Burma (Myanmar) is in Southeast Asia. It is a majority Buddhist country and Burmese is the official language. In addition to the ethnic majority Burmese people, there are more than 150 minority ethnic groups, such as the Ka Chin, Ka Yar, Ka Yin, Chin, Mon, Rakhaing, Shan, Pa-O, Lar Hu, Pa Loung, A Kha, Le Su, etc. They each have their own languages and letters.
Burma has seven divisions and seven states. The capital city is Rangoon (Yan Gon); however, the military government tries to say Nay Pyi Daw is the capital. They have also changed the traditional name of the country, “Burma,” to the modern, official name, “Myanmar.”
In 1988, there were big riots, and the army took power. Many rights and freedoms were taken from the people. In a climate of political & religious movements and human rights violations, many people left Myanmar and settled in third countries. Nowadays, Myanmar has been developing in many aspects of education, political, technology, and economy. There are also signs that true political reform may be happening. Today there are approximately 3,700 people from Burma living in Utica. They are mainly from the Burmese, Karen, Rakhaing, Pa-O, Mon, Karen Ni, and Shan ethnic groups.
Ma Kyi Kyi Min
[Editors Note: In Redeemer Cup 2015, two organizations are fielding teams to represent the Burmese-American community—the Multi-Ethnic Association of Burma and the Burmese congregation of Redeemer Church.]