Saturday, 6 December 2008

Faking It In Myanmar

This BBC story on fake goods today made me smile fresh from returning from a adminstrative trip to Burma, aka Myanmar, for my work permit. Bear with me whilst I explain...

Once you pass through the border check-point to the other side (of the road) you are greeted with the standard fanfare of taxi drivers, tour guides and generally dodgey folk that frequent red hot tourist areas.

After brushing off the tour guides ("I'm here an hour purely for visa administration purposes and they have my passport so no temple trip please") we headed down to the market, me in anticipation of some authentic Burmese culture and the missus complaining about the potential for authentic Burmese culture (the two countries aren't exactly too pally, but more on that later).

The market was quite frankly an incredibly depressing place. The fact that it was visited by tourists who are killing time in between updating their visa makes the place somewhat souless, like a pub that exists within a train station but on a whole new level. The markets were literally crammed with beggars and fake goods: phones, watches, games consoles, cigerettes, clothes, bags, anything you can imagine.

Being a bit of a geek I couldn't resits perusing the 'Sumsung' devices, and tested a fake Omnia and an incredibly fake iPhone. My favourite item was most definitely the Super Poly 64 Station billed "The Amazing Game Machine", so already setting pretty high expectations.

So how does the market fare in relation to the sound advice on fake goods issued from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)?

- "Buy from a reputable or regulated site"

Definitely a failure on this count, no Ian Beale style market inspector present

- "If purchasing from outside the UK or a new website research the site, check all the facts before you buy"

Not entirely sure how you can 'check all the facts' as many shopkeeps no speaky English, and I doubt they have all the facts to hand for the Super Poly 64 Station, alas.

- "When a deal looks to good to be true it often is"

When are items are blindingly fake they often go from being acutely undesireable to incredibly collectable. I'd love to have bought a 'Sumsung' but I frankly doubt it would work properly and didn't want to waste my money.

Fake goods in the UK are almost as easy to spot as those at Myanmar market so I have little sympathy for those who purchase them and keep the industry going.

And they may even fund Terrorism (note the capitalisation for addition emphasis)...that's final nail in the coffin then and is sure to make Mummy think twice about buying Little Johnny that fake DS, it's ok that might be faulty, combustable and dangerous but if it funds terrorism then it's definitely off the Xmas list.
Do we need to use terrorism as scaremongery for everything in life? I'd like to see the statistics that link the two together...not likely as they have only said it "could" fund terrorism.

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