6th International Burma Studies Conference
Burma-Myanma(r) Research and its Future:
Implications for Scholars and Policymakers,
Sat 21-Wed 25 September 2002,
Below follow abstracts for the papers.
1. Anonymous papers do not have their abstracts publicised yet.
2. If scholars are unable to make the conference, but would like to contribute papers even in their absence, the conference may be willing to include their papers in this list.
To submit your papers please send to Gustaaf Houtman, email@example.com, with clear instructions on how to circulate your text.
Last updated: 15.08.2002
MICHAEL BARRY ABBOTT
(C4.1) The New Paradigm in Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM)
The new paradigm in IWRM corresponds to a return to the sources of several earlier paradigms, but now employing all the intellectual and technical resources of present-day information and communication technologies. The very description of this new paradigm in itself requires the return to an earlier vocabulary, with words such as 'development' being largely replaced by words like 'evolution', and even 'natural evolution'. Similarly, such primary concerns as those of 'optimisation' and 'maximisation of profitability' become largely replaced by such concerns of those of 'sustainability' and 'equitable treatment of individual stakeholders'. The approach is then no longer dirigistic and technocratic, but is participative and supportive of social values. It is not directed to essentially static, concrete, 'once-and-for-all' solutions to 'problems', but is supportive of dynamic, fluid, incremental sociotechnical interactions between all interested parties, including those of the natural environment, as these evolve from one sociotechnical state to another, as required by changing natural and social circumstances. Thus the new paradigm does not involve technocratic approaches that only 'take account' of social aspects, or social studies that 'take account' of technical aspects, but it is one in which the social and the technical are so interwoven that no thread of the one has any sense or reference without the presence of the other. Indeed, extending far beyond this again, the new paradigm does not see 'society' as some kind of homogeneous mass, but instead sees it as so many individuals who, in their cooperation and in their competition, form society itself. The new paradigm is then intensely concerned with providing the means whereby cooperation and competition between individuals may proceed in ways that are more mutually supportive, and then not only across society but also, and inseparably, between society and the natural environment. Whereas the earlier paradigm was concerned with relations between economic and political processes and technical means, the new paradigm is concerned with individual aspirations and intentions within (often dynamic) sociotechnical contexts. The old paradigm ultimately sought its justification in the philosophies of empirical and logical positivism, while the new paradigm draws its inspiration much more from phenomenological, existential and theological studies. When seen within the context of European culture, at least, the old paradigm remains in its essence agnostic, even when practised by persons of faith, while the new paradigm is essentially theistic, even when practised by persons who adhere to no religious observance.
This new paradigm in IWRM is a product of necessity. It arises from the observed failures of the old paradigm of massive investments in earthwork, concrete and steel infrastructure, as imposed upon societies and environments for which it was patently unsuited. The new paradigm starts out from the knowledge of the local population as this guides its everyday activities: it is based upon local, autochtonic, narrative, knowledge at least as much as it is based upon modern scientific and technical knowledge, as this interacts with incoming natural- and social-environmental information. Whereas the old paradigm was essentially concerned with computation, the new paradigm is concerned primarily with community. The new paradigm is concerned with the making of judgements on the part of individuals based upon the interests, intentions and aspirations of these individuals and all other interested persons and organisations with whom they communicate. It then has to do with advice serving systems using judgment engines that are in their turn set by the profiles of the individual users and which work upon the productions of a vast range of fact engines (modelling systems, relational databases, geographical information systems, data networks, satellite images, weather radar scans, etc, etc). Investment in infrastructure occurs only within this context. Burma-Myanmar would benefit from adopting this approach early on in its decision making procedures.
OH YOON AH
(C8.1) State, Christian Church and Generation Gap in Ethnic Identity Formation: A Case Study of Insein Karen Community
Although much attention has been paid to the state-ethnic minority relations along the Burma-Thai border, little is known regarding the ethnic identity formation in central Burma. The Karen people, whose armed struggle against the Burmese state in the border areas is as old as the state itself, are in fact widespread all over the country and have a large number of communities in central Burma. This paper explores the ethnic identity formation in one of those Karen communities: Insein, Rangoon. The paper examines the inter-generation gap between the middle-aged and young Karens in ethnic identity formation in Insein. The preliminary research carried out last summer found that whereas the middle-aged and senior Karens in Insein has primary attachments to the imagined "Karen" community and try to present the ethnic differences as much as they can, the young generation seems to have developed a sense of belonging to a broader community, namely Burma. Moreover, this divergence is thought to be associated with the long standing contention between the state's nation building efforts and the Karen Baptist Church's counter-efforts surrounding the identity of the Karen community. It is noted that the views of the middle-aged and senior Karens are strongly aligned with the distinctive "Karen" identity framed by the Church. However, the ethnic identity of the young Karens does seem to be much more complex and it displays Karen identity as well as "Myanmar" which is partly imbued by the state and partly formed by their position in society. With qualification, this paper suggests that the differences in education and career experience, coupled with different historical experience, may create the inter-generation gap in Insein. Based on the findings, it also proposes several future research agenda.
MAR MAR AYE
(C4.10) Solid Waste Management: Toward environmental Management in-Myanmar.
The main objectives of this document are to develop and recommend a programme of action integrated waste management in the city of Rangoon. To achieve this objective this study examines and assesses the general situations with regard to solid waste management in Burma-Myanmar, in particular the city of Rangoon. The study takes into consideration of the political, economic, social and environmental settings influencing the levels of success in waste management. It also takes into consideration of the institutional, legislative and socio-economic frameworks, the mechanisms, and the various constraints limiting the success of integrated solid waste management. The study method involves conceptualizing, developing and suggesting the implementation of a programme of action for integrated solid waste management in the city of Rangoon. The study shows that the situation of solid waste problems is alarmingly critical and therefore an intensive programme of action must be developed and implemented as soon as possible to address the problems before human life in the city of Rangoon is threatened.
The main constraints in waste management in Rangoon are attributable to huge generation of waste and indiscriminate dumping, inefficient waste collection and disposal, centralised waste management policy and operations, the political set up and poor governance. Despite available legislative and institutional frameworks, the systems are grossly fragmented and largely sectoral. Environmental education is not widely implemented; public awareness is very low and enforcement is weak.
The government is instituting legislative framework, albeit very slowly, through the National Commission for Environmental Affairs, a body which is responsible for developing policies on integrated environmental management including waste management. In view of this, reorganisation and streamlining of the whole structure is evidently necessary.
The combined government action and community participation option is a promising possibility for attaining effective and sustainable integrated waste management in the City of Rangoon. In line with this option, a programme structure and a programme process are recommended.
A further study of the general situation of waste generation and disposal in Burma-Myanmar is urgently needed. The Government needs to create institutional and legislative frameworks to streamline the structure and strengthen the process for effective and sustainable integrated waste management.
*(C20.2) U Thaw Kaung, Burmese Libraries, and Research Since 1962.
EUAN L. BAGSHAWE
(C17.10) Modernisation in the 19th century: Hpo Hlaing’s Yazadhammathingaha
Burma and Siam during the nineteenth century were two neighboring countries, similar in their backwardness, each ruled by a king whose power was in theory absolute and who represented an institution of great, almost religious, prestige, even though their dynasties were of quite recent origin.The similarity extended to timing; in 1855 Bowring was negotiating a treaty with King Mongkut in Bangkok, which started Siam on its way to Thailand and the modern world, while in the same year Phayre was trying, and failing, to persuade King Mindon to enter into a similar agreement with his government. In spite of Phayre’s failure, the need to modernise was recognised by the Burmese administration, particularly by the King’s brother and designated heir, who took charge of initiating contacts with foreign countries and of obtaining knowledge of the technology of the time. He was murdered in 1866, but the work carried on, at first by U Hpo Hlaing, a longstanding member of King Mindon’s household -- almost, it is said, an adopted son - and a little later by U Gaung, who was to be better known as the Kinwun Mingyi who led the 1872-4 missions to Europe. The relationship between these two men is interesting and must have had considerable effect on the attempt to modernise. The main attempt was made immediately after King Mindon’s death, when Hpo Hlaing offered the new king, King Thibaw, his carefully thought out presentation in a book, Rajadhammasangaha, affirming that the Buddhist scriptures demanded forms of government that depended upon the consent of the governed and upon open discussion of issues, not upon the king’s “mere motion”. At the same time the Ministers of the Hluttaw presented the king with a new ministerial structure -- a council of ministers with individual responsibility for their separate departments, which it was hoped would function as a real legislature. These attempts failed completely and the country descended into chaos, which eventually led to invasion from British India and annexation.
Meanwhile in Siam modernisation proceeded slowly, but fairly smoothly on its way. Why was the outcome between these so similar situations so different? I shall try to find suggestions. Personalities were important of course, but even more important may have been the attitudes and rigidities of the authorities in Calcutta. Of all the Viceroys, Mayo, the Irishman, probably had the best idea of how to deal with Burma, but his murder came too soon and even a Viceroy would have found it hard to convert the Bureauracy.
(C23.6) The link Between Muslims of Myanmar and Yunnan Province
The Province of Yunnan has a long common border with Myanmar. The Muslims are numerous in this province. In particular in Ruili the link with the Arakanese Muslims of Burma is significant. It is probably the only city in China where the Imam is not a citizen of China, he managed to lead the Muslim community of Ruili because of the ineptitude of the former Yunnanese Imam. This paper is looking at this particular mosque but will try to show that Yunnan and Myanmar have a lot of religious links not only among the Muslims but also among Buddhists.
KENNETH VAN BIK
(C9.6) Subgrouping in Kuki-Chin.
This paper attempts to present a subgrouping schemata of Kuki-Chin branch of the Tibeto-Burman language family. The people who speak Kuki-Chin languages are found in Manipur-Assam State (India), Naga Hills (India), Mizoram State (India), Chittaguang Hills (Bangladesh), Chin State (Burma), Sagaing Division (Burma), and Magwe Division (Burma). The population of the Kuki-Chin speakers is quite difficult to estimate as they are spread in too many places, but it is safe to say that there are well above a million speakers of this branch, as the whole Mizoram State of India and the Chin State of Burma are mainly occupied by Kuki-Chin speakers. In subgrouping Kuki-Chin, a simple but rigorous method of historical linguistic is used, i.e., it tries to classify the subgroups based on the shared phonological innovation of each subgroup.
First, the Kuki-Chin branch is separated from the rest of the Tibeto-Burman family based on the two shared phonological innovation of the Kuki-Chins:
1) The Proto Tibeto Burman initial sibilant *s- became *th- in Kuki-Chin (Benedict 1972); 2) All well studied Kuki-Chin languages have verbal stem alternation, which seems to be a result of the process of nominalization in Kuki-Chin: Thado (Hodson 1906), Teddim (Henderson 1964), Falam (Osburn 1975), Daai (Hartman-So 1985), Mizo (Chhangte 1986), Mindat K’cho (Bedell and Kiui Ghung Maang 2001), Hakha (Kathol and VanBik 2001), Hyaw (p.c. Peterson 2002).
Within Kuki-Chin itself, stages of shared phonological innovations are identified to draw the following subgrouping schemata (figure 1):
Figure (1): In conlusion, this paper identifies some patterns of sound changes within Kuki-Chin, such as, loss of linguistic features, fortition, deaffrication, homogarnic assimilation, cluster simplification etc...
References (cited in the abstract):
Bedell, George & Kiui Ghung Maang. 2001. Interclausal Ergativity in K’Cho. MS. International Christian University, Tokyo.
Benedict, Paul K.1972.Sino-Tibetan: a conspectus.(Princeton-Cambridge studies in Chinese linguistics 2), with contributing editor James A.Matisoff. New York: Cambridge U. Press.
Chhangte, Lalnunthangi. 1986. A Preliinary Grammar of the Mizo Language. Master Thesis, University of Texas at Arlington.
Hartmann-So, Helga. 198
‘Morphophonemic changes in Daai Chin’ in Suriya Ratanakul,
David Thomas, Suwilai Premsrirat eds. Southeast Asian Linguistic Studies presented to Andre-G. Haudricourt. Bangkok: Mahidol University.
Henderson, Eugenie J. A. 1965.Tiddim Chin: A descriptive analysis of two texts. (London Oriental series 15), London: Oxford U. Press.
Hodson, Thomas Callan.1905. Thado Grammar. Shillong: Eastern Bengal and Assam Secretariat Printing Office.
Kathol, Andreas & Kenneth VanBik. 2001. The syntax of verbal stem alternations in Lai (Hakha Chin). Paper presented at LSA. Washington D.C.
(C21.6) Is Burma a development disaster? Some thoughts on the economy at the turn of the millenium
The paper will evaluate the recent evidence on the economy from official sources and from the IMF, WB, ADB etc, and try to evaluate where Burma now stands in relation to other parts of ASEAN, and to the Indian sub-continent.
(C2.3) On the need to developing human capital by adjusting policies
Burma's educational system has suffered from four decades of isolation, stagnation, and repression. Only 25 percent of school children complete basic education (from kindergarten to fourth grade), while 30 percent never go to school at all. The World Bank notes that Burma's education budget, as a share of national income, is among the world's lowest. Given the erosion of educational spending over the past decade, it is impossible for Burma's government to provide quality educational services. Teacher-training is lacking, instruction is poor, salaries are low, and classrooms are overcrowded.
Even if there was sudden political change in Burma, the poor quality of education offered by successive military governments has had negative repercussions on the country's ability to raise a well-educated, globally informed, future leadership. No government in Burma, no matter how well intentioned, can undergo a structural transformation of its economy without raising education standards to a significant degree. My research paper will attempt to examine how Burma needs to adjust its policy priorities in order to develop its human capital. Burma's failure to adjust its policies to improve education and develop its human resources will make it exceedingly difficult for the country to succeed in an increasing globalized economy. Until such policies come into being, the peoples of Burma will have a poorer standard of living than when they achieved independence more than half a century ago.
(C1.) The Kalapas and the Meditative System of U Ba Khin
This paper explores how the basic ontological conceptions of U Ba Khin determine the process to, and nature of, meditative achievement in his method of vipassana. U Ba Khin's explanation of the basic building block of matter, the kalapa, benchmarks meditative progress in particularly physical ways, and ultimately dictates the salvific apprehension of anicca. In other words, the direct perception of the workings of minute kalapas-what U Ba Khin relates directly to atoms-achieved only through the practice of vipassana, leads to the highest realization, nibbŚna. In order to understand fully U Ba Khin's notion of the interdependence between the substance of reality and vipassana, I explore what constitutes his ontology by examining both his statements and those of his teachers on the subject of the kalapas, as well as his named successor S.N. Goenka. Particularly, Ledi Sayadaw's writings on Abhidhamma stand as the seminal sources for U Ba Khin, which emerge in turn principally from the foundational compendium, the Abhidhammattha Sangaha. Like U Ba Khin's, Goenka's works reveal how the kalapa theory is applied in practical treatises on vipassana. Examining all these texts reveals the full complexity and highly normative nature of U Ba Khin's theory. After elucidating U Ba Khin's schematic of reality, I draw out some of its implications for his meditative system. Vipassana becomes overwhelmingly a bodily exercise, one that positions the meditator physically within a traditional Theravadin cosmology. In terms of praxis and soteriology, such a system emphasizes material existence as an overarching factor in the practitioner's life.
(C5.3) Media, human rights discourse and refugees
The language of human rights has become a new global discourse in the post Cold War era, and refugees and other marginalized peoples have found the concept to be a useful tool in their efforts to lobby on their own behalf. Critics of human rights advocates generally focus on the differences between individualistic (read: Western) and communal (read: Asian) approaches to social life. These differences in approach remain worthy of continued examination despite their use by authoritarian regimes to justify repressive actions to counter dissent. But the discourse of human rights has also had a significant impact on international refugee policy, to the detriment of the rights of refugees. In the Burmese case, it is also the foundation upon which several ethnically-based opposition media have developed, and from which the international campaign lobbying for change in Burma draws its most potent rhetorical weapon against the military regime. This paper draws from a series of qualitative interviews with residents of the Umphien Mai refugee camp in Thailand in order to explore how the refugees themselves talk about human rights. The research then places the insights gained in this way within the larger geopolitical context in which human rights developed as a global discourse, and discusses the implications for international refugee policy and the development of ethnically-based opposition media in Thailand.
