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The Land : Myanmar, the golden Land for the wealth of Agriculture and minerals; is the word which has long been used by its people to describe their homeland while the British called Burma. Myanmar people call in their own language is Myanmar. It size is total area of 676,577 square kilometers is the largest mainland in South East Asia. It shares a total of 5858 km of international borders with Bangladesh and India on the Northwest, China on the Northeast, Laos on the East and Thailand on the Southeast. It has a total length of 2832 km of Coastlines. Country stretches 2090 km from North to South and 925 Km from East to West at its widest points.
The official name; Union of Myanmar by composing of Seven States and Seven Divisions. Ayeyawady Division, Mandalay Division, Sagaing Dibvision, Bago Division, Taninthayi Division, Magway Division, Yangon Division, Kayin State, Rakhine State, Kachin State, Chin State, Mon State, Shan State and Kaya State.
Climate : Myanmar enjoys a tropical climate with three seasons in general. The rainy season from mid May to Mid October, the cool season (winter) from mid October to mid February and the hot season (Summer) from mid February to mid May before the rains begins.

Historical Background : Myanmar begin the way by Mon are considered to be the first inhabitants of Myanmar possibly as early as 3,000 BC. The Mon people settled in central Myanmar and on down along the Bay of Bengal covering the eastern coast. Irrigation systems were created and contacts, both cultural and commercial were established with India. In addition to keeping in contact with India, the Mon people had contact and influence upon their Mon neighbors in Siam (current day Thailand). As with the others who followed, the Monshad gone down the Irrawaddy River to set up their establishments.

BAMAR began with the founding first capital of Myanmar Kings at Tagaung, 160 Km up-river from Mandalay, reputed to have been thriving during 5th Centaury B.C. The Pyu Civilization that followed, flourished in the Ayeyawaddy valley from Tagaung to Pyay (formally Prome) in the 1st Centaury B.C and reached a high level of economic, social, and cultural development. They started a capital in AD 628, near modern day Prome, but in the mid-ninth century, the arrival of the Burmans absorbed the communities of the Mon and Pyu people that were in their path. Myanmar greatness in the History can be dating back to 11th Centaury. There were three golden periods in Myanmar history. King Anawyahta consolidated the whole country into the First Myanmar Empire in Bagan(1044 AD-1077 AD). The Bagan Empire encompassed the area of the present-day Myanmar and the entire Menan Valleyin Thailand that lasted two centuries. The Bagan Dynasty collapsed with the invasion of the Mongols under Kublai Khan in the 13th centaury. The Second Myanmar Empire of the Taungoo Period (1551 AD-1581 AD) was founded by King Bayin Naung and King Alaung Phaya founded the Third Myanmar Empire in 1752 AD. It was during the zenith of the Konbaung Dynasty that the British moved into Myanmar. It became British colony after three Anglo-Burmese Wars in 1825, 1852, 1885 AD.

The start of World War II was a time for political development among individuals. A student leader, U Aung San,put together the Burma Independent Army (BIA), a group who had been previously trained by the Japanese. In 1942, when the Japanese invaded Myanmar, the BIA joined the Japanese forces. Although they didn't fight many battles, their numbers greatly increased eventually enabling them to overthrow the then weak Japanese government at the end of the war. U Aung San lead and known as the Anti-Fascist People's Freedom League (AFPFL) is appear. After the war, the AFPFL talked with the British in an attempt to gain the independence of Myanmar and in April 1947 they won a majority of the constitutional assembly seats. Three months later, U Aung San's political adversary U Saw had him, along with most of his cabinet, assassinated. Myanmar's leader, as well as the AFPFL's, during its early years of independence was U Nu, a former student leader and the foreign minister of Ba Maw.

