Rangoon Local Customs

  • Local Customs
    by cochinjew
  • Local Customs
    by cochinjew
  • Dried and ready for wrapping
    Dried and ready for wrapping
    by thedouglas

Most Recent Local Customs in Rangoon

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    Our man in Rangoon

    by cochinjew Written Sep 7, 2010

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    Mr Kyaw did not have to do it. He is a member of VT and had sent him an email requesting some help with a hotel. I usually stay at Yuzana Garden Hotel but they were not answering emails. Mr Kyaw suggested that I stay at Panorama and he got me a good price indeed and then recommended a nice resto, and i am sorry i didnt go there because of the heavy rains. when i arrived at YGN airport Mingaladon, there he was at the airport.. unmistakable. he said he was there for some other flight but i was glad to see him. he had organized a car for us, from the first day to the last for a price which is half the price quoted by other agencies and also some other VT members..
    in Burma, many things are done on trust, later on he came to the hotel and we finalized the deal and off we went. he gave us his mobile number in case of any trouble and i knew that i could trust this guy.

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    the jolly man of anwahrata road

    by cochinjew Written May 24, 2009

    What are you? Hindou or Moslem? No, I am an Yehudi. I am a moslem he called back but what does it matter, we are all human beings.. and for the next few minutes the pavement was filled with the sound of his laughter and the ambiance of his mirth..

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    Local Telephone Booths

    by cochinjew Written May 24, 2009

    Telephones or public phones as we know may not exist in Burma, but around each street corner, there would be a table with a few telephones placed on top.. you can make local landline or mobilephone calls or long dsitance calls to other towns. it is very cheap, local calls are only 100 kyats per minute (yuzana garden hotel charges 600 kyats per minute). there is one in front of Yuzana Garden Hotel that i use..

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    Entrepreneurial spirit of the Younger Generation

    by cochinjew Written May 24, 2009

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    I have known this family who has a small corner store along anwahrata road, the indian section of downtown Rangoon. They are moslems, and he has vague notions, like many of his compatriorts, of where their ancestors had come from, but absolutely no loyalty or connection to India. the wife is a Bamar Moslem. the children are all educated and when they can they helpout at the shop, whether selling little things or sewing leather goods, whatever they can. the older three have either finished university or finishing university and the younger two are at school.
    I am always very touched by the cavernous welcome they afford me when i come into their view from their corner store.

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    Very Devout Buddhists

    by cochinjew Written May 18, 2009
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    Burmese are unlike any other group of people whom you would run into in Asia.. they are very devout but more importantly they live their belief systems.. it is heartwarming to see them accumulating merit by doing good deeds on a daily basis...
    here are two photographs of a baby, who is still at his mothers breast, learning to pray without being told, at the Schwedagon pagoda..

    In no country in Asia, I have felt the spiritual ambience as I have felt in Burma.. there are rituals like they have in India but the sensation is very different..

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    Telephones

    by thedouglas Updated May 26, 2007

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    As the telephone network remains quite rudimenary in Myanmar, and poverty is almost the norm, there are few household telephones on the country. There were a range of open area telephone services, such as these sheds and cubicles, and some were on smaller streets on flimsy tables holding two old fashioned telephones. Quite unique really!

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture

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    Buddha Maintenance

    by thedouglas Written Apr 24, 2007

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    Needs a coat of something!

    When we visited Shwedagon Paya, our guide pointed out this neglected black Buddha. He explained that families basically sponsor a Buddha image, and care for it's maintenance. However, if the family falls on hard times, of course, so does the Buddha image.

    Related to:
    • Religious Travel

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    Water Stations

    by thedouglas Written Apr 24, 2007

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    While we have "bubblers" and water fountains in many of our public places, as well as the increasing bottled water industry, in the West, Myanmar's version of a public water source seems to be these water stations. These are usually large ceramic pots, sitting on an elevated platform, with cups.

    I'm not sure whether its a public service or locals take responsibility for doing the refills. We saw plenty of people drinking from them - usually with their own cup. We also shared our water with a distressed little boy one day, when the family discovered that the pots were empty.

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    Chewing Betel Nut

    by thedouglas Written Apr 9, 2007

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    Dried and ready for wrapping
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    Betel chews are known as Kunya, and they are chewed by most adults, male and female in most parts of Myanmar. Seeing a set of white teeth is a relative rarity. Although we had read that chewing the nut in public has been made illegal, there was no real evidence that this is a law taken seriously. The footpaths were covered in spittle marks, stationary objects, such as posts and even pots (as in the pic) who evidence of years of accumulated spitting out of the red gunk. Any holes in the footpath were particular favourite spitoons, but there were sand filled receptacles, which were respectfully used in temples, and along the streets in places. The overall effect is quite grotty.

