Myanmar - The Padaung (Color)
77 images Created 10 Mar 2016
One of the most striking ethnic tribes in Myanmar are the Padaung (also called Kayan Lahwi), a sub-group of the Karen – only indigenous to the Kayah State of Myanmar. This is for sure no secret, than the first Padaung had been taken to the UK for „exhibitions“ in the early 19th century. The outstanding book „From the Land of green ghosts“ written by Pascal Khoo Thwe enforced me to visit these extraordinary people. In my opinion it is a must read before entering Myanmar and its state Kayah. Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) took over power in beginning of 2016, just after a longer transition from military rule to a civilian democracy. It was time to embark on a cultural exploration through the country. I resisted the temptation to visit the Padaung in bordering Thailand, where a lot of them escaped to when the burmese army tried to conquer their lands. While in Thailand most Padaung ended up weaving in human zoos, I was hoping to encounter the remarkable ethnicity in their authentic environment – hence, this journey wasn’t possible when Kayah was part of the restricted areas until it opened up late 2015. Obviously, the tradition of the Padaung ladies is a disappearing one. Modernisation and discomfort are main factors. As long as the elders can’t convince the youth to maintain this tradition, it will be soon lost forever.