Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar.

Business Etiquette In Myanmar

October 17, 2020
13 mins read

Business Etiquette In Myanmar: An Analysis of the Usage and Context of Handshakes, Seating Arrangements, Food and Fashion


Whenever there were formal introductions among professionals, of which there were many, business people in Myanmar shook hands firmly when greeting fellow business associates and acquaintances. Seniority and age were not significant factors taken into consideration when greetings were exchanged. It was typical to see men and women of varying ages, from the young adult and up, to shake hands. There were no formalized rules for the handshakes either. Both men and women were equally likely to initiate or start the handshake. Sometimes it was difficult to discern whether the different types of shaken hands were meant to convey a message of equality of formalities, or simply out of genuine interest.

Seating Arrangements:

With the exception of their own offices, Burmese people usually sat on the floor.

Food and Fashion:

Breakfast is usually light with fried eggs and a rice pancake, which is similar to a crêpe. Lunch and dinner are similar, with the main meal consisting of rice and a main dish that had soup and a vegetable side dish.

In general, Burmese food is not spicy, which I found to be a nice change to the spicy Thai food. If spicy food is preferred, then there was usually a little pot of chili peppers on the table.

Burmese people wore longyis, which are traditional skirt-like tops for men and women of all ages. It is similar to Indian lungis, which I wore when I went to India and look like long skirts.

For women, longyis are wrapped around the waist and knotted at the waist and a loose untucked longyi covers the legs. For men, the longyis are longer in length and usually have checkered patterns on the borders. One difference between wearing longyis and Indian lungis is that Burmese people tie a knot in the waistband of the longyis, whereas when Indian men tie their lungis, they tuck it into the belt on the pants. In Myanmar, I even saw little boys dressed up in longyis. For women, Jewelry is an important accessory that enhances the ethnic look.

I would like to conclude with two thoughts. First, the first few days I was in Myanmar, it was really hard to adapt to the heat and humidity. Second, Burmese people are very generous. One of the nicest things about traveling is that you get to meet the people. I felt like a welcomed guest each and every time we stopped to eat or got lost along the way and were helped to find our way. When encountering strangers, Burmese smiled and said “Shway Sone” (in Burmese, “hello”). This made me feel like I belonged, making it easier to adapt to the culture and the language. Although I felt warmly welcomed by most of the people I met, some stared at me and the other foreigners in a way that was difficult to take. I had read about this and was prepared for it.

Chapter 2:

In this chapter, I will focus on what I was able to learn about Myanmar’s art, language and culture, including the way Myanmar people feel about the outside world concerning their population, their tourism industry, and their known history.


As I learned in class, Myanmar is rich in culture. The arts and videos in that culture that they produce or put forth are significant. Through the decades and spanning from Rahan Thiriwatha’s time to Newton Minnette’s time, artists have incorporated a strong connection to classic Indian culture in their contemporary works. They have also made sure to keep cultural symbols and traditional forms of art alive through modern styles and styles used by artists. You may notice in their art museums that there are a lot of masks, carvings, jade objects and religious paintings.

In a way, paintings are like the portraiture type of art. Some portraits even have long-horned cows in them. These paintings represent the wonderful art for which Myanmar is known. During the 1800s, there was a romantic period in Myanmar. That infused itself into their art with works that portrayed different forms and contrasts of nature. While some artists are exceptional in certain styles, and this is apparent when comparing their pieces, most are competent in many styles. Their contemporary style is widely influenced by Western artists, which is not surprising due to Myanmar’s political ties with foreign countries during the past century. An example of a contemporary painting that I saw is a synthesis of Western technology combined with Burmese elements.

Foreign artists have made Myanmar their home, and they continue to contribute to artists’ industries. Some of the many foreign artists are Andree Trossard, Hans Hendrik, Jean-Paul, and Anton Paf.


