"The sharp knife of a short life

I've had just enough time..."

- "If I Die Young" The Band Perry

I see Beauty in many things. And like the ghosts that only speak to you if you notice them, they tell me wondrous tales. With my camera and my thoughts, I captured these as faithfully as I can to share with you. And by doing so, they gave me the reasons. And though the thousand reasons may not all be sweet and some indeed bitter; they are still reasons to live. Come to think about it, that is Life, isn't it?

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Beauty From Destruction in Myanmar – Part I. (The Tragedy of Cyclone Nargis)

I've had just enough time to...   see wood carved from fallen trees

A typical farmhouse in the Irrawaddy Delta, Myanmar

In the last week of April, 2008, a low pressure system built up in the Bay of Bengal. On April 27, the Indian Meteorological Department declared that it has strengthened to a tropical depression. The depression moved north-northwest and was upgraded to the cyclone, Nargis on April 28. Equivalent to a category 1 hurricane, it picked up speed and intensity to wind of 100 mph making it to a category 2 equivalent on April 29. Cyclone Nargis made landfall on May 2, near the town of Wagon, Myanmar and moved inland but along the coast of the rich and densely populated Irrawaddy Delta. It had by then attained a peak wind of 135 mph (equivalent to a category 4) destroying everything in its path.

The very flat Irrawaddy Delta is especially vulnerable to the destruction coming from the sea

Trees, houses, people, everything living or non-living in its path were swept away. If not by the ferocious wind, then by the storm surge of above 7 meters (21 feet) sweeping up to 50 Kilometer (30 miles) up the delta. There was catastrophic devastation and it has been estimated that 138,000 lost their lives and 2.4 million people were severely affected. Some entire population of villagers was killed and wiped off the surface of the earth. Population and villagers just disappeared, never to be recovered. This was the worst natural disaster of Myanmar and caused untold sufferings long after the storm subsided.

The Cyclone Nargis is like a blind ferocious beast that attack everything in its path

Long after the storm subsided, there were trees were all over the land. The awesome power of Nargis uprooted 75 per cent of the trees in Yangon. It was estimated that more than 10,000 old-aged trees were downed of which 6,000 of them were up-righted and saved. Some of these trees were between 30 to 100 years old. Those trees that could not be saved were turned by sculptors into works of arts. More than 50,000 sculptures have been created, exhibitions were held and even a ‘sculpture village’ was created for the sculptors to work and to house these sculptures. Join me for Part II where I will showcase more examples of the fine sculptures.

A Naga (dragon) carved out from one of the fallen trees.

Below is a video of the destruction of the Cyclone Nargis. Please be warned that some of the images of this photo video are very graphic and may be disturbing. 


  1. A great series Thou San. You are not affraid of hights ;-)

    Greetings from the Netherlands,


  2. ΞSSΞ®®Ξ, ineedathis, sf1003-, and 4 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    1000 Reasons
    The Irrawaddy Delta is very flat land ideal for the planting of rice. This would be a typical farmhouse surrounding by the padi fields. This flat swampy land is especially vulnerable to the devastating power of the cyclone and the accompanying storm surge. Countless numbers of such farms were swept away.

    This type of news I don't like to hear, my heart goes to those that suffered this devastation,
    Great shot my friend!

    So sad...so terrible is nature's fury unleashed.
    My heart goes out to the people affected.

    henrhyde (gill)
    Thought provoking Environmental Landscape -- Nature

    Fantastic presentation and very enjoyable POV ;)

    Jeff S. PhotoArt
    Excellent work !! Love this one !! Enjoy your day! :-))

    Exactly like what I saw few years ago . A friend who works as woodworker there told me that there are 6 months no rain at all and 6 months raining almost everyday , not sure whether it's true.


  3. ΞSSΞ®®Ξ, ineedathis, Geo_grafics, and 1 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    1000 Reasons
    This is an unfinished sculpture carved out from one of the fallen trees. I chose this particular sculpture as I thought it especially appropriate as a symbol of the blind beast of fury that Cyclone Nargis is.

    Good use of wood of wood otherwise would have rotted, great artwork!

    Looks like they made mighty fine use of it !!
    And you as well :)

    The teak wood is the best quality , I saw some dinning table sold here with 38k .(not included the chairs )


  4. Patricia Speck
    So very sad. It must have been very frightening for all concerned ....as there was no escape.
    Thanks for sharing

    Rebecca Ang
    The power of such disasters can be so devastating and the destruction can be at such a large scale. It's sad. When I see this picture with the aerial view and the trees and houses so tiny, I am reminded of just how small mankind is in the larger scheme of things. An apt image and good reminder!

    Mente Fotografica
    Muy buena foto !

    kelly dilello
    I did not know. I am very sorry to hear. I cannot fathom 138,000 people losing their lives in one disaster. it is difficult to comprehend. my heart goes out to the people affected. thank you for sharing this

    kelly dilello
    i just looked at your blog and realized that the sculptures were from the ravaged trees. now i understand your title. i see that this happened in 2008. as i said, it is so hard to comprehend the magnitude of such a thing. i did not see the video, perhaps my internet is too slow..

    Kim's Pics :)
    Just devastating......what a huge loss of life!!! It's amazing how powerful nature can be.
    Such a lovely place, I guess it withstood the destruction!

    oola *
    we MUST address global warming... storms are already getting worse... big money interests pay to cause doubt...they don't have to prove a thing... but it IS real and people cannot afford to have the power of nature messed with... the cost is too high

    snowshoe hare(catching up)
    I'm sorry to hear about the destruction... we also had many floods and storms in our country this summer.but the photo looks like a beautiful painting.

    Taken through a plane window? So desolate making it appear hauntingly beautiful. And 5 years post the devastation of cyclone nargis. Is this the land's natural agricultural state now? The fields (paddies) look so arid, hard to imagine anything growing there. Awaiting the rainy season perhaps.


  5. Patricia Speck
    It's a shame that so many trees couldn't be saved....but whoever had the idea of turning them
    into carvings did good. At least there is something to remember them by,
    Excellent shot!!

    Kim's Pics :)
    What a beautiful way to pay tribute to those fallen trees.......excellent sculpture & image!

    oola * 2 days ago
    blind beast... good choice... it should not be thought beautiful... but yes, powerful................ the video IS disturbing...

    Steve Taylor (Photography)
    It looks very fierce

    Shocking images in the video, thou. There is nothing to say just now, only feel.
    The dragon tree sculpture on your blog is beautiful!!


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