A documentary about the Wa in the Golden Triangle


People of the Golden Triangle - Wang Yizhong - 99 min - 2008 - color

The author show the yearly cycle of the Wa people living in the Wa State in Burma. A first yearly cycle is useful to understand the Wa people way of life, mainly their slash and burn agricultural activities, but also their religious beliefs, the role of the Moba shaman dealing with spirits that they think can provoke illness in the people, and to chose the field to cultivate or to ask the incumbents spirits to protect their fields and crops.

We know about their hunting activities and the persistence of the equal share of the game, of their building activities, a communal experience when most of the people of the village have their share, and their trade activities, intimately related to the growth of opium.

Once the spectator knows that without growing opium Wa people will be unable to survive during half of the year, he became witness of the efforts to eradicate opium carried on by the local government, first destroying the opium crops of some selected villages and then proclaiming the complete banning of growth and trade in opium in the area.

These people living in their poor and misty mountains have been integrated during the last decades in the global web of trade in a position not very advantageous. Once again politics designed thousands of kilometers away can have a definitive impact on their lives.

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