Burma... also known as Myanmar

What with all the news of late re: the goings-on of Burma/Myanmar... I began to itch wondering WHY we journalists call it "Burma, also known as Myanmar."

Actually, the first time I had heard this phrase was on Seinfeld... when J. Peterman runs away leaving Elaine in charge of the catalog. She eventually gets ahold of him (on a payphone, of course) and he tells her he's in Burma "but you might know it as Myanmar."

Ok, I've returned from my tangent. Anyways, in case you are curious...

"In 1989, the military authorities in Burma adopted the name Myanmar, a shortened form of the full name in the Burmese language, Myanma Naingngandaw.

The Burmese are one of a number of ethnic nationalities with different languages that make up the country. This decision was not approved by any sitting legislature in Burma and taken by the military junta without the consent Burma's democratically elected leaders. Canada continues to refer to the country as Burma. The people are 65% Burmese, 10% Shan, 7% Karen, 4% Rakhine and Chin, Kachin, Mon, Chinese, Indian and other minorities."
Apparently, the U.N., NATO, the New York Times and the National Geographic refer to it as Myanmar. However, Canada refers to it as Burma.

Thanks Judy Maddren!


Way Way Up May 27, 2008 at 6:08 PM  

This kind of reminds me of a few years back when Zaire, in central Africa, changed its name to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Apparently, the leaders didn't realize that this may cause some confusion between their country and the neighboring Republic of Congo on the other side of the Congo River.

I'll have to check my atlas in my class to see if Burma is labeled as Burma or Myanmar.

Another Twentysomething May 27, 2008 at 11:30 PM  

It also depends on the news agency...some refuse to acknowledge the military junta (the whole unbias but favouring peace thing)abd will only call it Burma.

Jackie S May 28, 2008 at 10:08 AM  

WWU: LOL my new hobby is checking it out on world maps. The one I checked this morning said "burma", the one here at work (put out by the dept of energy, mines and resources canada in 1993) says Myanmar.