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Burmese political culture - general publications

Websites/Multiple Documents

Title: Harn Lay's politcal cartoons
Description/subject: High quality, hard-hitting. See also the cartoons on "The Irrawaddy"
Author/creator: Harn Lay
Language: English
Source/publisher: Shanland
Format/size: jpeg
Alternate URLs: http://www.cartoonharnlay.com/
http://www.irrawaddy.org/archive_cartoon.php?sub_id=9
http://www.shanland.org/oldversion/cartoons.htm
Date of entry/update: 15 December 2010


Individual Documents

Title: Helping Education to Keep Pace with Reform
Date of publication: 12 March 2012
Description/subject: Need for translations into Burmese of key texts
Author/creator: David Steinberg
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 31 March 2012


Title: Der Traum vom buddhistischen Wohlfahrtsstaat
Date of publication: 29 December 2005
Description/subject: Die hier vorgestellte These besagt, dass es im buddhistischen Birma ein von Menschen aus allen Schichten der Bevölkerung geteiltes geschichtlich überliefertes System von Vorstellungen und Erwartungen gibt, das mit unserem Begriff "Wohlfahrtsstaat" belegt werden kann. keywords: burmese way to socialism, social system, constitution, political culture, welfare state
Author/creator: Hans-Bernd Zöllner
Language: Deutsch, German
Source/publisher: Asienhaus Focus Asien Nr. 26; S. 15-21
Format/size: pdf
Date of entry/update: 20 March 2006


Title: The Culture of Burmese Politics: An Interview with Gustaaf Houtman
Date of publication: January 2004
Description/subject: "Gustaaf Houtman, PhD, is the Deputy Director of the Royal Anthropology Institute in London and the Editor of Anthropology Today. His book, Mental Culture in Burmese Crisis Politics, discusses the Buddhist dimensions to Burma’s conflict between the opposition and the ruling military junta. He spoke with The Irrawaddy about Burma’s political culture and the shortcomings of scholarly work about the country..."
Language: Engllish
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 12, No. 1
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 07 March 2004


Title: Ethnic Entertainers Make the Scene
Date of publication: May 2003
Description/subject: "Burma’s ethnic diversity hasn’t translated into equal representation in the entertainment industry, but young ethnic stars are gradually rising above the prejudice held by the Burman majority... Back in the 1970s, when Sai Khan Lait would walk the city streets to go to school at Mandalay Medical Institute, kids along the way would heckle him for his peculiar attire: an ethnic Shan outfit. When hanging around campus, schoolgirls simpered at him. When at the hospital, he would be roundly upbraided by the nurses. "As a student coming from an ethnic minority group, I was very much aware that my life would not be easy in Mandalay," says Sai Khan Lait, who has since become the most famous and respected composer of original modern music in Burma. "Those experiences were deeply personal, and compelled me to compose the song, ‘A Shan Living in Mandalay’." The song went on to become one of the biggest hits in Burmese pop music history..."
Author/creator: Min Zin
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 11, No. 4
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 02 July 2003


