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Untitled 1 - Basics First: Just What Is Burma?

Basics First: Just What Is Burma?

If there was anything that was going to be hailed as universal truth it is this: nations can change in the blink of an eye. This is precisely what happened to Burma. Hello and welcome to Burma Fund. We are an online publication that is going to be focusing on the topic of Burma as it was. We mention “as it was” because of the fact that Burma pretty much no longer exists.

Before and During Burma

Burma was born out of a unification of several city-states. It was estimated that it was roughly around 2nd century that this had happened. While there were several debates about which city-states were actually part of the merge, most historians could agree that they eventually turned into their own little slices of imperialism.

Whenever there are kingdoms that close to each other, it was only a matter of time before war broke out. The different kingdoms fought in a cycle that ended with a centralization of the Arakan coastline around the early 1400s.

It was around 2 centuries later that outside influences started to affect the unified kingdom. It was the outer influence of the British Empire, Siam, and even the French that has started to affect the inner workings that led to more war. Fast forward to the late 1900s; this was when the Union of Burma was born.

After Burma

It was only after 1989 that the name officially changed to Myanmar. This was the product of several periods of political unrest that eventually led to a military coup.

To Conclude

In order to fully understand the present state of a nation, it is always smart to look back. Its history will always tell how a nation’s people brought forth changes. Burma, or the name at least, may no longer be there but the history and the foundation of what made it what it is today is still there.


The grace period for Burma is over

Meanwhile, those involved in the expulsions have also reported the atrocities inflicted by the Burmese army on the Rohingya. How many more clues will it take for the international community to act?

The fact that terrible things have happened in western Burma really doesn’t need any more evidence. Almost 700,000 people have left the country for Bangladesh since August 2017. They live there under miserable conditions and without prospects. The testimonies of the predominantly Muslim refugees are known, but that does not make them any less shocking. Everything in Rakhine is happening in the service of security, it was said from Burma’s capital. One must “cleanse” the country of terrorists who attacked and killed security forces. Representatives of the UN and human rights organisations have long used terms such as “systematic expulsion”, “ethnic cleansing” or “genocide”. It is becoming increasingly clear that this is not excessive.

On Friday, the Reuters news agency published the results of extensive research. In it, members of the Buddhist minority in Rakhine report for the first time about the targeted attacks on Rohingya and the mass executions, in which especially Muslim men were massacred with machetes and other weapons. The witnesses, who mainly talk about the events in the village of Inn Din, are not only uninvolved residents. Civilians recruited by the army for the operations told the journalists that they had been ordered by the military leadership to “empty” the villages. In order not to attract attention, they wore civilian clothes. Confronted with the research, the government announced that the accusations were not denied, but they had to be investigated first.

New duty under international law

Not only the Burmese government is called upon, but also the international community. Apart from the United States, which has put a general on a sanctions list, no one has yet ventured out of cover. The UN Security Council has not imposed any sanctions on Burma either. The cruel memories of Rwanda or Srebrenica, where the international community had watched as helplessly as people were slaughtered, have given rise to a relatively new international legal duty for the international community: it must examine coercive measures to protect the population at risk. Whether this is true in the case of the stateless Rohingya is not yet clear; especially since most of them have fled to Bangladesh in the meantime and do not want to return at any price. But in view of the circumstances, one can sense bad things for those who are to be repatriated in the future.

Burma was an isolated country for decades until all sanctions fell in the 2015 elections. In view of the events of recent months, a reassessment is urgently needed. Sanctions do not have to affect the population. Arms embargoes or punitive measures tailored to military leaders would be taken by those responsible for these atrocities: the army – and thus also the government.


Burma fund featured img - Taste of Burma: Two Delicacies You Need to Try

Taste of Burma: Two Delicacies You Need to Try

Whenever travel is brought up, it is inevitable that the discussion will turn toward food. Gastronomic tourism is one of the biggest reasons why people travel. If food is what you are looking for, Burma will not disappoint.