In 1962, General Ne Win's army take over, threw out U Nu's government and in prison for four years. General Ne Win's idea was to turn Myanmar into a socialist country. This was called the "Burmese Path to Socialism" and only went downhill from there with everything, even retail stores, being nationalized. The economy quickly crumbled and as a result a very profitable black market evolved. Even when Ne Win turned over the presidency to San Yu, life didn't improve for the populace. Some citizens lost their status with a ruling creating "associate citizens," which were simply people whose ancestors weren't from the "original" Myanmar races. Those targeted were the Sino-Burman and Indo-Burman communities and their rights included being able to vote, but they weren't allowed to be elected or hold government positions above a certain level. There were antigovernment riots and public letters criticizing Ne Win and declaring he needed to leave. He did eventually step down and retire in July 1988, but not until after the antigovernment riots in March and June of 1988.

After U Ne Win's retirement, Myanmar had a few months of great turmoil. There were protests, looting, and a brutal police responses (the leader of the riot police was in change of the government) that led to up to a thousand people dead in Yangon, with thousands dead in other parts of the country. Maung Maung took charge and tried to appease those who resented the military rule and was successful in gaining a partnership with Brigadier Aung Gyi, General Tin U, and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi (the daughter of U Aung San). The armed forces appeared to side with this group thus causing the military to stage a coup against their government. In September of 1988, the Defense Minister (Genreal Saw Maung) declared the establishment of a State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) that promised to re-establish law and order among other key items, but meeting the first item resulted in hundreds, possibly even over a thousand deaths.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, which brought great pressure on the SLORC. The SLORC had placed her under house arrest and General Tin U in prison in July 1989, since they were the leaders of the National League for Democracy (NLD). Although the NLD had won 80 percent of the seats and 60 percent of the votes, the SLORC retaliated by arresting a lot of them and declaring that a non-military government couldn't be established without a new constitution being written.
In 1992, General Than Shwe took over as SLORC chairman, prime minister and minister of defense. Many political prisoners were released and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was allowed visits from her family, with visits from a U.S congressman, a UN official and an American reporter two years later. Since she would not leave Myanmar (be exiled), she was detained for longer than the legal limit (which the government then changed). Finally, in August of 1995 she was released from house arrest and was permitted to stay in Yangon, where she conversed weekly with thousands of people, both citizens and foreigners outside her front gate.
In 1993, the SLORC selected a national convention to start drafting a new constitution and told the convention to give the military a major government role. Obviously, since the convention was not being conducted democratically, the NLD party members walked out the convention and as of 1998, a new constitution had yet to be completed.
In 1996, the SLORC increased tensions between the two groups (SLORC and NLD) by arresting over 200 members of NLD on their way to a part congress and doing it again in May 1997. In November 1997, the SLORC was disbanded and replaced with the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), which still had the same leadership as the SLORC.
IN BRIEF
 
1044:
1551:
1572:
1885:
1942-1945:
July 19,1947:

January 4,1948:
1958:
1962:
King Anawrahta founded First Myanmar Empire (the throne at Pagan).
King Bayinnaung founded Second Myanmar Empire.
King Alaungpaya founded third Myanmar Empire.
Annexation of British; They made 3 invasions in 1824,1852 & 1885 respectively.
Fell into hands of fascist Japan.
National leader, General Aung San (age: 32), and six of his cabinet members were assassinated by a jealous rival.
Myanmar regained her independence.
The care taker party led by u NeWin took power due to rebellions.
The military Revolutionary Council (led by u NeWin) seized power.

Over the following decades, this reoccurring brutality has been witnessed in the numerous demonstrations which have been violently suppressed:
 
1962 7th July :
1963 :
1967 :
1969 :
1970 :
1974 :

1976 :

1987 :
March 16, 1988:
1988 June :
1988 8 August:
1990:
1996 December:
8.8.1988-18.9.1988:


September 18,1988:




May 27, 1990:

May 30, 2003:


 
Student Demonstration (the military also blew up the historic Student Union building)
Peace and Cessation of War Demonstration
Akyab Rice Riots/Sino-Burmese Conflicts
South East Asian Games Demonstrations
Moulmein University Students’ Strike
Funeral Riots of U Thant, Former Secretary General of the
United Nations
Commemorating the Centenary of Thakin Ko Daw Hmaing (100 year anniversary of the anti-colonial poet’s birth)
Demonstrations against demonetizations of the 25, 35 and 75 otes
Uprisings of students over the arbitrary killing of students by police (Red bridge)
Uprising of students protesting the treatment of students by the authorities
United pro-democracy demonstration known as the historic "8888 Uprising"
Student demonstrations against the SLORC
Student demonstrations
Mass uprising(8888) Nationwide demonstrations were made. Due to protests lead by the youth-students made in all cities, towns and countryside’s participated by the people ranging from all types of government employees to housewives, government changed president for three times.
Military (SLORC) seized power. The army opened fire on student-led pro-democracy protesters, killing an estimated 3,000 people. Lots of people were arrested and tortured by military regime. Loads of people remain imprisoned, according to an Amnesty International report released in July, 2003.
National League for Democracy (NLD) won a landslide victory in the general elections by securing 82 percent of the seats; the military junta refuses to recognize the results of the election.
Due to overwhelmingly supported by large crowds in every cities, towns and villages she visited throughout the country, A plot try to assassinate Aung San Su Kyi . On Friday night (May 30) 2003, up to 70 people were killed and many more were seriously injured, including Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, when a plot attacked her motorcade near De Pe' yin.

Religion : Bagan, the first imperial capital of Myanmar, became a world center of Theravada Buddhism by the start of the 12th centaury AD. Successive kings and their subjects chosen to glorify their faith through the lavish and ambitious construction of monuments and Buddhist Culture. Theravada Buddhism is the predominant religion embracing about 89.4 percent of the people and the rest are Christian, Muslims, Hindus and some animist.

Myanmar's population, spread over seven States and seven Division , is over 50 million in 2002. It is a Union of nationalities composed of 135 ethnic groups, with their own languages and dialects. The term Myanmar embraces all nationalities, the Bamar, the Chin, the Kachin, the Kayah, the Kayin, the Mon, the Rakhine and the Shan. The Bamar make up about 69 per cent of the total population, and the population growth rate is 1.88 per cent.

Culture : Myanmar is between two big cultures and civilizations - China and India - but its culture is neither that of India nor China exclusively, but a blend of both interspersed with Myanmar native traits and characteristics. Buddhism has great influence on daily life. Myanmar people have preserved the traditions of close family ties, respect for the elder, reverence for Buddhism and wearing simple native dress. Myanmar people are fun lovers and celebrate festivals form the center of Myanmar social life and each month has its own festive occasion. Myanmar are very well known for their simple, honesty, generosity, hospitality and friendliness.

Dance & Drama : the key to modern Myanmar Culture is accessible and enjoyable for visitors. This theatrical or musical work, considered as the development distinctly to the Burmese style, is well of inspiration of the art of the Indianized Southeast Asia.
The word Burmese "Pwe" means a spectacular feast (theater, dance, music, marionette, etc. There various forms of "Pwe", A "zat-pwe" is live performance, which may be re-creation of an ancient legend or Buddhist epic mingled of dance, songs, dialogues, slap-sticks, music, melodrama, short and long pieces. The Burmese word "Zat" is derived from the Pali word "Jataka", the narrations, and the birth stories of the Buddha's previous lives. One can say that, "the Zat" originated with the presentation of mute and immobilized characters illustrating Jatakas. Therefore, if one calls a dramatic entertainment in the past, then it means Zat, it is the piece of Jatakas. The audience sat in the form of a circle around the dancers and musicians. This spectacle was called "Myey-Waing Zat". At the end XIX century, the traditional theatre took place on the stage. The back-round story of the performance draw its topics from the Jatakas, the legends of a pagoda or a Nat, the big events of the Burmese history, the classic literature and the fables that give moral lessons. The most famous presentation of the traditional theater is the scene of dual dance which is the performance of the male-dancer and the female-dancers accompanied by clowns.

