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fhd - Burma and Its Military: How It Continues to Bleed the Economy

Burma and Its Military: How It Continues to Bleed the Economy

Despite no longer having the name Burma, not much else has changed in terms of political climate. To this day, Myanmar is highly militaristic in its build and execution. This is rather bad for their government and their economy.

Today, we want to discuss how the highly militaristic build of the Myanmar government is rather detrimental to its economy.


In order for the economy to grow, there are a few things that are needed:

Stable Peace

Myanmar is often in a state of political unrest. There are militant groups that often do skirmishes against the government troops. The government has been accused of using excessive force against ethnic groups that are not very high in their priority list like the Rohingya.

Peace is very conducive to a growth in economy. Take Japan for example. After WW2, they hunkered down and took advantage of the peace that they were given. They turned their poor economy into on of the international giants by focusing on infrastructure and development of their electronics.


The economy is reliant on the turnover of goods. Trade and sales are usually the driving force toward boosting the economy of a nation. There needs to be consistent production of goods and proper processes of businesses in order to keep the economy going.

Burma’s Military

pexels photo - Burma and Its Military: How It Continues to Bleed the Economy

Burma (or Myanmar) had a military budget of $2.1 Billion for 2017. This is a huge percentile of their overall national budget. They have justifications regarding battling the militant groups in the area. However, a major concern is the fact that what they are fighting are their own citizens. The military and their spending will continue to bleed the economy. This is due to a few things:

Implied Unrest

Myanmar is not at war with its neighbors. Thailand and Bangladesh have their own issues but are on friendly terms with Myanmar. So the massive spending that the nation does on its military tends to imply that the nation is not at peace. As you may know, unrest can and will affect the quality of life of everyday citizens.

To Conclude

The highly militaristic rule of Myanmar’s government is unlikely to change. This is because it has been allowed to go on for so long and with every year that passes, the people lose more and more of their freedom. Not to mention the fact that outposts become stronger and the army becomes better armed. While a wholly militaristic rule can help to keep the peace (which would be good for the economy), the history of Myanmar has gone on to show otherwise.

bagan 1137015 960 720 - Rumor Mill Roundup: Common Superstitions in Burma

Rumor Mill Roundup: Common Superstitions in Burma

If you want to gain a better understanding of a culture and a society, you try to find out what their superstitions are. This is what we will be talking about today. The Burmese people carried a lot of superstitions with them. They greatly believed in astrology and divination. They truly believed in fortunetellers and soothsayers.

A lot of countries in the South East Asia are highly superstitious. Our writing team got together and shared some of the well-known Burmese superstitions and tried to figure out what the history behind them were.

Working beyond the Grave

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Burmese people believed that they were highly industrious people (and they are). They also believed that inside every person is a soul or a spirit. If a worker died, their families would often go to the place of employment and ask for a termination of services that comes in a certificate.

This certificate would then be placed over the grave. The belief is that if the spirit did not see the ‘notice’, it would continue to go to work just like clockwork.

Burmese people are notoriously stubborn when it comes to their capability to meet their workload despite any illnesses or physical limitations. So their belief about this stubbornness carries over beyond the grave.


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The popular belief is that they ward off evil spirits.

There are a lot of scorpions in Burma and some of them even cause the death of hundreds of infants and elderly individuals. As such, they are often regarded with fear and respect. Over time, the belief warped into believing that scorpions would be able to chase away or block evil spirits. After all, if the living were so terrified of scorpions, why should spirits be any different—since they were people once upon a time as well!

White Elephants

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Burma is predominantly Buddhist in their belief. The white elephant is sort of their unicorn. The white elephant is the herald of good fortune, fertility, and even extreme luck. So whenever rumors of a white elephant are loud in one particular area, people try to congregate there and find the animal in order to obtain its blessing.

Rather than superstition, this is deeply entrenched in their religion.

