December 14, 2012

The first I ever learned of Myanmar was on the hand of a Myanma Man who worked in the produce section of my grocery store. He was a happy guy that seemed impressed with my regular travels. When I asked where he was from, he demonstrated on his hand, the same kind of demo a person from Michigan might give when describing the location of their hometown. If your wrist is Thailand, and your thumb is Bangladesh, then the fatty heel of the palm is essentially Myanmar, known to many by its former name, Burma. The rest of your hand pretty much belongs to China.


Myanmar has been in the news a lot recently, especially since the 2010 release of democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi, one of the world’s most prominent political prisoners, showcasing the military’s move toward openness and domestic reform. Decade long sanctions against Myanmar have essentially cut-off the country from the developing world. A read of the sad second paragraph on Wikipedia about Burma sums it up.


My visit to Myanmar won’t be for government business however. Nor will it be a business venture. I’m not there to promote an album or sell ringtones to a burgeoning market. Nor am I there as an activist or even a tourist. As a guest and performer of MTV Exit, Live From Myanmar, my role is simple: Engage, Educate, & Empower the youth in an effort to End Exploitation and Human Trafficking. In a country whose windows were recently opened to download new information, I am going there to serve as a pop-up window; an ambassador of awareness; to share music and information that could potentially save lives.


Yesterday I discovered more than 50,000 tickets have been claimed for the free concert in People’s Square where the stage will be positioned near Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon. While I am confident our music will provide some familiarity, I assume a good portion of the tickets have been reserved by the curious. MTV Exit, Live In Myanmar will be the first open air concert in the history of the new country to feature an international artist. Am I nervous? Absolutely. But it takes a little fear to understand how strong you are and what you’re capable of.


MTV Exit is a long-running program in Asia. The 10 year old foundation has hosted more than 30 concerts across the region, with television specials, documentaries and regular broadcasts educating a new generation of viewers on the issues of trafficking and sexual exploitation. Audiences far and wide are aware of MTV’s presence. And with a line up of Myanmar’s top acts, the event is sure to make a noise. It excites me to know a concert addressing the realities and horrors of human trafficking has garnered this much attention and I am honored to be invited to sing as well as stand as an ally in the fight to end modern day slavery. I know my grocer will be proud.


Check out http://mtvexit.org/liveinmyanmar/ and take action to help me spread the message and save lives. And check back to this blog soon for more updates and observations. And thanks for reading! – Jason

  • Avatar of lovePEAR
    lovePEAR said ...

    Bonnes vacances ! you deserve to relax now, fully! you’ve spread some good vibes , planted some seeds and shared much love :) thank you for singing ~Angel*~

  • Avatar of GloriousMe
    GloriousMe said ...

    Talked to my daughter last night, during her tuck-in, about how lucky she is. We talked about her warm bed, and dinner and how she gets to go to school and learn. Given recent events, the moment was bittersweet. It’s always bittersweet to some degree because of the children around the world who regularly go without. I don’t think happiness is exclusive to developed nations or wealth. I think great happiness can happen anywhere, but (in my opinion) it has a lot to do with the ability to protect and take care of the basic needs of those we love. So, your efforts to bring freedom and opportunity to the people of Myanmar are appreciated by me and my nine year old daughter, Amanda.

  • Avatar of MarLuna
    MarLuna said ...

    So proud of you beating my chest and throwing out peace fingers at you!
    The healing needed is huge there, yet as a remote viewer I feel that it’s certainly attainable. Watching various reports, you get the sense of the purity of the spirit of these children, who wish the better life for their siblings. These children dutifully give up their childhood or dreams to honor another in the family. You can point out the fear and terror that they’ve gone through to bring me to hold my face in my hands with tears, but it’s the selflessness that swoons me to cry in awe, respect and then outrage. Why has a good deed gone so very bad.

