Burmese FamilyThe Burmese Family
********** classe="mw-headline" id="Grades_of_kinship">Grade of kinship>>
Myanmar also has family numbers (in the sense of suffixes): linHusbandInformal: ?????Husband?? (yaukkya). Formally: ?????? (khinbun). mayaWifeInformal: ??????? (meinma). Formally: ? (zani). ba layUncleThe youngest uncles can be named The (ba dway). The?? (ba dway). The youngest aunts can be named ????? (dway lay). and gyi? (wayi) is now outdated. daM gyiAuntAsso ????Aunt??Also (kyidaw). layAuntThe youngest Aunty can be named ????? (dway lay). maung hnama ta wun gweFirst cousinLit.
The Burmese Family by Mi Mi Mi Khaing, 1962
My first encounter with Mi Mi Mi Khaing was a moments of joy and awkwardness for me. We travelled through Burma and a common buddy in Rangoon gave us a recommendation from him. In the meantime I had of course been reading the Burmese family, because they were then (and I dare say they still are today) a "must" for anyone who visits Burma.
On a tour through the lovely jade-green Shan Mountains we came to Taunggyi, the city. We unavoidably immediately phoned Mi Mi Mi Mi and her man, who was the head of their upbringing. A charming and contemplative man we found, and his lovely woman maintained a humble and inner way that was refuted by lightning of brilliance and keen observations, and what I can only describe in the best of senses as ingenuity.
Well, we, my man.....
The settlement of a Burmese family
In the 1930' s our family closed their eyes to the Indian war. This is the way the Burmese family had it: The Burmese people: And, from our point of view across the oceans, we kept fighting for Burma to help its chaste liberation warriors with our votes and maneuver. Considering my grandmother's common and lustful memories, I could almost enjoy these vindealoos and dan's, but oh, what a terrible cost our family had to pay: indefinite ribbons of rubies for unspeakable chickpeas.
He' s an lndian chef! Since the beginning of Indian-Burmese mixing under UK domination, many Burmese, among them my grandma, called the Indians Kalah. "Or it comes from the Burmese ka la - the concept for "coming from overseas". "Even after half a hundred years in the United States, my grandma always called the Indians Kalash, whom we American-born descendants sniggered, but did not fully comprehend.
Yet, long after she had been given her US pass, she still named Kala's staff, waiter and mates ("behind her back"). In Burmese, my mom, who was more deeply conscious of the deep slander, would silence my grandma after every statement, while my uncles roared and made a disfavorful cries.
That was a mistake in the matrices of our family legend, the history we were telling each other, where we came from and who we were. First thing I found was that there were many Indians in Burma when my family left Upper Burma for Rangoon in the 1930'.
Rangoon, the provincial capitol, had grown in a single culture from a Burmese-dominated to an almost all-India town. By 1872, the Indians were 16% of Rangoon's population. The Indians were driven by their homeland's poor living conditions and motivated to move eastwards by the British Empire's policy of migration, which ruled both Burmese and Indians.
Politicians have wonderfully succeeded in annoying the Burmese people for their absence of protection and punishing the new Indians, thanks to a shortage of protection. A large number of Indians emigrated: By 1922, 360,000 of them had emigrated to Burma. In the 1930' s the Indians possessed a large part of the capital:
Rebuilding Rangoon, running its business and banking and trading. Indiaengers were also Burma's working classes. The second most frequent employment of migrant Indians in 1931 was home work. This year 11,242 Indians were hired as maids - and at least one of them worked for our family.
In the Burmese economic machine room, the working classes of India have received (not surprisingly) little regard and safety. Burmese Indians, I could see, were like Mexicans in America or Senegalese in France - with the crimson eagle of the "outsider", despite the links between their home and adopted homeland.
In Burma's happy times, the issues were often the same as they were around the globe: the mighty against the impotent; tension over migration and work; and darkskinned. Burmese Indian heritage was made even more complex by the Indian differences in classes and, of course, by the divisional and conquest manipulations that the British Empire refined among its people.
Superior Indians were the Brits' troops during the Anglo-Burmese War and were therefore regarded by the Burmese as scapegoats of the colonies. Until Burma's official demarcation from India in 1937, the Indians often held high-ranking posts in Burma's UK administration, and the country's military consisted largely of India troops.
Most of the Indians who worked in India used to live and dine among themselves (or with the British) rather than with their brothers, and so the relation of these more favoured middle and senior Burmese Indians - my family for example - was not that of brook solidarity, but of invasion and repression. When the 1930 Rangoon unrest began as a struggle between Burmese workers and workers from India's ports, my family was still alive in the north.