Title: Thagyamin Is Watching You
Date of publication: April 2003
Description/subject: "Legend has it that the king of the nats makes an annual visit to earth with the aim of delivering the world from evil...Where did Thagyamin choose to visit this year? Maybe he was so comfortable surrounded by angels and queens that he forgot to replenish his store of merit. Or perhaps, during Thingyan he went to Inya Lake to enjoy a drink or two with the generals. With any luck he might have found time between drinks to remind them of their spiritual duties..."
Author/creator: Aung Zaw
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 11, No. 3
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: 'External' Aspects of Self-Determination Movements in Burma
Date of publication: February 2003
Description/subject: Abstract: "Based on secondary resources and long term anthropological field research, this paper explores some of the 'external' factors involved in the pro-democracy and ethnic struggles for self-determination currently being experienced in Burma. The analysis draws in cultural, economic and political aspects to demonstrate that a number of macro- and micro-level external or external-origin influences are at play, at a number of different 'inside', 'outside' and marginal sites. The paper argues in particular that 'cultural' factors such as computer-mediated communication and contacts with outsiders when living in exile, serve as means by which real, virtual and imaginary connections are drawn between these different sites and the actors who inhabit them. In the context of Burma, this paper thus presents a glimpse into this complexity of origin and substance of external influences, of interactions between the external and the internal, and of the multidirectional pathways along which they operate. After an introductory overview, it does so by first reviewing some pertinent macro-political and macro-economic external factors, including international views and strategic interests. The paper then focuses on micro-level social and cultural issues, examining aspects of new media as utilised by the Burmese exile community and international activists. External influences on exiled communities living in the margins on the Thai-Burma border (characterised by the paper as neither 'inside' nor 'outside' proper), including Christianity and foreign non-governmental organisations, are then explored. The paper concludes that inside views, reactions and experiences of outside influences are presently just as important in determining outcomes as are the outside influences themselves."
Author/creator: Sandra Dudley
Language: English
Source/publisher: Queen Elizabeth House
Format/size: pdf (123K)
Alternate URLs: http://ideas.repec.org/p/qeh/qehwps/qehwps94.html
Date of entry/update: 08 July 2010


Title: The Coming of the 'Future King" -- Burmese Minlaung Expectations Before and During the Second World War
Date of publication: 2003
Description/subject: Throughout the history of Burma we come across rebellions often led by so-called 'future kings,' minlaungs. In western historiography, minlaung-movements are usually attributed to the pre-colonial past, whereas rebellions and movements occurring during the British colonial period are conceived of as proto-nationalist in character and thus an indication of the westernizing process. In this article, the notion of minlaung and concomitant ideas about rebellion and the magical-spiritual forces involved are explained against the backdrop of Burmese-Buddhist culture. It is further shown how these ideas persisted and gained momentum before and during World War II and how they affected the western educated nationalists, especially Aung San whose political actions fit into the cultural pattern of the career of a minlaung.
Author/creator: Susanne Prager
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Journal of Burma Studies" Vol. 8, 2003
Format/size: pdf (601K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.niu.edu/burma/publications/jbs/vol8/Abstract2_ClymerOpt.pdf
Date of entry/update: 01 January 2009


