Presideent Bush has issued executive orders barring Americans from conducting business in Myanmar, but many of the companies who are on the US blacklist are openly doing business with Myanmar. Myanmar’s military junta rulers go back and forth to Singapore for everything from medical needs to having a good time. Senior leaders like Gen.Than Shwe travel to Singapore and his wife has been seen engaged in extensive shopping sprees. But, the exchange between Singapore and Burma is a two way street. Temasek Holdings, for example, is estimated to have invested over $3 billion in Myanmar. The prevailing view of Singapore businessmen is they have a wonderful opportunity to make money while the rest of the world avoids doing anything in Burma due to the oppressive military leadership.
According to an article in the Jakarta Post, “Without financial and technical support from Singapore, the junta would be greatly weakened and might seek peaceful political solutions with the National League of Democracy…There is too much money to be made.” The tragedy of the people of Burma is being too close to Singapore and too far away from nations that might assist them in their struggle against military oppression.