About Me

Daman, Nepal

Quick facts about Jessica Mudditt

I am an Australian/British citizen with a passion for travel, culture and literature

I have lived and worked as a journalist in Myanmar since July 2012

Before that I spent three years in Bangladesh honing my journalism skills after being accredited as a newspaper journalist in London

I love travelling, writing, running, reading and animals

Sherpa and Ripley
Sherpa and Ripley

The extended bio…

I grew up in Melbourne’s safest suburb of Park Orchards and studied Arts/Law at Monash University. I realised quite early on in my degree that practicing law wasn’t for me, but for better or worse (I daresay worse) I didn’t wake up to the fact that it was journalism I wanted to pursue until several years later. The epiphany came right at the end of year spent travelling through Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, China, Nepal, India and Pakistan. During the very last days of my trip I visited the Pakistan War Museum in Rawalpindi, where a not-so-scary military official invited me into his office for a cup of tea. Without thinking, I proceeded to blurt out question after (innocent!) question – and at one point he stopped me and said, “Are you a journalist?”

I wasn’t, obviously, but the fact that he thought I might be felt like the highest of compliments. I landed in London a few days later determined to work out how people like myself turn themselves into journalists. I started attending night school journalism classes at SOAS while working for a government agency that was involved in all things teaching. Towards the end of the course, our lecturer mentioned the possibility of becoming accredited as a newspaper journalist by the UK’s National Council for the Training of Journalists. I completed the intensive six-month course (shorthand and all) that same year, which was 2009. But the problem was that I couldn’t convert my multiple internships at  newspapers in London into actual paid work as a reporter. Local newspapers seemed to be folding every other week. A newspaper that I’d been interning with for the best part of a year suddenly issued its staff reporters with laptops and asked them to file stories remotely from parks and coffee shops, as  rent overheads had become untenable.

I shot out an email requesting a six-month internship in Bangladesh with The Daily Star. My request was granted and I moved to Dhaka in November 2009.

With supermodel Christy Turlington in Dhaka
With supermodel Christy Turlington in Dhaka

I spent the next three years living in Bangladesh. Dhaka’s booming media scene gave me the chance to establish myself as a journalist: the opportunities were vast and the stories and sources were out-of-this-world (more about that in my book). Before I’d  completed my internship with The Daily Star I was offered a position as special corespondent at The Independent, a national English language daily newspaper.

It was also in Dhaka that I met my husband of three years, Sherpa, who started off as my translator. For the past two years Sherpa’s headed up Myanmar Business Today as its editor-in-chief. We live in Thuwana with our Bangladeshi cat Butters, an adopted street dog called Ripley and two very large tortoises called Colombo and Kandi.

Playing dress-ups with my sister-in-law and cousin in Bangladesh...

Playing dress-ups with my sister-in-law and cousin in Bangladesh…

We moved to Myanmar in July 2012 as I was offered a job with The Myanmar Times. I joined the weekly newspaper as a sub-editor and later became features editor. I quickly developed a fascination for all things Myanmar.

Visiting Bagan's beautiful temples
Visiting Bagan’s beautiful temples

After some 15 months with The Myanmar Times I switched to full-time freelancing. This gave me a free reign to pursue the stories I’d longed to chase. My feature articles were published in Mizzima, DVB, Irrawaddy and IRIN News – as well as an assortment of travel, lifestyle and trade magazines. I also worked as a part-time sub-editor at the first privately owned English daily newspaper, Myanma Freedom Daily, until it suspended publication in April 2014.

I started working at the British Embassy in Yangon in September 2014. The role is a six month consultancy as UK Trade and Investment’s project manager – a truly excellent opportunity. As a result, I’ve retired from journalism until March 2015.

Sherpa and I in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Sherpa and I in Colombo, Sri Lanka

 

 

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22 thoughts on “About Me”

  1. hello jessica, run into your blog by chance…although there is no way around you, once you google for “living in dhaka as a foreigner” :) fantastic blog and sort of a bible to my now, that i decided to leave germany for good soon and spend a few months in and around dhaka. still gathering information on country, sites to stay, language and safety issues. also dreaming of starting a business there, but first i´d like to get to know the culture, by staying there and do the same stuff as bengali people. if you have any recommendations (places, further blogs, information, do´s & don´ts etc) i would be more than happy to receive them.
    the very best to you and your husband from germany,
    veronika

    1. Hi Veronika. Good to hear from you and very happy to hear my blog has been helpful for planning your trip. I’d say that reading The Dhaka Tribune and The Daily Star will give you a good sense of current affairs, safety etc (Dhaka isn’t very safe!) and also get hold of a Lonely Planet guide. Being familiar with Bangladeshi culture will help you avoid the don’ts – but people on the whole are very accommodating and extremely welcoming, so don’t worry too much! If there’s anything else I can help with, feel free to drop me an email at jess.mudditt[at]gmail.com
      Best wishes, Jess

  2. Hello Jessica. I received a potential job offer that would take my family to Yangon (from South Korea currently, USA previously). I was there 15 years ago and was concerned about taking my family there. I did some quick research and was happy to see how much has changed – and how new and unspoiled the country seems to remain. Unfortunately, it is hard to find a lot of good up-to-date info on the country. I found your blog to be, if not the most conclusive, to be the most interesting and in-depth. I felt like I got the best true picture of the country through your website. I just wanted to write and say thanks for your work here and that you have impressed me.

