Gmail Myanmar

Gmail in Burmese: how do the translations stack up?

On Wednesday, Gmail officially announced on its blog that Burmese was added as Gmail’s 74th supported language:

To capture the nuances of this language and make sure the translations were accurate, consistent and complete, we relied on an array of Myanmar speakers from within the country, and around the world. In April 2013 we launched Google Search in Myanmar, and today we’re excited to announce that Gmail now supports Myanmar (Burmese), our 74th language. [link]

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Lanna script vs Burmese script

Side by side: A comparison of Lanna and Burmese letters

My apologies: WordPress prematurely published the draft of “Brothers from the same mothers: the Lanna and Burmese scripts.” I meant to publish this as a separate post because I realized my original post was too long.

Below is a more detailed commentary on the letters and characters found in the Lanna and Burmese alphabets, as well as an analysis of unique Lanna letters, which transcribe native Tai vocabulary (i.e., multiple tones, unique consonants like ‘f’ not found in Indic scripts, etc.).

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Lanna script vs Burmese script

Brothers from the same mother: the Lanna and Burmese scripts

My interest in Chiang Mai’s indigenous script was piqued when I first noticed the astounding similarity between the Burmese and Lanna scripts. The Lanna script, also known as the Tai Tham (Tham comes from Dhamma, because the script was used to transcribe Buddhist manuscripts), Tua Mueang, and Northern Thai scripts, is traditionally used to transcribe the Northern Thai language, also known as Kham Mueang. It is closely related to Lao Tham, a liturgical script used in Laos.

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maroon vs. saffron burmese monk robes

Why do Burmese monks wear maroon colored robes?

Here’s a question. What’s the easiest way to distinguish Burmese monks from their counterparts in other countries? Typically, it’s from the color of the robes. Burma is unique among Theravada Buddhist countries in one respect: the color of monk robes. While Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Sri Lankan monks don robes dyed in bright saffron hues, Burmese monks typically dress in drab maroon or burgundy-colored robes (aside from a few outliers).

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Burma's generosity in comparison with the rest of Asia.

Misguided generosity: should the Burmese donate differently?

Recent headlines have crowned Burma the world’s most generous country, a ranking shared with the United States. According to the Charitable Aid Foundation America’s 2014 World Giving Index, the world’s biggest economy and one of Asia’s most undeveloped countries have something positive in common for once. And a point of pride is that this is unsurprising, Just a validation, if anything. Continue reading

Obama and Suu Kyi

Is democracy what Burma really needs?

Just Google “broken congress” (or “dysfunctional congress”) and you’ll be greeted by hundreds upon hundreds of articles heralding the demise of American democracy. It’s no surprise–Americans have a lower rating of Congress than of any other branch in government. And the average American, myself included, feel more and more powerless, more and more disenfranchised, to change a system where the odds are stacked against our favor.

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Drinking trends in the Theravada Buddhist world

This is the third installment on Alcohol and the Theravada Buddhist World.

I decided to take a closer look against the ring of countries that constitute the Theravada Buddhist world, in the context of alcohol consumption. Theravada Buddhism takes a relatively hard stance on drinking alcohol (or any mind-altering substances, for that matter) so it was quite interesting to see great variation in consumption patterns among these countries. At one end of the spectrum was Laos, whose citizens, both male and female, embrace alcohol. At the other end of the spectrum was Burma, the least likely to drink of the bunch.

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