SHAN STATE, Myanmar - Sai, 28, rarely leaves home without two ballpoint pens tucked inside his denim jacket, although he never uses them for writing.
As in Thailand and most countries, the annual burning of all seized illicit drugs in Myanmar's Shan State is more of a propaganda event than a serious step to drug eradication. (epa photo by Nyein Chan Naing)
The pens are packed with 0.4cm-wide pills of methamphetamine, or amphetamine-type stimulant (ATS). In Thailand, the pills have long been called ya baa, or crazy medicine, but in the Shan State, residents still use the old term yaa ma, locally called YaMa, or horse drug, for the brand logo of a horse on the most popular version of the "diet pills" then sold in Thai pharmacies.
This article is older than 60 days, which we reserve for our premium members only.You can subscribe to our premium member subscription, here.