    The most basic form of betel chewing is as pictured. Small chunks of the dried nut are mixed with lime paste, and wrapped in betel leaf - which come from two separate plants. Some people actually chew the fresh nut as well as the dried version. The items are called "quids" and are held in the mouth and chewed. Apparently, experience chewers can hold them for hours without spitting.

    This is a long standing tradition, and is reported to create a feeling of enhanced well being - mild euphoria (if there is such a thing!), and general stimulation. It is also reported to facilitate digestion, and treat certain intestinal worms. It stains the teeth a dark red colour, and looks very unattractive. Even the most well dressed men and women often have a blighted smile as a result of several years of this habit.

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    Count your day

    by vodolaz Written Jun 22, 2006

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    donation boxes by the days of week

    Not only animals are symbolised the days of week in Burma .
    Also numbers...
    Please take a look on this donation boxes.
    You can see the numbers beneath the animal`s images in burmese digits...
    See :
    Sunday is 6
    Monday is 15
    Tuesday is 8
    Wednesday AM is 17
    Thursday is 19
    Friday is 20
    Saturday is 10
    and Wednesday PM is 12

    I told it for whom ?
    Just say ` spasibo ! `

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    Pour your Buddha !

    by vodolaz Written Jun 22, 2006

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    pourin` Sunday
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    There are eight days of burmese week `cos Wednesday divides on two parts in noon owing to Buddha was born in Wednesday. The little statuettes of Buddha symbolize each week`s day and are situated around all pagodas. If you were born in Monday , for example , you had to find your statuette of Buddha and pour water on his head , also you can buy some religious souvenires on entrance and then place them to him . Then Buddha give you good luck and happiness. It`s much better to do it if today is the day of week when you were born...
    But how can you find your day of a week , if all the inscriptions are in Burmese ?
    You can try to learn Burmese , ha-ha ..!
    OK , I`ll show you the easier way , just say ` spasibo ` !
    The point is that every day of a week has his own animal just like a symbol .
    Monday - Tiger
    Tuesday - Lion
    Wednesday AM - Elephant with tusks
    Wednesday PM - Elephant without tusks
    Thursday - Little Mouse
    Friday - Big Mouse
    Saturday - Big Snake Naga
    Sunday - Karudo Bird
    So if you don`t see any inscriptions in English , or in your native language ( ha-ha ! ) , you just had to find statuette of your animal near the Buddha`s statuette , and then be sure that it is your day of a week... Pour Buddha !

    I told this for what ? Just say ` spasibo ! `
    Thank you for your attention !

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    • Castles and Palaces

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    When visiting a temple ....

    by K1W1 Written Apr 3, 2006

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    Budda statue in gold
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    You will be expected to remove your footwear and then walk clockwise around the temple. The reason for this is a symbolic sign of respect by keeping your right hand, which is deemed cleaner than your left, towards the holy shrine.

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    Manual Traffic Lights

    by Hewer Updated Apr 28, 2005

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    Traffic jam Vs. Longyi

    The flow of traffic is manually controlled in Yangon. At each major intersection you will notice what looks like a police box on one corner. This is typically staffed by two people and they monitor the traffic and change the lights.

    Orderly traffic flow took back seat however, when these traffic police noticed how badly I had tied my longyi. They both left their post and one of them gave me a mini-lesson. A tad embarassing but memorable nonetheless.

    In this picture, the friendly traffic warden gives a lesson while his colleague makes sure the traffic doesn't bank up too far.

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    Giving Alms

    by Hewer Written Feb 26, 2005

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    Junior monks, Yangon

    Traditionally men in Myanmar become monks twice in their lives. It is necessary for monks to seek alms and donations. Of course they are not pushy or anything like that and will be very grateful if you give them anything.

    These two young lads had been asking the locals around us for contributions and seemed a bit surprised when I offered them a few kyat.

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    Bamboo Scaffolding

    by Hewer Written Feb 23, 2005

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    View from Shwedagon Paya Complex

    Most of the scaffolding used in Yangon construction projects is made of bamboo. in this picture, you can see a restoration project at the Shwedagon Paya complex in Yangon.

    Myanmar is a major exporter of customised bamboo scaffolding and is the number one supplier to India, Bangladesh and Thailand.

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