What are Myanmar Citizens CalledHow are Myanmar's citizens called?
Vocabulary of Burma
CongressMandalay Libary, Burma, 1895 during UK-colonialism. YANGON, Myanmar - Once again, a local agency has called Daw Aung San Suu Kyi names for having called Burma during her travels to Thailand and Europe. If we say Myanmar, she was said as required by the 2008 constitution.
For some it is important because it symbolises the difference between the general who have long governed the land and those who oppose it, but it is also somehow meaningless. Burma is a literal English pronounciation of the Myanma, the name of Burma - which means quick and powerful population.
From 1885 to 1948, during Britain's Colonization, the land was known as Burma (from Burma's Bamar). While in Burma the country's name originated in Myanmar (to indicate a rupture with the colonisation period), the land was called the Union of Burma in English and then, after 1974, the Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma.
It was not until 1989, one year after the suppression of a political insurrection, that Burma became Myanmar, also in Myanmar, by order of the MP. Fervent in calling themselves real nationals, the general adopted the Adaptation of Expression Law and changed all British titles in accordance with Burma's pronounciation. However, in this case the change came somewhat belatedly and therefore seems undermotivated.
Of course, it was also political - a way for the general to differ not only from the UK occupying forces but also from the pro-democracy opposition: While Aung San Suu Kyi may be the daugther of an independent ruler who assisted to drive the Brits out of the land, she did marry a UK citizen.
It' not that Burma is a very good name. Besides its coloration, it has an exclusive property. Myanmar now includes the country's eight largest racial groups and 100 racial nations in talks in Burmese, as the Burmese general emphasized, while Burma technologically covers only the Bamar racial minority or about 37 million of the country's 55 million population.
However, even this is largely a new problem: before this terminology was adopted by politicians, both were almost interchangeable in the Myanmar-speaking world. It is just that Myanmar had a more literary as well as formal character and Burma a more slang use. I am also cautious with the younger generations who have never used the term Burma:
So, I switch to English between Burma and Myanmar. However, in Burmese I use Bamar only to relate to the vast ethnic group and to describe Myanmar as the whole state. Well, what else could you say? What kind of a jargon would that be?