Indians - pushing for higher salaries from their bosses - were affected on May 8, 1930, and the mostly UK companies that employed them abandoned the pickets with Burmese operatives before quickly concluding a bargain with the strikers by bargaining for fourp per capita per day pay. Indians were paying that pathetic pay rise in blackmail.
Burmese crusts recently used did not appreciate being replenished once the strikes were exaggerated - this was the beginning of the Great Depression - and they went to the roads of Rangoon with blades and rods and anything else that could cause extreme aches. Three-day attacks on India's laborers and businesses, and since the capitol was an India town, not much of Rangoon worked during a so-called insurrection, but was really a terrible, bloodthirsty rampage: no sanitary facilities, few government agencies and no commercial activities to be called.
There was no indemnity paid to the slaughtering family. Rangoon Indians usually just hid, then closed their mouth and moved on. In 1937, a legal divide was proclaimed between India and Burma and Burma became an independent settlement under the imperial family.
Myanmar stayed under the control of the UK and the country's nationalist system was on the rise. Burma's Burmese Indians had little (if any) protection under the Act, despite what had occurred to them the previous century, and their intricate story of combating the Burmese on Burma on account of the Brits made them key objectives for a troubled, furious citizenship.
Burmese communists headed the nascent nationist movements play a not inconsiderable part. In 1931, a small little book, published by a Burmese Islamic minister called Shwe Pi, was very skeptical of the Tibetan Buddha school. Nearly no one had ever heared of Shwe Pi or reread his book of pamphlets, but seven years later, as Burmese nationism was rising, several nationalistic newspapers took up old extracts and published them for general use.
Although Shwe Pi was Burmese, rage about his broad side among Burma's Buddhist community was aimed at the country's Muslims - many of them Indians. Nationalistic newspapers such as The New Light of Burma and New Burma ignited the conflict by publishing leading articles for the Mayority. Burmese community leadership has apologised, but this has done little to contain the flood of anti-Muslim rage.
Amidst the gilded towers of the cloisters and ringing bell, violence anti-immigrant talk inspired a rebellious bunch of demonstrators who went down the ridge and "launched an indiscriminate assault on the Indians.... on a much greater scale than in 1930 and 1931, among them cold-blooded killings, serious injuries, plundering, arsonism, etc.", says Nalini Ranjan Chakravarti in The Indian Minorti.
That was disgusting, hell-nationalism ran amuck - but also known to everyone who grew up in the West of the twentieth century. I had thought or been hoping that Burma was somehow different before its downfall, free from the atrocities of the crowds, free from the gory claims to authority. Well, the lndian sherry was great, but somehow the Indians' forcible suppression in our own back yard never made it onto the family radars.
In 1938, my grandma received a degree from the University of Rangoon with distinction in Pali and a subsidiary subject in Sanskrit - the Hindu scripture, which was the foundation of the Hindu-speaking world. This was like apnea, or perhaps even a culture gap: Burma had wiped from its public mind what had been done to these individuals, or more precisely, what the country's most virtuous tribes had done in the name of physical cleansing.
The strangeness that seemed strange in hindsight, and how oddly nauseating that she would concentrate on the loosing of jewels and beads, and lamb lindaloo as the seriously trauma ous with an Indian that afflicted her and our family, instead of this mad, frightening episode of force of which she had testified.
A large part of Burma's populace left the Burmese countryside after the Second World War occupations of Japan; the remaining were driven out in 1962 - an unexpected (though still dirty and heartbreaking) choice by the reigning army junta, which was drunk with nationalistic zeal. So much harm was done after the eviction that Rangoon was never the same.
What I could point to this Burmese drama as proof that the xenemies here and elsewhere were on the other side of the story, but what was perhaps more remarkable in person - what all this research reveals - was that my people were perhaps the ones who demanded the deportation and construction plans for the wallt.
It was they, at least, who closed their eyes to the mess, a blinkered attitude that also spread to our new beginning in America, where the Indians stayed Kalah - even half a hundred years later. Then there was the story of oppression and exiles, which my family had filmed many times in the last years.
I had bragged during my youth about my grandmother's standing as a pro-democracy campaigner, her eagerness for the just cause of Aung San Suu Kyi and her own struggle for Burma's democratic cause. However, this glowing form of apatriotism, it turned out, was also the result of a darkier kind of national ethnicism. It doesn't matter that Muslims make up an approximate 5 per cent of Burma's people.
