When it comes to intercoms one may wonder why a model that becomes a big hit in one country isn’t even considered in another part of the world.
In creating this series on door phones in different countries we travel around the globe to see what solutions people prefer at their doors and understand the specifics and preferences in different countries. Please check our article about Taiwan and Kazakhstan.
You’ll be seeing a lot of residential intercoms, door phones, doorbells and such with all of them having one thing in common – they all are responsible for two-way audio and (or) video communication between the home owner and a visitor through the closed door.
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Part 3. Myanmar
After travelling to over 20 countries, I didn’t think I would come across an unprecedented experience in what comes to be the at-the-door solution. Myanmar proved me wrong!
Also known as Burma, Myanmar is a sovereign state in South East Asia bordered by Bangladesh, India, China, Laos and Thailand. Having military junta at power and very turbulent past, Myanmar produces 90% of the world’s rubies, is famous for its teak wood and has oil and natural gas recourses. At the same time, the income gap here is among the widest in the world leaving substantial part of country’s population in poverty.
I started my familiarization with Myanmar at Nyaungshwe Township, multiple on-water and inland villages around Inle Lake and Kaku. It struck me during my first hour in the country – there are no doors! Well, basically speaking the doors were in place but they were always open, same as windows. Even at the houses were people were obviously absent, the doors were closed but I couldn’t make out any locks!
Couple of days into my trip and my guess proved right – there are zero doorbells or any other means of calling the door! I guess, in rural Myanmar the burglary is the last thing people worry about.
The situation changed in Yangon – former capital and the biggest city in the country. To start with, the one-family houses and small huts were replaced by big apartment buildings. Most of the first floors had heavy bars – obviously, the people in city mind security more seriously. Yet, the entrances to the apartment buildings were mainly open! I saw the doors unlocked as late as 10PM and as early as 6AM. Only some of them were locked in the afternoon.
And, again, no doorbells, no intercoms! How do people, postmen for example, get in there? Not without the help of the local guide, I learned that Burmese use the traditional, always-on, unbreakable (or easy fixable) at-the-door solution! An average visitor in Yangon most likely wouldn’t notice multiple strings hanging from the buildings. It’s too easy to confuse them with the overall mess of the wires, cables, and other street entourage. Yet, the locals are using the strings with the bags tied to them as a mean of receiving mail, giving alms to monks and other small deeds that they are lazy to go downstairs for!
On the 9th day of my trip, deep into China Town, I finally found what I was looking for all this time – the first and only intercom! With the concierge guy sitting next to it and the always-open gate, something is telling me that the tenants or their guests are not using this piece of equipment very often.