(C24.2) The Impact of Democratisation on inter-ethnic relations in Burma
Recent evidence suggests that ethnic conflicts increase in the multi-ethnic states during transition to democracy and subside during the consolidation. One important factor is the democratic regime’s ability to forge a nationality policy and address ethno-political issues. One interpretation of Burmese politic suggests that the country fits the pattern described above. Indeed, by 1951, the level of insurgency in the country had subsided. However, if we examine the number of ethnic groups that took up arms between 1948 and 1962, the picture looks different as more ethnic groups were engaged in armed struggle in 1962 than in 1948.
In Burma, the transition to democracy created a poor basis for a multiethnic society. The transition to independence created a democratic regime that institutionalised certain ethnic interests, while other ethnic demands were ignored and key issues remained unaddressed.
The consolidation of democracy and the development of a common will to live together depend on activities in several arenas, including politics, economic and culture. In Burma, ethno politics characterised political, economic and cultural development. Politics in these arenas did not consolidate democracy or create a common sense of solidarity. Political reforms and electoral democracy fuelled ethnic tensions, economic development was uneven, and educational and religious/cultural policies either failed to solve tensions between ethnic groups or contributed to increase them. An incoherent and incomplete nationality policy failed to address the impact of ethno politics.
(C15.5) Upasampada and the Making of a Rahan
This paper explores an aspect of the lineage-centered orientation intrinsic to the history and structure of Buddhism. It does so by examining the Upasampada, or higher ordination, as illustrated by contemporary Shwegyin practice. Drawing from monastic understandings of lineage formation, I argue that the making of a rahan (B. monk) - an arahant (P. worthy one) in training - hinges on the multiple legal and ethical dimensions of the Upasampada. To flesh out the details of this argument, I pursue a case study of a Shwegyin ordination that took place in April of 2000. I show how the Upasamapda is believed to mark the "official" point at which a man is communally defined as a religiously exemplary son, participating in a lineage of the Buddha and his successors.
ANNE MAY CHEW
(C12.4) The Rock-cut Temples of Po Win Taung in Central Burma : Architecture, Sculpture and Mural Paintings
Situated to the north-west of Central Burma, Po Win Taung, (the hill of Po Win) is a huge, multi-level religious complex with more than 800 excavations chiselled out of soft sandstone rock. The facades of these rock-cut caves, which vary from a simple meditation cell to an imposing temple, are decorated in low and high reliefs, with some entrances flanked by human or animal sculptures in the round. The interiors of the grottoes contain numerous statues carved from the rock and some of the walls are adorned with paintings illustrating traditional scenes such as the 28 Buddha of the Past, previous lives of Buddha Gotama and the Life of Buddha as well as scenes of daily life. Most of the works of Po Win Taung date from the second Ava period (16th - 18th centuries), and the colonial period. The artistic treasures of Po Win Taung illustrate the characteristics of the « Nyaung Yan » style, generally designated as « Ava » style, which allow us to explore and identify different sources of inspiration (Chinese, Indian, Portuguese, Siamese, Muslim and Dutch).
(C12.5) The Architecture of Burmese Buddhist Monasteries in Upper Burma, The Biographies of Trees
Abstract: The architecture of Buddhist monasteries, places for monks to dwell, has not been studied as much as that of stupas and temples, referring to the Buddha and houses for Buddha images. However, Burmese monasteries during the Konbaung period, 1752 to 1885 A. D., combined both temples and monasteries. They are unique, built on piles with linear plans on an east-west axis, and differ sharply from those of other Theravada Buddhists, such as the Thai and Sri Lankans. They have attracted scholars only fairly recently and their studies generally have concentrated on art and architecture. This paper attempts to find a path to interpret Burmese monasteries, to find their role in cultural and social processes.
The paper will center on the Mandalay area of Upper Burma during the reigns of Kings Mindon and Thibaw. Different political, economic, cultural, and social were involved in Burmese monasteries once Lower Burma became a British colony. The perspective of the biographies of trees adopted from Kopytoff’s ideas will be the methodology used to analyze the Burmese monasteries. Trees are related to the pre-Buddhist and Buddhist beliefs of the Burmese, the cultural context; to the architecture of Burmese monasteries; and to teak trading, the political-economic context. Adopting Kopytoff’s idea, a tree is treated as a commodity at one time but is not at another time, or a tree is viewed as a commodity by one person but is not by another person. Trees were considered as abodes of nats in Burmese supernaturalism and Buddhism. Before a tree is felled, tree spirits must be propitiated and asked for permission. According to vinaya rules, monks are prohibited from cutting or felling a tree. Trees were raw materials for buildings and were transformed into houses, palaces, and monasteries. Trees became sacred monasteries where monks resided. When British teak companies traded in Burma, trees were seen as commodities. Trees moved from an inherent sacred nature to sacred Buddhist monasteries; or to a new path, commodities.
The Burmese Buddhist monastery was a multipurpose building. The Buddhist monastery was a school and a house of the Buddha, monks, and novices. It combined both public and private space. The monasteries related directly to the Buddha, monks, novices, and lay people and indirectly to kings. This paper may broaden understanding and help to find multi-layered interpretations of the Buddhist monasteries in Upper Burma.
(C11.1) From Fact to Fiction: A History of Thai-Myanmar Relations in a Cultural Context
Thailand and Myanmar not only share a long border but cultural values and an interesting history dating back centuries. However, limited academic work has been undertaken in the area of cultural exchanges. The two nations have engaged in the regional warfare over centuries, but despite this, or perhaps due to such engagements, people on both sides of the Tenasserim Range, Thai and Burmese, have benefited from cultural and social exchanges. Historical literature, originating in Myanmar, has found its way into Thai school texts, plays, and television series. A good example of this is the classical Mon-Myanmar literature entitled Rajadhirat. Exchanges occurred during the long colonial period as well. Interestingly, there have been a number of historical works and novels on the fall of the Konbaung Dynasty written and circularized in Thailand since the reign of King Rama V over a century ago.
Lessons from the past should be considered seriously if we are to move confidently into the new millennium. Myanmar has lessons to learn dating back to the first Anglo Burmese War in 1824, and continuing to the present time in confrontation with the West. Thailand, too, has lessons to learn from the past which can determine how relations with neighbouring countries can be conducted and how foreign policy is formulated. This is the background to the forthcoming seminar entitled From Fact to Fiction : A History of Thai-Myanmar Relations in Cultural Context.
(C20.1) From riches to rags: an examination of library provision in Burma
Burma is a land rich in cultural history. Literacy across all levels of the populace was reported as early as 1700, long before widespread universal education in Europe. These literacy levels amongst men and women were achieved by Pongyi schools, served by its own monastery library, with senior monks acting as librarians, scholars and curators of the precious collections.
Colonisation of Burma during the period 1824 1948 resulted in closure of the majority of Pongyi schools and their replacement by a three tiered educational provision reflective of the British system, but limited largely to the middle, upper and trading classes. Monastic libraries declined, as did the educational role of the Sangha. This paper will trace the growth, from 1929, marking the establishment of the University of Rangoon, and later decline of library collections and services throughout Burma, with special emphasis on the effects of this decline on, research and scholarly activity across all discipline areas. It will also outline experiences of the period 1988+ of external agenciesí assistance to the library and education sector, identifying strengths, weaknesses, lessons to be learned, and suggest a collaborative and cohesive future approach. The paper will draw heavily upon the authorís extensive in country experience, together with that of professional colleagues working in Burma.
(C1a.21) Kachin Territorial Place vs. Social Space: Constructing, Contesting and Crossing Boundaries
Kachin State in Burma is criss-crossed by boundaries. As manifest as the international boundaries with China and India are the boundaries that separate the territories controlled by the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) and the Kachin Independence Organization/Army (KIO/KIA) - similarly complete with displays such as checkpoints, gates, guards and hoisted flags of the respective authorities.
Kachin State in the military-ruled Burma is a 'Kachin' territorial place only in name. Adding to the complexity is the diversity of ethnic spaces that are distinguished by 'unofficial' and intangible boundaries based on 'real' or perceived differences. These boundaries are often more difficult to cross than the territorial lines - but the intensities in their construction and maintenance vary. The social boundary between the Kachin and the Bamar is constructed and protected, while the boundary with the Shan is partially ignored, and the one with the Chinese is maintained but crossed for mutually beneficial transactions. In this context, territorial lines have become less meaningful for the Kachin than the social boundaries between 'Us' and the 'Other.' With such a variety of boundaries the processes involved in preferring - opting for seeing, acknowledging, signifying or constructing - a particular type of boundary reveal power relations and hidden tensions in the socio-political context. The context and content of Kachin social space - of (constructing) differences - are embedded in hegemonic and power relationships.
(C1a.10) State patronage and the transformation of Burmese traditional music.
This paper will examine the current transformation of Burmese traditional music brought about through a dramatic increase in state patronage. Since 1993 Burma’s music culture has witnessed the creation of several long term projects ostensibly designed to strengthen the status and popularity of the country’s traditional music. I will focus on three important sites at which this patronage is found: The new University of Culture, the creation of standardization committees that are attempting to transcribe and notate the centuries-old, orally-transmitted classical canon, and the formation of an annual performing arts competition. These projects are designed to reinforce national pride and unity and to protect the culture from ever increasing foreign influences yet they are generating conspicuous changes in both the sound of the music and in the socio-economic worlds in which the musicians live and work. Drastic changes are, thus, incurred to the very tradition that is being “preserved.” This paper will conclude with an inquiry into the role that this increasingly centralized musical authority plays in the symbolic politics of the ruling junta. An examination of the role that both ethnic groups and the media play in these projects will reveal a strong political impulse behind music preservation.
CV: Recently completed his PhD at the Department of Music, in Ethnomusicology, University of Washington. His dissertation, State Patronage of Burmese Traditional Music explores the political motivations behind several state sponsored projects for preserving and invigorating Burmese traditional music. An annual performing arts competition, a new university for the arts, and efforts to standardize and notate the orally transmitted canon of traditional songs (each initiated in the early 1990s) have had a strong impact on Burmese musical culture while being used as a tool by the military regime in its struggle for legitimacy.
(C5.5) Beyond the camps: Karenni refugees and the world
This paper is based upon long-term anthropological field research conducted by the author in Karenni refugee camps in Thailand. It explores some of the temporal and spatial arenas that extend beyond the confines of everyday life in the camps, examining ways in which Karenni refugees contextualise themselves and their experience of displacement within a wider world. The paper focuses particularly on the relationships between Karenni ideas of the world beyond, nationalist aspirations, and the value placed upon education. The increasing participation of young Karenni people in non-governmental organisation (NGO) internship programmes and other educational opportunities taking place outside the camps, for example, not only plays a large part in changing Karenni ideas of the world and Karenni understandings of the world’s views, but is also seen, simultaneously and by different sectors of the Karenni population, as threatening to nationalist agenda and vital to Karenni futures. More generally, the paper demonstrates that displacement and refugee-ness bring about intensification of Karenni involvement in the wider world, in turn both strengthening and weakening nationalist ideology, and changing forever the ways in which Karenni refugees perceive the world and their place within it.
(C23.3) Traffic: Re-routing Sino-Burmese encounters, 1840 –1940
In 1839, the locally revered, Yunnan-born Muslim cleric Ma Dexing left Dali, in Yunnan, and joined a caravanserai of traders on their rugged crossing to Bahmo. From there he sailed to Ava and Rangoon, where he joined many other Muslims on haj to Mecca for Ramadan. After an educational sojourn in Constantinople, Ma returned to Dali in 1846 to lead an armed rebellion. Several decades later, within the ranks of the British colonial government in Burma, a young man of Fujianese origin rose to prominence. Named Taw Seinko, he figured prominently in the shaping of Sino-Burmese boundary lines, the promotion of archaeology in Burma, and the forging of cultural border-crossings. Despite his Chinese ancestry, and his identification with Chinese temples and communities in Rangoon, Taw was an avid proponent of Burmese literature and culture.
Focusing on such frontiersmen, and locating them in the historical context of nineteenth and early twentieth century Sino-Burmese border crossings, this paper will illuminate the interplay of traffic, trade and people in/between China, Burma and beyond from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries. In particular, it will examine the role of both places such as Bahmo and people such as Taw Seinko as fields of exchange and cultural brokers between Burmese and Europeans.
This paper presents initial findings from, and provides historical context to, the author’s Macarthur Foundation Research Project National Ideologies, Transnational Identities and Buddhist Diplomacy in Sino –Myanmar Relations, an eighteen month project which explores the emergence of Buddhist diplomacy as a vehicle of both Myanmar’s relations with the region and China’s regional integration in the 1990s.
*(C21.3) Ronald Findlay (Ragnar Nurkse Professor of Economics, Columbia University)
(C3.4) “Self-other dynamics and the concept of autonomy in the Wa context”
Self-other distinctions are always made in a dynamic process of incorporation and exclusion, based upon locally produced and maintained sets of socio-cultural rules which themselves are constantly refined in practice, or even redefined. In this paper, I discuss Wa xenology in terms of a range of possible foreigners and outsiders and feasible answers to the question: who is Wa? I identify certain rules of distinction and their conditions of transformations in the Wa context, manifested in the specific intrinsically social settings in which they are applied in everyday life, including in social interaction such as drinking. Not least for certain historical reasons, Wa identity making often reifies local culture as essential and emphasizes autonomy of the local, thus presenting an appearance of fragmentation to the outsider observer. Wa concepts of honour and autonomy are, finally, highlighted by way of a brief discussion of the appropriation through musealization which has taken place, if only fledglingly, with the Wa in China and which from at least some Wa perspectives would seem radically alien to what it is to be Wa.
(C22.2) Reading Epigraphs and Architecture: Monasteries in Early Burma
During the approx. 250 years that Pagan served as the capital of the first Burmese kingdom, more than 2500 religious monuments were built in and around the city. In contrast to the temples and stupas which have received the attention of scholars and tourists alike, the monasteries of Pagan have never been studied in thoroughly. Nevertheless, they were made partly responsible for the downfall of the kingdom at the end of the 13th century. In an approach combining architectural and epigraphical research, this paper aims to provide a more differentiated picture of the monasteries at Pagan, thereby also seeking an answer to the question whether there was monastic landlordism at Pagan. I could show a couple of slides, depending on how much time I have for the presentation.
(C12.1) The Ananda Temple Sculptures: Buddhist Texts as Sources of Iconography
Western art historical research relating to Burma has evolved in an environment dominated by the prevailing Theravada tradition. A thorough analysis of the narrative sculptures in the Ananda Temple at Bagan reveals that much of the imagery is inconsistent with the traditional Theravada version of the Buddha's life story as told in the Jataka-nidana. Alternative interpretations for the imagery can be found in the Lalitavistara, a northern or Mahayana Buddhist text describing the Buddha's last earthly existence. The presence of narratives that can be shown to draw on both the Mahayana and Theravada traditions broadens our understanding of the development of Burmese Buddhism and its associated visual repertoire.
CAROL J GOWLER
(C3.2) Constructive Responses to Conflict - Traditional Kachin Systems
Traditional communities have often developed and incorporated justice systems which focus on relationships and the restoration of the offender to the victim and to the wider community. Through the process of colonization and post-independence processes, these traditional justice systems have frequently been replaced or disrupted by imposed justice systems which focus on punishing the offender, but which ignore the need to restore broken relationships. This paper argues that constructive responses to conflict need to be developed by building on positive components of traditional mechanisms within existing culture. Based on recent interviews with Kachin leaders and review of anthropological research, this paper examines Kachin traditional conflict resolution and restorative justice practices, and considers possibilities for building upon these practices for conflict resolution in Kachin society. These traditional practices may form one foundation for dialogue and reconciliation at grassroots levels in Burma/Myanmar.
