Myanmar Series: 4 of 4 – The People

Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar
The famous Aung San Suu Kyi - the icon of democracy.

RECENT UPDATE:- News had it that Aung San Suu Kyi wins in the recent Myanmar election (April 2012).

I have said earlier this part of the series about “people” is going to be exciting. What struck me about Burmese which I’d say set them apart from other Asians is that probably they’re the only Asian people that wear “Tanaka” – a yellowish powder from the wood named tanaka which they put on their face, neck and can be use all over the body. People of all ages, children, youth, old people, men and women put tanaka which is believe to have a natural beautifying effects.

Back in Singapore, it reminds me of a story about my experience with a former Burmese colleague where I ended up a little embarrass. One morning, my Burmese colleague happily greets me while she approaches me in my table. She got new hair cut and she really looks great in her get up that day. Except for one thing, I noticed that she has had some excess yellowish powder on her face and neck. I thought, to save her from embarrassment so that our annoying colleagues will not pull her leg, I casually tell her that she really looks gorgeous in her new hairstyle except that she has put on excessive make up on her face and neck. And I was somewhat surprised about her quick reply, “no no no Mafey, this is not make up! this is tanaka from our country we really use it like this as a replacement from those commercials make up that many other people use.” And I was like, “oh… ah… I see… I thought you were in a hurry that you forgot to look at your face in the mirror before you left home for work.” Then I winked at her. Quite a culture shock where I ended up feeling a little embarrass due to my ignorance.

Let’s move to the photos of people :).

Mother and child
The monks
The aunties
A herd with the cows
A pupil going back home after class
Hardworking youngster
A mother cooking breakfast using fire wood.
Monks at work
Siblings going to school
A vendor
Another vendor
Young Burmese playing with younger brother
A monk on a rainy day
A woman pushing a cart
Giggling ladies coming out from work (I learned from my Burmese colleague that they are teachers)
Making friends with Iboy and Elizabeth (sounds not very Burmese names)
Seeing women monks not quite a common sight
A lass having tanaka in square form
Siblings selling vegies
A father making out of palm leaves for roof cover
A tanaka put on with different strokes
Schoolboys wearing uniform
A trishaw driver taking a nap
This little angel is a head-turner
(Auntie) Irene. This energetic Canadian in her 70s inspires and intimidate me at the same time. She shared her wisdom and adventures about traveling for decades. While the teenage Burmese is preparing sugar cane juice using this small machine; Auntie Irene keenly observes. They all resemble shades of green :).
Cecile in Myanmar
Cecile. Pretended to be a Burmese :). No one believe her of course. This amiable lady is from south part of France - Bordeaux.
Mafey in Myanmar!
Mafey. A few times mistaken as Burmese. Except that she can only speak "Chezu ba" (thank you) and "Mingalar bar" (hello). Someone shouted at her "Chit tey" which she learned later on as "I love you". Should have said "Chit tey" too =)).
Longyi, a traditional long skirt is used both by men and women. I bought one which I wear on the day I left, its very comfortable though I can't walk faster than my normal phase :).
Uniquely Burmese, I shoud say

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