Minsk citizen moved to Myanmar to repair super-expensive cars there.
It turned out that a successful Belarusian car repair shop had been operating in the capital of an exotic country for a long time.
“How did it happen that I exchanged Minsk for Yangon, a major city in Myanmar? – wonders in an interview onliner.by Maxim. – Yes, I myself do not know. One day my friend said that his friends were looking for someone to work in this interesting country. ” Myanmar is where in general? Many remember it called Burma. This state is located in the western part of the Indochina Peninsula. Did the Moldovan regret his decision to move to a poorer country? The issue is topical, given that he is not engaged in a super-profitable business by our standards – Maxim is repairing cars.
“I thought that I do not hold anything in Minsk and yes, I can always go back,” recalls his decision to move the young man. – I remember sitting on the plane during the first snow, and went to +33. In Yangon, I got a job at a service station that repairs expensive European cars – from the Mini to the Ferrari. Then I’m in charge of an electrician. ”
Maxim decided to start a story about the Asian everyday life of a car mechanic by a short excursion into history.
– During the reign of the military junta, cars could only afford big cones from the army. The border was closed to ordinary mortals, but Belarusians never saw customs clearance like this. For example, in 2010 10-year Toyota Mark II cost in Burma $ 150 thousand. Of course, only very rich and influential people could afford the car, the car fleet of the country was minimal. After the withdrawal from the military in 2011, the situation began to change – cars were allowed to be bought by everyone. Today, the customs clearance here is about 165%, it adds a fee for registration and other expenses.
But the number of cars in Yangon in six years has grown and continues to grow. The six-million-dollar city is starting to gasp. The local authorities understood this and came up with a new collection – for a parking space. This concept is rather arbitrary. This paid-for place, maybe, and exists somewhere, but by no means near the house. But people are still willing to pay – just to drive a car. As far as I know, now in Yangon to put the car on the account is impossible at all. The exception is made only when sending the old model to the scrap. Well, or if you know someone who knows someone who can help out for a reward.
– There are a lot of cars, which means you have added more work to your vehicles?
– I am a hired worker, one of the owners of the service station is a Belarusian, and clients are mostly wealthy people. The cheapest representative of the local auto world – Toyota Probox (here they are used in a taxi) costs about $ 10 thousand. Such people do not come to us. There are no analogues of Probox in our market, but this is a very bad machine for you to imagine: the cheapest plastic that I saw is not a sofa at the back, but a “bench” and a spring rear suspension that shakes all the bodies out of passengers. There are still the same Toyota Mark II (now fell to $ 20-30 thousand), Toyota Crown (we – Lexus GS) costs about $ 50 thousand, there are key cars (trucks with engine capacity up to 660 “cubes”, based on passenger cars). Honestly, looking at the whole city, I do not know where they get this money from. Yes, there is private business in every corner, but local people say that this is a business to survive, not live.
– What kind of cars come to service on the Belarusian station?
– The European car, to which we are accustomed, is expensive and prestigious in Myanmar. BMW E60 or Audi A6 here are rare. But often Porsche Cayenne (here they cost $ 150 thousand), Panamera, BMW 7-Series, Range Rover, Bentley and other laxirie-cars are often noticeable. From reliable sources I know that there are about a hundred Rolls-Royce. All rich people here do not have a few cars, but several dozen. Such people are often served at our service station. The owner of my station is a very rich man himself, and he seems to me to have opened it not for the sake of earning, but more for servicing his cars and friends’ cars.
These far from poor clients are quite frequent our visitors. The thing is that there are a lot of cars and these people rarely ride on them. Easily come across cars with a mileage of 2 thousand kilometers for a couple of years, which no longer holds “pneuma”, from the heat the screen of the multimedia system has become unusable or the rats have eaten the wire. There are a lot of jobs, it’s not easy to work here: cars are complicated, the weather is hot, and spare parts are all custom-made, you can not make a mistake in your choice. Not the fact that the spare part will then be sold. And the client will be upset that they will have to wait for their car longer than planned. After the repair, he will again put it in the garage, and there she will wait for her next breakdown.
– How would you describe the customers? Is it difficult to work with rich people in a poor country?
– Rich Burmans love to service their cars in a service station with a locksmith from Europe, and to have such a locksmith at their station is a status. Clients understand that a locksmith from Europe will not go here for “three crusts of bread”, and since a Burmese businessman pays a European, it means that he knows and knows how to repair cars. However, personally I have seen clients only a couple of times in three months. Machines in repair drive their drivers and they take, as a rule, without paying for our services. All money issues are decided later between the owner and the boss.
Work with Burmese is hard. Our person can always tell you where in the car knocks, what kind of knock, under what conditions is manifested. Immediately the driver comes and says that there is a “noise” in the car. And what kind of “noise”: from the suspension or from the motor? It is impossible to elicit. You have to spend a lot of time to find a needle in a haystack. Sometimes, I come to the exit to the client, he said, the car does not start. I look – and there Maserati, standing all the rainy season (three to four months) on the street with an open hatch. The entire interior with the blocks and wiring rotted completely. And everything is simple with him: the car does not start. The starter does not work, the accumulator has sat down, there is no motor – it does not matter, for all there is one definition – “it does not start”. And the problem is not even in the difficulties of translation – they just do not understand many simple truths.
