Life on four wheels


When you live where you work, what is “acceptable” to be visible to customers? Shop houses throughout Asia deal with this question in different ways, but here it is common for bus drivers to live on the same mid-80’s Japanese municipal buses they spend all day in plying the streets of Yangon (many public transport employees come from faraway areas and this sort of non-formal housing is par for the course). Oral hygiene accessories live in the repurposed brake fluid container, laundry powder is stored in a water bottle just out of frame, and a spare t-shirt is wedged into the space behind the dashboard.

Usually people are not allowed to sit where I was sitting, however, and so all of this is not as easily visible to the typical commuter. The driver smiled knowingly when I confirmed the stuff in the bottle was laundry powder, and replied “How else would I wash my clothes?”

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