To Conclude

These are only some of the few famous superstitions that is commonly heard and shared around Myanmar. Each belief is deeply tied to their culture—such is the nature of superstition in general.

What particular Burmese superstitions have you heard before?

bagan 1137015 960 720 - Exile Comes to Naught: Why the NCGUB Dissolved After 22 Years

Exile Comes to Naught: Why the NCGUB Dissolved After 22 Years

Governments often want what is best for their people. This is why there are oppositions that exist despite facing massive disadvantage. If there was a poster child for disadvantaged governments, it would be the NCGUB.


The NCGUB stands for the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma. They were convened officially on the 18th of December in 1990. They claimed to be a Burmese government in exile. The very first prime minister was Aung San Suu Kyi’s cousin who was, at the time, a political prisoner. It is not very clear what the qualifications of that cousin was beyond the blood that they shared.

It is interesting to note that in the entirety of the NCGUB they never went to Burma yet claimed to be its government. They were very vocal about their criticism about the militaristic form that Burma had taken. They railed when Burma was renamed into Myanmar. However, there was very little else that was accomplished.


In order for governments to help their governments they should, ideally, be at the same place where their people are. It makes very little sense for a group of people claim to be the government of a different place when they aren’t even there. It comes off as rather disingenuous and self-serving. Since the NCGUB has never stepped foot in Burma or Myanmar since their inception, it was rather foolish to keep yelling into the abyss.

Myanmar is consistently moving forward with the people that are actually in charge. It may not be for the better but they are moving forward. The people would never be inclined to listen to people who called themselves an exiled government. Given there are icons in the world that risked political persecution and even martyrdom just to fight for their people, an exile government was rather odd.

To Conclude

After 22 years of doing their best, they had no choice to dissolve. Funding, support, and a plethora of other reasons could be cited. The official story is that they dissolved on their own accord to further support the political reforms that were happening in Myanmar. As this was in 2012, it was very clear to many that there wasn’t much political reform.

Myanmar is still very much militaristic and the political climate is just as terrible as ever. People need a government that is right there. You can be preaching about the good of the world but if you are far removed from the situation, it does nothing and affects no one.

in input 1370346 960 720 1 - Are You from the West: Ethical Ways You Can Support Burma

Are You from the West: Ethical Ways You Can Support Burma

Western sensibilities often clash with the more reserved beliefs of South East Asia. However, this does not mean that the two cannot help each other. Today, we’re going to look at different ethical ways westerners can support Burma.

There is much struggle with the idea of ethically supporting Burma due to the fact that the government that is in charge has been accused of doing some pretty awful things. As a human traveler, many find themselves at odds whether or not they want to contribute toward the economy of a nation whose ideals clash with theirs.

If you are ever struggling with that, we suggest that you keep this in mind: think of the people. While you may abhor the idea of your money going to ward the economy of Burma, the people that you help will immediately feel the effects of your patronization. With that in mind, here are a few ways you can ethically support Burma:


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Tourism has always been available regardless of which government or leader was in charge. Tourism helps a lot of local villages that are out of the way. The best sights, after all, take quite a trek towards areas that aren’t very populated.

So if you use your money and support local tourism in smaller villages, you’ll be able to truly help the people.


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Burma is one of the nations that have a lot of public health issues. You can ethically help them by offering to volunteer your services in organizations like Red Cross. Depending on your profession, you can do even more toward ethically helping those in need.

Buying Local

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While you are there in Burma, find yourself some local vendors. You can shy away from established businesses and patronize the homegrown vendors that are usually at public markets. You can do more toward helping someone who is selling their produce as far cheaper prices than supermarkets of established brands that offer the same produce but for steeper prices.

To Conclude

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Supporting a nation’s people is always the ethical thing to do especially if just a dollar or two from you can make the difference between going hungry for the day and not. Being an ethical traveler is a pretty good activity that many more should indulge in. With that in mind, try to think of your stance as a westerner for a second.

Which way would you choose to ethically support Burma?