(C1a.19) Burmese historical relations with Tai states during the Konbaung Period
In the 17th and 18th centuries Burma exerted political as well as military control on the upper Mekong valley. From their military fortress Chiang Saen the Burmese controlled a wide region comprising present-day Northern Thailand (Lan Na), the eastern Shan states and the Lü polity of Sipsňng Panna. After the revival of Lan Na as Siamese vassal states following the "fall of Chiang Saen" (in 1804) the Konbaung rulers succeeded in reasserting tributary relations with several of these Tai states. Burmese dominance, however, was challenged either by the Chinese or the Siamese. This paper evaluates the changing power relations of the Burmese state with the Tai polities of the upper Mekong. Special attention is given to the Khün polity of Kengtung (Chiang Tung) and the Lü polities of Kengkheng (Chiang Khaeng) and Kenghung (Sipsňng Panna). The research is mainly based on indigenous Tai chronicles and contemporary Chinese sources.
(C3.7) The Role of Religion in the Formation of Ethnic Identity - the case of the Karen.
In the intra-ethnic conflict between the DKBO/DKBA and the KNU religion has an important role. The categorical opposition between Christian and Buddhist Karen has is roots in colonial Burma. Conversion to Christianity, Baptism in particular, generated a new sense of community among the Sgaw and the Pwo Karen and developed into modern nationalism with the formation of Karen National association in 1881. This paper probes into the historical construction of Karen identity, the making of ethnic boundaries, and the politics of ethnic difference. Based on mission sources and interviews, as well as on fieldwork among Buddhist and Christian Karen in Thailand since 1970, the paper addresses the sources of Karen identity in religious cosmology and rituals, and in the strategies of the conversion of Karen to Christianity. Missionaries selected cosmological sources and concepts and presented these as original knowledge which the Karen had lost. They organized the Karen and provided new forms of leadership in the ‘plural society’ of Burma. Finally, the paper presents examples of Karen reasoning for conversion. This information is often neglected. In the process, the new ethnic-national identity and the claims to a state emerged as a consecrated right. The historical memory of conversion and a new political status is still part of the Karen political discourse.
Keywords: conversion, knowledge, identity and politics of difference.
(C12.2) Word and Image: Texts Used in the Preparation of Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Burmese Wall Paintings.
This paper explores the various texts used in the production of the wall paintings in seventeenth and eighteenth century Burma. In determining which texts were available to the artists and donors, defining how the paintings were produced (e.g. who painted and who supervised the painting process) should be an easier task. Topics of particular interest are which scenes were selected in relation to the texts, the amount of space given to certain themes, what deviations there are (if any), and what these deviations might signify. By placing these analyses within contemporaneous historical and social trends, we will better understand the impetuses behind the creation of seventeenth and eighteenth century wall paintings. The wall paintings also provide valuable visual evidence for the shape that the textual (or even oral) narratives assumed.
(C9.1) Some aspects of the Mon language today
Some aspect of the Mon language today:
- linguistics point of view (dialectal problems, recent rebirth, modern vocabulary)
- sociological point of view (difficulties of sociological adptations of the language)
- political point of view (present problems of the situation of the language).
And I would like to suggest solutions, with the help of Mon
This present important rebirth of the Mon culture (publication of new dictionaries, mgazines and books in Mon, songs, karaoke, etc.) bring new problems, and show old historical problems in new view. More fundamentally, it ask if Burma is a nation
(C9.5) Peak marking features in Daai folktales
This paper is mainly based on the general frameworks of discourse analysis by Longacre, Robert E. 1996. "The grammar of discourse", Grimes, Joseph E. 1975. "The Thread of Discourse" and Longacre, Robert E. and Stephen H. Levinsohn. 1978. "Field analysis of discourse". Current trends in text linguistics. (Research in Text Theory, 2) 103- 122, ed. by W. U. Dressler. Works by other authors have also been consulted. Part I of my paper gives first a short overview of Daai oral traditions and then describes the corpus examined for this research. This corpus consists of ten Daai Chin folktales. All of these texts were collected in the Southern Chin Hills of Myanmar/Burma by Daai Chin co-workers, involved in Daai Literacy programs. The texts were initially recorded with tape-recorders and then transcribed and typed on type-writers (in the early stage of the Literacy program) and later on computerized. A brief summery of each text is provided to enable the audience to relate to the examples in their context. Part II contains a brief look at orientation stage, plot structure, boundary markers and participant reference in Daai narratives. Part III, which is the main part of my paper, is devoted to a study of peak marking features in Daai folktales. As set forth by Longacre, the climax or peak of a narrative discourse tends to be marked by: (1) rhetorical underlining, (2) concentration of participants, (3) heightened vividness,
(4) change of pace, (5) change of vantage point and/or orientation, (6) incidence of particles and onomatopoeia. The paper shows that the Daai narratives examined here, all contain at least some of these features, and in some narratives peak is even marked by all of the above-mentioned features.
(C9.2) Topicalization in Burmese expository discourse
The topicalizing and thematic functions of postpositional particles dhi, ká and ko are examined from a discourse point of view within one oft-studied 'literary' Burmese text. These particles were found to function beyond the sentence as discourse stage markers of argument structure, as a dominant versus subordinate social status marker for participants, and as signals for role reversals within the textual plot of embedded discourse. From a sentence perspective of Burmese grammar, particle selection of sentential topic and theme appeared to be somewhat random. Discourse considerations demonstrate a motivated, cognitively perceptive, and language-learner accessible role of what has been labeled topic in Burmese.
(C22.3) Continuity in a cultural landscape: Upper Burma from the Neolithic to Pagan.
Download the full text of this paper (in .pdf format) from:
New archaeological maps of Upper Burma, created from a computer database that includes the results of recent field research and excavations, show a landscape dense with settlement. Largely in or between the Chindwin and Samon valleys, there are now at least 35 known sites yielding Neolithic materials such as polished stone axes, 31 sites with bronze materials such as axes, halberds and jewelry, and 14 sites where the finds overlap. The salt-producing site of Halin, north-west of Mandalay, and the Binnaka area in the Samon Valley, already known for their Iron-age contexts, are examples of settlements that have had continuous or at least regular occupation since the Neolithic. The maps also suggest a shift in infrastructure during the early urban period, with a dozen Pyu settlements along the Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwady) River being perhaps the precursors of the regional transport system of Pagan (Bagan), which appears to have involved the Irrawaddy as its key element.
While many new archaeological sites, particularly Neolithic/Bronze, have recently been pinpointed, there are substantial problems in investigating them. Many, probably most, of the finds have been made by farmers, and only a few, notably the Nyaunggan Bronze Age cemetery, have been professionally excavated and recorded. However several potentially useful data subsets have either appeared or expanded. New discoveries include beaten bronze coffin decorations and carnelian pendants in the shape of a lion or tiger, the latter having parallels in Thailand. There have also been extensive additions to the known finds of polished stone rings, perhaps sufficient for a major formal typological study.
In the later period, there is now radiocarbon evidence of settlement activity at Pagan well before the 11th century, and new indications of the presence there in the later parts of the first millennium AD of craft activity and population. The presentation will also briefly highlight a preliminary excavation of a large iron-production site east of Pagan, located in the area where according to tradition, the Pyu settled early in the first millennium AD.
This paper, and the general thrust of the author’s research, suggests that continuity of site occupation might be a more consistent phenomenon of the pre-13th century settlement of Upper Burma than was previously believed.
in collaboration with M. Cartolano and T. Lejard
(C1a.20) From field-work to bilateral cooperation, from Burma to Europe through ASEAN : the MAP-RAID Project example
MAP-RAID operated through the Tenasserim Division and more specifically through the 800 hundred islands of the Mergui (Myeik) Archipelago since 1998. We set up this project because we were first allowed by the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism (and then supervised by the MInistry of education) to sail in the Moken islands and promote the region. The objectives are to rediscover the region, to promote it, to help and to accompany the development of the local groups and minorities.
This is done in cooperation with local people, through cooperative agreements. Concrete proposals in the field of preservation, education, micro-economy, citizenship, are made to local leaders and policy-makers. We always try to push forward the possibilities of making research and a cooperative agreement with the Myeik and Tenasserim Journal and the CNRS was signed . Two books, few articles, conferences have been made, making the project administratively "visible" and scientifically recognized.
To build a platform of discussion, we then decided to make an exhibition which gave back to the Burmese part of their forgotten history. The CHAT carry on the support given previously by the Universities Historical Research Center and the project of exhibition was made together. We ask for the authorization to make such an exhibition through the Ministry of education together with the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism and the supervision of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Special permits were granted to collect and bring the object in Yangon. The exhibition was held at Pan Sea hotel and then donated to the CHAT. We hope that through the SEAMEO regional office we will be authorize to make this exhibition travel.
The success of this difficult project convince our partners and proposal of association for conference and research projects were made. We are currently working on the modalities of such an agreement which will include, CHAT, CNRS, French and Italian Embassy.
(C8.5) Patron-Client Ties and the Process of Political Legitimation in Burmese State-Society Relations
This paper explores state-society relations to consider in a new light the processes of political legitimation in contemporary Burma. The state bureaucracy in Burma may appear monolithic insofar as the military regime autocratically governs its activities. Theories of domination (and resistance) or hegemony populate the inquiries into Burmese political culture, inadvertently reinforcing this model. Ethnographic research reveals a subtler picture, in which state bureaucracies are cross-cut by patron-client ties organized around substantially nongovernmental business. The principal example presented is of donation cliques that organize patron-client relations in the military and bureaucratic establishments, or ministries. Note the following two examples. First, state donations to monks at the beginning of waso (Buddhist lent) are undertaken in hierarchical fashion, with the highest ranked officers giving to the most important monks according to their respective hierarchy of monkly merit. Military wives in their giving to nuns replicate this donation arrangement, in which the merit status of recipient nuns mirrors the status of the donor’s husband. In a second example, individual ministers are shown to act independently of their roles in office through acts of dana, which reinforces perceptions of their individual power (i.e., and not their role as mere bureaucrats) while also organizing distinct networks of patron-client relations outside state bureaucracy. I conclude by arguing that state bureaucracies are thus, in X.L. Ding’s expression, “institutionally amphibious”, and that they are institutionally structured to help perpetuate older, more “traditional” forms of political legitimation.
(C18.4) Representing the Japanese occupation of Burma
Most of the memories of the Japanese occupation of Burma (1942-1945) have been passed on by Western prisoners of war—mainly Australian, British, and Dutch—whose wartime experiences in Burma have entered deeply into national mythology and history, and by memoirs written in English by the educated, male, Burman, political elite, either high-ranking administrators or politicians. What is striking about this popular literature on the occupation is its lack of narratives that endeavor to describe Burmese people’s experiences and expressions of the occupation. This paper offers a more evenhanded look through an examination of Burma-centric literary representations, namely Burmese and Japanese, of the occupation. It does not seek a more “authentic” picture of the Japanese occupation of Burma; the reader will find that local accounts of the occupation are influenced by, incorporates, co-opts, and/or inextricably intertwined with a “Western” meta-narrative of the Second World War with its characteristic racist rhetoric. However, the literary representations explored in this paper shed light on complex, multi-faceted war memories, with roots in the histories of specific peoples and localities.
(part-educated at the international school in Rangoon she is fluent in Burmese)
VADIM B. KASSEVITCH
(C9.3) The syntactic markers of written Burmese: are they really optional?
As is commonly known, syntactic (and, to a lesser degree, morphological) markers in Burmese and other languages of similar typology are not as strictly obligatory as their Indo-European counterparts. E.g. in Burmese, it is quite possible to say THU SAOU? WEDE alongside THU GA SAOU? KO WEDE 'He bought a book'. The rules presumably governing the possibility/impossibility to suppress such subject markers, object markers and the like are not obvious, to say the least. This paper reports on the results of an experimental study, where original Burmese texts were tested with reference to the acceptability of deleting the syntactic markers, on the one hand, and introducing such markers, where appropriate, on the other. About 20 native speakers participated in the experiments on the voluntary basis. The Ss were asked to introduce syntactic markers wherever such markers were felt lacking and, conversely, to delete the markers, if these were felt unnecessary. The data show that, in a good many cases, the Ss tend to restore the original text as far as the markers placement is concerned. The analysis of the data leads to advancing some hypotheses about the constraints that underlie different behavior of the markers (such as referential vs. non-referential use, weak vs. strong VP-internal government, etc.).
(C13.3) Religious Ideology, Representation, and Social Realities: the case of Burmese Buddhist Womanhood
I will present an overview of the representation of Burmese women in the Buddhist textual tradition, the vernacular literary tradition, and in the anthropological literature mostly written by western observers, who have, in my view, misrepresented them and their actual standing. In my attempt to open the discussion, I will examine Burmese womanhood from their social and economic standing, in the context of traditional values, and within the Buddhist ideology that impose certain ideals and meanings upon what is considered to be good ‘womanhood’ in Burmese society. I will also try to present the pressures of social expectations and constraints of accepted norms from a Burmese woman’s perspective in order to understand how religious ideology, traditional customs, and taboos are still dominant in confining them to a subordinate position. In other words, despite social equality and economic independence enjoyed by Burmese women, they do not seem to enjoy a similar kind of authority enjoyed by men. Moreover, despite their income earning skills and meritorious support of the monastic community, women are seen to be far behind men in their spiritual endeavor, seen to be attached, and ‘caught up’ in the rounds of samsara. Therefore, the discussion is about an embedded tension between social realities that surround them and the religious ideals that impose certain criteria onto women’s life choices. On the other hand, I will point to the fact that Burmese women are not just sitting back. There are various strategies and initiatives adopted by them, which I call ‘indigenous strategies’, that have allowed them to form traditional alliances and partnerships, and achieve certain influence in Burmese society
KYI MAY KAUNG
*(C21.5) Economic Stabilization and Structural Reform in a Future Democratic Burma: An Analyis of the Standard World Bank/IMF Package.
(C1a.26) Performing gender in Mandalay.
The contrasts that structure gender in any society figure prominently in a society's performing arts. In Burmese za' pwe, the contrast between male and female seems to have become oddly displaced by contrasts among various versions of masculinity. I discuss the changes that have occurred in za' pwe in the last thirty or so years in light of a curious shift of attention away from females, and onto the contrasts between the prince, the clowns, and the rock star.
KHIN MAUNG PHONE KO
(C2.4) Brain - Drain to Train to Gain: a Study of Myanmar Human Resource Management in Singapore
The paper is the result of research to train Myanmar workers in Singapore. It addresses to three parts namely – types of manpower from Myanmar that is drained out of the country, a project to train them in English speaking and IT, and a proposal to establish an information and resource center to update and upgrade the knowledge of Myanmar workforce Estimated presence of workforce is about 30,000 and it consists of general workers, semi-skill, diploma holders and degree holders- all will be addressed as “workers”. Most are working with under paid salary for their qualification. The 12/7 (12 hours per day - seven days a week) working timetable makes the worker just to earn money only. However, there is a window of opportunity open for worker to learn on Sunday three hours at night- from 6:30- 9:30 p.m.
A pilot project named as “Myanmar fellowship on Sunday“ was launched in 1996 till now to teach workers how to speak proper English, how to use e-mail and to surf Internet for information and news with fellowship activities. Myanmar fellowship on Sunday received an encouraging support from workers.
This volunteering work can be further extended to become a training ground if the fund and technical supports from international bodies.
ME ME KHINE
(C13.9) Burmese Buddhist nuns in the Theravada tradition and their attitudes towards social work
Throughout history, women in religious service have faced oppression, degradation and exploitation. In Burma, particularly, the foundation of civil society - the religious sector - downplays and undermines the status and efforts of Buddhist nuns. The nuns have undergone significant historical persecution in both the religious and social spheres. While many Burmese Buddhist nuns dedicate their lives to overcoming that oppression, the contemporary situation impedes their progress because it is grounded in the historical situation. To ameliorate the status quo, an analysis of the historical context has been carried out with a corresponding evaluation of the current situation. Nuns practising in the central Burma were surveyed to ascertain their expectations, their educational backgrounds and the role and status they enjoy in society. Three case studies of nunneries have been selected as archetypes of the present conditions. The problems they face are outlined in addition to the benefits they provide. Possible solutions to their problems are suggested. These solutions employ social work as a kind of active metta to bring about the necessary changes in the religious sector and society at large.
