Not a Basket Case Forever


Strange Rock Formation in Burma

Be careful about Burma.
Most people cannot remember whether it was Siam and has become Thailand, or whether it is now part of Malaysia and should be called Sri Lanka.

- Alexander Cockburn

What‘s so special about this?

This is a picture of a rock formation near a lake in Burma.  The photo can only be taken on a specific day once a year when the sun rays touch the rocks at a certain angle.  In case the reason isn't clear, tilt your head to the left and then look at it again...


About the Name Confusion...

In the Burmese language, the country Burma/Myanmar is known as either Myanma () or Bama ().  Myanma is the written, literary name of the country, while Bama is the oral, colloquial name of the country.  The colloquial name Bama is supposed to have originated from the name Myanma by shortening of the first syllable and then by transformation of "m" into "b".  This sound change from "m" to "b" is frequent in colloquial Burmese, and occurs in many other words.  Although Bama may be a later transformation of the name Myanma, both names have been in use alongside each other for centuries.

In the Burmese language, there have been controversies about the name of the country since the 1930s, but the decision of the military regime in 1989 carried the controversy into the English language.  Although the military regime thinks that Myanma is more inclusive of minorities than Bama, it was shown above that historically this is not true, Myanma being only a more literary version of Bama.  Quite the opposite of being more inclusive, opposition parties and human rights groups contend that the new English name "Myanmar" is actually disrespectful of the minorities of Burma/Myanmar.  Minorities, many of whom do not speak Burmese, had become accustomed to the English name "Burma" over the years, and they perceive the new name "Myanmar" as a purely Burmese name reflecting the policy of domination of the ethnic Burman majority over the minorities.

The new name "Myanmar" has been recognised by the United Nations, but several countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada, sometimes refer to it as Burma.  The official US State Department stance on the Myanmar/Burma name dispute, as stated on their website, is: "Due to consistent, unyielding support for the democratically elected leaders, the US government likewise uses 'Burma.'"

Source: extracted from

Playing Electrical Russian Roulette

Not everybody in military-ruled Myanmar is cursing the blackouts.  Thieves in the former Burma's main city, Yangon, are taking advantage of outages often lasting for more than 20 hours a day to steal the copper power cables, police said.  Sometimes, of course, they get unlucky.

"The thieves are risking their lives as it is impossible to know exactly when the power is going to be restored.  It's just like playing Russian roulette," said one Yangon police officer who did not want to be named.  "I've seen a few cases in which thieves were electrocuted.  In April, a 16-year-old boy was found dead, holding a broken cable from a lamppost.  Only God knows for sure whether he was a thief or not."  Innocent passers-by are also falling victim.  "In one case, the broken cable end left by the thief dangled into a puddle and a woman jogger was killed when she stepped into it," he said.

Four decades of military rule and economic mismanagement have turned Myanmar - the world's number one rice exporter when it won independence from Britain in 1948 - into one of Asia's biggest basket cases.  Despite huge off-shore natural gas reserves, the southeast Asian nation's 53 million people have access to less than 10% of the electricity per capita of neighboring Thailand.

Source: 29 June 2007

For more articles relating to Money, Politics and Law including globalisation, tax avoidance, consumerism, credit cards, spending, contracts, trust, stocks, fraud, eugenics and more click the "Up" button below to take you to the page on "How Many Countries in the World?"  Clicking "Up" from there will take you to the Table of Contents for this section.

Back Home Up Next