Commoditization of Culture in an Ethnic Community
- Type :
- Publisher : CHIANG MAI UNIVERSITY PRESS
- Author : Phone Myint Oo
- ISBN : 9786163982162
- Language : English
- Number of Pages : 108
Who are the Kayan (Padaung)? I fi rst developed an interest in the Padaung people aft er seeing several photographs of them in weekly newspapers in Yangon in the early 2000s. My curiosity was reinforced when I saw an advertising banner in Bangkok in 2004 that featured several long-necked Padaung women. A senior editor explained to me that the Padaung had migrated from Myanmar to Th ailand, and that tourists must pay an entrance fee to see them in several special villages that have been established for them along the Th ai-Myanmar border. Somewhat surprisingly, I had only seen them myself twice before in Yangon, both times at Shwedagon Pagoda. Under the regime of Ne Win’s Burma Socialist Programme Party (BSPP), many people in the country tended to believe the government-inspired idea that the Padaung are cannibals (Khoo Th we, 2002). According to a recent online survey, many Burmese people living both inside the country and abroad are unable to identify where the Padaung live inside Myanmar, and some even mistakenly identify ‘Padaung’ as a kind of bird rather than an ethnic group. My interest in the Padaung increased aft er I began researching more about their origins and cultural traditions, but I quickly realized that to understand who the Padaung are, it is also necessary to know about several other related ethnic groups, including the Karen, the Karenni, and the Kayan.