PAUL H. KRATOSKA
(C16.1) Linking Burma to the East: Antecedents of the Burma Road and the Burma-Siam Railway
During the 1930s and 1940s there were major initiatives to develop transportation links connecting Burma with China, and Burma with Thailand. Although these projects tend to be seen as emergency expedients, in both cases, there was considerable preparatory work in the earlier in the twentieth century. With regard to the Burma Road, extensive discussions took place roughly between 1900 and 1920 concerning road or rail links between Bhamo and Teng Yueh. Correspondence on this issue is found in the National Archives Department in Yangon. Around the same period discussions were also taking place about ways to connect the Burma rail network with that of Siam and Malaya, and again materials are available in the National Archives Department. By way of background, I will make reference to 19th century discussions of the same issues (e.g., Edward Sladen’s explorations), and proposals such as Holt S. Hallett and Archibald Colquhuon’s Report on the railway connexion of Burmah and China (London: Allen, Scott, 1888).
(C15.6) Dagň, Cosmogony and Politics: religion and power in Burmese society
Anderson (1990) criticizes the traditional approach to the understanding of politics in Indonesia, pointing out that the Javanese conception of 'power' differs greatly from the Western counterpart. The same may aptly be said of Burma, where there is a certain kind of 'power' the Buddha has (dagò) and the power the government has (ana). These are of contrasting nature but would both be referred to as 'power' in English. This paper focuses on religious power, namely dagò. It is a centripetal force in Burmese society but the term has hardly been analyzed in academic literature. As works of Anderson (1990) and Godelier (1999) suggest, when dealing with sacred power we must pay attention to how it is kept and accumulated rather than how it is used or exercised. In Theravada Buddhist polities, sacred objects endowed with the Buddha's power were indissolubly connected with kingship, sovereignty and legitimacy. Similar to what Bloch (1992) says about rituals, I show that dagò is of concern to villagers for its strength-giving and protective effects, whereas in state discourse, the symbolism takes a more assertive tone. The homology between political and religious idioms not only resonates in contemporary politics but in fact is intensely elaborated.
(10.1) Our environment in your Language: People on the Thai / Burma border talk to a dictionary writer about their environment
This paper describes some of the insights that I gained from using oral history interviews with members of the Burmese community in Chiang Mai and in the border camps to try to understand their perspective and to gather some stories that reveal the knowledge and experience they hold as sources of example sentences for A Dictionary of Environmental Terms in Plain English, to be published by Images Asia in Chiang Mai later this year which I have been editing for the past year. The idea for this dictionary came from an environmentalist working with people on the Thai-Burma border who are facing serious environmental problems. To help explain and understand environmental issues, the environmentalist planted the seed of this dictionary over five years ago. Since that time, many people have worked with the NGO Images Asia, E Desk to help the dictionary grow in a whole variety of ways. What began as a list of agricultural terms has grown to reflect the need to address all aspects of the environment: community development, conservation, economics, endangered species, genetic engineering, health, human rights, pollution, population control, sustainability and many other matters. My contribution was to take leave from my work at the University of New England and work full time on editing the dictionary as a volunteer in Chiang Mai for five months. The original timeline was over-optimistic so when my leave was over, I brought the dictionary back to Australia with me and finished the editing and page-making in June. It is now in the process of being printed in Chiang Mai, ready for distribution to interested NGOs in the region and elsewhere. The project was funded by Novib and the Heinrich-Boell Foundation. I am currently planning a second edition for a wider audience and am interested in setting up a panel of consultants to make sure that the dictionary is accurate in the information it provides and culturally appropriate in its presentation. It would be my hope that the conference would be a place where I could make some suitable contacts for this project, and where I could share the insights I have gained in developing his dictionary with people who will understand the complexity and challenging nature of the process.
KHIN MAR MAR KYI
(C13.4) Recolonising Gender: Representation of Burmese women through popular literature of novels, poems, songs and cartoons by the colonisers and colonised.
Scholarly analyses of Burma's forty years of authoritarian military rule commonly focus on political and military factors, often at the expense of broader understandings of social dynamics. Particularly neglected is the arena of gender relations. However, as this paper aims to show, no analysis of the balance of power in contemporary Burma is complete without a proper understanding of gender relations and their representation.
The paper gives a historically grounded but contemporary analysis of representations of Burmese women from the Colonial period until now, using literature, novels, songs and cartoons. The analysis draws out the way in which colonists, nationalists, feminists and militarists have represented Burmese women and used gender and sexuality to strengthen political ideaology.
A central thread running through the sources analysed is the important relationship between the concept of racial purity, hibridity and sexuality in representations of women by both colonisers and the colonised. Interpretation of this relationship is nonetheless variable as can be seen from the disparities between colonial , feminist and nationalist representations.
The contemporary importance of these issues lies most pertinently in the military's manipulation of gender ideologies as a political weapon in the struggle for legitimacy. Focusing on representations of, and accusations against, Aung San Suu Kyi over the past decade, the paper will show how the military government has mobilized colonial ideologies of race, modesty, and sexuality in its nationalism and militarism.
*(C23.4) Burmo-Chinese Frontier in 1869
(C1a.18) The Border Areas and National Races Development Programme
Centralized control over the peripheral regions of Burma has historically been contested and weak. In the past decade, increased military control, ceasefires, and infrastructual development suggest that state capacity in the border regions has increased significantly in one or more dimensions. The Burmese government presents these endeavors as benevolent undertakings under the auspices of the Border Areas and National Races Development program (hereafter, BANRD). Human rights organizations, in contrast, characterize the government’s undertakings in the border regions as predominantly violent undertakings focused on the imposition of control and the unsustainable extraction of natural resources. Such characterizations suggest that the BANRD program is less about the alleviation of poverty than it is about the development of the state apparatus in highly contested areas.
This paper will provide a brief overview of the BANRD program. Through one or more case studies this paper will then examine BANRD initiatives in Karen and or Kachin State. These case studies will test critical characterizations of the program as violent and extractive and, to the extent that these characterizations are accurate, attempt to explain the occurrence of violence and unsustainable extraction as a reflection of the regime and its particular capacities and incapacities.
SHWE SHWE SEIN LATT
(C4.3) New and Renewable Energy Technologies for Sustainable Development in Myanmar
Among the new energy technologies, new and renewable energy technologies (NRETs) offer the most promising prospects as a sustainable development in energy-environment option in Myanmar. The NRETs commonly utilized in Myanmar are small/micro hydro power, biogas, improved cook stoves, solar photovoltaic (pv) and wind power. At present, the new and renewable energy technologies (NRETs) are still in the development stage, however, new and renewable energy sources hold great potential in supplying the energy need of Myanmar in a sustainable manner. The development mainly requires financial and technical assistance from bilateral and multilateral cooperation. This paper reviews the policies, researches, and plans related to the current situation of NRETs and then analyzes and discusses to improve the NRETs, and environment policies and regulation in Myanmar.
TOE ZAW LATT
(C1.28) The myth of a unified Burma and prospects for a national reconciliation process
NGUN CUNG LIAN (ANDREW)
(C7.2) The Separation of Powers and Federalism in the Constitution of Burma
The separation of power and federalism are interlocking elements in a thoroughgoing constitutional philosophy of the division of powers between government and people, among legislature, executive, and judiciary, and between States and Federal governments. Consequently, the separation of powers is not only a doctrine and political theory of various federal republics but also one of the principle pillars that lend stability permanence to democratic nations in the world.
This paper briefly explore who the interlocking doctrine and principle; the separation of powers and federalism are silent in the previous Constitutions of the Union of Burma i.e., Government of Burma Act 1935; Constitution of Burma Under Japanese Occupation (1943); Constitution of the Union of Burma (1947); Constitution of the Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma (1974); Draft Constitution of Constitution of Myanmar (SPDC); and Draft Constitution of the Federal Union of Burma (NCUB).
The presentation further explore how the muteness and its impacts on the doctrine of federalism and the principle of the separation of powers in the Constitutions of Burma have generated political and constitutional crisis for the people of Burma; and in short the paper propose that the doctrine of federalism and principle of the separation of powers between the people and governments; between States and Federal Government; and among the Legislative, Executive, and Judiciary branches of respective States and Federal governments should be a foundation of political settlement between and among ethnic groups in Burma.
(C12.3) Formulaic Depictions and Original Compositions in Burmese Narrative Illustrations with Special Reference to an Early Twentieth Century Lacquer Manuscript in the New York Public Library.
Burmese illustrative material of Buddhist and local lore has traditionally been very conservative and owes much to Indian artistic conventions and models particularly those of the eighth to twelfth century Pala period. When commissioned to illustrate 'new' material (subject matter not previously depicted) the majority of craftsmen turned to conventional models and adapted them accordingly, making minor changes where necessary to accommodate the dictates of the narrative. With the consolidation of colonial rule, a few artists in various crafts became willing to 'break the mould' and attempt new compositions while continuing to hold fast to the decorative conventions that characterized their particular craft, as may be seen in an illustrated narrative in lacquer of the kings of Pagan based on the 'Glass Palace Chronicle'.
(C1a.7) State and Sangha in Burma: a cooperation mutually fruitful
The aim of this paper is to show the relationships which have been established since 1979 between the military and the monkhood. Following the take-over of the State and the setting-up of the socialist regime in 1962, the government endeavoured to take control of the monastic institution. But the resistance of the buddhist hierarchy and the monks drove their relations with the new regime to its lowest ebb. Campaigns were organised through the media to discredit the monkhood. It was unsuccessful and the devotees continue maintaining their ancestral trust to the monks. In 1979, confronted to such a dead-lock, both protagonists realised the necessity to work out together to an acceptable solution. Some reformist monks took the opportunity in negotiating with the military to purify the Sangha and develop the teaching of the canonical texts. Since then State and Sangha have been engaged into a fruitful cooperation.
(C5.4) Resistance, mobility and/as agency among Burmese dissidents in Thai exile
(C2.1) Issues Around Curriculum Development in the Ethnic Nationality Areas of Burma
The data in this paper is extracted from the curriculum development project conducted by the Burmese National Health and Education Committee based on the Thai-Burma border. The data shows that curricula are varying among ethnic nationality areas. Furthermore, there is a divergent conception of the school curriculum between the regime and ethnic nationalities. On the one hand, the government’s curriculum leads to Burmanisation. On the other hand, the school curricula in the ethnic nationality areas induce excessive nationalism, which can lead to xenophobia. The study suggests that the new curriculum should be leading to multicultural education. However, curriculum development alone cannot help the educational development in the ethnic nationality areas because majority of children have no proper education. Only 10% of Karenni children and 20% of Karen children attend school. The drop out rate is too high and only 1% of students who enrolled at primary schools completed secondary education. The quality of teaching is also low and teachers have no proper training. Compare to other areas, children in Shan area are more vulnerable. Some displaced Karen and Karenni children can learn in the refugee camps. The cease-fire areas such as Mon and Kachin are more or less stable and children can go to school. Displaced Shans are not recognized as refugee in Thailand. Fighting takes place frequently in Shan areas and children have no choice but hiding in forest. This situation makes many Shan children illiterates.
(C5.6) From the Outside Looking In: Burmese Exiles on the Changing Politics of Humanitarian and Development Assistance.
To date, the long-running "secret talks" between the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi of the National League for Democracy (NLD) have produced few tangible results. The socio-economic situation has worsened dramatically during this period, prompting many observers to warn of a looming political crisis. For some actors these problems offer possibilities for engaging the regime, a position that has renewed debate over the politics of aid to Burma. This paper will present the results of field research based on interviews with a wide range of stakeholder groups (political representatives, students, educators, religious leaders, independent media, and NGO staff) living-in-exile in Thailand. Findings will include current views and perceptions on the relationship of aid (humanitarian, multi-lateral, and bilateral) to democratization, and what is at stake for Burmans and non-Burmans alike. The findings will also offer insight into what transition plan these stakeholders have for a transitional regime in Burma, as well as the potential role of international financial institutions (e.g. Work Bank and the International Monetary Fund) and civil society organizations, including private foreign organizations and international non-governmental organizations, will have in building a "peaceful, modern, and developed" nation.
(C22.1) Berlin Pyu Numismatics.
(C17.5) Overlapping identities: Mons, Burmans, and the persistence of ethnic conflict
This investigation is concerned with the issues of ethnic identity creation and maintenance in the case of two ethnic groups in the nation of Burma (Myanmar) that have a long, intertwining history on the levels of the political, linguistic, religious, social, and the cultural. This analysis attempts to answer the question of why, if the Mon and Burman ethnic groups share so much, do ethnic unrest among certain Mons and a hatred of the Burmans continue? On what is the perception of difference based, and who promotes a Mon identity?
The answers fill the lacunae of understanding interethnic conflict in Burma and, more widely, in Southeast Asia, and furthermore may lead us to rethink the bases of Burman discrimination against other Burmese minorities. Several factors are at work: segments of the Mon population keep alive the memory of the Burman conquest of the last Mon kingdom, an engendered memory most passionately embraced by segments of elite male populations in ethnic, quasi-racial, and nationalist terms designed to appeal to a male understanding of nation; the Burmese government and the military tread heavily upon local peoples, especially in rural areas, largely regardless of local ethnic identifications; underdevelopment and scarce resources, meaning that peripheral peoples seek access to local and Burmese nation-wide resources; and a tendency to see any kind of center-periphery conflict, or lack of peripheral access to resources, in ethnic terms. This last point is of particular significance in the future of Burmese interethnic conflict, given that central Burmese political parties—whether that of the current military junta or Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy—have shown little interest or ability in accommodating the needs and demands of non-Burmans.
Since British colonial times, when many groups that had originally been peripheral to several polities became closely bound to that of central Burma, ethnicity has become politicized, with groups finding it useful to unite under the banner of ethnicity to lay claim to scarce resources, while at the same time ethnic-based rebellions have created degrees of autonomy from central control and predations. This has left modern Burma fractioned with no one authority that has actual sovereignty throughout the physical boundaries of the nation. Incontrast to most other Burmese minorities, the Mons have a history of anindependent state—able to rival those of Burma and Siam—with aspirations to empire kept alive in both local memory and organized opposition. Mon negotiations between Burman and Thai polities have a long history of success, in such forms as assimilation into the uppermost ranks of Thai royalty and society, the establishment of villages wellinside the borders of Thailand, the sending of large numbers of young people towork within Thailand, and establishing themselves as a welcome presence amongthe many groups seeking refuge in Thailand.
ALEXANDRA DE MERSAN
(C15.7) A new palace for Mra Souin Devi. Changes in spirit cults in Rakhine State
Rakhine people is one of the different "nationalities” of Burma. This ethnic minority however is very closed linguistically and culturally to Burmese group but has special references to its own history.
Though Rakhine people is buddhist, it also honors different nat or spirits - even if this last point is often hidden. As in Burmese case, local references are engraved into Rakhine people’s mixed religion of buddhism and spirit cults. These references are all the more important than Arakan has been an « independant » buddhist kingdom for several centuries, whose main identification element had been the famous Mahamuni Image, a palladium which was the kingdom protector. The spirits cults also attest of this particular history as the king used to be the lord of the territory (Arakan) and his inhabitants through relationship with the local deities. This cult still persists: even nowadays local spirits are propitiated in parallel with bud dhism. Purpose of this document is to highlight thanks to a specific example, how religion had been used by Burmese authorities over the last years to extend its influence on minority groups or peripheric regions. Indeed, in conjunction with its « buddhicisation » policy (,construction or renovation of pagodas as a way of, marking out of its territory), Burmese authorities « revive » cults by building new sanctuaries and making offerings to local deities, lords of the territory.
(C20.3) Burmese library facilities at the INALCO institute (Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations) in Paris
The Burmese department of the Library of Oriental Languages (BIULO) in Paris has a very interesting collection of works, both in Burmese and western languages. This collection was started mostly at the end of the nineteenth century. Since its beginning and particularly since 1875, the vocation of the library is to be a place where scholars and students can find available and centralized ressources on languages and civlization.
This paper is organized in two sections. The first part is about the historical background of the collection (how it has been growing, what its general policy is, how the political situation in Burma has influenced its quality) with a focus on the specific role some people have played in the patient building of this precious resources center.
The second part highlights more precisely the content of the collection itself and some of its specificities (old collection, literature, magazines,…). Until recently, the country had closed its borders to external influences and the books in Burmese language acquired by the people in charge of the library provided one of the unique possibilities to get an echo about Burmese scholars and authors' work and from these about their culture, history, language and literature. It is also shown how the library has been one of the very few means of accessing this rich content during a long period of time.