I believe that it is important to study the countries that the United States has a relationship with, including the country in question, which is Myanmar. The reason I believe this is important is because the people of the United States have the right to know both the language and history of a given country. Knowing a countries history is vital to interpreting their present culture and current behavior. Knowing their language is just as important. It is important, not just for foreign language classes, but also for a person’s general well-being.

“Mnayaye” is the national language in Myanmar. It is also called “Burmese” or “Myanmar”. The country is also referred to as “Burma”, but I have chosen not to use that name, since I believe that it is a misrepresentation of their culture. The history of the country is one that has seen a lot of needs and devastation. During 1990s, the political party based in the upper class was able to completely mismanage democracy. The frustration and oppression that came from the government led to a bloody revolution, which created the ongoing civil war. This conflict has created Myanmar’s isolation and difficult life challenges. Like India, Myanmar is a predominantly peasant and agricultural society. Both countries face major challenges in the field of sanitation and disease prevention activities.

In the nineteen sixties, when Myanmar was still under a military regime, the government initiated programs to promote literacy in the country. Their literacy programs included a seven-tier system. First, the primary school education aimed at building a foundation for the country’s culture. Later, three levels of secondary education would also be conducted to complete the country’s educational system. According to that system, there was a central office that was in charge of all the curriculum and textbooks. The authoritarian government of Myanmar kept the literacy rate to 10% of the population.

In Myanmar’s Constitution, it says that three major languages are used. Out of the three languages, it is second language that is allowing the government to separate different ethnic groups. First language is the language that is spoken in all the Yangon schools’ classes. In the areas surrounding Yangon, English is the first language, and the official language is used in schools there. The Constitution also states the significance of the Burmese language and its importance to the country. As a result of the united and long-standing workers’ movement, many labor unions and reform movements sprouted, which eventually resulted in the 1962 Constitution. This constitution has second most important language—English.

The second language is English. It was the language of the British. The language also rose in importance as the education introduced by the British thrived. The growth of its use continued well after the British and their use of it. English has become the major language for society. Myanmar has been heavily influenced by the English language. This has been practical in job applications because of the need to communicate with the wealthy elite.


Myanmar’s relations with the United States have been difficult one’s, even though there is a long history of US travel to the country. While the US called for democratic reforms in the country, the Burmese regime ignored US calls. This eventually led to a unformed regime known as the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC).

While the country was under British rule for over a century, the United States was able to openly work in Myanmar. According to the US Warships and Aircraft in the Bay of Bengal, the country of Myanmar has always been a country with a lot of potential. The country itself is located along the west coast of India. Furthermore, the country is made of mountains, which is one of the country’s best natural resources. The reason for the US establishing relations with the country of Myanmar is the significant economic opportunities that the country offers. The country’s natural resources can be harvested by the farmers and sold at market price.

During the time period of the US and Myanmar, the United States was mainly interested in agriculture. With such a large farming industry, it was possible to export many goods to the United States. The biggest exports from the country of Myanmar to the US were, in order, cardamom, ginger, cashewnut, pulses, sesame, coconut, poppies, and tea. The next most important resources of the country were oil and gas.

Myanmar Greetings:

It is common to greet someone as “yeh-bi-nay-ma”, and response is used is “yay–bi-ba-kah”. Another one of the greetings in their language is “Kon-chu-meh-a-ma”, and the response is “ah-loh-tay-ma-ya”. “Sad-ya-la” is a common response for many of the greetings.

One of the Myanmar people’s greetings is “saw-di-na-ya-soe-eh-kah-lah”, which is used as a good morning. The reply is “kon-tu-na-ya-soe-eh-kah-lah”. Another one of their greetings is “suk-tu-nah-ya-soeh-kah-lah”, for good night. The reply to this greeting is “kon-tu-na-ya-soe-ah-kah-lah”.

