Burma or Myanmar?

Old Apr 17th, 2007, 06:06 AM
  #21  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,894
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Panda - I am not the expert on this. You will note that the title of the thread is in the form of a question. There are several tribal minorities - Karen, Shan, Mon etc that may or may not have been those geopolitical entities. The history is murky and contradictory. As an aside, I do know that a few these tribes, most notably the Karen, have been engaged in the world's longest running civil war since Burma/Myanmar's independence in 1948.
Craig is offline  
Old Apr 17th, 2007, 06:11 AM
  #22  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,277
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Think we posted at the same time Hanuman, but it's quite clear that Burma had many problems long before the Brits.
LeighTravelClub is offline  
Old Apr 17th, 2007, 06:21 AM
  #23  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,894
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I have mixed feelings on the British influence. I agree with Leigh that Burma/Myanmar's problems probably existed before the British arrived although the Brits may have compounded those problems. That being said, the country was at its most prosperous during the British occupation - it was the world's largest exporter of rice and a major petroleum exporter as well. The British built the railroads and other important infrastructure in the country. Unfortunately the benefactors of this prosperity were not the local people but Indians that came into the country, starting businesses and taking the lower level government administrative jobs.
Craig is offline  
Old Apr 17th, 2007, 06:35 AM
  #24  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,160
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The Brits ruined Burma, the French ruined Laos, Cambodia, and what is now known as Vietnam today. Even in modern time, past 40 years, the USA overthrew(CIA sponsored General Lon Nol) the then very prosperous Kingdom of Cambodia and King Sihanouk just because it did not fully support the war in Vietnam. That led to a very disastrous genocide after the US pulled out - Iraq soon to be the same?

Burma was more properous under British rules? As you said Craig it was not the Burmese people that were getting rich it was the British empire.

Hanuman is offline  
Old Apr 17th, 2007, 07:45 AM
  #25  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,283
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
This is a very interesting thread, thanks for starting it, Craig. I've done a fair amount of reading about Burma's history (as I planned my several trips that I cancelled). It is my understanding that prior to the Btitish, the country was a kingdom (or sometimes a collection of kingdoms)with a number of "states" sometimes more tightly knit, sometimes more loosely knit. The "states" of the kingdoms were roughtly the various tribal groups (like the Karen, the Shan, etc) and these groups had a fair amount of autonomy within the structure of the kingdom.

The relationship of the various tribal groups to the central governemnt has long been an issue. Of course, it remains a major issue today, as the junta has systematically worked to kill off various of the tribal groups.

The editorial you linked to, Craig, makes some very good points. We have too often looked for political markers rather than being concerned with the welfare of the people. The problem is how to provide humanitarian aid to the people. Funneling it through the governemnt is a sure way to insure that it never gets to the people. Even going through NGOs means a fair amount is drained off by the junta, but it is probably the best route we have.

For many years, tourism was the primary way the junta obtained hard currency. Only 20 years ago, you could only enter the country as part of a tour group and could stay no longer than 7 days. (Tour groups paid the junta for bringing groups into the country) The restrictions were gradually lifted, and independent travelers were allowed in, but each person was required to purchase 400 FECs (basically, tourist money that one had to use to pay for hotels, flights, entrances to sites, etc) on par with the US dollar, and all of that money went straight to the junta's coffers. The abolution of the FECs a number of years ago gave the illusion that the governemnt was no longer profitting from tourism. Of course, the governemnt countinues to take a 10% tax on everything nyou spend, and their tight regulation of the tourist infrastructure means that they take much more. For instance, any hotel or guesthouse that wishes to cater to foreigners must have a special liscense, for which they pay dearly. Many hotels, one of the internal airlines, and many other services accessed by travelers are owned in whole or in part by the government.

The best a traveler can do is to be informed and not to use services that are government owned, when possible. But there is no way to go to Burma without putting money into their pockets. The question is where is the tipping point, where visiting makes more positive impact on the people than the price you are paying to support the junta. That's the question I debate with myself regularly.
Kathie is offline  
Old Apr 17th, 2007, 08:07 AM
  #26  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,894
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Just a couple of comments to your post, Kathie. Your point about the historical division of the country is interesting. Today for better or worse, it is governed along similar lines - there are 7 divisions (mostly representing the Bamar majority) and 7 states (loosely structured along ethnic tribal lines).

I keep coming back to this but I think it is very important. We all know the military junta does get money from tourism. However what a tourist pays to "support" the junta pales in comparison to the BILLIONS the junta takes in from the sale of natural gas and other resources to China and India. If you look at it in that prospective, I don't think the "tipping point" you speak of is even an issue.
Craig is offline  
Old Apr 17th, 2007, 10:10 AM
  #27  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 2,138
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi Craig,
Glad you're getting the word out there for the Burmese people.
People there seemed to use old and new place names interchangeably. I didn't notice any hidden feelings or messages associated with either.
I've come to the conclusion that it is no more complicated than the name changes in other parts of the world; Bombay (Mumbai), Peking (Beijing), etc
I use 'Burma' for the same reason I use 'Bombay'. It's how I first came to know the geographic region, and the names have certain associations (for me anyway).
I think the primary reason for the debate on what name to use in Burma is because of the spotlight on the political regime.
Thanks for starting this interesting discussion. I'm also glad it has remained civil!
Femi is offline  
Old Apr 17th, 2007, 10:21 AM
  #28  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 6,664
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Leigh-thank you for all of your information. That is exactly what I was looking for.

Hanuman-I don't know enough about B/M to have an informed opinion about the effect of British Colonialism. However, I have observed that colonial powers rarely had the interests of the native population as a major concern. This seems to be particularly true when the colonial power is exiting. Some blame the British for the tribal genocide in Nigeria, for example. I actually wish there was a good example of exit strategy for the US to apply in Iraq (regardless of the timing).

Thanks Craig for starting this thread and inputting on its twists and turns.
Gpanda is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
progol
Asia
1
Nov 26th, 2017 03:11 PM
Craig
Asia
27
Sep 9th, 2017 07:56 PM
Kathie
Asia
53
Dec 5th, 2011 04:58 AM
Kathie
Asia
10
Dec 8th, 2009 11:56 AM
marya_
Asia
62
May 10th, 2008 08:51 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:09 PM.