Mar 2017 - Exploring Myanmar


This Malaysian Culture Group lecture on Wednesday 8th March 2017, was graciously presented to a full house at the MCG Meritz Condominium by member Judyth Gregory-Smith.  She shared with us her experiences in Myanmar – the country and its people.    Judyth spoke to us intimately with her humor and a twinkle in her eye that so many of us have come to know and love.

Judyth Gregory-Smith, teacher and writer, talked first about the geography of Myanmar.  Quickly Judyth engaged the audience with her storytelling – she shared her travels, her writing and philanthropy.   She and her husband, Richard, traveled together to Myanmar for the first time and loved it.  But because Richard was no longer with her, Judyth had continued on, courageously...independently exploring the country.  As a widow, she seemed to have both a geographical and an emotional path.   She told us her daughter lived in Yangon and worked for the Committee of the Red Cross.  It was a good base from which to begin and end her adventurous journeys throughout Myanmar.

Judyth  spoke about Mandalay but also of many more rural and remote villages throughout Myanmar during her visits 3-4 times a year; she traveled with local assistance from contacts she had made along her way.  Her most special friend is Kyar Min a simple trishaw driver from Mandalay who speaks good English.  She told us the delightful story of how they met.  She expressed with pleasure that her time is spent with simple people in the most rustic areas.  However her limit is spending just one overnight stay without a proper shower!!  She normally sleeps in hotels.

Judyth reviewed her previous projects and philanthropic projects including her well known eyeglass distribution , “The Gift of Sight”.   Currently Judyth continues to collect both near and far vision glasses from multiple locations within Kuala Lumpur and even beyond Malaysia.  Then she takes them into Myanmar and distributes them to those in the most need.  Judyth shared with the audience her current project, “The Clean Drinking Water Project” which will bring clean drinking water to a village where for four months of the year the water source is two kms away.  Currently the local women must walk this distance multiple times a day with the water on their heads carrying it for their families.


The photos were personal.  The presentation was warm and dynamic.  Perhaps we all felt as if we were alone with Judyth having a coffee or a cup of tea despite the fact that she was in front of our MCG function room filled with chairs and people sitting in them.


Judyth Gregory-Smith’s first book  “Myanmar: a Memoir of Loss and Recovery” was sold and autographed on site.  Donations were humbly received and will continue to be accepted with a warm welcome.  For any further information please do not hesitate to contact Judyth directly at:


Written by Amy Shaw

Pictures from Judyth Gregory-Smith’s archives