NLD criticise government's choices for national symbols

Mar 5, 2009 (DVB), The National League for Democracy have criticised the Burmese government for arbitrarily choosing the country's new national symbols without asking the opinion of ethnic groups.

The junta recently picked Thazin (Orchid), Ingyin (Pentacme suavis) and Padauk (Pterocarpus) as national flowers, according to the Upper Myanmar news journal.

They also chose teak as the national tree, the dancing peacock as the national bird and the white elephant as the national animal.

NLD spokesperson Nyan Win criticized the government for not officially announcing their decision to the public, and making the choices without consulting the ethnic people who carried their own traditional beliefs.

"Every single ethnic group in our country has their own myths, history and beliefs," he said.

"This decision made by government without these people's opinion may create arguments based on culture clashes."

A housewife in Rangoon said she did not know about the appointing of national symbols until she read the journal, and added that she would refuse to recognize them.

"We don't even know who made these choices and how they did it, so we have no reason to pay attention on these 'so-called' national symbols," she said.

A well-known writer in Mandalay disagreed, saying it was better to have something rather than nothing.

He added that the dancing peacock should cause no argument given that it was used as a national symbol by the Burmese monarchy before British invasion.

Reporting by Thurein Soe

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