Myanmar Lifestyle Education:

Many people follow Hindu or Buddhist lifestyles in Myanmar. Therefore, their religious contributions are one of the aspects of their culture. The country has been influenced by both Buddhism and Hinduism. Some of the many religions that are practiced there are Buddhism, Hinduism, and Christianity. The Buddhist beliefs have a major influence on the country of Myanmar. Buddhism is practised by ninety percent of the country’s population. The country’s culture is affected greatly by the religion of Buddhism. While the religion originated in India, Buddhism is now a major religion in Southeast Asia. Some examples of Buddhist sculptures that can be found in Myanmar are Buddha’s hand imprints, which are found in temple walls, and icons.

The religious contributions of Buddhism are built in building design, and its architectural, textile, and textile arts, such as tapestries, wall coverings, and tapestries. Some of the religious contributions of Buddhism that have influenced Myanmar’s architecture are monastery dwellings, which are some of the most colourful. Traditional Burmese architecture is strongly influenced by the Buddhist faith. The architecture is decorated with terracotta plaques, painted colonnades, and frescoes. In general, the architecture is a reflection of the country’s culture and heritage.

The main aspect of Myanmar’s culture is Buddhism, which comes from Buddhism. This religion has roots in both Myanmar and India. The Buddhist art consists of stupas, giant mounds found in the country. The most significant Buddhist temple sites are Bagan and Sittwe. The Hindu influence in Myanmar primarily impacts their lifestyle by introducing the caste and the caste system.

Myanmar Language:

Myanmar is the official language of Myanmar. Myanmar language is related to the Mon-Khmer languages spoken in Southeast Asia. The language is related to the indochinese language. In Myanmar, there are many different dialects. Some of the major dialects are Standard Burmese, Chin, Arakanese, and Taungyoe. There are also smaller dialects, such as the Bamar-Kyun. Some of the major dialects are the Arakanese dialect, Karen, Kachin, Taungyoe, and the northern Chin. Also, there are the central Chin, which is subdivided into the Ngapu-lun and the Chin-taun, and the eastern Chin, which is subdivided into the Tiddim Chin, the Falam, and the Long-chin.

The most active languages of the country are the central Burmese language, Arakanese, and the Kayan. There are other languages, such as Chin, Chinda, and the Burmese Chin. There is also the Burmese, which is one of the official languages of the country. Burmese is the language that appears in most commonly found documents and newspapers.

Myanmar Music:

Myanmar’s music has been influenced by different cultures. Most of the music that is heard in the country is similar to the music used in Bhutan, Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand. The country’s different ethnic groups create different styles of music. The most popular ethnic groups to create their own music are the Mon, Palaung, Karen, Mon, and the Rakhine.

Myanmar has an extraordinarily diverse range of music. Myanmar music is influenced by many cultures and ethnicities. One of the most notable areas of music that is used in Burma is the Hsan’Ao. 

Myanmar Laws:

The country of Myanmar has constitutional protection for human rights. This means that all of its citizens have the same rights under the law. The country’s constitution guarantees these rights, which include freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and freedom of association. In addition, the country of Myanmar guarantees that all people have the right to a fair trial under the law. In Myanmar, the country’s citizens have freedom of religion. There are no limitations on the practice of religion. These rights are granted by the constitution and by other laws in the country.

The country of Myanmar also has a legal framework for learning its languages. In the country of Myanmar, there are three official languages. The country’s national language is Myanmar. The country also recognizes English and Burmese Chin. In Myanmar, it is required that citizens learn one of these languages. Although, the country also has many dialects, which are not recognized.

Myanmar’s legal framework also guarantees freedom of expression. The country of Myanmar has a great deal of press freedom. The country’s citizens have the right to free speech. The media is used in the country of Myanmar to publish the government’s views. The media also uses its space to publish different perspectives in relation to the government. In addition, the media is used to inform the citizens of the country about current issues.

World War II and Its Impact on Myanmar:

During World War II, the country of Myanmar was still under British rule. Myanmar was included in the British Colonial Empire and it was one of the countries that had power. The country was also a leader in the British Empire. During World War II, the Japan government was headed by a Nationalist Imperative. The empire invaded the Myanmar rebel and Japan imperialism. After defeating China, the Japanese Imperial Army invaded Myanmar. The country was occupied until the end of World War II. Although, before the Japanese invasion of Myanmar, the country was colonized by the British.

