“After 10 years of watching China consume itself, I’m ready for somewhere I can get more involved, explore my design work and give back to somewhere I love at the same time,” he said.
Using community-based workshops to make everything from bamboo furniture to bicycles, he hopes the business will quickly gain ground among a population skilled in working with the material.
“Global isolation has forced Myanmar’s people to be the most ‘eco’ [friendly] by default. My dream for Myanmar is that it will become the greenest ... wasteless society in Asia, if not the world,” he said.
The enthusiasm appears — at least for now — to be working both ways, with many of Myanmar’s people glad to learn from foreign expertise after years of isolation.
“I welcome them ... we all should,” says Aung Soe Minn, owner of a gallery popular with expats.
“Our country had been left behind for a long time ... we should work with foreigners to gain experience,” he said.