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July 05, 2020

Unique Practices and Common Issues

We are different form one another. Scientists have mentioned that generally each and every person in the world has different DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid), which is a molecule that carries most of the genetic instructions used in the development, functioning and reproduction of all known living organisms.  But one in 1 million people might have the same DNA according to the research. Individuals are not only unique physically but also have different views, behavior, thought and belief. Even among brothers and sisters it is quite usual that the appearances, preferences and views are different. If we look at the world, countries are unique. Many countries are different in geography. One country may have high lands with snow capped mountains and chilly weather while others have tropical weather with huge flat arable land with rivers flowing in many parts of the country like that of ours. Countries are distinguished with the culture of nationalities residing there. Some countries have only few or single nationality while others, such as ours, have several dozens and even hundreds of ethnic nationalities who speak different languages, have different traditions and culture. Food traditionally taken by the people in different parts of the world is a very interesting matter. Even in one continent although we eat rice, for instance in Asia, the dishes and ways to cook meat and vegetable are quite different. In most part of Africa maize and banana are eaten as staple food with meat and vegetable. Very clear example is that although we eat rice in both countries, Thai and Myanmar curry and dishes are quite different in taste and flavor. In many countries motor vehicles are driven carefully not to make any accidents however small it may be, like just touching one rear bumper with other’s front bumper, including in Yangon. But in many cities of India the traffic is so terrible that once all vehicles come to a standstill, cars bumpers would touch one another so that nothing, even a pedestrian cannot pass to the other side of the road, not to mention a bicycle, motorbike or trishaw! In Myanmar, a new comer or the foreign tourists wonder why 95% of all vehicles steering wheels are on the right side (wrong side) while the traffic moves on the right side of the road! Yet the car accidents are relatively low in Myanmar compared to other countries.
Our school children, both boys and girls, from the middle class level wear green color Longyi or sarong when they attend the schools, which is unique and a national pride of course. Majority of Myanmar people still wear traditional costume. Nevertheless, there are other unique practices which are shameful and despicable in the eyes of respectful local citizens and foreign visitors in our country. Many people are now addicted to chewing betel and spitting the red betel sliver on to the road, platform and any where they please without taking into account to the cleanliness and well swept surrounding in the public roads. Many people have experience of his or her car littered with betel spitting on the bonnet or on the roof of the cars while parking on the road side. Bus drivers, conductors, some commuters, many pedestrians who are addicted to the betel chewing will spit hundreds of time a day to whatever surface he goes by. It is a big national shame and authorities have to educate to the public through public media about the bad health impact as well as giving warning not to spit in public. The violators should be fined heavily in accordance with laws. It is also important to include the shameful “UNIQUE” practice of betel chewing and spitting in public in the curriculums of the primary, middle and high school classes so that our future generation would avoid this unique practice.
Smoking in the public areas is a common problem faced by many countries in the world not like spitting betel sliver, which I think is quite unique to Myanmar and perhaps another couple of countries. Smoking is banned by law in the public areas in many countries. Enforcement of the smoking ban is quite strong in Singapore for example. One violator can be easily caught through CCTV and accordingly fined. Littering carelessly is another common problem particularly in the cities where the population is very dense. Although nowadays YCDC has deployed sufficient numbers of big garbage bins in almost all parts of Yangon city, some people still dump their household waste on the platform, on the road and throw into the water drain with no proper covers. They normally throw their waste during the night time to avoid being seen by others. These people have very low morale standard and are not cooperating with agencies who are trying to keep the city as clean and hygienic as possible. Yangon city is growing with increased population year after year. To keep the city clean which every sensible citizen aspires, all must participate and contribute to the international standards by not littering in the public roads, platforms, drainages and parks. And one day we can be proud of our clean garden city of Asia.


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