The International Steam Pages

Dakhondaing DVD,
A Burmese Village and its Rice Mill

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When we first visited Dakhondaing on 11th January 2005 the mill was not working, but we were so immediately charmed by the place that we readily accepted their invitation to return the next day when it would be. We had hardly started our research but as we were treated to a delicious noodle lunch while the Tangye purred in the background, Yuehong firmly stated, "This is the one!", by which she meant it was the epitome of what a traditional rice mill should be. And so it was we visited Dakhondaing on each of our six expeditions, slowly getting to know it better and gathering material until we had nearly 20 hours of video. At the beginning we had to commute out from Moulmein (Mawlamyine) every day as foreigners are not officially permitted to stay overnight in the country except in licensed lodgings. Finally in 2009 we got special permission to stay for one night to film the new moon festival in October which traditionally welcomes in the harvest and by 2010 the atmosphere in the country was sufficiently relaxed that we could stay overnight informally which allowed us to record harvesting the mill's own rice some distance away where no road reaches..

I have told elsewhere on this site how Daw Ei Ma had bought the mill in 1987 and run it in a traditional manner with her family, powered by a Tangye stationary steam engine. 

As is normal in Burma, the local monastery is at the centre of all village life and as a devout Buddhist Daw Ei Ma is one of its major benefactors, so it is not surprising that the mill is blessed at the beginning of the season.

At the end of Buddhist Lent, a festival is held at which new robes are presented to the monks.

Some time afterwards the harvest starts and in this area, it is entirely unmechanised.:

All our films have their heroes, in this case it is Daw Ei Ma and her supportive husband U Loon Ngwe and mechanic U Maung Khing. 

One further hero you will not see on the DVD is our long term guide who became our best friend in Burma, Han Win Aung. Without his unfailing help, quite literally, this film could never have been made.

For fully illustrated reports on the village and the rice mill please read:

Our travels in Burma can be accessed from our index page - Rob and Yuehong in Burma, 2005 - 10

For relevant Wikipedia articles on Buddhism please see:

The material for this DVD was filmed by independent film producers Rob and Yuehong Dickinson during 6 visits between 2005 and 2010. It was recorded in DV-AVI format and the result is a 70 minutes broadcast quality film, which was released on 26th March 2013.  

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See also:

Rob Dickinson