Untitled 1 - A Country in Peril: Common Health Issues Associated With Burma

A Country in Peril: Common Health Issues Associated With Burma

The citizens of a nation are its wealth. They are the ones that ensure the continuance of the traditions. They are the ones that keep the nation alive. This is why it is exceptionally difficult if the citizens are often subjected to health issues.

Burma or Myanmar—as it is known today—has a plethora of health issues that is often associated to it. To provide our audiences with a better understanding on what this nation needs help with we wanted to shine a bit of a light on the common health issues the citizens of Burma tackle:

Malaria mosquito 213805 960 720 - A Country in Peril: Common Health Issues Associated With Burma

Malaria is highly risky illness that is gotten from one of the most effective killers in our history: mosquitoes. Malaria is a disease of the blood that is caused by a parasite. Malaria is commonly associated with tropical and subtropical areas of the world.

Myanmar is a tropical country with lush jungles. This is the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. Malaria is actually treatable when it is caught early. The problem is that since Myanmar is often in the midst of rough political waters, they get very little aid for this illness.


Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome or AIDS is a disease wherein the body’s immunity is severely compromised. This opens the gateway for other diseases to enter the body and do more damage than it is normally known to do so.

As Myanmar’s economic status is not very good and is highly militaristic, a majority of their funds go toward the military and very little for public health. As such, millions of AIDS cases are reported more every year.


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About 30% of children under the age of 5 are malnourished. As there are commonly skirmishes in borders and even in towns, there is always a preexisting shortage of food, water, and medicine.


Tuberculosis is highly contagious. It is a bacterial infection that is normally characterized by the growth of nodes in the lungs of those infected with it. If untreated, it can be fatal. In the history of the world, it is one of the leading causes of death. In the western world, it was referred to as consumption.

In a world where tuberculosis is rare, Myanmar has one of the highest rates of the illness worldwide. Every year there are about 98,000 more cases reported. The number is only going up.

To Conclude

Myanmar has a long way to go in terms of caring for their citizens. It is a smorgasbord of issues that definitely need to be addressed. What other health issues do you know is rife in Burma?

15787752871 371279065f b 1 - The West and an Icon: Why Criticism of Aung San Suu Kyi Helps No One

The West and an Icon: Why Criticism of Aung San Suu Kyi Helps No One

Burma, now known as Myanmar, has a rather militaristic regime to it. It was around late 2017 when the reports of the attacks on Rohingya started circulating both online and in the international news circuits. By the reports of independent media, it was appearing more and more that it was a systematic ethnic cleansing of the non-Buddhist people by the Myanmar government.

By the government’s view, they were reportedly handling the Rohingya militants that have been indiscriminately attacking peaceful Buddhists. Thousands of Rohingya refugees are now scattering toward the neighboring countries of Thailand and Bangladesh. They carry with them tales of brutality enacted upon them.

Quick History

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Rohingya are the ethnicity that predominantly practices the Muslim faith. They are a very small percentile of a nation that mostly practices Buddhism. In the eyes of many, the Rohingya are illegal immigrants despite the fact that they have been in Myanmar for centuries. What is surprising is that they are not even considered in the national tally of ethnicities in Myanmar.

Aung San Suu Kyi is a very well-known person in Myanmar. She is the very first person from South East Asia to have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. She has long campaigned from peace in Myanmar, saying that it is a nation that is completely parched for peace. Despite this, she has not done anything to spare the Rohingya from being persecuted. It is even worth noting that Kyi and her government have blocked and consistently denied entries by UN teams tasked to investigate the issue. Worst of all, they have barred efforts of international groups from coming in and offering aid to the refugees.

Aung San Suu Kyi has refused to criticize the military and their actions.

Western Ire

The western hemisphere of the world has always been quick to express their ire online or through their media publications. As Kyi is a Nobel Peace Prize holder, those far removed from the situation have long expected her to denounce the seeming genocide presently occurring in her nation.