The impact of the occupation was that the country had a huge colonial history. Currently, the country is transitioning out of that history and towards an independent future. The country of Myanmar is a young country that has only recently broken from the colonial rule of the British.

Myanmar’s Independence:

Myanmar was once the largest country in the east. Before the country’s independence, it was divided into different countries. The country’s independence had a great political impact on the area. The country of Myanmar was colonized in different sections by the British and the French. The country was also colonized by the Japanese. After the occupation of Myanmar by the Japanese, the Japanese handed over control of the country to the British. The country of Myanmar’s history includes fighting for Independence, a great deal of tension in relation to its borders, and international relations.

In 1948, while the country of Myanmar was still under British rule, the province of Arakan was granted independence. This was then followed by the granting of other areas of the country independence. The areas that were declared independent were the Shan states and the Kalay States. The capital at the time for Myanmar was Rangoon.

In 1951, the country of Myanmar was granted independence. The country’s capital at the time was moved to Yangon. Kings of Myanmar were discussed at the same time as the country’s independence. The Queens of Myanmar, such as Queen Supayalat, made public appearances after the country’s independence.

In September 1960, a rebellion began in Myanmar. The rebels were fighting for the reunification of the country. This civil war was led by the Burmese Communist Party. While the rebels were led by the Buddhist monks, the situation was serious. The country of Myanmar was plunged into a civil war and, at the time, it was one of the world’s poorest countries. In January of 1961, the government in Myanmar requested military aid from the UN.

Myanmar’s government also requested assistance from Great Britain. The United States was not friendly in the beginning of this conflict. The Soviet Union was willing to lend support. The country of Myanmar’s borders and democratic rights were supported by the Soviet Union. The country of Myanmar had the support of so many Asian leaders, including India and Japan. Eventually, the country of Myanmar was granted support by the United States. Along with the Soviet Union, the United States was also providing military aid. As the country of Myanmar was headed towards an independence war, it was also heading towards a war for its democracy.

Democracy in Myanmar:

Myanmar became a democracy in 2010. The country was headed towards a democratic society after a great deal of fighting and oppression. A Myanmarese activist who spent many years in prison, Aung San Suu Ky, supported a democracy that was based on freedom. The country of Myanmar then held elections that were designed to create a democratic society. In March of 2012, Myanmar held its first-ever elections. The country then elected its first civilian president. The country of Myanmar had its first presidential elections in 50 years.

In February 2, 2012, Myanmar’s parliament was dissolved. The parliament was led by the military. The parliament was dissolved and an election was held to elect a new government. Under the constitution of the country of Myanmar, the military was to control the government. The military was to hold 25% of the parliamentary seats. The military also had the right to hold power in the constitution. The military was to check the power of an elected government.

Elections in Myanmar:

Elections in Myanmar took place as a result of the country’s problems with conflict. The country of Myanmar had been led by the military as a result of political unrest in the country. Before the 2010 elections had taken place, the country of Myanmar had been led by a communist party.

In the 2010 elections, an enormous number of votes were cast. As a result of the high number of voters, the election was deemed to be credible. The country’s parliament was also arranged to reflect the will of the people. The country’s military still holds a great deal of control in Myanmar. This includes a constitutional body that has the power to overrule any laws passed by the parliament.

In 2016, the constitutional draft was proposed in Myanmar. This draft had been written by a parliament led by the military. The parliament included 25% of military members. The parliamentary members were to be elected by the military. The parliament was also to be led by a president that was selected by the parliament. The parliament was given the power to make decisions in Myanmar.

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About Levi Keswick

LeviKeswick serves as a vibrant hub for diverse individuals to share their stories, absorb and contribute to emerging fashion trends, lifestyle concepts, and innovative ideas. We offer valuable insights and advice, amalgamating information painstakingly curated by experts in the field, alongside fashion connoisseurs and influential social media personalities.