Balthazar is one of these old buildings of the heart of Rangoon, mixing an architectural elegance with a slow decrepitude.
Located in the prestigious Bank Street, this building is the former headquarter of a company founded by an Armenian businessman, Samuel Balthazar. Formerly symbol of distinction and modernity, Balthazar has degraded from year to year. The elevator doesn’t work for decades, the staircase is dark and the courtyard is full of detritus and rats.
Despite this nauseous picture, the atmosphere of Balthazar is quite lively and benefits of a real social diversity. First floors are inhabited by civil servants. Then, more than fifty lawyers are working in the central floors, benefiting from the proximity with the High Court of Justice. Their customers meet in the upper floors poor families, students and squatters, whose apartment are separated with tiny wooden plates.
Balthazar is a realistic picture of the current face of Myanmar, which is still roaming between fast transformations and deep stagnations. It is the actual reflection of a raising democracy where most of the people are still finding their position.