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Myanmar is a tropical country with a subtropical climate. As such, people often make their food to suit the climate. Here are a few normal staples:


food 3095709 960 720 - Taste of Burma: Two Delicacies You Need to Try It can get really rainy so soup is a big thing. Soup is important as it is an effective way to warm you up without having.


Rice and grain is a normal staple in Burmese cuisine. In an area where there is often battles and lack of meat and proteins, rice is used as a primary source of nutrition. Around 80% of the country’s diet consists of rice.


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Tropical climates often get ridiculously warm during the summer months of the year. In order to cool down, spicy food is utilized. Spice is a regular part of the flavor profile also due to the fact that Burma is nestled between Thailand and Bangladesh—two countries that highly utilize spices and chili.


If you are ever in Burma, you will want to try these two particular delicacies:


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Mohinga is a fish noodle soup. It is one of the more common fares that you will find in every corner of Myanmar. What is great is that there is no specific type of fish that is needed to make this dish. All that is needed are they key components. This dish has turmeric, lemongrass, and a few other ingredients. It is usually served with rice and is often popular if you want something tasty in the morning.

Shan Tohu

Nearing the consistency of tofu, this is actually made of something else. Most tofu would be made of soybean curd. Shan Tohu is made from chickpeas. So you can think of like hummus but in a blocky form. This tofu is used quite frequently in Burmese cooking. What is special about this is the fact that the village where this tofu was created makes it as a social affair. So not only do you get something delicious, you can also take a bite out of the culture of Burma.

To Conclude

The two delicacies we’ve mentioned are easily accessible which is important. We believe that true delicacies do not have to be anything complicated. They just need to be something that the locals love and will be present no matter where in the nation you go.

Which particular Burmese delicacy would you suggest people try?

Burma fund featured img - Supporting the Export: Burmese Exports You Can Support

Supporting the Export: Burmese Exports You Can Support

We’ve pointed out before that Burma’s economy could use a bit more work but, by all accounts, is on the rise. If you are in the mind to support Burmese exports, stay tuned to find out which ones you can support.


Garments are one of Burma’s (or Myanmar’s) major sources of income and influx of foreign capital into the nation. More and more western businesses and brands are looking toward Burma and their garment production to bring to life their visions. Neighboring nations are also realizing that Burmese garments are durable, affordable, and labor cost is extremely reasonable.


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If there is anything that Burma is naturally rich in, it would be rubies. In fact, the entire world’s supply of rubies predominantly comes from Burma. While there are western entities that call for a fatwa on the gem trade, it is because of other issues that have nothing to do with the ruby trade. If you wanted to obtain a ruby, going through proper channels can really go back to giving back toward the industry.


As we’ve mentioned, grain or rice is a huge part of Burmese culture. A huge part of their cuisine includes rice. Therefore, there is a huge market of specific grains that is localized only to Burma. These are grains that they tend to export toward neighboring nations.

While there is some issue for those that want to be ethical in their support of exports, it is ultimately important to remember that every little bit helps.


pexels photo 868110 - Supporting the Export: Burmese Exports You Can Support

Not to be confused with grain. Produce, as you may know, refers to vegetables. Myanmar has a lot of vegetables that grow only in Burma. They use this to jumpstart a nearly 1.5 Billion dollar market in exports. Burmese produce is great as they are a big part of why Burmese cuisine tastes so good.


Burma has several coastal cities which have their own delicacies and specialties. Those villages and coastal cities contribute toward a nearly 540 million dollar market of export returns.

To Conclude

Supporting another nation’s exports is a great way to give to an economy that is trying to pull itself upward. If you are a Burmese national living somewhere else, supporting your local products is important. You are in a place in your life where any little thing you can support can mean a lot toward the rehabilitation of Burma’s economy.

What export are you more likely to support when you come across it?

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

counting 3125587 960 720 300x167 - Are You from the West: Ethical Ways You Can Support Burma

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.