Six Rangoon-based youth organisations this week launched a campaign urging revellers celebrating the Thingyan Water Festival to avoid unruly behaviour, drunkenness and dressing inappropriately as a measure to protect Burma’s image.
The six youth groups, including Myanmar Youth Capacity Building Network (MYCBN), Myanmar Youth Initiative and Think for Future, unveiled the campaign on 10-11 April with promotional information delivered to passers-by at busy areas in Rangoon such as Inya Lake, People’s Square and downtown shopping malls.
Aung Zin, chairperson of the MYCBN, said that due to the extra attention focused on the country as ASEAN chair this year, Burmese people should seek to promote their cultural image on the international stage.
“At the moment, Burma is receiving a lot of attention from the international community as well as our ASEAN neighbours,” he said. “If we behave in the same way as previous years – getting drunk and wearing inappropriate clothing – it could lead them into believing that we are not so culturally sensitive.”
Meanwhile, the Myanmar Film Association (MFA) has also issued a statement urging film stars to celebrate the festival in appropriate fashion after photographs of scantily clad celebrities taking part in last year’s Thingyan circulated on the internet.
“As we become more globalised, we see more and more pictures of scantily clad celebrities on the internet – we are issuing this statement to remind the young generation to consider their cultural values,” said Aye Kyu Lay, vice-chairman of the MFA.