RE: Burma/Myanmar

From: Reynolds, Gregg (
Date: Mon Oct 04 1999 - 19:07:24 EDT

Ken -

I hope you will reread your post and think very hard about it. You have
missed the boat, completely, not even close. I'll spare you my explanation
of why until I'm less steamed and less likely to offend you, since you seem
like basically a decent guy who just doesn't get it, as the saying goes.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: []
> Sent: Monday, October 04, 1999 5:02 PM
> To: Unicode List
> Cc:;
> Subject: Re: Burma/Myanmar
> Glen Perkins said,
> >
> > I don't consider anything SLORC says or does to be any more
> "official" than
> > the proclamations of the Bloods or the Crips in Los
> Angeles, but my opinion
> > isn't relevant when it comes to the naming of Unicode
> characters. If the
> > people of Burma prefer the new name, there's no issue, and
> I'd like to know
> > it so that I can call them by the name they prefer. If the
> name "Myanmar" is
> > a SLORC logo, though, I would feel bad if the Burmese had
> to endure it
> > forevermore as a descriptor of their writing system in the
> UCS. (As in
> >
> > Of course I realize that the UTC can't put itself in the position of
> > deciding who is and who isn't a "legitimate" government, so
> it has to defer
> > to some international body that will take the heat for that type of
> > decision. The UTC has enough things to worry about without
> having to raise
> > its own army. ;-)
> >
> > My question then comes down to:
> >
> > Do the people of Burma prefer the name "Myanmar"?
> >
> The UTC decides very few Unicode character names, except for those
> originating in proposals coming from the UTC itself -- and even those
> are subject to change during the international ballotting. WG2 is
> the arena in which most character names are decided.
> As regards Burmese/Myanmar, the changes were the results of the
> unanimous, strongly held and expressed opinion of the 5 members of
> the Myanmar Information Technology Standardization Committee who
> attended the London WG2 meeting last year and the Fukuoka WG2
> meeting last February. Those five people were bright, educated,
> personable, and very excited about participating in the encoding
> of their script in the international standard. There was not a
> "SLORC thug" among them. And while it is conceivable that somebody
> somewhere connected with an unsavory general is responsible for
> the original insistence on "Myanmar" for the country, language,
> and script names, and that the MITSC was bound by that
> general decision,
> that is hardly sufficient reason for white liberals with bad
> consciences to object to a polite consensus decision taken by
> an international committee responsible for the character names.
> In any case, as John Cowan pointed out, this is a matter of
> transliterations of what is ultimately the same name in either
> case--not even your typical example of a local group objecting
> to an English name for themselves that is not the name *they*
> use for themselves.
> And while it may not currently be possible to conduct a
> nationwide public opinion poll in Myanmar to ask the general
> populace what they think about use of the term "Myanmar" (and
> ask yourself anyway about the premises for considering that such
> a mechanism should be used for determining the "answer" anyway),
> the people of Myanmar that WG2 heard from clearly *did* prefer
> "Myanmar". And since they were also very knowledgeable about
> character encoding, computers, and software implementations,
> and since they were engaged in the process, their opinions
> weighed heavily in the decision that WG2 made.
> --Ken

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