The purpose of this paper is to present this collection and its rich content so that it becomes more well-known and better contributes to general knowledge about Burma. It can also set the ground for a larger reflexion on the building and sharing of knowledge.
(C23.2) Chinese Literature in Burma and Burmese Literature in China
China and Burma are close neighbor. According to the archaeological finding, the most Burmese races emigrated from China in the early time, so the similarity of folktale and myths in both countries, such as the story of moon and lunar eclipse, open a new field for the scholars. In Burma, there is the story titled as The Three Dragon Eggs indicating that the early emperors of both countries are brother and sister. Moreover, in Burmese, Pautphaw is the special term to Chinese.
In history, communication between Chinese and Burmese covered the literature field. In 19 century, envoys from Burma brought back the Kang Xi Dictionary and Ben Cao Gang Mu. Then the Burmese scholars studied the Chinese literature through the works, which were translated into English. In 1920s, the initiators of Khit San Literature Movement were influenced by the Chinese literature and the influence developed in 1940s and 1950s. In 1960s, more than 100 works were translated into Burmese and published, including some separating edition such as Camel Xiangzi, The True Story of Ah Q,, Mid-night and Qu Yuan. In 1970s, The Collection of Lu Sun was published. The works of Lu Sun and other writers were collected in The Collection of World Novels. In The Guidance of World Literatures edited by Maung Htin, half one of volumes was used to introduce the brief history of Chinese literature. In 1980s, swordsmen novels, such as Jing Yong’s works, were translated into Burmese and became the major entertainment books. At the end of 1980s, the Dream of the Red Chamber, one of Chinese classic novel, , Piao Guo Yue, one of Bai Juyi’s poems, and some other works were published in Burmese. Furthermore, Chinese literature also influenced Burmese literature in themes, types and skills.
As early as in 1407, Ming dynasty government established the Burmese translation course in Si Yi Guan, the first translation institution. Some Chinese emigrants and Burmese citizens of Chinese origin played important role when the Burmese literature was introduced to China. At the end of 1940s, Chinese began to translate the Burmese literature although the translators were not very good at Burmese and translated from the third language. Nga Ba by Maung Htin was the first works, which was translated from Burmese directly in 1958. From the middle of 1980s, some classic Burmese poems and novels was begun to translate into Chinese and The Glass Palace Chronicle of the Kings of Burma will be published soon. In 1970s, many papers concerned with Burmese literature were published in all kinds of journals. In 1993, The Burmese literature history edited in Chinese was published. In China, Burmese works appeared in many publications about the world literature and oriental literature. From 1950s, China and Burma established direct relationship. Many famous writers visited each other. I believe that the literature exchanges between both countries will become deeper in the future.
(C1a.25) How the role of women has developed amongst the Christian Anglican Community of the Khumi-Chin of the Upper Kaladan River area of Western Burma.
1. Brief introduction to the Khumi-Chin, with particular emphasis on the religious mix : Geographic location and Ethnic Origins Traditional Religious background Buddhism and Islam in the area
2. Historical beginnings of Christian influence Early Christian Missionaries from the Lushai Hills The work of The Bible Churchman's Missionary Society (Anglican) mainly done by Revd and Mrs E W Francis 1930's - 1965
3. The role of women in pre-Christian times Domestic life and the responsibilities of women Social leadership, independence and empowerment of women Economic considerations
4. Tracing the changing role of women amongst the Anglican community A historical perspective: - 1901- 1980Modern Anglican Khumi women :- Empowered, Encouraged and Educated.
5. QUESTIONS § Were these development solely due to Christian influences or was it just the way Burma society was moving?§ Where now for the Khumi Anglican women?
HTIN AUNG KYAW
(C4.11) Striving for food security in Burma-Myanmar: Evaluation of existing freshwater fish seed production in Yangon Division.
TUN KYAW NYEIN
*(C1a.6) The Civilian Military Leadership Dynamics prior to '62.
(C14.1) The Politics of HIV and AIDS in Burma
This paper will look at the trajectory of HIV epidemic in Burma focusing on the political context in which it unfolded. Within this context, barriers and impediments to the prevention and control of the epidemic will be examined. The paper will then explore new approaches and opportunities to address the HIV epidemic in light of recent changes taking place in the political landscape of Burma.
Impoverished by four decades of economic mismanagement and oppressive military rule, Burma faces a rampaging HIV epidemic that may rival that of African countries. If unmitigated, the epidemic threatens to further strain her meager resources and deepen the misery of its people and ultimately, unravel an already highly stressed society.
Amongst a population of 50 million people, UNAIDS estimates that one million are infected by the HIV virus. factors contribute to the spread of the HIV virus: a declining economy; deteriorating health-care system; growing populations of casual sex workers, drug users, economic and political refugees, migrant workers, and internally displaced persons. Indeed, the political context in which the epidemic unfolded was also an exacerbating factor. In 1988, the bloody protests in the streets unseated Ne Win’s BSPP regime and ushered in the present military junta. Two years later, the regime called for an election that rendered NLD and its leader Aung San Suu Kyi as clear winners. The junta’s refusal to honor the election results and its continuing violations of human rights met with trade sanctions, drastic reduction in development and humanitarian aid and ostracism by the West. As reports of the burgeoning HIV epidemic appeared in the international media, the regime refuted the reports and maintained that they have the virus under control despite the lack of international assistance. However, in October 2000, the military junta opened a secret dialogue with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, which has been ongoing. Since then, a subtle thaw in the relations between the two major political antagonists has been reported. In light of the seemingly improving political climate in Burma, it is imperative that existing approaches to the control and prevention HIV epidemic in particular, and humanitarian assistance for Burma be re-examined and alternative approaches be explored.
(C1a.16) Loyalty of Rangoon and Dishonour of Mandalay under Military rule (1962--1988)
This paper is the comparative study of two cities in Burma from the perspective of city planning and centralization of power in Burma under Military rule from 1962 to 1988. Rangoon area has appeared in history for many thousands of years as a village with many names, but it can be said that the colonial city of Rangoon was made in Britain and the successive rulers reshaped the city according to their centralization of power. The city and palace of Mandalay on the other hand were designed by a Burmese King for his people from a long traditional of adapting to climate and culture. The two cities planned nearly at the same time, but for different intensions and purposes. They developed in their own ways until the take over of the Third Anglo Burmese War (1885), when Loyalty and Disloyalty in the Architecture and Planning of the British Empire imposed on both cities.
This is a two-fold study; firstly it is high lighted how and why these two cities appeared and developed in opposite directions from the viewpoint of their citizens' life under different governing bodies. Secondly it will be discussed on loyalty and dishonour of the two cities under Military rule from the viewpoint of city planning and centralization of power in Burma.
*(C1a.4) Burma, political transition, an institutional approach.
(C1a.12) Burma and Singapore: Some Research Questions and Obstacles
"In recent years, the links between Burma and Singapore have expanded considerably. While the increasing economic and diplomatic exchanges are probably the more obvious signs of this growing relationship, the network that binds the two countries goes much further, encompassing in addition
political, social, military, and even criminal dimensions and influences. This paper seeks to chart this emerging web of relations between Burma and Singapore, and suggest a number of questions research may fruitfully address. In outlining these questions, reference will also be made to existing and potential obstacles in the way of such research."
(C17.1) How Judges used the Dhammathats in Eighteenth Century Burmese Courts, with special reference to Yezajyo Hkondaw Hpyathon.
Significant numbers of the Dhammathats (law books), which are collections of prevailing customary rules and precedents, had been compiled during the kingdom of Myanmar(Burma) . Principally, they were transcending, immutable, sacred and inviolable laws. They were drawn into the function of the state law and therefore were central to the legal life of the country. They could also refered to as a record of the social customs of the people. This paper discusses how the judges used the Dhammathats in their judicial courts in Pre-modern period of Myanmar (Burma) . In this regard, there have been contradictory views on whether the Dhammathats were practically used at the court. In general, it has been the tendency of native judges, some enlightened rulers like Bayinnaung, Thalun, Badon, etc. , assigned importance to them and encouraged the judges to study them conscientiously. On the other hand, the European residents in 18th to 19th century Myanmar regarded the Dhammathats as a obsolete and inefficient set
of laws and assumed that the Dhammathats hardly played a significant role in the judicial administration of the Myanmar kingdoms. This author will prove , through analysis of the Yezajyo Hkondaw Hpyathton( a collection of the decisions of Yezajyo rural court) of the 18-19 century, that the Dhammathats were used to a considerable extent at least under the powerful rulers.'
(C7.4) The Right to Health: International and Constitutional Law Focus with Analysis on the Principle of Progressive Realization (ICESCR)
By definition, public health is unique as a governmental activity in its linkage to human rights. The reason why public health deserves to be singled out as having a special relationship with human rights is rather simple. Especially in the era of globalization being under trial, prevention and controlling of diseases in the pursuit of health sharply
distinguish the right to health of citizens from other equally important human rights they are to enjoy. For diseases know no boundaries and that diseases are timeless, failure to handle them with extra cautions would amount not only to social disaster in a given State, but it could quickly and effectively amount to the national security concern of a State as well as the region. To treat the right to health as a unique governmental activity is not only in the interest of the people who will enjoy the right, but also it is in the interest of the government who would secure and safeguard that right as they are to other national security concern issues. In this paper, the connection between health and human rights, the right to health in national and international level legislations, the place for the right to health in constitutions will be explored. The examination on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in the context of the right to health and other international regimes such as Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) will be made in order to identify a place or places where the right to health is constituted. Also, once the right to health is identified in the international treaties and covenants, the relations between those international legal regimes and the states will be explored in the hope of finding the right to health a place in the Statesą constitution. Finally, this paper will pave its way to a discussion on the drafting of Burmaąs new Constitution and that it should include the right to health in order to provide a legal foundation for building a better national governance to fight against public health threats. Specifically, the discussion will be focused on the state of malaria and malaria control programs in Burma.
*(C21.1) Zaw Oo (Research Director)
BENEDICTE BRAC DE LA PERRIERE
(C15.1) Transmission, Change and Reproduction in the Burmese Cult of the 37 Lords
Having researched the « 37 » nats cult since eighteen years, I have seen a generation of natkadaws, the ritual specialists of the cult, passed away and I have been able to observe how functions and goods were concretely transmitted among them. In this paper I propose to examine different cases of transmission in order to illustrate the principles at work, mainly filiation and vocation. I will argue that these mutually exclusive principles are linked to more general ones on which the cult is based, tradition and possession, and that the variation between them allows for the dynamic of the cult and its adaptation to evolving contexts.
(C16.2) “The Glittering East”: British romantic notions of Burma’s past during the twentieth century
During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, British scholars and officials appropriated aspects of Burma’s past, through the writing of new textbooks and the establishment of western-style disciplines and institutions. Increasingly, by the twentieth century, these activities also took on a variety of broader literary and nostalgic forms. This paper investigates the fascination of British colonialists with Burma’s history, its relics and place names.
Two of the more famous literary examples of this romanticising of Burma were Rudyard Kipling’s ballad Mandalay and Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca. Within Burma, historians, archaeologists and travel writers tapped into this popular British interest in romantic Burma. They published extensive histories, travel accounts and guidebooks celebrating the virtues of Burma. R.L. Calogreedy’s 1933 guidebook Mandalay by Car, for example, stressed the romantic qualities the of the name Mandalay.
What a wealth of romance and charm is woven around that poetical name – Mandalay! It conjures up pictures of the Glittering East, with its gay colours and romanticism. Imagination is kindled, fancy and illusion run riot…If you approach Mandalay with this spirit, it is the true spirit…
Readers of these books, however, did not necessarily have to visit Burma to experience these qualities for themselves. The grandeur of the British Empire Exhibitions of 1924 and 1938 also provided representations of this romantic Burma that British audiences could experience. This paper analyses the writing and exhibition of Burma’s past, and has a particular focus on the theme of romanticism in colonial representations of Burma. The paper has implications for the ways in which western scholars perceive Burma. Today it is through the published work of colonial scholars that we, at times, still reminisce about the romance on the “road to Mandalay”.
Thesis Title: ‘The mirror cracked’: Colonial models of the Burma’s past, 1900 – present
(C1a.2) Orthopraxis and messianism: S. N. Goenka’s international vipassana family and its Burmese legacy
Ever since the lay meditation teacher S. N. Goenka arrived from Burma to India in 1969 he has energetically been conducing ten-day vipassana courses for laity and monks and nuns alike. His emphasis has been on Dhamma, not Buddhism, and vipassana as a meditation technique free from religious connotations. Today, mainly through Goenka, the “sweeping” vipassana-technique of the lay teacher U Ba Khin, has become one of the most widely spread vipassana practices originating from Burma.
The heritage from Burma and the Theravada tradition is rather problematic for the Hindu-born Goenka. In his mission to spread vipassana around the world (probably culminating in the five months tour of 2002 called Meditation Now) Goenka teaches vipassana meditation as a universal and a-historic method for realizing inner peace. The emphasis on orthopraxis has had an isolating impact on the movement’s interactions with other Buddhist organizations in the West, and it also creates a rather ambivalent tension between samatha and vipassana practices, and as well as towards devotional rituals such as chanting and bowing. One aim of the paper is to discuss how the lineage of teachers is represented and related to, another is to show how the vipassana practice as taught by S. N. Goenka is placed within a soteriological scheme where the second Buddha Sasana and the vision of Metteya Buddha are important features.
(C16.6) Life as Myth: Aung San and the Cultural Reproduction of Burmese Political Ideas
Aung San (1915-1947), the legendary hero of Burma's struggle for independence, remains one of the least studied personalities in modern Southeast Asian history. In the few Western sources devoted to Aung San, his achievements and his style of political thinking usually have been interpreted as being based on pragmatic, basically western derived, political concepts. In the present contribution it is shown that the various periods of Aung San´s life, the overall pattern of his political actions, the metaphors used in his speeches, as well as the way he was perceived by his comrades and the Burmese people in general, can only be understood if set against the background of a cultural system of ideas, values, and meanings, concerning the basic foundations of political power and legitimation. It shall become obvious that Aung San´s thought and actions, rather than being predicated on Western political models, evoke the image of the life-cycle of an ideal Burmese-Buddhist „ruler“ and king-to-come, minlaung. More than in a metaphorical sense, his life reproduces the classical Burmese configuration of a „warrior king“ who slowly transforms into a „peaceful dhammaraja“ and thereby unites the „realm“. It will be argued that -in a specific sense- he lived his life according to a myth.
Shortly after his assasination, Aung San became the „most potent force in his country´s political mythology“, as Hugh Tinker once rightly remarked. In the present contribution, the basic nature of this political „mythology“ will be briefly discussed, particularly the way in which following political rulers tried to affiliate with Aung San by establishing a symbolic „genealogical succession line“, thus positioning themselves as the legitimate heirs of the founder of a kind of modern „Burmese dynasty“.
By analyzing the symbolic pattern of Aung San´s life, his political actions and thought, as well as his mythological afterlife, the persistence of traditional concepts of legitimation and power in post-colonial Burma finally comes to the fore.
(C16.7) Aung San Suu Kyi, Gandhi and Burma's Democratic Movement
In this proposed topic, I would try to examine analytically the co-relation between Suu Kyi's non-violent struggle for the restoration of democracy in Burma and the influence of Gandhi's ideology on the thoughts and actions of Suu Kyi's course of political and social actions. Apart from this it would be a first hand attempt to explore the various possibilities of the prospect of restoration of democratic governance in Burma through the non-violent methodology of Gandhian way of struggle against one of the most suppressive authoritarian regime of Burma under SPDC(State Peace and Development Council) leadership.
More than a decade have passed since the last democratic elections were held in Burma in May,1990. But Burma still awaits to see the democratic light of the day. Although the courage, dedication and convictions of the people of this pro-democratic struggle in Burma through non-violent actions under Suu Kyi's unfailing leadership is a role model for the voiceless people of Burma. But still some of the peoples in Burma and elsewhere questions the prospect of success of democratic movement through non-violent means against authoritarian, suppressive powerful modern nation state run by their own people. It also raises the research questions that non-violent actions based on Gandhian ideology could be suitable only against the foreign colonial rule or it can be successfully implemented also against their own authoritarian regime like SPDC run by their own people? Whether non-violent actions of Suu Kyi would achieve its desired goals of democratic transition from Military rule run by SPDC? Will Burma under Suu Kyi's leadership see the bright light of success of non-violent actions like South Africa, India and the struggle of Martin Luther in America? These are the various research questions which will be answered in this proposed paper.
