Burma: Random Facts and Trivia

Some random facts and trivia for the country of the world Burma including rice production, tattoo art, and Burmese kings.

BURMA

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Though the ethnic Burmese dominate the lowlands, the Union of Burma has no unified national character. The various tribes and nations that inhabit the mountains and border regions have never been fully governed by either the British or the Burmese. Many cannot be distinguished from people living across the borders.

Due to Britain's efforts to promote the cultivation of the lower delta lands for wet rice farming, Burma became the largest exporter of rice in the world. However, after W.W. II, as part of the economy's general decline, rice production fell sharply. Today, Burma still produces less rice than before the war.

Tattooing is considered an art form in Burma. In precolonial times (and, to a lesser extent, today) many males at the age of puberty had their body from the navel to the kneecaps completely covered with religious and mystical designs.

The violence and cruelty of the Burmese Kings is legendary, but perhaps slightly exaggerated. For instance, King Thisithu Dhamana reportedly sought to increase his power through an elixir made out of 6,000 human hearts. The last Burmese King, mounting the throne in 1878, tried to eliminate all possible contenders by executing his 80 half brothers and sisters.

Hundreds, maybe even thousands, of Kuomintang troops left over from the Chinese Civil War still operate in northern Burma. They run a protection racket for the opium trade, carry out intelligence missions within China, and occasionally fight Burmese troops.

Herbert Hoover, former U.S. President, called the Burmese "the only genuinely happy people in all of Asia."

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