8 maps from the 2014 Burma census

During my review of the 2014 Census results, I came across a number of interesting maps that demonstrate exceeding disparities within Burma, everything from population density to electricity penetration, not readily apparent by the national “averages.”

These disparities are palpable even from bordering regions, so I did a quick runthrough against World Bank data to see where the states and regions fall among the nations of the world, to demonstrate these vast differences further. Findings below.

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What the mass pardon of convicted Chinese loggers says about Burma’s ‘rule of law’

On July 30, the President Thein Sein issued a presidential pardon, releasing 6,966 prisoners throughout the country. The most controversial of the pardons were of 155 Chinese nationals convicted of illegal logging in Kachin State. And the lack of political prisoners pardoned was also striking. Of the 6,966 prisoners released, only 11 were political prisoners, a paltry 0.1% of the total.

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Union Solidarity and Development Party slogan

A sarcastic take on USDP campaign slogans

With the 2015 election campaign in full swing, Burmese Facebook users have spared no time in creating political memes in time for November.

The Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), established by the military and its close associates in the lead-up to the 2011 election, has especially been hit hard, with a barrage of criticism online by users, in the form of GIFs, image memes and other comments. There’s no doubt that the USDP suffers from a tremendous image problem, because its leadership is largely composed of the same circles that ran the former military junta. Many liken it to a revolving door.

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Bringing the Burmese language up to speed

The Burmese language has a huge task at hand: modernizing itself. It’s amazing how stunted the language feels when one tries to describe business and technical jargon, making it difficult to lucidly articulate oneself in the professional realm, especially for those schooled in the West.

I, for one, work in health IT, which has specialized vocabulary that the average layman would find difficult to understand, let alone laymen speaking other languages. In the world of virtualized servers and system thin clients, I was hard pressed to explain these concepts in Burmese when I returned earlier last year, or even more generic project management concepts. Even my recent examination of Google’s Burmese Gmail translation effort reveals the usage of several unfiltered imports from English, including the word email itself.

Yesterday, I came across a newly published article, “Those Who Would Remake Myanmar Find That Words Fail Them,” which examines, if just scratching the surface, the challenges of the Burmese language in terms of its lexical capacity.

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