"Yoke-the-pwe" means the performance of strings puppet. This art has being inherited from the father puppeteer to his son. Its origin is fainted but the oldest evidence dated back to XV century and it reached to its zenith in the XVIII and XIX century. Because of the inspired culture is strongly Buddhist and of the social cleavages of the time, the dancers of two opposites sex didn't dare to perform together on the stage, in the same way it was not the right way to perform on the more elevated level of stage than the very superiors, the nobles and the older people. The Burmese artists created the puppet made of wood of which mobilized with the help of the strings attached to the different parts of the puppet. The master of marionette is called puppeteer and he or she can be a singer or musician at the same time. There are about thirty marionettes. The manipulating of puppet is an art and skill of the puppeteer, and the puppet of Princess and that of "Zaw-gyi" (Alchemist) are the most difficult items to be manipulated.

"Anyein Pwe", is a form of the spectacle of dances that similar nearly to the popular theater, but a few less imposing of programs. The highlight of Anyein Pwe is more based on the dances, on the comedy and on the slap-sticks of the clowns. The word Myanmar "Anyein" means the tenders, the softness, and the grace. This word describes correctly the presentation of dances because the Burmese ways dance is douse and flexible with gracious gestures. Then, it recalls its origin that carries up at the times of Burmese kings. To the leisure time of the royal family, a musical presentation very often accompanied by the singing took place. The music was to be melodious and fine tune, so that the musician played a traditional harp composed with thirteen strings , or a bamboo xylophone while the singer whispered a classic song with a fine voice. Later, a dancer has participated in that presentation. At the end of XIX century, the small troops of called Anyein (musicians and singers accompanied by the dancers) appeared.

The Myanmars dances are generally classified into two categories: the folk dance; the dance of "Bongyi" (Big drum), "Bom-shay" (long drum), "Ozi" (the long, and one side opened drum), portable Doebat (the drum with two faces), and dramatic dances; the ritual dance (the dance of paying homage to the Buddha or the spirits), the court dance (dance of Si-daw-gyi, the big and long hanged drum), dance of theatrical classic (dance of Ramayana) and dance of Anyein (solo dance). But the style of the Burmese dance is hardly different in the various amusements because the Burmese dance gives the preference in the posture rather than the movement.

The first historic evidence of dance is found in "Pyu" period; the ancient people dating back to V to IX century. According to the records of the Tang dynasty in China, a troop of musicians, dancers and singers from Pyu capital of Burma, performed in China. This art of performance was also generated in Mon kingdom, another ancient tributes whose culture was well developed by the commercial and cultural relations with Indians. In the XI century, a Burmese king has conquered the Mon Kingdom of Thahton (Thu-wanna-bumi), and unified the cultures of the Mon and Pyu. Then, the Burmese adopted Mon and Pyu arts and created a new one by integrating their culture to Burmese native culture and dances. The mural paintings of Bagan period illustrate the cultural dance and traditions of that period. The two conquests of Thailand in the XVI and XVIII century allowed the Burmese art to enrich with Siamese theatrical art. The successive kings and the royal family encouraged and tempted with their effort to progress this domain, the dance of court.

Music : There is a variety of dances that are performed according to the different music used to different opportunities. As all South-East Asian music which is inspired on the basic concept of the Indian music, the Burmese music has a combination of several different musical instruments.

According to the Burmese musical system, there are five kinds of musical instruments; "Kyo"; the musical instrument of strings (the traditional harp composing of thirteen strings, "Kyay"; the musical instruments made of brass (a circle of gongs, cymbals), "Thayé", those of leather stretched instruments (one or two sides of drum of which hole are stretched with leather), "lay", those of air instruments (the flute, the oboe), "Letkhoke", a pair of bamboo(small or big clappers).