Will Burma's admittance into ASEAN club in the July 1997, despite strong protests from USA, EU, and other major countries of the world really reform military junta towards the democratic governance or it has to be achieved only through non-violent actions or armed struggle? Why India being worlds largest democracy and the country of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi shifted its policy from support to the democracy in Burma to constructive engagement policy with military junta? These are the research questions which would be dealt and explored in an analytical way in this proposed paper for presentation. It will also try to cover the Gandhi Jee's trip to Burma in March,1929 and its impact on the political leadership of Burma.
Ph.D. on the topic of " Burma's(Myanmar's) Nationalist Movement(1906-1948) and India" from the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India.
M.Phil. with first class on the topic of "Role of Religion and Politics in Burma(Myanmar)" from the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India.
M.A. with first class in the subject of Buddhist Studies from University of Delhi, Delhi, India.
MYAT HTOO RAZAK
(C14.3) Assessment of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and its potential consequences on future development of Burma
Background: Burma has been considered as one of the HIV/AIDS epi-centers in Southeast Asia. Estimates of number of people living with HIV/AIDS, impact of the epidemic in the country and the border areas, and implementation of effective HIV prevention and control measures have long been a serious concern for the people of Burma, international agencies, and neighbouring countries.
Methods: Assessment of the estimation of people with HIV/AIDS in Burma was conducted by applying a model using sampling frames of information from sentinel surveillance conducted by the Ministry of Health, and several health and social surveys conducted in Burma as well as in the border areas by local and international agencies. Population estimates from the census, internally displaced populations, refugees, and migrant workers along the border areas were included in the model as well. Estimation of economic and social costs of HIV/AIDS epidemic was conducted.
Discussions: HIV/AIDS epidemic is one of the most serious challenges Burma has been facing among other health and social challenges. Economic and social impacts of HIV/AIDS on Burma will even be more severe if effective and comprehensive prevention and control programs are not implemented soon. Inputs and participation of people from different parts of the country, and political will of the authority of the country are crucial in effectively responding to HIV/AIDS epidemic with assistance from the international community.
(C15.3) Reciprocity and redistribution in the quest for sainthood in Burma: Thamanya Hsayadaw’s birthday
Scholars working on Therav?da Buddhism have amply stressed, from their observation of religious practices in village or urban contexts, the dimension of reciprocity in Buddhist giving. Reciprocity indeed constitutes an essential feature of the relationship which is the bedrock of a Therav?din society, the relationship between monk and layman. If this aspect of Buddhist giving is well-known, the aspect of redistribution remains much more neglected and underrated. True, redistribution plays a less important sociological role than reciprocity. Its study still proves beneficial for the comprehension of contemporary Therav?din societies, notably for the study of the emergence mechanisms of a saintly figure in these societies. The paper then proposes to start from the description of an eminently singular case and even, by its extent, exceptional, in order to examine how, in which circumstances and according to which mechanisms, redistributive religious practices take place in a Buddhist society, and in which way these practices are articulated with those, more common, of reciprocity. The peculiar case described is that of Thamanya Hsayadaw, today the most venerated monk in Burma. After a brief presentation of this monk's biography, with his spectacular departure for the forest at the age of 67 and the subsequent creation of an autonomous territory near Hpa-An (Kayin State), some examples of his redistributive practices will be given. Most of the developments will concern an important event, the celebration of his birthday which is the occasion of a series of gifts culminating with a massive redistribution of money and goods by the monk himself. A fifteen-minute film on the progress of the ceremony will be shown, serving as a basis for the analysis of this act of redistribution and its implications.
(C15.8) Shamanistic practice in a Kachin village
"This contribution is based on an ethnographic observation of a shamanic funeral ceremony, in February 2002 in Meyan, a Jinghpaw Kachin village between Mogaung and Myitkyina. It is focused on the sending back of the soul which occured one year after the burial ceremony. The maim ritual sequences are distinguished after the three ritual places which are the altar inside the house, the sacrificial altar outside the house and the dancing place behind the house. The ritual sequences are analysed together with the traduction of the introductive shamam speechs. Some additional notes concern the occurence of the Christian/shamanic syncretism which prevailed during this ceremony as, more generally speaking, amomg the Kachin culture of Burma.
(C17.2) Environmental imagination and the emergence of ‘Kachin’ inearly 19th century British archives
The paper will consider how early nineteenth century travellers constructed an environmental imagination relating to lands that were occupied by ‘Kachin’ people (variously referred to as Kahkyen, Singpho etc.in colonial records) in what is today Kachin State and in the cross-border region with Assam/Arunachal Pradesh (North East Frontier). The paper will discuss how colonial structures of research, including journal publication and careerism, had an impact on the development of tropes which were used throughout the colonial period (and beyond) to define this area environmentally– notably tropes of ‘remoteness’, ‘wilderness’ and ‘wasteland’. Furthermore, this period also saw the construction of ideas about how Kachin people relatedto their environment, a relationship which was negatively represented as being damaging and exploitative. An important reason why this kind of discourse developed was because it related to the ‘discovery’ in this region of a resource that was desired by the colonial state - tea. Thus the Kachin environment was defined in such ways that it fitted into one of the greatnarrative myths of empire, and legitimated further administrative and military involvement in this region to a wider colonial audience and in the metropolitan centre. However, this environmental imaging had important impacts on Kachin society. Itled to the consolidation of administrative definitions of ‘highland’ and ‘lowland’, by which Kachin communities were to be structured politically throughout the colonial period. Furthermore, by only associating Kachin people withtheir environment negatively, it led to the seizure of important lands toenable the state to possess resources that it desired. Thus, this largelyaesthetic and imaginary construction of place had a significant impact on thepolitical structuring of the north east border region, the attempt to restrict‘Kachin’ movement to the plains and in denying traditional relationships withand understandings of this landscape. Although the paper is a critique ofnineteenth century colonial history in this region, it is also hoped that constructive parallels may be drawn with present day debates relating to KachinState. Today, a dissociated interpretation of ‘environment’ is again becoming a key discourse in defining Kachin State as a ‘problem area’ - one in whichKachin people are principally presented as exploiters of resources, and of which the central state is attempting to be seen as protector. It is hoped that the paper may contribute to an appreciation of the fact that Kachin people need to be incorporated into this kind of discourse with a greater degree of historical and environmental understanding.
JANELLE ANN SAFFIN
(C7.1) The Need to Effect a Constitutional Settlement in Burma-Burma's Colonial Legacy
It is within the competence of all of Burma's political leaders to effect a constitutional settlement, but they must first find the political will. Some clearly have demonstrated that they have this and are ready, and when all parties come together, perhaps initially in a consociational arrangement for the purpose of working towards this goal, will Burma finally have the constitution it deserves so that its many people can be included in the national political landscape.
Burma needs to create an enduring constitution and whilst models abound, it can only be crafted by the people themselves, notably the political leaders. A constitution is in essence part law and part politics and to effect one that is enduring, a political settlement is needed to in turn effect the constitutional settlement.
My presentation will focus on Burma's unfinished colonial business, that is to look at why a constitutional settlement has eluded the people of Burma, despite having had two constitutions in the last fifty years, although three if one includes the Japanese one of 1943. The 1947-48 one was done rapidly under the auspice of the Constituent Assembly with an 111 member commission. The latter was also prepared by a commission under the auspice of the BSPP's Revolutionary Council, in essence General Ne Win, and adopted by a referendum. Both processes suffered from political integrity, as the former was rushed and not able to adequately factor in the people's will and notably federalist aspects, and the latter even though it received an over 90 % yes vote from a referendum, the referendum was neither free nor fair. It was designed to secure a yes vote for a one-party state system of governance based on socialism, the 'Burmese Way'.
What Burma got for the first period of constitutionalism, was a constitution that had hallmarks of democracy, (judicial review), and some federal form. The latter eschewed democracy, and despite forming a federal like structure with the formalisation of seven states and seven division, federalism was not to be a reality and abolished judicial review, thus abrogating the rule of law. Neither period of governance seriously addressed underlying political problems, although the AFPFL democratic U Nu did try, General Ne Win allowed dictatorship to take root.
Secession was a factor that was desired by some ethnic nationalities leaders, and had been included in the 1947 constitution, unilateral secession, and it frightened other leaders, mainly Burman leaders. If the political problems that beset Burma, then and now could be resolved to recognise that Burma is not mono-cultural, as the military leaders would have us believe, in fact they prohibit by law any undermining of 'national culture' not defined in the various laws this finds its way into, but multi-cultural and multi-racial and therefore in need of a political settlement that reflects this diversity, then secession would not have to be an issue. As it was it was the safeguard proposed by the ethnic nationalities leaders.
The debates have gone on but are usually not with all parties at the table, the civil wars have gone on and they to have followed the same patterns, with Burma's military fighting different armed fronts and armies, not usually all together. There is however a much different dynamic happening. The military boast that they have negotiated seventeen cease-fire agreements, and indeed they have, and it can't be denied that this has brought a little peace at local levels, but the negotiated settlements and agreements need to be at national level with all Burma's political actors, coming to agreement about power-sharing and power allocation, and this and only this can lead to an enduring constitutional settlement.
Burma is noted for its absence of constitutional governance and rule of law despite the military's attempts to affect legality.
The people of Burma have yet to effect a constitutional settlement that provides the basis for a system of government that can complete their over one century struggle for independence. Formal independence at 4.20 a.m. 4th January 1948 heralded big changes in Burma and the people were optimistic for their future, but it was already blighted by the assassination of Burma's independence hero U Aung San along with other significant cabinet members, with the Burma Communist Party underground and ethnic nationalities groups already disaffected by the political direction and the absence of adequate federal features in the new constitution. The widely applauded Panglong Agreement premised on federalism, but not particularised in the terms, was said to be abandoned by Burma's political leaders. Burma's ethnic nationalities leaders felt betrayed.
LIAN H. SAKHONGH
(C3.8) A Study in Religion, Politics, and Ethnic Identity in Burma
This paper explores interaction between religion, politics and ethnic identity among the Chin people in Burma.
Prior to British annexation in 1896, the Chins were independent people ruled by their own traditional tribal and local chiefs called Ram-uk and Khua-bawi, respectively. Surrounding kingdoms like Burman or Myanmar, Bengal and Assam (India) never conquered the Chin people and their land, Chinram. As a result, Buddhism, Muslim and Hinduism never reached the Chin. The Chin traditional religion was the only social manifestation of people's faith, which bound the community together. Although all the tribes and villages followed the same pattern of belief systems, the ritual practices in traditional Chin religion—called Khua-hrum worship—were very much mutually exclusive, and could not serve to unite the entire Chin people under a single religious institution. Thus, until the British occupation, the Chin society remained in a tribal society and the people's identification with each other was tribally exclusive, and their common national identity remained to be searched.
By the turn of twentieth century, however, Chin society was abruptly transformed by powerful outside forces of change. The British conquered Chinram, and the Christian missionaries followed the colonial powers and converted the people. Within this process of change, the Chin people found themselves in the midst of multi-ethnic and multi-religious environments, which they did not welcome. They also realized that their country was not the central of the universe but a very small part of a very big British Empire. After the colonial period, they found themselves again being separated into three different countries—India, Burma, and Bangladesh—without their consent. While West Chinram of present Mizoram State became part of India, East Chinram of present Chin State joined the Union of Burma according to the Panglong Agreement signed in 1947. The smaller part of Chinram became part of what they then called East Pakistan, that is, present Bangladesh.
Primary agent of change, in my hypothesis, was modern political systems represented by British colonial power and its successors—namely, independent India and Burma. The political development, of course, was the only agent with necessary power to force change. In tribal society, distinction cannot easily be made between religious, social, cultural and political elements. Anything that effects one aspect of life can strongly effect every aspect of life. In fact, tribal society can only be maintained through traditional instruments of integration, if they remain in fundamental isolation from other societies. When centuries-old isolationism in Chinram was broken up by the British colonial power, the traditional way of maintaining the tribal group's identity was no longer effective, and the process of de-tribalization had begun.
In this study I am going to analyze how the old tribal and clan identities were gradually replaced, and how Christianity provided a means of preserving and promoting the self-awareness of Chin identity through its theological concepts and ideology and its ecclesiastical structure; and how the Chin people gradually adjusted to Christianity through an accelerated religious change in their society.
(C17.8) "Burma's Cotton Exports in the Nineteenth Century.
Most of Burma's cotton stemmed from the "dry zone" along the middle Irrawaddy, where rainfall was barely sufficient to support wet-rice cultivation. There, a more variegated agricultural pattern increased total output in years of low or untimely rainfall, laid the ground for a more intense regional division of labor, and provided cash injections. Among the dry crops grown, cotton took a prominent place and, prior to 1800, became Burma's most important cash crop for export, most of it to Yunnan.
In the paper, I will chart quantitative and qualitative developments. Most changes in the second half of the century were in conformity with broader trends in the Burmese economy: Part of the exports was redirected from Yunnan to British-ruled Rangoon and overseas, regulated by price shifts. The introduction of steamers on the Irrawaddy facilitated such geographical flexibility, while overland transport costs and protection costs were still high. New trade centers along the river, most importantly Myingyan, were built upon the traffic in cotton. King Mindon (1853-78) at times took over control of the trade. Yunnanese merchants lost much of their influence, first to the king and his concessionaires, later to southern Chinese operating from Rangoon. Those merchants extended advance contracts with producers and combined cash-crop exports with textile imports, thus advancing the commercialization of Upper Burma's economy. Overall exports of cotton, however, did not increase, a stark contrast with the trade volume of other items. Apparently, the expansionary phase of the cotton trade had been in earlier times, while other goods found their market only in the course of the nineteenth century.
DONALD M. SEEKINS
(C8.4) Burma’s Changing Urban Landscapes: Politics and the ‘New’ Rangoon and Mandalay
The post-1988 military regime has transformed Burma’s largest cities, especially Rangoon and Mandalay. The State Law and Order Restoration Council’s adoption of Open Economy policies in 1988-89 account in part for the changes: with the inflow of foreign private capital, new hotels and office buildings tower over older edifices, Chinese entrepreneurs have bought up Mandalay’s prime real estate, and golf courses devour outlying green spaces. But more fundamentally, the changes in urban landscape have been politically motivated. The SLORC/SPDC has undertaken massive, usually forced, resettlement of central city residents to outlying districts: as many as 500,000 people were moved out of Rangoon to satellite towns.
Both in Rangoon and Mandalay, the military regime has used scarce resources to build or renovate public spaces and monuments: the most important is renovation of Rangoon’s Shwe Dagon Pagoda, but others include new museums and a restored royal palace in Mandalay. However, the regime has not been entirely successful in erasing the cities’ older identities as historical centers of revolutionary nationalism.
Based on fieldwork conducted in 2002, this paper will discuss the changes in the urban environment and their political import, showing the SLORC/SPDC’s attempts to juxtapose “tradition” and “modernity” in order to prop up its own legitimacy.
(C23.1) Studies of Burmese History in China: Retrospect and Prospect
Professor Shengda is translator of the Glass Palace Chronicle into Chinese
Although Chinese document records on Myanmar could be traced back as early as two thousand years ago and a large number of reliable records have been preserved, the actual scientific research on Myanmar was not conducted until the 20th century. Most of the Chinese institutes and researchers on Myanmar studies are located in the cities, namely Beijing, Kunming, Luoyang and Guangzhou. Research work mainly cover four fields, namely Contemporary Economy and Politics of Myanmar, Issues of Ethnic Groups and The Drug Issues in northern Myanmar of Golden Triangle, Myanmar's Foreign Relations (esp. it's relation with China), and History, Culture, Language and Custom of Myanmar as well for Chinese future research on Myanmar, it will still mostly focus on the above-mentioned for aspects, especially the former three ones .The research institutes esp those in Beijing and Kunming are now strengthening its research capacity and basis as well as putting focusng on some key areas. These institutes are increasingly cooperating and keeping in touch with foreign institutes on Myanmar studies.