    In the end some use the darkness to shine the light to others wandering in the dark (again offering themselves on a noble path). That’s a beautiful seed I’ve noticed that was born of the dark ash of these terrors. Some of these victims having been saved by hard working foundations are going further than just getting a job and are now going for their dreams. Others may accept the hell as fate. Those are the ones I pray for. I pray that they see the resources of their land as theirs, that they learn to link together to rise up like a fence to dark forces, and that when they seek to find riches. . . That they look in their own backyard with ingenuity.

    May the fear of not having -be eliminated in the poor, enslaved and in the ruling powers that be. There is enough for all and abundance is easier to deliver when it flows freely to all who hold up their cups, rather than knocking another’s cup out of place; spilling precious droplets that belong to you and your brother.

  • Avatar of adrienk8
    adrienk8 said ...

    good to hear you’re involved in raising awareness about human trafficking and slavery

  • Avatar of normason
    normason said ...

    It took me a while to find Myanmar on my hand. I first had to orient my fingers right, fingers spread with index finger at 2:00, palm facing me. Oh, there it is!

  • Avatar of kidest
    kidest said ...

    you bring consciousness and grace to spaces that need it just. so grateful to get to witness you in motion! what we start bringing awareness to is what we will transform in this world. onward and definitely upward! <3

  • Avatar of JaneJ
    JaneJ said ...

    Jason, I played your song I won´t give up today on concert of my music school :) (and I played it on my school living party and once for elderly people, too ) thank you for this song :)

    I added cool smileys to this message… if you don’t see them go to: http://s.exps.me

  • Avatar of n.namaste
    n.namaste said ...

    Congrats for you integrity, humanity and for spreading love again. this world is full of negative vibes and so many horrible traffics, human traffic, animal traffic..i hope we are all gonna be the actor of the world changing. we must stand up all together as a unite nation against the evil on this world who only think about making money. i like your message and that you are giving of yourself to raise awareness on issues like these. i hope you get to see this message Jason. sending love from your best fan in France <3

  • Avatar of mrazfan1031
    mrazfan1031 said ...

    Thank You Jason for all that you do! I think your grocer will be very very proud, just like me.


  • Avatar of Corinne
    Corinne said ...

    Thank you for keeping us aware and showing the people of Myanmar the importance of this cause by your presence. What a year it has been and a great way to end! Share your amazing music and voice with these people and we salute you for making a difference.

  • Avatar of shorekimmy
    shorekimmy said ...

    I hope you give a shout out to your grocer at the show.

  • Avatar of sailucie
    sailucie said ...

    Exit stage right, I did not know you had a grocery store and i am happy that one of your employee share the same interest as us, this is a great opportunity to spread love and connect with the youth and empire there state of mind. I would be nervous too, as your music is reaching the heart of so many even the closed one. You are strong Jason and be strong as the world needs to see the difference. The sounds of love will always be a winner. Love

  • Avatar of normason
    normason said ...

    Many of your fans realize that your trip to Myanmar has a serious purpose. It is not possible to be serious in the realm of sound bites and one-liners that serves to create a feeling or elicit a gut reaction. The serious souls convert their feelings into actions where it counts, locally, in their communities.

    Your blog hints at what you know to be true: the real heroes in the fight against human trafficking are the people on the front lines who give their time and energy to stop the exploiters and care for the exploited. You lend a loud, sincere voice to the cause, but you are only one soldier in a war that requires an army.

    May your voice carry far.


  • Avatar of dalia
    dalia said ...

    jason, keep being what you are, courageous in your kidding, funky way of seeing right and truth. you voice can reach further than each of our individual ones can, and by knowing your power, you do just that.

  • Avatar of emofdeerose
    emofdeerose said ...

    political, economical, ideological, or musical. Myanmar needs the love and warmth of a genuine society that is willing to show what can be done when a single person like Jason can show through his art. All to often do cultures restrict their own based on past ideological views. I support the cause and hope it brings enlightenment to all of Myanmar. Play on Jason.