The trouble with all the far removed voices is that they do not realize that her authority is very limited. It is the military that controls the nation.

To Conclude

The continued and incessant criticism of Aun San Suu Kyi helps no one. She is not in charge of her country at this rate. It is the military of Myanmar that deserves the international attention and ire. Kyi is an easy and incorrect target.

Untitled 1 1 - Money Talks: Why Burma’s Economy Needed to Be Watched

Money Talks: Why Burma’s Economy Needed to Be Watched

Money is what makes the world go round. As much as we would not like to adhere or confer this saying, it is sadly very true in its existence. When it comes to nations, it is their economy that greatly determines their survivability. This is something that we wanted to place focus on today because we feel this fact will not change. As such it would be good for more people to understand why a nation’s economy is something that should be watched.

Economy’s Effects

A nation’s economy is an ever present factor in determining several things:

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It is no secret that nations with very poor economies on the world stage end up having citizens that live in abject poverty. The better economy of a nation, the better the state of living their constituents will have.

International Trade and Relations

There is no such thing as a self-sustaining nation. Every nation will have resources that they do not have naturally occurring. This is why international trade is required. Commodities like oil, rice, and even weaponry have long been at the heart of commercial trading. If a nation is to survive, it needs a healthy economy to be able to obtain resources that do not naturally occur in their land.

Burma’s Economy

Burma has long been a nation at war with itself. Since its inception it has been rather rare to have sustained peace. Warfare will always take a toll on a nation. Conflict will always mean certain things:

Displaced Citizens

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It is always the citizens that suffer when conflict arises. No matter which side wins there are always casualties. When people are displaced, this always means that there is a loss in housing and infrastructure.

No Productivity

If there is always imminent harm to a citizen’s safety and security, this also means that there will be little to no production. Goods will not be created, there will be no trade. In the end, the nation’s economy suffers greatly.

Why Did Burma’s Economy needed to be watched?

Burma was a territory that was sandwiched between Thailand and Bangladesh. The northern part is landlocked and only the south has access to the sea. While it had the potential to be evenly balanced as it had both mountainous areas as well as coastal territories, the long history of political strife did not allow the people to capitalize on this. It certainly needed a hand.

To Conclude

It’s a little too late to help Burma but Myanmar is now there and still undergoing the same troubles as before. Their economy is seemingly on track but only time will tell if they will continue this progress.

Do you believe that Burma will finally realize its full economic potential?

Untitled 1 - Beyond the Silver Screen: 2 Movies That Showcase Burma’s Charm

Beyond the Silver Screen: 2 Movies That Showcase Burma’s Charm

Movies are often the gateway to a better understanding of subject matter that happened before our time. Movies are also a great way to see places that we would normally not see. When you are trying to scope out whether a place is worth visiting or building your ideas of sights or places you’d want to visit, movies are pretty useful.

In light of this, we wanted to share two particular movies that showcase Burma’s charm.

From Bangkok to Mandalay

This is a drama film that came out in 2016. This movie focuses on a bittersweet tale of a life re-told through letters. This film does a good job of taking its audience through an emotional rollercoaster through the eyes of Pin and Kyaw Kyaw.

This film also does a wonderful job of taking the audience with it through different wondrous sights around Burma (now known as Myanmar) with the premise that Pin has to open the letters her grandmother left her at the places where they were written. This film, as a modern one, takes everyone through the hustle and bustle of the locale while carefully tangling in the little anecdotes and sights that make Burma unique.

The Lady

If there was a film that was to really highlight the turbulent political undertones as well as the strength that is inherent in the Burmese people, it would be this film. We could probably direct you toward several world war themed movies but it is The Lady that manages to capture the resilient determination of Aung San Suu Kyi.

To Conclude

The two movies we have listed above both showcases the charm that Burma carried and continues to carry into its future. While the two films had a different subject, at its very core, it was Burma that was the star.