the global press.
KS: There is a lot of change. But it is not clear where the change is going. 
KS worries for solid reasons. He first came here in ’98, when the land was abuzz with the news of joining ASEAN, and the potential for change that would result therefrom. Loads of investment, loads of speculation, loads of hope. Then he came back in 2000 and everything was dead and depressed: the five-star hotels that had sprung up with mushrooms were growing mould on their glorious wallpaper. 

Seems that citizens (and investors) pushed for freedom so much that the generals got scared, locked the doors and threw all the reforms out the window. Could happen again. Duplicity’s alive and well: the censorship board’s been dissolved, but speak to any Burmese artist and you’ll find out censorship’s functioning on other levels.

Also consider tomorrow’s event.
KS: Big change of plans. The Freedom Film Festival is postponed. But postponement in this country means many things. The official reasons given to us is the parliament needs the Lady [Daw Aung San Suu Kyi] to be there. And she’s the patron of the festival, and because she’s not here they’ve decided to postpone it.  This is how we’ve worked for 3 years. Change change change, change.
So we’re going to Pegu tomorrow instead. But first, dinner.    


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