The Burmese traditional orchestra (Saing-waing in Burmese) is a group of musicians composed of seven to ten participants who play different musical instruments. The most dominant instrument is the circle of drums (Patt-waing in Burmese) whose player is therefore the chief of orchestra. "Patt-waing" is the circular form of five meters of circumference in-which is hung about twenty different sizes of drums. The player who sits in the middle plays by hitting the drums with fingers and make different melodies. The tuning of drums is got by filling more or less their surfaces with the paste of rice and ash.

The Burmese traditional orchestra (Saing-waing in Burmese) is a group of musicians composed of seven to ten participants who play different musical instruments. It is dominated largely not by the strings musical instruments as in western homologue but by the percussion-instruments. The most dominant instrument is the circle of drums (Patt-waing in Burmese) whose player is therefore the chief of orchestra. "Patt-waing" is the circular form of five meters of circumference in-which is hung about twenty different sizes of drums. The player who sits in the middle plays by hitting the drums with fingers. This circle of drums can cover an extent of more than three octaves and it permits to play some different melodies. The tuning of drums is got by filling more or less their surfaces with the paste of rice and ash. The player of drums-circle is the chief of orchestra but he doesn't assure the harmony that is less important in the Burmese music. During the musical performance, even though he stops playing for a moment to adjust the tuning of some drums, the rest of orchestra continues playing without disturbing the melody.

To the right side of "Patt-waing" is "Kyay-naung" or "Kyay-waing", a number of gongs made of brass in a various diameter is put in a well decorated circular setting nearly five meters of circumference. There are eighteen or nineteen of gongs. The player taps on the gongs with the help of small hammers. "Kyay-naung" goes together with the drums-circle and the player knows well the melodies played by the chief of orchestra.

The other side of "Patt-waing" is occupied by a big drum with two faces called "Patt-ma-gyi". This thick case hangs itself to a horizontal rod supported by two posts and surmounted by an artistic creature, "Pyin-sa-ru-pa". The player also plays another case on a support, "Sa-khont" and the other six medium drums called "Chauk-lonn-patt". The musician plays with "Patt-waing" according to the melody, especially intervenes when his intensity is needed.

"Hnè", a kind of oboe also participates at the orchestra. There are two musicians; one for a big oboe, and the other for a small. "Hnè" produces discerning notes and sketch the melody.

Besides these main instruments, "La-gwin" (a pair of big cymbal or small cymbal) and "Wa-let-khoke" (bamboo clappers) complete the orchestra. To announce the rhythm "Si" normally it is played by the singer, and "Wa-let-khoke" also marks the rhythm.

The spectator or the audience recognizes the kind of the scenic performance therefore by the particular music introduction. For example; " Myin-gin ", the musical composition of the royal time signals the dance of horsemanship; "Chut", for the hunt or for the scene of theft, "Bein-maung ", for the fight; "Lay-gin", for the dance of martial art or to show the skills or abilities, "Byaw", for the happy occasions or Buddhist festival or to mark the end of a performance, "Yé-gin" or " Si-daw", for the scene of court, "Ozi" and "Doe-bat", for the scene of the feast in the country, etc...

Economy: Since late 1998, Myanmar has replaced the centrally planned economy with a more liberalized economic policy based on market-oriented system. In moving towards a more market-oriented economy, Myanmar has liberalized domestic and external trade, promoting the role of private sector and opening up to foreign Investment. The Union of Myanmar Foreign Investment Commission has been set up. The Foreign Investment Law, the New Central Bank of Myanmar Law, the Financial Institutions of Myanmar Law and the Myanmar Tourism Law have been enacted and "the Chamber of Commerce and Industry" have been reactivated. Myanmar is richly endowed with renewable and non-renewable energy resources, which are being exploited by the State sector with the participation of local and foreign investors. Agriculture remains the main sector of the economy and the Government encourages to revitalize its agriculture exports.

Tourism: The Industry of Hotels and Tourism is the most promising business in Myanmar these days. There are many hotels, inns, motels, guesthouses, restaurants, tour companies and several other related services are growing throughout the Country. The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism is making also all-out efforts to promote this sector while foreign investment in this field is earnestly invited too.