    I hope I will see you in country some day.

    1. Hey Joel. Really happy to hear my blog was a help. Saw your email also – the best source of info is the google group Yangon Expat Connection (pls let me know if you need help signing up.) http://myanmore.com/yangon/ is great for seeing what’s happening in the city in terms of entertainment (quite a lot these days!). i think you and your family could really love Yangon – we certainly do :) hope to meet you also! jess

  3. Thanks Jessica. I actually have the book you mentioned here and note the same error. I am compiling a pictorial family history at the moment and linking it back to Australia with other historical events. Would love to connect with you on possible project,so will email you separately on this.
    Regards
    Michelle

  4. Hi Jessica
    I came across your article recently and read with interest your article about Lim Chin Tsong’s palace..but I must correct you in saying that it was a mystery as to his whereabouts. He was my great grandfather and I have in my possession an article about his death and funeral procession as well as where he was buried in Rangoon (Yangon).
    Whilst the rumours and stories surrounding his life may sound intriguing, I just thought it would be nice to have the facts.
    Happy to fill that in.
    Thanks again for otherwise an interesting article.

    1. Hi Michelle

      Wow, how fantastic to hear from you. Very sorry for the error – I actually first read of the “mystery” in a book called 30 Heritage Buildings of Yangon http://www.amazon.com/30-Heritage-Buildings-Yangon-Captured/dp/1932476628 and Kaung Htet the photographer mentioned the info about his wife. I’ll correct the article – would you be willing to send me the article about his funeral and any other info you have? A fascinating character and an extraordinary building. Have you been to Yangon to see it?

      Best wishes

      Jess

  5. Hi, I randomly happened to visit your blog site. I found it is very interesting to read something written by a non-Bangladeshi. Hope having wonderful times with Sherpa. ~from Virginia, U.S.A

  6. Hi Jessica,

    I stumbled across your blog when doing some research to prepare for my upcoming move to Yangon. I wonder if you might be able to give some guidance on a specific related issue?

    I will be moving in a couple of months from the U.S. to work for an international organization in Yangon. The organization will be sponsoring my visa, however, I am trying to figure out how my partner can also get a visa. He is self-employed and therefore unlikely to get a sponsorship from another company; to further complicate things, we are not legally married (but are committed). Do you have any knowledge of visa provisions for partners of foreigners working in Myanmar?

    Any information you could provide would be extremely helpful! Thanks so very much,

    Gabrielle

    1. hey gabrielle. my husband and i had the same problem – would it be possible for your company to sponsor him? mine couldn’t so my husband was on tourist visas until he found a company that sponsored him to work in myanmar. i think you should post this question on a google group called yangon expat connection – would you like me to add you? it’s a community of helpful people who may know of other ways to work it out. please email me at jess.mudditt[at]gmail.com if you would like me to okay? best wishes, jessica

  7. You’ve been nominated for an Illuminating Blogger Award! “Jessica’s articles have appeared in major newspapers in Burma, Scotland, and Bangladesh; her eye for detail and journalistic voice draw attention to issues the average traveler doesn’t often read.” Visit http://www.foodstoriesblog.com to get your award badge and nominate your own favorites.

  8. Sorry, Jessica, that it’s taken me so long to say this- but thanks for being a follower of my blog. Your support means so much! P.S. Keep up the brilliant stories here, again, I love your style!

  9. Love your blog! I’m a freelancer too, doing an internship now as a start to my second career. Can’t wait to read about your experiences in Bangladesh! Look forward to reading more of your posts too:)

  10. hi jessica,

    i’m so glad to see your blog while bloghopping. Keep on writing inspiring articles regarding bangladesh, i will need all insights especially that i’m marrying a bangladeshi soon.

  11. great journey and equally smart blog. my point of interest was community and heritage base, i got that here. write more , i’m eager to read something more.

  12. Halo Jassica how are you? I am so much glad to read about you. Also thanks to you for shearing your mind. How you feel about Bangladesh by being here? Do you have any plan to stay here forever? Thanks Jassica, If your possible pleas reply.

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