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" The Single Proud and Prestigious Naga People "
By Tin Tin Sein
As World War II broke our in 1942, my grandparents from my mother's side tried to evacuate to India , our neighboring country. They started tracking in the Nagaland and eventually died of exhaustion and starvation in Shin- bwe – yan, a small village in the Northern Naga hill tracks.
Since I was a child I have always been interested in the land where my grandparents were buried without a stone to show where they were buried. It had been my secret wish, and ardent wish, to go to THE NAGA LAND . It had always been desire to see the place and the people.
In the year 2000-2001, Col : Aung Myin (Retd:) and his son U Tay Za and U Nyein Chan, Directors of S.S.T Tourism Co., had an American lady tourist by the name of Brenda Davidson Shaddox from Taxas, who was also interested in the Ethnical Groups of Myanmar. Brenda wanted a lady to accompany her to go to the remote areas.
Col : Ayng Myin and Daw Dyein Nyein, being friends of mine, had proposed the idea of my Naga Expedition with U Nyein Chan, their son, who would be our precious guide. As a directors of S.S.T Co., ( Locaed at Room S-6, North wing of Aung San Stadium,Mingalar Taungnyunt T/S, Yangon), who had studied about the Naga traditions and culture, he suggested that Brenda Davidson Shaddox and myself should visit the Naga land when there was glorious ceremony. The New Year celebration was held on January 15 every year when the people dwelling in the hills had terminated their harvest and was pared to have a merry. New Year. It was a choice of the people to choose their leisure time. People of the hill tracks all get together in gay traditional clothes depiction their tribe. Most of the people dwelling in the mountain regions only have to go walking uphill and downhill on foot. They all use their own efforts in living a tiresome life on the mountain. I see particularly that they have very strong feet and they mainly depend on their feet to climb up and down the mountains.
Brenda Davidson Shaddox has always been a very interesting person. She is a photographer by profession and takes pictures with the permission of authorities and individual people. She has traveled in Myanmar for about ten years, coming to the beautiful colourful hospitable land where there are various ethnical groups than in any other country in the world. Brenda is in love with Myanmar and its people. She has traveled the length and breadth of Myanmar extensively with U Nyein Chan and U Saw Hla Chit of S.S.T Tourism, making two or three trips a year. The ecotourism, the birds and nature, the Myanmar forest and parks attract her attention as she is a lover of Mother Nature.
It has been a pleasure traveling to the Nagaland for nearly five years now. She has been a jewel for my country as she has held an exhibition at Corpus Christi Museum in Texas in 2002. It was called Myanmar Perspective, being the first of its kings to be held in the united states of America wikth U Nyein Chan, the director of S.S.T to open the Colorful Glorious Exhibition during Myanmar New Year(Thingyan). It was held on April 13 and 14 of August, 2002. It was very unique anjd being the first of its kind depicting the various ethnical groups of our country. I was very enchanted and proud of Brenda, who always thinks highly of our people. The second Diverse Ethnical Groups of Myanmar was held in December, 2004.
Brenda has been a lovely companion to travel with. She always has understanding and never loses her temper. She can eat anywhere where it is clean and sleep anywhere without being egoistic about the circumstances.
Brenda, U Nyein Chan and myself always travel with pleasure understanding the people. The Naga people have now become like our relatives and love to see Brenda with her beautiful smile. She also loves the Naga Dance and their colorful dress and of course, The Naga Beer(Khaung-Yae) or Rice Wine, which is served to all tourists, and digit tourious people whole come to celebrate the New Year every year on the 15 th of January. We have attend this ceremony for years now.
The Naga people are proud people. One day, I saw a tourist from Germany give a thousand –kyat note to a young Naga boy who carried his suitcase and the young Naga boy refused to take the money saying he had no use for thick paper. The tourist was surprised to see a boy who did not want money. He looked sheepish and was very reluctant. He tried to give some sweets till the boy refused. The foreigner said that Naga people are proud people living with nature and have a beautiful heart without being money-minded. They are and always will be a contended race of beautiful Myanmar . I was proud of the little boy.
The poor German tourist said that it was the first time in his life that a person refused money for him and also for his service. It was a great surprise for him and also for me looking at the situation. Very surprising!
There are about thirty ethnical tribes tracking their hills and gathering for the New Year festival. The poor people walk for miles to gather for a few days. Some walk for two of three weeks.
The ceremony is held in Lahae and Lashe. We have been to all the remote villages on foot also.
Sometimes Brenda and I had to walk up and down the mountains as the cars could not climb the steep mountains.
There are about 20 to 30 different Naga tribes and they speak differently each in its own dialect.
Naga people have lived in harmony with nature from time unmemorable. They have always been living a natural life in the wilderness and mountainous hilly regions on the northwestern part of Myanmar . They are all living a natural life with wild beasts. The Naga race fancy the paws of bears as a decoration. They also value the claws of tigers and they also wear monkey head skulls as a courageous decoration. The Naga people always use the feathers of birds as decoration. The Naga people are courageous, always facing the wild animals. They also wear the tusks of elephants on their arms.
The poor Naga people only track and go up and down the hills on foot. They are one of the most courageous, strongest and colorful races we have ever encountered. There are more than sixty different races and various types of traditional clothes can be viewed.
I am very happy to have the great opportunity of meeting my proud mountainous people who have been always living humbly with mother nature. They know how to live a prestigious life without egoism.
Brenda, who loves our country and culture, has become interested in the traditional Antique Naga artifacts and has started to sponsor the little Nagaland communities office cum museum in Zeephugyone village near Khamti.
" Bagan To Cultural Zone Destination "
The Myanmar Times Jounal News- Volume15,No.282, Page3
|THE pagoda-studded plain at Bagan is by far the most popular destination for foreign tourists of the country's six main cultural zones, show figures released by the Ministry of Culture.
The figures show that 556,000 tourists visited Bagan from 1996-97 to 2004-2005.
During the same period, the number of foreign visitors to the Mandalay cultural zone totalled 383,000.
A director of the ministry's Archeology Department, U Kyaw Oo Lwin, said the number of visitors to the zones had steadily increased since they were established in 1996-97, which was designated as Visit Myanmar Year.
Over the nine years since then, the number of visitors to Bagan had risen from 38,000 to 75,000, with a peak of 80,000 in 2002-2003.
The number of visitors to the Mandalay cultural zone over the same period increased from 28,000 to 48,000, reaching a high of 65,000 in 2002-2003.
U Kyaw Oo Lwin said that in the three months since April 1, 4500 foreigners had visited the Mandalay zone, up from 4200 for the corresponding period in 2004-2005.
Bagan attracted 8000 foreign visitors in the first quarter of this fiscal year, down from 8800 for the same period last year.
The number of foreign visitors to the other main cultural zones in the three months from April 1 were 3200 at Bago, 2300 at the Golden Rock Pagoda at Kyaikhtiyo and 100 each at Pyay and Mrauk Oo.
U Kyaw Oo Lwin said the minidtry registered only those who were charged a fee for visiting the cultural zones and its figures differed by up to 10 per cent from those of the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism.
The fee was waived for some foreigners resident in Myanmar, such as employees of United Nations agencies and business people, he said.
The fee ranges fro US $ 10 at Bagan, Mandalay and Bago to $ 6 at Kyaikhtiyo, $5 at Mrauk Oo and $4 at Pyay.
U Kyaw Oo Lwin said most of the visitors to the cultural zones were from France, followed by those from Japan, the United States and Germany.
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