The Burmese army began a comprehensive attack on the Islamic minorities in 2016: Since last year, the Burmese administration has been in what a senior UN officer described as a "model of racial cleansing". Entire homes are still being wiped out, living rounds tossed through the frontals.
A number of world monitors have tried to declare this systemic and punitive force as Burma's (deeply worried) attempt to ward off Muslim jihad: Burma's regime - and indeed characters like Wirathu - are struggling against the attack of Islam in South-East Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka), countries that used to be Tibetan areas. But was this purification of Buddhism - as I found in my walk through time - mostly a modern manifestation of longstanding fanaticism against (Indian) Muslims?
The most unpleasant thing was that I started to reconsider my family's own Burmese nationism - which, okay, had nothing to do with turmoil and plunder or blood lust, but was deeply ingrained in the same kind of nationism that was fought for by the movement's champions who toppled the British. For a long time my grandma had been an exponent of Burmese democrat.
This de facto leadership, the Burmese and foreign religious leaders, was (and is) a wife called Aung San Suu Kyi: Aung San, who is the daugther of the Burmese demigod Aung San, who spearheaded the Burmese fight for Britain's independency and for whom there is a nationwide ceremony every year on January 4 (even now).
She was placed under home detention for much of the 90s as head of the Burmese pro-democracy movements, where she received the Nobel Peace Prize (and could not take it so she would not go out of the Burmese land and never go back in). Meanwhile, her late wife and kids were raised without a mother, but Aung San Suu Kyi stayed intact.
She' s not leaving Burma. In this fight she left her family because she saw herself as more than a women, a women, a mother: It was a symbol of the Burmese people's hopes for liberty. However, what about their politics, their attachment to a particular tribe of Burmese nationism that has been hailed to this time - even by impossible rogue warlords?
The negotiation of Aung San with the British resulted in Burma's returning to its legitimate leaders, but his politicians were also pivotal actors in this nasty 1938 era in which many Indians were target ted and slayed. Though not a murdering xenophobe, Aung San was a signer of Thein Pe's booklet, which made no mystery of the Burmese's revulsion against the Indians.
The Burmese didn't call it Burma... but it might as well have been. Indians were smallpox, a metastatic illness that was threatening all of Burma. The Betelquid stores belonged to the Indians. The Indians possessed textiles stores; the big Indian basars were in Indian possession; the Indians were wholesalers; the Indians possessed and occupied footwear reparators; the Indians possessed and occupied the plants; the Indians also bought and occupied sandpaper; the Indians also bought the luxury scented soaps; the capitalists borrowers were Indians; Indians; Indians; Indians; Indians - everywhere - nothing but Indians.
The judges at the Supreme Court were Indians; the compounders (dispensers) were Indians; the medical superintendents were Indians; the prison guards were Indians; and the prison guards were also Indians. You' ll find Indians wherever you go, nothing but Indians. The Indians were everywhere! It was not just some ruthless publicist with a fondness for awesome YouTube video that did this, it was punished by the Burmese revolutionary leaders, the heroes worshipped by everyone in my family, the fathers of the liberty struggling women on whose name my grandma had been protesting all those Sunday's on the scorching sidewalk outside the Burmese embassy in Washington.
C. After the murders (especially of Aung San) and the seizures of supremacy immediately after liberation, Burmese nationism resumed its fever-induced transformation. Rabious rabid na-tionalism drove the Baghdad Jews and Parsies and all other Indians out of Rangoon and Mandalay. The nationalists have closed the land and stolen the sunshine. Brits have always been involved in Burma's almost centennial disaster, but what about the Burmese who drove them out?
It referred to assaults by an armoured group called the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) on Burmese policing stations in the area, which are small in number and size but, in its view, "acts of terrorism". She may not have been in contact with the world as far as the Rohingya were concerned, but she was apparently still very much in favour of her Burmese countrymen - they concurred.
National Buddhistism was desperately interwoven with the worship and ethnical hate that afflicted Burma when its ancestor was still living (and probably long before). We as a family had always claimed that the violence and madness in Burma were brutal and mad, which is why my grandma had the Burmese politics under constant control, why she was at the crossroads of the pro-democracy exile movements and stood up for the liberation of Aung San Suu Kyi.
I' d always thought that we were in no way involved in Burma's devastation, internal murders and repression. Myanmar was suppressed, calcified, fractured.... but it wasn't us. The family recalled Burma's Golden Age, but not what we had done to accelerate its demise. Until then, our track record was a necessary and ongoing accusation of Burma's breakdown.