The company I was appointed to was a Yangon brunch of Japanse travel company, Sai Travel Service Co.,Ltd. After working for two years for the company, I received an order from the management that I had to go back to Japan. On other hand, my intention to make efforts for Myanmar had become more strong in this two-year period. Therefore, I remained in Myanmar refusing to go back to Japan. I thought a lot about improving myself during this period. One way is setting up a non-governmental organisation (NGO). But , what I disliked was that people were trying to increase just the fund. (I apologise to those who are involved.) I understand that it is not easy to get fund if a building like a school cannot be shown. But, should building schools be given priority in such a country where there are a lot of children who cannot afford to go to school? Should hospitals be constructed hastely amid the shortage of physicians. I thought there are a lot of people who can give assistance in such matters.These kinds of help is needed indeed. But, I decided to do a business for Myanmar people while I was making a living.
I thought of publishing a journal regarding jobs before I came to Myanmar. I had one-sided thought based on the experience from two-month tour that the main factors of inconvenience in this contry was failing to provide necessary information to the people and lack of the system that a business has to start from the bottom. There are a lot of puzzled things, which I still do not know although I have lived here for eight years. I also thought that people were not eager to work because a few people could earn good salaries. But, I came to know that it was wrong from the experience with the travel company.
Generally jobs are offered putting the vacancy announcement in newspapers. In my previous job, a two-centimetre square advertisement was put in the newspaper to fill five opening for the post of drivers. The company received over 200 applications. From this I came to know that there are not much job opportunities in Myanmar and there are surplus of capable human resources. Actually, there is no need for advertising because good employees can be recruited through friends and acquaintances.
I intended to publish a magazine. When it comes to news and information, it is very strict in Myanmar. The censorship is also very strict. For this reason, there were companies in publishing business, which collapsed. There is the work only under control. I went into publishing business taking a risk, because the root of bad things was in here. I found it very difficult finding a house to rent when I looked for a house to live. I thought it would have been very convenient if the were property magzines. So, I first published real estate magazine rather than job news journal. There was not such an idea that magazine needed to market in order to get ads in their magazines. Naturally, they did not know the job of chasing ads. With the thought to publish a magazine with the revenue from ads, we started work with ten staff. As we thought, we received ads although the magazine was less well-known. Other companies following suit of us, started to chase ads. At present, it is no longer strange that ads are needed in publishing business. Ittook us six months till we could publish the first issue of a monthly magazine due to difficulities in getting permisiion and other inconvenience in the company. The censorship was stricter than we expected.
The system took us two months collecting articles and getting the magazine published. We were not given permission to publish a weekly journal which could be made in a few days. News was life blood of our magazine which sold news.
As we thought before, there were limitations for a monthly magazine. Weekly journals started to carry property news. They still carry them at present. For this reason, there were not much meaning in carrying property news in our magazine. We stopped publishing the real estate magazine and turned it into a business magazine. At last, we had to yield up publishing to censor board. We gave up publishing business after experiencing practically the fact that there were a lot of production businesses , which considered no profit. (My partner is still publishing “Shwe Myanmar Journal”,an official journal in English of the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism.)
During this two-year period, a lot of money was used up. Moreover, I needed to spend money carefully because I got married then. I noticed that in order to make a business stable in Myanmar, it must be the one that cannot be effected in any situations. I came to a conclusion that a profitable business for a Japanese is travel services. I was asked why I did not run a travel company. I did not do so because I felt bad to do this business in competition with the travel company where I worked for two years. I started selling tour programmes for individual travellers through the internet with the thought that I was not competing the company if I focused on individual travellers. The company where I previously worked was called “Land Operator” , a Japanese travel company. Individual travellers were not very important for the company. After establishing Sanay Travels and Tours company, I have been running the website “Yangonow.com. I have been asked why the name of homepage and the name of the company are not the same. This is because there might be some problems if something is written beyond the boundary in Myanmar where it is still very strict when it comes to news and information. I have changed the name because I do not want any Myanmar staff to get into trouble if there is something wrong.