(C14.5) The Poor Cousins of Burma’s Biomedical Sector: Psychiatry and Traditional Medicine
The Burmese medical system is a pluralistic one. The various medical traditions are tied together by the ways that Burmese people seek help for physical and emotional problems. This paper deals with two of these medical traditions. Indigenous (or traditional) medicine and western psychiatry have different antecedents and a different history, but they share in common a relegation to the background in terms of allocation of resources, research, education, and prestige. Biomedical interventions, physicians, and educational facilities are associated with science, modernity, progress, hygiene, elite social status, and urbanity. A great number of rural Burmese people do not utilize biomedicine and recourse to traditional medicine practitioners, community healers, abortionists, Nat spirit mediums, astrologers, and white magic practitioners constitute important health seeking pathways in contemporary Burma. This paper reviews the history and contemporary situation of psychiatry and traditional medicine and explains the ways in which these two medical sectors are perceived and drawn upon by Burmese people in their everyday lives. This knowledge is of use to government and NGO policy makers seeking to improve quality control, the erosion of Burmese healing knowledge and practices, and the more efficient delivery of health care in rural Burma and amongst the urban and peri-urban poor.
MINN MINN SOE
(C14.4) Illegal Burmese migrant worker issues in Thailand
Totalitarian ruling over Burma through generations of military top brass has ruined the whole country in all aspects, along with political impasse between military junta and NLD still far to be resolved. Mismanagement of civil administration and corruption led by the military and its cronies is ubiquitous, and accordingly, the most being suffered are the ordinary Burmese people mainly from rural areas. In order to seek for greener pasture, many fellows have fled to Thailand (now estimated to be around 2 million illegal workers) and are found working in 3 ‘D’ jobs. Being illegal, these workers are subject to exploitation from authority and private sectors, and are inaccessible to most basic social services like health, education or legal folds. Low literacy rate, peer pressure, lack of social norms, economic hardship and language barrier have led them to indulge in risk taking situation where they are easily exposed to HIV/AIDS and reproductive health problems. The mobile and fluid nature of migrants have thus propagated the spread of this deadly disease not only back toward mainstream society inside Burma but to other parts of Southeast Asia like Malaysia. Previous and current Thai government policies upon illegal migrants have failed due to unilateral effort of curbing illegal influx and controlling numbers of registered migrant workers. A clear cut policy on migrant issues needs to be shaped urgently, and it is proposed that how Thai government should adopt a constructive engagement policy through ASEAN network, in order to ensure effective and sustained collaboration from all parties concerned while addressing migrant worker issue. (Abbre: 3 ‘D’ – dirty, dangerous, difficult)
(C3.3) Ceasefires and Civil Society: The Case of the Mon
This paper addresses two interrelated sets of questions:
1. How has the structure of the Burmese state determined the formation and projection of group identities? In particular, what has been the impact of six decades (1941-2002) of conflict on concepts of ethnicity and modes of social organisation among minority groups?
2. What is the relationship between the configuration of the state - including that of the de facto, insurgent-controlled 'micro-state' - and the existence (or lack) of a functioning 'civil society'?
These questions are examined in relation to the ceasefire agreed in June 1995 between the SLORC and the New Mon State Party (NMSP). It is proposed that the Mon and some other ceasefires have created the political space within which ethnic minority civil society networks may re-emerge. Mon community networks inside Burma have generally developed beyond the sway of the NMSP's political-cultural paradigms, which have tended to stifle the development of civil society in the party's 'liberated zones'. Unlike the military regime and its state nationalism, or the unreconstructed ethnic nationalist reaction to this, these new community initiatives and leaders are challenging the NMSP - both for leadership of the nationalist movement, and to examine and re-articulate its basic values and practices.
However, such developments have had a limited impact on people's daily lives. Particularly in rural areas, villagers' human and civil rights continue to be abused by the state (and also by non-state parties) - although probably to a lesser degree than before the ceasefire. In order for the tentative re-emergence of civil society to affect state-society relations and influence democratic transition, community development must be accompanied by initiatives in the political arena, and negotiation of a new relationship between Burma's diverse ethnic minority groups and the state.
The on-going realignment of ethnic politics in Burma has generally been neglected by outside observers - both academics and activists. As in transition processes the world over, the situation on the ground is a complex mixture of positive and negative elements. It remains to be seen whether recent developments represent a new - or a false - dawn.
Having briefly sketched the development of ethnic identities in pre-colonial Burma and since, the paper examines the suppression of Burmese civil society since 1962. The bulk of original research is contained in the following sections, which describe the development of the 'ethnocratic state' in Burma, and outline ethnic nationalist responses to the perceived Burmanisation of culture and politics. The final sections analyse the ceasefire process, which since 1989, has seen the majority of armed groups negotiate truces with Rangoon.
(C22.7) The City as Symbol in Early Pyu Buddhism: Defining Sacred Space
Four ancient Pyu cities are spatially fairly well-defined. They are Beikthano, Halin, Hmaingmaw and Sri Ksetra. Each shows signs of careful consideration of directionality, spatial significance and each lends itself to different but related symbolic interpretations. Some of these are specifically Buddhist, others are common to both Hinduism and Buddhism. Yet others, while not associated with Buddhism or Hinduism, are certainly characteristic of Pyu cities and may have prehistoric origins. The symbolic and ritual significance of these spaces is delineated and thus made visible largely through man-made bodies of water: canals, moats, ponds and lakes
(C24.1) Burmese democracy movement Internet strategies
The development of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has forever changed the way of the world in some important areas. Understanding the ICTs superior traits when it comes to processing, storing, searching, reproducing and transmitting information is of utmost importance. The centrality of information in our society have even resulted in some declaring that we have entered into a new stage in human existence- The Information age.The ICTs' inexpensiveness provides new opportunities for resource weak and non-institutionalized organizations to organize, coordinate, network and publish/disseminate their information.
The Burmese democracy movement was early in adopting ICTs and hence presents a fascinating case. This project's objective was to answer: can the ICTs function as a useful tool in assisting the Burmese democracy movement in raising international awareness and support for their cause -a free and democratic Burma? And what ICT- usage and work methods can be identified as potentially successful when it comes to transmitting the
democracy groups' political message?
Through qualitative interviews done at the Thai-Burma border, the study concluded that ICTs does already play an important role as a tool for communication in the Burmese Democracy movement, but that the ICT-usage could be developed significantly in using ICT as a tool for publicizing information. It was also concluded that the democracy movement could have much to gain in adopting better media skills and a greater understanding of the dynamics of the contemporary media system. The Information age's altered media sphere entails new opportunities for political groups if they learn to master the media logic. The study also concluded that the democracy movement could gain even more by actively supporting the development of a independent Burmese mass media. Thus providing the movement and Burma with an important addition - a neutral, balanced and credible sender of information and news.
CELINA SU (& PETER MUENNIG)
(C5.1) Mechanisms for access to basic social services in northwestern Thailand: A case study of one community of Shan Burmese Refugees
This paper, based on interviews with approximately 30 households, examines the informal ways in which one community of Burmese refugees approach and interact with Thai governmental institutions and Thai nationals in their attempts to gain access to essential social services, namely emergency health care and primary education for their children. Although the Burmese refugees in the study expressed fear of almost all official Thai institutions, a very small number of key, trusted Thai nationals often served as cultural translators, liaisons, and informal advocates. It is only with these Thai nationals, or in numbers of refugees large enough to form a Ścritical mass1, that these Burmese persons feel safe enough to attend Thai public schools or visit the local hospital. Outside of practical coping mechanisms for economic stability such as pooling resources, then, such a strategy mediates the burdens and risks of social repercussions upon any one individual. Institutional contexts, such as the relationship between the local and provincial governments, are also an important determinants of the levels of services (surreptitiously) received by the refugees. The paper examines the interaction between these social mechanisms and the refugees1 health outcomes, adult education levels, occupations, family structures, and lengths of Thai residency.
(C1a.11) Reconciliation and the Politics of Justice: Indonesia and Burma in Comparative Perspective
This paper attempts to compare the difficulties of Indonesia’s new and fragile democratic regime and Burma’s future democratic regime in dealing with the past human rights abuses. It begins with the examination on the contending explanations of the politics of reconciliation and justice in new democracies. It follows by a brief discussion on various models of choices and strategies dealing with the past human rights abuses applied in selected new democratic regimes. It then examines the politics of reconciliation in post-Suharto Indonesia, especially looking at lessons that Burma can learn from Indonesia. Finally, this paper argues that reconciliation and a sense of justice can be achieved only when both Indonesia and Burma are willing to pursue two strategies: by prosecuting those who committed the human rights abuses in the past and by establishing a truth and reconciliation commission.
(in absentia) Shan Construction of Knowledge
In January 1999, a festival concerned with Shan cultural heritage took place in Kyaukme of Northern Shan State. It was called poy khu mo tai in Shan , shan sahsodaw nei pwe in Myanmar and Great Men of Letters or Learned Persons Day Festival in English. It was held in the compound of Kambawza monastery which common name is Shan Kyaung. Hundreds of sub-groups of the Shan gathered there and celebrated in memory of the Great Men of Letters and presented Shan rich cultural performance for ten days. This time was the 24th one.
Shan people inherit their literature or texts by their own writing system that becomes the emblem of the Shan seeking to maintain distinctive identity. It may be surely said that the celebration related to identity and construction of knowledge of the Shan. My paper attempts to describe and analyze it and how literary tradition is inherited and constructed.
(C15.2) Some changes in religious activities in village life in Upper Burma
In this presentation, I hope to examine the situation of social change in a peasant village in Sagaing township, Upper Burma, in which I compare the data from my research during 1979-80 with that from my recent research in the latter period of 1990’s. I will focus on the new phenomena of spirit-beliefs and practices in the villages. For example, in the villages, the number of spirit medium (nat-kadaw) have increased and their behaviours have become similar to that of professional nat-kadaw, mainly dwelling in urban areas. In addition, these days, villagers go to Taungbyone Festival, which is a nat-pwe popular on a national scale, to participate in their cult, although few villagers went there perhaps twenty years ago. One of the recent changes noticeable in the villages is an increased influence from the outside world and the impact of urbanization. This may be visible in the suburban areas of cities, but with the development of transportation-network and new means of entertainment such like TVs and Videos, it has also become visible in rural area of Burma. Influx of information and influence of the outside world are witnessed not only in daily life, but also in their religious life. As a result, spirit beliefs seem to have come to lay more emphasis on securing mundane profit and personal security in life, which is observed in the backdrop of the penetration of cash economy.
(C3.1) Dynamic of Group Identity in Ethnic Conflict
Conflict theorists have argued that one of the core issues involved in intractable ethnic conflict is the dynamic of "group identity", defined as the sense of self-in-relation-to-the-world, which gives meaning to the individual and the group and makes life predictable. When conflicts between groups become longstanding and intractable, these conflicts are likely to have at their core a perceived threat by one or both parties' to their group identity. The presence of threats, danger, discrimination, or potential harm is likely to heighten the importance of maintaining and protecting one's social identity and is likely to elicit defensive responses aimed at avoiding psychic and/or physical annihilation. This paper argues that in order to address the longstanding ethnic conflicts in Burma/Myanmar, it is important to understand the role of identity in the escalation, maintenance, and transformation of such conflicts. Through the author's contact with the Kachin ethnic group, the concept of "Kachin identity" is explored. The process of groups better understanding the dynamic of their own identity and the construct of the other's identity may be an important step in improving the conflictual relationship between parties in Burma/Myanmar.
KHIN NI NI THEIN
(C4.7) The Salween Water Partnership
The Salween Water Partnership (SWP) is a newly conceived on-going research project. Its ultimate structure will be that of an institution of closely knitted participating organisations and individuals consists of all Salween stakeholders. The author believes that ‘the future of the Salween River should be based on a basin-wide, integrated approach for planning, development, management, and study of natural resources for long-term sustainability and for the mutual benefit, through effective institutional arrangement for proper coordination and cooperation among the three riparian countries’. Hence the focus and emphasis of this research is on ‘where we want to be’ rather than ‘where we are at this very moment’ while keeping the vision, ‘peaceful and prosperous Salween Basin: attainment of real and sustainable development for the Salween stakeholders, the Salween Basin itself and the co-riparian countries to which this mighty river blesses’, in mind. [NB: The Salween River is a transnational watercourse shared among China, Burma-Myanmar and Thailand in the order of appearance.]
This study tries to create a multi-stakeholders platform; to gather interested NGOs, professionals, donors, academics, decision-makers and individuals on board; to initiate and undertake participatory action research for effective river basin management; to engage civil society in a public consultation/participation process. Areas of Cooperation and Complementation are as shown below.
Natural Resources Management – working towards food sufficiency and security, sustainable forest goods and services, water supply and energy development for the region (exploring alternative sources of energy); poverty reduction; protection and/or conservation of biodiversity, management of riverine ecosystem.
Basin-wide (subregional) Coordination – broad-based, multidisciplinary, multi-sectoral participatory approach involving the interests of all stakeholders (civil society, indigenous people, private and public sector); trust-building measures (through transparency and inclusive policy); protection and preservation of cultural diversity and indigenous knowledge; identifying common objectives and goals; optimizing socio-economic opportunities/benefits.
Capacity Building – information, communication and education towards a shared basin identity; breeding socio-technologists (‘Socio-technology is like a beam which joins two columns, sociology and technology, together.’, words of Emeritus Professor of Hydroinformatics, dr. M.B. Abbott, are quoted here to highlight the function and importance of socio-technology); institution building (scientific and management); human and social capital; joint research and educational programs.
Multilateral (decision-making) Institutions - incorporation of local/indigenous concerns; adaptability/flexibility to external/internal influences, including trends in globalization, mainstreaming gender concerns, socio-technological and technological advancements; encourage international involvement; regional monitoring/evaluation as a tool.
The Salween Water Partnership consists of 25 organisational and individual members such as Global Water Partnership http://www.gwp.org, International Association of Hydrologists, Commission on Transboundary Aquifers (TARM). [Transboundary Aquifer Resource Management is a cooperative initiative established by the IAH, UNESCO, FAO & UN ECE], professors and prominent water professionals in Bangladesh, Burma-Myanmar, China, Europe, India, Japan, Philippines, Russia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and U.S.A.
This paper presents the results so far and the road map for the future research.
*(C13.10) Gender inclusion in the information age
(C2.5) Capacity building for the education sector in Burma: Challenges for schooling and teacher education
This paper will examine some of the key challenges facing education policy makers, planners and educators in their task to reform the education sector in Burma, with special reference to schooling and the education and training of teachers. The task is a formidable one throughout the whole sector.
Issues relating to school access, education management, finance, physical resources including school building programmes, staff salaries, career pathways and upgrading of existing administrative structures will not be discussed here ,due to constraints of space, time and a lack of author expertise in some of these areas. Nevertheless, these sub sectors are vitally important for the efficient working of the education sector, and should certainly figure high on any agenda for education reform in Burma.
The paper will examine existing school structures and the school curriculum, including issues relating to pupil learning and assessment. The structure and content of teacher education as they relate to the improvement of school effectiveness, will occupy a key area in the discussion, embracing changes at both the pre-service and in service levels of teacher training to effect school improvement and its effectiveness.
The above will be discussed against a background of a number of key challenges which policy makers, planners and educators need to meet if reform is to take place. These challenges will include retraining existing teacher educators and the training of newly recruited ones, the development of extensive programmes for in service training at primary and secondary school levels for teachers in mid career, and developing a more innovative teacher preparation training curriculum for newly recruited trainees.
Other challenges would be the development and production of new teaching and learning materials which might build on selected and existing UNICEF/UNDP curriculum innovation at the primary school level. Assessing the feasibility of distance education as part of a mixed mode approach to teacher preparation and development. Identification of key secondary and primary school sites throughout the country, as well as teacher training establishments, to act as cluster centres for the training and development of teachers would also be a difficult issue to address. A key challenge will be for those entrusted with the reform of schooling and teacher education, to attempt to change the existing somewhat inflexible attitudes of teachers and teacher educators towards teaching and learning, to ones which are more open, innovative and relevant to a changing modern world outside Burma.