Dress : The Myanmese accustomed to wear the light clothes nearly all year round except in the mountainous regions. The very light garment in cotton is the most pleasant in hot season. The men wear a shirt (traditionally without collar), Burmese traditional over-coat and the "masculine longyi". The women wear a blouse that covers the shoulders and the "feminine longyi". The "Longyi" is a skirt sewn in cylindrical shape and measure two meter of width and one meter of length. Masculine Longyi "Pa-soe" has vertical or horizontal square or striped motives with different colors while "feminine longyi" (Hta-mi) is more colorful with floral motives or a unique color. A Burmese wears the "longyi" around the hips; the men tie a knot in the front and the women fold it and fix on the one side (right or left) Both sexes wear the flip-flops or sandals, "Pha-nut ", made of leather and in velvet. The ethnic minorities especially in the mountainous and isolated regions still embrace their traditional costume.

MYANMAR FOOD
The basis of Myanmar food is mainly rice and the curry. Rice is generally cooked in water ("Hta-Min"). The Burmese curries ("hin" in Burmese) are a little spicy and fat. The manner of preparation of widely-known curry, called "si-pyan" is; a dish of meat, fish or shrimps that one cooks until oil comes back. A big number of varieties of beans offer several delicious dishes. And then, the Burmese consume a lot of fishes. As the country having numerous rivers and wide spread coast of the sea, the fresh water fishes as well as the sea water offer to the Burmese cuisine so many various curries in return. The presentation of "Nga-pie" (fish paste) under several forms with vegetables makes part to the Burmese basis menu. A soup of vegetables always comes with the meal.

"Moat-hin-ga", the rice noodle with the gravy of fishes enriched with ingredients, is appreciated by all Burmese as the breakfast. "Ohn-noke-khauk-swe", wheat noodle accompanied with an enriched soup of coconut milk and chicken, is another popular Burmese breakfast too. More visitors to the Myanmar discover their delight to the seafood, not only to the fruits and to the fresh vegetables.

How Myanmar Food Taste like? Here

Other Food : Cantonese and Funanese Chinese food, The Indian cuisine as Kababs, Beryani and so on, the European, the Thai, Japanese, the Korean and Singaporean and so on.

Currency : The Myanmar monetary unit is "Kyat" which consists of 100 " pyas ". As monetary notes, one finds the banknotes of 1000 kyats, 500 kyats, 200 Kyats, 100 Kyats, 90 Kyats, 50 Kyats, 45 Kyats, 20 Kyats, 15 Kyats, 10 Kyats, 5 Kyats, 1 kyat, 50 Pyases. Like monetary coins in kyat, one finds the coin of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 kyats. The monetary coins in pya also exist (1, 5, 10, 25, 50 pyas).

Foreign Exchange : A tourist will find three currencies: "Kyat" (local currencies), "FEC", the foreign exchange certificate to USD. Besides American dollars, the euro, the German mark, the pound sterling, the Thai bath and the Chinese Yuan are acceptable. It would better to bring the foreign currency in cash; in small notes to purchase the souvenirs and in big notes for the transportations and the lodging. USD 200 changing to FEC upon arrival is no longer exist

National flag : The flag was adopted on 3 January 1974, the year when Burma became the Socialist Republic of the Burmese Federation. The fourteen stars are for 14 states, the cog wheel and rice are for industry and agriculture. The State Flag is rectangular in shape and its background colour is red with a dark blue canton at the top left corner. A pinion and ears of paddy encircled with fourteen white stars of equal size have been superimposed on the dark blue field of the canton.

The center of the pinion coincides with the center of the blue canton. The pinion has fourteen cogs of equal size and within it are two ears of paddy consisting of 34 grains. At the top of each cog of the pinion is a star with five vertices. Of the three colours of the flag, red signifies courage and decisiveness, white signifies purity and virtue and dark blue signifies peace and integrity.

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