Longyi and Thanaka: Becoming a local in Yangon, Myanmar

Exposing yourself to various cultures is so vital towards personal growth

Guess what I was wearing? 

A tee shirt with Burmese alphabet printed on it, and a longyi (pronounced as long-ji) - a sheet of cloth sewn into a cylindrical shape that's worn around the waist running to the feet.  :) 

Longyi is almost similar to sarong in Malaysia. 

But in Yangon Myanmar, wherever you go, you will see Burmese men wearing longyi. Be it as casual wear or office wear. And be it Buddhists, Muslims, Christians or Catholics. It's truly a national pride.

In fact I also put on thanaka / thanakha, a yellowish-white cosmetic paste made from ground bark. It is a distinctive feature of the culture of Myanmar,seen commonly applied to the face of Burmese in all walks of life. 


shirt with Burmese alphabet + longyi (sarong) + thanaka on my face 

How much more local can I be in Yangon, Myanmar?

Initially I was hesitant to wear like that to roam around the streets of Yangon, worrying others would laugh at me.

Then I told myself not to be so self-conscious but to have the courage to walk the streets and take the 3-hour train around Yangon.

Boy - what a wonderful experience! I truly soaked myself in the beautiful culture of Myanmar. And wherever I went, I was warmly welcome by great friend smiles!!

I was glad that I had chosen to expose myself to the culture of Myanmar for my personal growth.

Now I have learned to understand Myanmar much better instead of the stereotypical images of Burmese security guards, blue collar workers in Malaysia.

Thank you, Myanmar for helping me to see the beauty of your people!

Written on 2017.01.13


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