(C1a.23) Forest resource degradation in Myanmar
This paper explore deforestation of Myanmar by using remote sensing image and GIS. Policies strategies need to focus on dealing with the variables that affect market, technology, productivity of up land cultivators and affordability and appropriateness of natural resources conservation technologies. Due to the high rate of the deforestation, it is essential to persuade to the local people to take part in afforestation program. People participation is a vital role to conserve the remaining forest. Corruption fighting plan should be formulated to decline degradation of the natural resources.
When deciding policies and changes to improve the relationships of people with forest, it is most relevant to consider who has rights to access and use forest, who actually uses or manages forest and who control the resources. Rural poverty, lack of fuelwood substitutes, a stringent land use policy and investment, and handicapped man power seriously constrain sustainable development. Major environmental impacts of slash and burn cultivation include deforestation and the loss of biological resources. According to the compensation right, local communities should responsible to participate conservation of natural resource with joint or collective management. In making the plan for the natural resources management, the land use recommendation will give improved productivity.
(C1a.1) The Italians in Myanmar
Commemorating the work of Renzo Carmignani, I will trace from its beginnings the nature and some of the implications of the Italian presence in Burma.
(C15.4) Weikza: the case of Tamanya Taung Hsayadaw (tentative title)
Recent articles on Myanmar pointed out that the SLORC used Buddhism in its political exercise and that Buddhism has become increasingly politicized. For example, the government has repaired many pagodas in 1990s and held the state ceremonies to award titles to leading senior monks. This kind of political use of Buddhism was not so obvious during the Ne Win's reign. On the other hand, there are country-dwelling monks who have become popular because of their ability to gain supernatural power through meditation and other practices. The tendency for such worship that can be interpreted both in the tradition of the "forest monk" and the weikza / tweyatpauk belief, seemed to have become more evident since 1988. There are a multitude of new religious magazines and people get hold of information of these monks and practitioners through them. Travel agencies also supply tours to visit famous monks in the countryside. I will focus on a renowned vegetarian monk, Tamanya Taung Hsayadaw and the formulation of his religious land (thathana-myei) in the Karen state. The brief sketch of Tamanya Taung, the activities of monks and his worshipers, the political situation of Karen state and Myanmar, and the factors behind the development of the Tamanya religious land, will be examined.
SAN SAN HNIN TUN
(C18.2) Teaching and learning of Myanmar language for scholars of Myanmar
Learning Burmese or ba-ma za-ga ne ba-ma-za is an important part of the academic career of all Burma scholars who are non-native speakers of Burmese. This paper will address some myths and legends of successful learners of Burmese, as well as the most common difficulties in learning Burmese, and provide some explanations based on theories of second language acquisition in relation to the nature of Burmese language and culture. The main objective is to have an open discussion regarding learning Burmese among the language teachers and scholars cum (old and continuing) students of Burmese, in order to find some collective solutions.U SAW TUN
(C18.6) An examination of the present status of colloquial Burmese
In November, 1965, the Prose Commission of the Writers' Association of Upper Burma, in their paper of "Modern Burmese Writing" suggested using modern Burmese instead of literary Burmese so that more people could utilize the literature effectively. Due to misinterpretation of the term "modern Burmese" as spoken Burmese, this proposal resulted in a tide of very serious arguments among the readers. Inspired, at least partially, by this movement, more writers than ever started to write in everyday language, so that colloquial Burmese became predominant in writings and broadcastings. Nevertheless, some of the present writings, influenced by literary Burmese, still need to be improved. This paper, exploring some writings and broadcasting at present, will make an attempt to recommend possible ways to get rid of the overshadowing literary practices used in modern Burmese.
(C21.7) Reforming Burma's Banking System: An Overview of the Problems and Possibilities
A country's financial system plays a critical role in its economic development. It is the vehicle through which the means of exchange are created, resources are mobilised and allocated, risks are managed, government spending is financed, foreign capital is accessed, and it is via financial institutions that individuals can protect themselves against economic fluctuations. Notwithstanding this essential role, Burma has not had a properly functioning financial system for four decades. The present system, an unstable mix of monolithic state-owned institutions and a cohort of new private banks of dubious legitimacy, is a serious brake on Burma's economy. This paper examines the role financial institutions can play in a country's development, explores how Burma's current system falls far short of this ideal and broadly outlines how it might be reformed. It argues the case for the standard remedies professed by economists of liberalisation, stabilisation and privatisation but, critically, suggests that these must be preceded by more fundamental reforms that create the legal, regulatory and other infrastructure that are the prerequisites of a modern, and efficient, financial system.
(C9.7) The tonal characteristics of functional particles in Burmese
'Citation form' descriptions of the phonetic correlates of Burmese tones (pitch, phonation type, duration) are inadequate because they do not take into account the diverse effects of tone sandhi, stress and intonation, all of which have yet to be examined in detail. In addition, while functional particles may be assigned orthographically to a tonal category, their phonetic characteristics set them apart from the 'canonical' tone system. Using a corpus of Burmese radio news broadcasts, this paper describes some of the suprasegmental features of functional particles, considers their role as markers of syntactic and intonational phrase boundaries and of discourse structure.
(specialist on heritage and consumer law – both linked to constitutional considerations)
(C7.5) Heritage law as applicable to Burma.
The paper would address the following issues: Meanings of heritage, Heritage and nation building, Common schemes for the protection of items of cultural heritage, focussing on listing. Listing - international - Heritage listing under the World Heritage Convention. Listing national in a federal system. Listing heritage by the national government, listing heritage by the State governments, listing at a local level. Resolving any overlaps: Do overlaps need to be reconciled? If so, the paper will conclude by arguing that there are two model for resolving apparent overlaps and conflicts in a federal system:
1. the national government can take the lead in setting standards and even by having its own comprehensive national register (see the US and Australia). The national government in Burma may also have a role if there is a danger that the strong ethnic basis of a State may lead to the heritage items of other groups receiving less attention. The default responsibility might fall to the national government.
2. the second method is illustrated by the current attempt by the Australian government to divide heritage items into items of national OR State significance. In NSW there is a further step by the State to further divide items into those of State OR local significance. It will be argued that this logically and administratively misconceived.
(C18.5) Linguistic and social aspects of word-play in Burmese.
Word play occupies a relatively prominent position in the linguistic landscape of Burmese (Myanmar). This paper focuses on one type of word play, the spoonerism which, broadly conceived, involves the rearrangement (exchange, insertion or deletion) of linguistic units - typically phonemes, but also syllables or words, within a frame no larger than the clause. Spoonerisms are of interest to linguists as an institutionalized form of phenomena such as slips-of-the-tongue (and other linguistic disfluences) which provide evidence for linguistic units relevant to speech production. Haas 1969 (BIHP, vol. 39 part 2, pp 276-85) is a short study of the linguistic aspects of Burmese spoonerisms (zagalein 'twisted or lying speech') and related phenomena (e.g. 'Pig Latins') that Haas labels 'disguised speech'. This paper follows up her study with attention not only to phonological aspects of zagalein, but also to varieties, such as a two-step type in which the base is created by word association (along the lines of Cockney rhyming slang). Finally, the cultural context of zagalein will also be examined: possible paths of transmission, such as street theater; functions, such as providing argot; and roles in literature and story telling (allusions, anecdotes).
ALICE KHIN SAW WIN
(C14.2) Health as human right, HIV/AIDS problem of migrants from Burma in Thailand, a consequence of human rights violations.
Over 50 years ago, the Constitution of WHO projected a vision of health as a state of physical, mental and social well-being - a definition that has important conceptual and practical implications. Recently, health professionals begin to recognize the importance of the protection and promotion of human rights as necessary precondition for individual and community health. It is now clear that regardless of the effectiveness of technologies, the underlying civil, cultural, economic,political and social conditions have to be addressed as well in the health care paradigm.
The continued violations of human rights, arbitrary arrests, torture and summary executions, continued use of forced labor projects, forced porterage for the military and economic hardships in Burma have led to migration of thousands of people to the neighboring countries, especially Thailand. These migrants have to work in places that are shunned by local Thai workers such as the construction sites, fishing, saw mills and plantations. Because of the illegal migration status, they have to live in a very poor living condition and sanitation. Many Burmese people are being forced out of their homes by poverty and violations of human rights with limited access to resources and knowledge on HIV/AIDS and other reproductive health problems. The vulnerability to HIV/AIDS among this population is compounded by the limited mobility due to lack of official documents and denial of access to medical care in their country of destination, Thailand. The annual United Nations report shows that AIDS continue to spread in Burma and its border region. Seroprevalence data from Cambodia, Burma and Thailand indicate that populations in provinces with international border crossings have higher levels of HIV infection than the populations living further away from the borders. This situation is the clear evidence of the negative impact of human rights violations on health. Burmese migrant's workers' situation is a strong evidence on the fact that violations of human rights encountered in their country of origin, and country of destination, are critical in every migrant's life and has a direct impact on all aspects of their health. The root cause of migration from Burma is mainly due to the country's political crisis and violations of human rights. This problem will continue as long as the atrocities and repression continue in Burma.
It is imperative that health professionals and health care workers of Burma understand the fundamental linkages between health and human rights and the way in which those linkages can influence the course of health practice in Burma. Building and strengthening the information and education about health and human rights is required in order to implement the concept.
(C17.4) Buddhist missionaries and the Eastern Pwo Karen script.
The development of Karen orthography and literature in 19th century Burma is tied to the efforts of various religious leaders among Karen people. The cultural significance ascribed to writing and the content of the early literature reveal an underlying significance for the construction of ethnic identity, local politics, and historical traditions. While western literature on Karen social development in 19th century Burma has focused on the influence of Christian missionaries in this process, the agency of indigenous religious leaders, no less significant, has been largely overlooked.
The Christian missionary scripts for the Sgaw and Pwo Karen dialects remain in use today alongside a Mon-derived Buddhist writing system native to the eastern dialect of Pwo Karen. The bulk of Karen literature exists in these three scripts. The earliest examples of Eastern Pwo Karen writing appear in palm-leaf manuscripts from the mid 19th century. These texts give us important clues about the cultural environment of the lower Salween area at the time this writing system became enshrined in a liteary tradition. They also help contextualize a number of contradictory legends about the origins of Eastern Pwo writing which emerge in popular historical literature. This paper examines the narratives surrounding the introduction of Pwo Karen writing and their importance in the construction of a Pwo Karen historical identity in the lower Salween area.
(C9.8) On the role of the medial palatal sonant in the history of the Burmese language
One of the unexplained by now phenomena of the phonological system of Burmese is the evolution of the syllables containing velar initials before vowel i.Old Burmese (OBur)words which were spelled in the inscriptions with velar surd initials followed by vowel i at certain stage of the evolution started to be spelled with medial y,and in such graphic form are preserved in Modern Burmese (MBur),e.g.,OBur ki'a crow'--MBur kyi.At the same time there existed syllables in which velar surds could combine with medial y,it was possible before other vowels,but not i,and such OBur words have preserved their graphic form unchanged till nowadays,e.g.,OBur=MBur khyup 'to govern',kyan 'be left behind'. Analysis shows that MBur syllables which in graphic are reflected as velar surds with medial y followed by i never contained the medial [j] in their phonetic shape. The same approach helps to explain the otherwise unnatural evolution of OBur word hi 'to have' into MBur hri,and also to explain the etymology of the word Shan (national minority of Myanmar).
(C16.4) Aspects of the “Left” and “Right” and their “Conversions” in Modern, “Elite” Burmese Politics
This presentation will analyse aspects of the left and right orientation, alliances and dichotomies in modern elitist Burmese politics of the post-independence era starting from that of the late 1950s. The terms “left” and “right” in the nature and context of Burmese politics in the post-war era would be briefly defined with antecedents going to aspects of pre-war Burmese politics. It was said by some that the 1962 “left” military takeover is “rare” in the context of the times since most military coups and military in many other countries can be said to be of the (political) “right” persuasion. And some historical trends prior to that of the 1962 takeover would indicate that the Burmese Army can be (roughly described) during that time of having “right” political inclinations. This can be discerned in the fact that when the no-confidence motion against the Nu-Tin faction of then Antii- Fascist People’s Freedom League (AFPL) government was tabled in the then Burmese Parliament in June 1958 it was the “sticking” of the “leftist” National United Front (NUF) with U Nu’s government that managed to narrowly defeat the no-confidence motion initiated by the (“right”) Swe-Nyein faction. But in October 1958 when U Nu’s decision to handover power to General Ne Win was put into vote in the Parliament the “left” NUF voted against it and the “right” Swe- Nyein of AFPFL faction voted for it. Again in February 1959, when Parliament amended Section 116 of the 1947 Constitution so that General Ne Win could continue as caretaker Prime Minister for another year it was the left NUF that voted against it. It is also generally alleged that at least aspect of the Army “sided” with the Swe-Nyein’s “right” faction in the February 1960 elections whereby not only them but also the leftist NUF were “routed” when the NUF failed to win a single seat in Parliament.
Yet it was the NUF (or at least part of the NUF) which welcomed the military takeover of March 1962 and also the establishment of the Burma Socialist Programme Party (BSPP) in July 1962. What made the Army change its “right-leaning” political orientation from the period of late 1950s to early 1960s to that of “left” rhetoric and policies will be the main focus and query of the presentation.
The left-right dichotomy or struggle in Burmese politics resurfaced in 1977 when as the aftermath of the November 1977 Extraordinary BSPP party Congress many “left” and surrendered or former Communists were sacked from the central committee and from many middle and lower level party echelons.
The “transposition” of the “left”/”right” divide in Burmese elitist politics of the late 1950s, 1960s and1970s can also be discerned in the “oppositional politics” of the National League for Democracy (NLD) where the former right or “moderate” members of the BSPP (the Army faction) can be seen to be joining hands with the former left of the BSPP (consisting of some of the sacked BSPP members of 1977 “Army-Party” split) in an alliance which constituted the first two tiers -the ex-army and the intellectual factions; the young student factions being the third tier- of the NLD. The prospect of this “dichotomy” in current oppositional (NLD politics) will be examined in the context of the admittedly currently very hypothetical “scenario” of what could be envisaged of the left-right divide if the current oppositional politicians and players were to assume “elitist” (ruling/power-sharing) roles in the postulated (hoped for future) arising ostensibly as a result of a (possible) settlement or some sort of accommodation between the current ruling elites and the current opposition (NLD).
(C18.1) A Glimpse of Five Modern, "Existential" Modern Burmese Poems of Zaw Gyi, Minthu Wun and Tin Moe
The poems that would be analysed are (1) "The Unposessed Flower" by Tin Moe (composed circa late 1950s ,early 1960s) "Ma Pine Ban" in Burmese (2) "The Guest" by Tin Moe (composed 1959) ("Ei-Thei-Gyee" in Burmese) (3) "Cyclical Continuity of Regrets" by Minthuwun ( composed on 1 November 1961)" Naung Da Samsara" in Burmese (4)"Attachment" by Minthuwun (composed on 3 May 1972) "Than-Yaw-Zin" in Burmese and (5) "Zaw Gyi and Shein Hsar War" the late Zaw Gyi (composed in 1984) by the late Zaw Gyi.
The poems will be narrated in Burmese and the presenter's translations of the poems into English will be made. Why and how these poems can be considered "existential", in the presenter's opinion, will be analysed. To what extent (if any) shades or "substances" of Buddhist (cultural) symbols, concepts, messages and "morals" can be discerned in these poems will be analysed. The presenter's interpretations, feelings and thoughts about the poems will be made.
HANS BERND ZOLLNER
(C16.3) The Nagani-Project
The Nagani Book Club (NBC) was founded in 1937 by Thakin Nu and other Burmese nationalists to provide „good books at a reasonable price“ in Burmese language for the masses of the country. Up to the present, the Club has not been subject to thorough scientific research. The „Nagani Project“ is meant to investigate into the NBC’s activities and history and to tackle some of the reasons that prevented inquiry till now.
The first part of the paper outlines three aims of the project:
- Research on the NBC
- cooperation between Myanmar and non-Myanmar scholars on the subject;
- reviving the interest in Burma/Myanmar studies in Germany (and other western countries).
The second part will inform about the attempts to get the project started.
Finally, an invitation for participation in the project will be presented.