- Do’s & Don’ts in Myanmar
- The Women of Burma
- MARRIAGE AND WEDDINGS IN MYANMAR
- What’s it really like to live in…Myanmar?
- CUSTOMS, MANNERS AND ETIQUETTE IN MYANMAR
- 15 Lesson about Burmese Girls (Fom The Diplomat)
- Swipe right for…?
I mean, I met dozens of guys who had Thai or Filipina girlfriends, but I never met a guy who introduced me to his Burmese girlfriend. He asked me if I have ever been to Myanmar. Instead, I combined a visit to Chiang Mai with a two-day trip to the city where the Diplomat wanted to meet me. It only took me one and a half hours to fly from Chiang Mai to Mandalay. The diplomat wanted to meet me at the Mingalabar restaurant. He sent me the address via email and I arrived at about 7 pm.
The beer mug before me sweats and the dripping chorus of yet another Celine Dion cover grates on my ears. My heart thuds a little quicker than normal. I take a swig, wiping the condensation off my hands with a preposterously thin paper napkin. I had struck up a conversation with Kyi Pyar not her real name after introducing myself, honestly, as a reporter working on a story about the growing Tinder trend in Myanmar.
The central question was simple: She had responded succinctly, mysteriously, at once answering my question and not answering it all. I would like to share my idea with you. In America, I might have taken this as a coy flirtation. In Myanmar, I suddenly worried she had misinterpreted my intentions and now thought I was on the prowl for something more intimate than an interview.
I clarified her message. Those three dots — you know the ones — bubbled up on my screen. I watched, paralysed, as Kyi Pyar typed her answer. If you want. And that is how I find myself sitting in a bar off 12th Street, smouldering every time the door opens. Is this an interview or a date? A recent story in Vanity Fair provided a detailed look at how my side of the gender equation uses Tinder. The gist of the story?
Deep down, all men are sexual deviants who will swipe at anything to get laid. Or at least American men, anyway — the story interviewed countless somethings from colleges, bars and big cities across the USA and, almost universally, the men proclaimed the same Tinder Gospel in a thousand different ways: But Myanmar is not America, and the impulse to sleep with as many women as possible does not appear to be so deeply hardwired into the Myanmar concept of masculinity.
Multiple expat women have shared stories of taxi drivers pestering about whether they were married and calling them beautiful but, for the most part, my foreigner female friends seem to feel less sexually threatened than they do elsewhere. The local women I interviewed who use Tinder said they rarely receive unsolicited pornographic images. Avoid extremes, find the middle way and realise that desire is the cause of suffering. My suffering ends when the bar door opens and the desirable woman I had heretofore only known as an avatar on my screen glides into the room.
She sits across from me and orders something fruity, with vodka. We exchange pleasant small talk. I explain Tennessee, my home state, by referencing Jack Daniels. This is comfortable. Then I begin casually asking her incredibly personal questions, starting with whether she had ever met someone on Tinder before. She rolls her eyes and laughs. I like to practise my English, she says, and I find foreigners interesting.
My beer is empty and now I am the one sweating. The words of an adviser drift back to me from months ago: You could end up shaming them, or leading them on to thoughts of marriage. I order another beer and go for the Big Question: Men and women meet up just to have sex, I say, and then often never speak to each other again. It is not to have a relationship — just for the carnal pleasure of sex. She looks shocked as she puts down her drink, and for a moment I fear she might slap me for representing such an abhorrent and vapid culture.
But she merely shakes her head in wonder. That does not happen here. For the first time all night, I relax. All my fears of sending the wrong message dissipate, and the coy flirtation of our Tinder messages gives way to genuine, face-to-face interaction. Both secure in the knowledge that the other harbours no ulterior motives, we have a great time chatting and trade contact information in case we decide to meet again.
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To people who come to Burma for the first time there are two things about the status of our women that seem to impress them with particular force. My foreign friends have often told me that they are surprised to see an ordinary Burmese woman sitting at her stall in a bazaar, dressed in the usual htamein and jacket, her hair arranged on top of her head in the traditional manner, often smoking a cigar—and handling her trade with all the hard-headed business acumen of a man. Or, in an agricultural family, the wife may be helping with the planting, the reaping, the winnowing.
Couples in Myanmar are married by registering at the registrar of marriages or by going through a ceremony conducted by a respectable couple at a grand hotel or by sheer mutual consent with no ceremony at all. Marriages have traditionally been monogamous but not sacramental.
Myanmar has only recently opened its doors to foreign travelers; after years of relative insulation from the outside world, the Burmese now have to contend with droves of foreigners with no idea how the locals work and live. But the country isn’t completely opaque as far as customs and traditions go.
Family is extremely important to life in Myanmar. A great deal of importance is attached to extended-family relationships. Burmese families are also very close-knit. In Myanmar, families are perceived to have a collective reputation or face. In this way, the act of an individual can impact the perception of the entire family by others and the interests of the family supersede those of the individual.
Burmese are a very friendly and outgoing people, especially towards visitors. However it is considered improper to lose one’s temper or show much emotion in public. Myanmar culture is basically Buddhist and so much of the accepted etiquette pertains to Buddhist beliefs. As in all Buddhist countries, the head is considered to be the most sacred part of the body, where as the feet are considered dirty and corrupt. For this reason it is important never to touch anyone’s head. Even ruffling a child’s hair will be seen as a grave insult. Some customs and traditions endure from the British colonial period. Myanmar still uses English accounting systems and legal systems. Some Burmese observe tea time.
After over forty years of military rule, Myanmar, otherwise known as Burma, is finally breaking away from the past and opening its doors to the world.
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The beer mug before me sweats and the dripping chorus of yet another Celine Dion cover grates on my ears. My heart thuds a little quicker than normal. I take a swig, wiping the condensation off my hands with a preposterously thin paper napkin. I had struck up a conversation with Kyi Pyar not her real name after introducing myself, honestly, as a reporter working on a story about the growing Tinder trend in Myanmar. The central question was simple:
Только туда ей и оставалось идти в наглухо запертом помещении. Поднявшись по ступенькам, она обнаружила, что дверь в кабинет шефа открыта, поскольку электронный замок без электропитания бесполезен. Она вошла. – Коммандер? – позвала Сьюзан. Свет внутри исходил лишь от светящихся компьютерных мониторов Стратмора.
Сьюзан просунула в щель ногу в туфле Феррагамо и усилила нажим. Дверь подалась. Стратмор сменил положение. Вцепившись в левую створку, он тянул ее на себя, Сьюзан толкала правую створку в противоположном направлении. Через некоторое время им с огромным трудом удалось расширить щель до одного фута. – Не отпускай, – сказал Стратмор, стараясь изо всех сил. – Еще чуточку. Сьюзан удалось протиснуть в щель плечо.
А что. – Он говорит, что вручит победителю ключ. – Ключ. – В этом и заключается его замысел. Алгоритм есть уже у. Танкадо предлагает ключ, с помощью которого его можно расшифровать.
Выпустите меня! – Она испуганно смотрела на открытую дверь его кабинета. Стратмор понял, что она смертельно напугана. Он спокойно подошел к двери, выглянул на площадку лестницы и всмотрелся в темноту. Хейла нигде не было. Тогда он вернулся в кабинет и прикрыл за собой дверь, затем заблокировал ее стулом, подошел к столу и достал что-то из выдвижного ящика. В тусклом свете мониторов Сьюзан увидела, что это, и побледнела. Он достал пистолет.
5 Culture Shock in Myanmar – ျမန္မာမွ အေလ့အထ အထူးအဆန္း ၅ခု