At the same time, customers do not like it when the problem does not disappear with time. In Minsk, I always tried to do so to save the client money: knocking something – changing what is knocking. In Myanmar, it is necessary to change everything that can knock in principle. There were times when they put new front levers, and a week later something came from behind at the car – the client was terribly unhappy. To explain to him that at the time of diagnosis everything was fine, it is impossible. And then it’s not even about the money – they are ready to pay, they are ready to wait for the car for a couple of months, but it is necessary to do everything at once.
– The proximity of Japan, the rich car owners, the passion of Asians to stand out – all this makes us think about the development of tuning. How fair is this train of thought for Myanmar?
– Nissan Skyline, GT-R, Fairlady, Supra, STI and Evo are encountered though not every day, but they are noticeably larger than in Belarus. And this despite the fact that some types of tuning in Yangon are prohibited. In particular, tuning of exhaust systems. But people go. Maybe because the fines are small, or because of the rare meetings with policemen on the road. Good tuning always and everywhere was expensive. Myanmar is no exception. Probably, that’s why there is a lot of “kolkhoz” tuning: nakleechki, curved skirts and wings, Chinese discs, LEDs in all places. Here you can easily see Honda with a sticker TRD (Toyota Racing Development) or Toyota with a sticker Mugen (court atelier Honda).
– Let’s move a little from the topic of maintenance. Tell us about the peculiarities of the Asian automobile life.
– Imagine for a moment that you were in a six-million-dollar city, in which for six years the number of cars increased from a thousand to several million. Add here the mentality of a typical Asian driver and a bit of the fact that the study of rights here takes place in two days and still most do not. Do not forget that the number of traffic lights in the city can be counted on the fingers, as well as the number of road policemen. It is also worth mentioning that the cars are all with the right-hand drive, and the traffic is right-handed, just like we do. Now remove all priority signs in the city. Add roads, compared to which roads in the Republic of Bashkortostan seem to you an ideal highway. Now you understand that Yangon is hell for a Belarusian motorist.
Are you approaching the intersection and you need to go straight? Slow down: before you necessarily someone will decide to turn around. Seeing that you are hindering, the counter-driver will put his hand out the window, as if thanks to you, although you were not going to let him through. Do not want to miss? Do not look at it, monitor the situation with a lateral vision. It’s unlikely that you will be crossed before, knowing that you do not see. The first rule – “Looked – lost”. No interference to the right. You will not always be conceded, even if you go to the green directly. Are you complaining that drivers in Minsk sometimes do not look in the mirror? Here in the mirror does not look no driver. Therefore, there is a second rule – in any incomprehensible situation, you have to press on the horn. You approach the intersection, you are going to get ahead or overtake someone – click on the horn. Blink the main beam – and you will protect yourself from the car that is being rebuilt right in you. You see at the intersection a car moving with a crash, – so the driver reports that he is going straight and he has to give in.
– It looks like the standard chaos typical for most Asian countries. What else should a tourist know who wants to go for a ride in Myanmar?
– For example, the fact that the concept of “organized parking” here do not know. If a person lingered at work or stood in traffic, then near the house will have to become the second or even the third row. The first row is usually occupied by cars that do not drive. Either money for customs clearance / registration was not enough, or the car just needs to be repaired, and this requires money, which is still not there. All the others park, closing both these cars, and cars of neighbors. Paper with the phone number do not leave. As local people leave in the morning, it’s a mystery to me.
In addition, mopeds are prohibited in Yangon. Occasionally you can meet a policeman on a moped. On the one hand, it’s good: who was in Asia, knows what a city in which the only transport is a moped or scooter. On the other hand, one person on a moped occupies less space on the road than on a car. There are rumors that the mopeds will soon be in law again in Myanmar. I hope that this will help in the issue of traffic jams. From home to work I need to drive 16 kilometers, and I cover this distance in 1 hour 10 minutes. We stand seldom, basically slow movement on the first transfer.
– Apparently, going to Myanmar by car is not the best option. In that case, maybe it makes sense to entertain yourself with walking tours?
– There are also city buses. As a rule, these are old “coffins on wheels” in terrible condition. In addition, they are managed in most cases by young hot Burmese, who love speed. If a long beep is heard on the street, it means that somewhere near the intersection at a speed of 80 km / h one of these buses flies. To prevent the accident, the driver does not reduce the speed, but begins to ring for 200 meters before the intersection, so that no one in front of him accidentally peeked out. Probably, that’s why I do not dare to go by bus.
Pedestrians in Yangon, too, is not easy. There are no sidewalks, and their availability does not always facilitate the movement around the city. The surface of the sidewalk is the roof of the rain channel, and they are in very poor condition here. Do not look at the phone on the way: you can fail. These canals are also 50 centimeters deep, and there are also a couple of meters. Even if a person fails and does not harm anything, he will visit his legs in a heap of rot and debris that can lie in this channel for a couple of years. The height of the curbs sometimes reaches 50 centimeters. Even an ordinary person gets tired from such races quite easily.
Local pedestrians walk along the road, like at home. There are simply no pedestrian crossings. Even at intersections with traffic lights you have to look at the traffic light of a passing direction and go when the green light turns on the stream. And all the same it is necessary to look to the left, since the turning driver is not going to concede to you. Looked? Remember the rule: now you definitely will not succumb! That’s how it is necessary to cross streets, forgetting about the instinct of self-preservation. This car life in Myanmar: incomprehensible, strange and not like us.