In the Burmese town of Myawaddy, which lies across the border from the Thai town of Mae Sot, a building sits on the back of a giant crocodile. It's called Krukodine Pagoda, or Crocodile Pagoda. Less than twenty years old, what interests me about the structure are the two stories told about it in its short history. In essence, the stories make this a place where a modern legend has given teeth to high moral principle.
I am told the monk who had the temple constructed made headlines in 2003 when the adjacent building became shelter for over 1,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs). Having been expelled from Thailand, they were in trouble with the Burmese authorities. The abbot of Krukodine Pagoda gave these Burmese IDPs -- men, women, and children -- sanctuary for several weeks.
While I walked around Crocodile Pagoda, a woman walked by wearing a wide hat. My guide told me the the particular style of hat she wore is a symbol of the opposition party.
In the following video clip, my guide tells me the strange story behind the construction of Crocodile Pagoda.