Title: Ludu Daw Amar: Speaking Truth to Power
Date of publication: October 2002
Description/subject: A brief look into the life of Ludu Daw Amar, Burma�s best known female journalist and social critic... "The Burmese word amar translates as "the strong" or "the hard". It is an apt description of one of Burma�s most respected female figures, Ludu Daw Amar (she prefers the spelling, Amah), who turned 87 in November. An energetic political dissenter and left-leaning journalist with a faculty for articulating messages to and for the public, Ludu Daw Amar and her family have had more than their fair share of troubles with the authorities. Even now, Daw Amar is under constant surveillance, but she has never been one to bow down to power. As the prefix of her name Ludu or "the people" suggests, Daw Amar�s raison d�etre is to speak truth to power on behalf of the people without compromise. "I�ll never forget my first impression," recalls Dutch journalist Minka Nijhuis, who has met Daw Amar four times since 1995. "At first she looked so fragile that even her wristwatch seemed too heavy for her arm. But that impression disappeared as soon as she started speaking."
Author/creator: Min Zin
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 10, No. 8
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: An Interview with Ad Carabao
Date of publication: September 2002
Description/subject: "I think I can be more like a bullet they could use in fighting back."... The Irrawaddy spoke recently with Yuenyong "Ad" Ophakul, of the Thai folk-rock band Carabao, about his recent solo release, "Don�t Cry" (Mai Dtong Rong Hai). The album, which combines reggae rhythms with strong lyrics expressing support for the Shan struggle for independence, is the artist�s latest foray into Burmese politics. The artist spoke about music and free expression in an interview with Wandee Suntivutimetee..."
Author/creator: Wandee Suntivutimetee
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 10, No. 7
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: AND THE BAND PLAYED ON
Date of publication: September 2002
Description/subject: "The promotion of political ideas in a musical context has been a common feature of mass movements Southeast Asia. In Burma, where strict censorship prevails and military dictatorship still governs, the uneasy marriage of music and politics continues to be met with stiff resistance. Like other political movements in Southeast Asia, music has provided a rallying point for the masses during political upheavals in Burma. It has served as a potent response to the rapid political and social displacements brought on by neo-colonialism, industrialization, and dictatorship. At the same time, music has also been appropriated to serve the establishment by strengthening national cohesion, promoting entrenched power structures and spreading selected values and information to the multitudes..."
Author/creator: Aung Zaw
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 10. No. 7
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Burmese Pop Music: Identity in Transition
Date of publication: September 2002
Description/subject: "Dominated by cover songs derived from foreign imports, Burmese popular music continues to struggle to find its own voice. In a closed society like Burma, culture is all about preservation and less to do with innovation. Any creative breakthrough produces moral panic, not only in the minds of the powers that be, but also of the majority of folks. In a deep-down analysis, the structural interests of both politics and the market are the most decisive factors in shaping the creative capacity of the society at large. The 30-year-long journey of Burmese pop music can be seen in this light, since it is very much a product of this control culture and is still subject to the restrictive and exploitative political and market structure..."
Author/creator: Min Zin
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 10, No. 7
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Straight Outta Rangoon
Date of publication: September 2002
Description/subject: "Rap music and Hip-Hop have gained a foothold in Rangoon, but many still prefer to step to a different beat. Sai Sai stands waiting backstage wearing his high-top Nike Air Jordans, both hands in the pockets of his oversized shorts that match his loose-fitting hooded sweatshirt. His friend, wearing a bandanna on his head beneath a New York Yankees baseball cap flipped backwards, talks to a fellow band-member sporting her favorite skintight jeans. They are waiting to perform along side some of Burma�s newest and hottest music stars in Rangoon at an outdoor concert�a rarity in a country where public gatherings of more than five people are officially prohibited..."
Author/creator: Shawn L. Nance/Rangoon
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 10, No. 7
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: The Power of Hpoun
Date of publication: December 2001
Description/subject: "The excitement surrounding the discovery of a white elephant has served to illustrate the continuing importance of pre-modern notions of power in Burmese society... Culture is not an immediate obstacle to the political transition that Burma urgently needs to undergo. However, Burmese culture—or, more particularly, notions of power rooted in Burmese culture—may provide a distorted map that could very well prolong the country’s journey towards its goal of achieving a modern, democratic state..."
Author/creator: Min Zin
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 9, No. 9
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Stealing Heaven's Thunder
Date of publication: April 2001
Description/subject: The descent of the Celestial King during the Burmese New Year has been eclipsed by the ambitions of generals who believe they will be rewarded for their deeds here on Earth.
Author/creator: Min Zin
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 9. No. 3
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Life under Military Rule
Date of publication: September 2000
Description/subject: Family vs. Morality
Author/creator: Christina Fink
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Burma Debate", Vol. VII, No. 3
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Looking at Burma's Political Culture
Date of publication: September 2000
Description/subject: With headlines declaring a political stalemate and international efforts for promoting dialogue stalled, many of those outside Burma are grappling for an understanding of what makes the Burmese political mind tick. On the following pages, Burmese from varied walks of life share their views on the mental culture surrounding Burmese political thinking. What do they see as the cultural and social influences that have an impact on the way people think of politics? How much of a role do religion and traditional values play? And what does it all mean for the future of Burma?
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Burma Debate", Vol. VII, No. 3
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Thakin Kodaw Hmaing (1876 -1964)
Date of publication: March 2000
Description/subject: Contemporary poet and literary scholar Min Thu Wun has commented that modern Burmese literature and political thought would be impossible to imagine without the works of Kodaw Hmaing. Maung Lun, later known as Thakin Kodaw Hmaing, was born on March 23, 1876 in Wale Village, Shwedaung Township. In 1894 he moved to Rangoon, where he began his career as a playwright. Later turning to journalism, he published his first articles in a newspaper in Moulmein. But in 1911, just as the Burmese nationalist movement was gaining strength, he returned to the capital to work for the Suria newspaper.
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 8, No. 2
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 18 February 2009


