Tom Vater

Tom Vater

Irreverent, informed and downright eclectic crime fiction and reportage from Southeast Asia and beyond

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Archive for Burma

Burma, a Country United by Hatred and Murder?

Burmese army soldier in the hills above Myauk-U, Rakhine State, looking for Muslim ‘terrorists’ 400000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Burma in the past couple of weeks. Overwhelming evidence suggests that the Burmese military, along with civilian militias, is engaging in ethnic cleansing, driving people from their homes, torching their villages, raping their children and murdering […]

How I wrote Burmese Light – in InDepth Magazine

My account on how I wrote Burmese Light, the illustrated book by photographer Hans Kemp in InDepth Magazine. Read the story on pages 20-23. Or read it right here… It really hit me while I was walking amongst the giant stone ruins of the former kingdom in Mrauk-U, which ruled much of Burma from the […]

The Last Tattooed Chin Women of Burma – Rise Tattoo Magazine

My story on the last Chin women in Rakhine state in northwest Burma who have face tattoos is out this month in the French magazine Rise Tattoo.    

Generation Democracy: Jerry Ink and the Burmese Tattoo Scene in RISE TATTOO

Laure Siegel reports on Yangon‘s tattoo scene and one of its shops – Jerry Ink. Photos by me and Rāj Hegde for French magazine RISE TATTOO this month. We had a great time spending a day with tattooists Jerry Api and Sweetz Sweetz. Big thanks to Mg Mg Tha Myint for the connect.

Burmese Light reviewed at Woasis

Burmese Light, the beautiful illustrated book by photographer Hans Kemp with a text by myself, gets a great review at Woasis this week. “…both a wonderful introduction to as well as a useable memoir of a country that is increasingly the focus of travelers seeking to explore a world less traveled.” Read the full review […]

Burma’s election fever grips Yangon and its foreign observers

I feel incredibly humbled to have witnessed the first semi fair and almost free election in Burma in decades. I was at the NLD’s headquarters tonight where an exuberant and chaotic party atmosphere prevailed throughout. But as one Burmese told me, ‘the military are like chess players and they are planning their next move.’ That […]

James Bond in Yangon

Went to see the new James Bond movie in Yangon (Burma) yesterday. A bit slow to start with, supported by plenty of crackling and chewing noises from the audience devouring vast amounts of sunflower seeds, Spectre was almost Citizen Bond, taking on the current global obsession with surveillance of everything, with 007 serving as a […]

Message from a Treacherous World

I spent the day on the back of a motorbike today in Kayan State. Beautiful bucolic countryside, nice people, more Buddhas than you can shake a 1000 incense sticks at. There are even some backpackers here and there, gormless young people with selfie-sticks who enter temples in hot pants and seem oblivious to almost anything. […]

Yangon Noir

Yangon Noir. Photo by Charlie Londs.

Democracy in Southeast Asia – A Story Untold

I was recently commissioned by a Thai English language magazine to write a short satirical piece abut Democracy in SE Asia.  After much back and forth, the publication decided not to go ahead with the article, apparently due to the current political climate in Thailand. In the West – by which I generally mean the […]

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