Milan. Zack. Saint Mathieu/De Maisonneuve, Montreal, 2013

Why Milan? I asked.

“I like Milan and Barcelona. Because of Ronaldinho.”

Zack was rushing down the street in a company of a young woman when I approached him. Even though in a rush, he was kind to stop for a picture. Ho got his shirt on sale, he said. He is from Montreal and currently studies at the Université de Montréal. And now that the school started he ‘doesn’t have much time to follow soccer.”




AC Milan. Brang Sengli. Rice field in Kachin State, Myanmar. 2013

AC Milan. Brang Sengli. Rice field in Kachin State, Myanmar. 2013

Why Milan? I asked.

“Because I’ve got this shirt at the lucky draw organized by our church before we played football.”

At about the same time as Baptist missionaries started harvesting souls in the northern Kachin state, a journalist George Scott introduced the game of football to what was sometimes known as “the Scottish colony”, the great country of Burma. Besides being a reporter for the London Evening Standard and later colonial administrator, Sir Scott of Scotland loved the game – in late XIX century he organized first football matches in the country. Young Burmese men loved football, said Scott, because it was “just like fighting.” Andrew Marshall, another great journalist and my travelling partner these days masterfully writes about Scott’s life and legacy in his book “The Trouser People”.

Fast forward to XXI century, Burma’s Kachin is unfortunately still in state of permanent troubles. Devastated by a long ethnic conflict and widespread heroin use, the land squeezed between India and China and crazy rich in natural resources remains difficult to access patchwork of territories owned by the government forces and different rebel groups.

Today, for a young lad like Brang Sengli there are not many better options than working in rice fields, wearing a football jersey donated by the Church. Smiling him and his best friend Aung Mai who loves Arsenal (like!) because of Robin Van Persie (not like!) happily posed for pictures after working in the field while some farmer girls giggled under straw hats behind their backs.

With his best friend and giggling ladies.

With his best friend and some giggling ladies behind.


Soe Phuket June 19, 2013

Soe. Milan. Phuket, Thailand, 2013

Why Milan?, I asked.

“I like it because of that striker. I forgot his name.”

No wonder he can’t remember the striker’s name. Last time I’ve been drinking what Soe is drinking on a hot and humid summer day I had serious difficulties recalling anything. Thai rice whiskey, although less than 30 degree strong is a dangerous thing. The myth, truthless as only a myth can be, says this drink contains opium and poison.

Or perhaps Soe just doesn’t care and wants me to go away so he and his friend Zoe (Argentina shirt, “because of Messi”) can continue loiter in the shade of a scrappy shop enjoying a little drink after another heavy day at work.

Far away from their homeland Myanmar, these gentlemen live hard lives of fishermen on Thailand’s island of Phuket, better known as a tourist’s heaven. I assume there is not much beside football and Thai whiskey that matter to them at this point. However, they both agreed to pose for a picture. Cheers!

Soe Zoe June 19, 2013

Fishermen in the shade.


Milan. Dan. Ft Washington Av/160 St, New York City, 2012

Why Milan? I asked.

“It’s the best club in the world.”

This was a very brief encounter since we both had a job to do. I was in the Armory building, a beautiful Track & Field Center in NYC. In the sea of blue shirts it was easy to spot Dan who resisted much longer than others to put the blue shirt over his jersey. I had no chance to challenge his claim.