Title: Remaking Myanmar and human origins
Date of publication: 04 August 1999
Description/subject: "...an account of the role of pagoda relics and museum fossils in SLORC-SPDC concepts of nation-building... Here I examine two notable features of this regime. Desperate for national and international recognition, it began the large-scale renovation and construction of pagodas, on the one hand, and museums, palaces and ancient monasteries on the other. These constructions have taken place on a scale and with a rapidity never before witnessed in the history of Southeast Asia. It has decided to renovate and rebuild all the thousands of pagodas in the 11th century capital Pagan. It is furthermore committing enormous funds to pagodas all over the country. At least two dozen new museums have been built. These house ancient heritage, but also the history of the army and the Pondaung fossils, that it claims represent the oldest humanoids of the world. The latter, it hopes, places the Myanmar people on the world's map as the oldest civilization. It also has rebuilt all ancient palaces in the ancient capitals. As I hope to show, these are vital elements at the heart of the regime's "new" ideology I have dubbed "Myanmafication", after their decision to rename the country Myanmar in 1989..."
Author/creator: Gustaaf Houtman
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Anthropology Today", Vol. 15, No. 4, August 1999, pp 13-19
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 08 July 2010


Title: The True Meaning of Garava
Date of publication: August 1999
Description/subject: Garava, the principle of respect for oneself and others, is a cornerstone of Burmese culture. But as Pyei Lwin Nyeinchan writes, forcing people to kowtow to authority is not the way to win respect.
Author/creator: Pyei Lwin Nyeinchan
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 7. No. 7
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Kamma on the Palm of Your Hand?
Date of publication: March 1999
Description/subject: Moe Aung examines the relationship between Buddhism and popular beliefs in Burma.
Author/creator: Moe Aung
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 7. No. 3
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Our Burmese Days
Date of publication: 1996
Description/subject: by Lindsey Merrison color, 94 minutes, rd 1996 video sale $225, rental $65 "An examination of biculturalism wrapped in an extraordinary personal odyssey. "Our Burmese Days" is also a fascinating defacto glimpse of life in a country that's rarely covered in the media today. Now known as Myanmar, the film's title is a reference to the novel "Burmese Days" by George Orwell, who worked for a time in the country's colonial police force...B&W footage of the war in Burma is well integrated with modern views and memories. The camera gives a a feel for contemporary life, both urban and rural without being "touristy". The filmmaker had long negotiations with the country's military for a permit to shoot this film. While the political situation is only hinted at the film is eloquent about the violence of world and family history; eloquent about the anguish and spiritual expense of hating one's own origins..."
Author/creator: Lindsey Merrison
Language: English
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: What policy should be used to establish the third Union of Burma? တတိယ ျပည္ေထာင္စုျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံ ဘယ္မူနဲ႔ ဖြဲ႔စည္းမလဲ
Description/subject: This is a speech of Wi Du Ya Thakhin Chit Maung on the 44th anniversary of Union Day (12 February 1991)... (၄၄) ႀကိမ္ေျမာက္ျပည္ေထာင္စုေန႔ (၁၂-၂-၉၁)၊ အမ်ဳိးသား ျပန္လည္တည္ေဆာက္ေရး ဒီမိုကေရစီတပ္ေပါင္းစု ဌာနခ်ဳပ္တြင္ က်င္းပသည့္ ျပည္ေထာင္စုေန႔ အခမ္းအနားတြင္ ၀ိဓူရ သခင္ခ်စ္ေမာင္ ေျပာၾကားေသာ မိန္႔ခြန္း... (၁၉၉၂ ခုႏွစ္ ေဖေဖာ္၀ါရီလ၊ ပထမအႀကိမ္၊ ေစာင္ေရ ၅၀၀၀၊ တန္ဖိုး ၁၀က်ပ္။)
Author/creator: Wi Du Ya Thakhin Chit Maung ၀ိဓူရ သခင္ခ်စ္ေမာင္
Language: Burmese/ ျမန္မာဘာသာ
Source/publisher: League of National Progressive Youth
Format/size: pdf (3.14MB)
Date of entry/update: 04 August 2012