After coming back from Kayah trip, my thoughts have been dominated by Panpet and Htaneelalehl villages. Kayan people with brass coils who can only be found in Myanmar are living in those villages.
Their living standard is poor as they live in the remote places of the world. They are not interested in the updated global news even though they have contact with the world. They are only interested in cultivation, hunting, yarn spinning, weaving loom, making bamboo cane and brewing Khaung Yay. They don’t have electricity and they have to carry water from streams. Because of insufficient of water, they have to make cistern at rainy season for their living. They don’t know how to use email, internet, Facebook, TV and mobile phones. As they are under developed in education, health, social and economy, their daily income and knowledge are also delay growth.
But they live their lives peacefully and happily. They will deny to living in the city even we invite them to live in Loikaw with large house and good salary. I was born in the river side village of Bago river but I can’t live in my native village if someone were suggested to settle down at my village because I am already overjoyed in urban culture. But it doesn’t mean I am ungrateful to my native village. I always proudly fill my name of village whenever I have to impart my curriculum vitae.
Kayan people have enough food such as rice and corn, sunlight in the days and moonlight in the nights. They only know weaving their own clothes, helping each other and protecting their groups. They live their lives very peacefully and we can see their peaceful and honest smile.
Many years ago, those places were covered with the sound of battles and Kayan people have ran to Monpaung,Monpan and Kyarbo villages which are located in Mae Hong Son District, Thailand. Thailand have been usingour refugee Kayan people to attract Tourists under the name of Community Based Tourism(CBT). At the beginning, tourists have thought that Kayan people are national races of Thailand. But later, they came to know the origin of Kayan are Myanmar and tourists come to Kayah state to observe the origin of Kayan people.
Nowadays, our government has been negotiatingwith armed forces to reach an agreement on peace around the country and they have agreed to cooperate with KNPP (Karenni Army) to protect border trade route from Maesae to Bipi(13).According to the National Export Strategy of Ministry of Commerce, International Trade Center (ITC), Ministry of Commerce and CBI (Netherland) are cooperating to implement Tourism Focusing on Kayah State (2014-2017) project. This project starts from 26-8-2017 and costs USD two millions.
Aforementioned project has been supported by regional government and also Kayah state is quite peaceful in these later days. Therefore, tourism is slightly developing in those regions and also Kayan people came back from borderland to associate in promotion of tourism.However, there are a lot of Kayan races who cannot come back and their relatives are waiting for their come back. At the end, everybody loves to live at their own resident.
Kayan people who just come back from other country are well-experienced in attracting tourists. Therefore, they have been using their experiences and supporting from International Trade Center (ITC) to enhance Kayah State tourism. Unfortunately, there are many weaknesses in practical technical process even though they know how to attract tourists. In our souvenir shops, we are sadly found out that there are a lots of souvenirs from other country because we cannot create our own souvenirs which have enough quality to attract tourists. We need to try to produce qualified products because it was embittered to see other country’s products are taking place in our country not only they used our Kayan races to promote their tourism.
We have to use our own tourism resources properly. Dawkee, Yankhu, Salonekanar, Pinmasaung and Kathelkhu villages are located in Panpentviallge which is doing CBT. Kayan People who live in those villages are unique because of their neck rings made with brass. Tourists can observe brewing Khaung Yay, crafting, weaving loom, flagstafts, shrines, their cultures, traditional instruments, music and foods. They can also do trekking.There are two CBT projects which are proceeding now in Panpet and Tanelalel villages.Panpet village has ( ) houses, ( ) households, ( ) males and ( ) females. It is 18 miles from Loikaw and about one hour and thirty minutess by car.
Kayah races are mainly living in Htaneelaleh village which is located 12 miles from Loikaw and 30 minutes by car. (157) houses, (161) households, (390) males and (408) females are living in the village. At the entrance of the village, we can observe HteePwint Lake which is extinct volcano, traditional flagstaffs of Kayah races, shrines, traditional instruments, traditional music, traditional foods and traditional Kayah houses which didn’t use iron nail and weaving from cotton plant.
As an observation trip to Loikaw, we went to Thiri Mingalar Pagoda, Kandayawati, Sawphyar Manor, Cultural Museum, Khaung Yay business, Kayah sausage business, Kayah curry business, loom business and mysterious Kyat Gu.
We have showed CBT projects of Panpent and Htaneelaleh villages in ITB Berlin which was held in Berlin, Germany from March 9, 2016 to March 13, 2016 and we got The Diamond Award, the grand prize of Golden City Awards from that event. And alsoPanpet and Tanelalel villages from Kayah State, Lwalkhaw, Innne, Htine and Kakkufrom Shan State were awarded ASEAN Community Based Tourism Award 2017 by ASEAN General Secretary Office in ASEAN Tourism Forum 2017 which was held in Marina Bay Sand Expo & Convention Centre, Singapore from January 18, 2017 to January 20, 2017.
Therefore, CBT projects which are proceeding in Panpet and Htaneelaleh villages have potential prospects because of unique Kayan people, Kayah races with their own cultural, unspoiled natural resources. But the biggest obstacles for developing tourism in those villages is unstable political condition.
I want to compare Kayan people who are mainly involve in CBT with a flower. This flower is welly cultivates in nourishment plot of land, rare and beautiful. But its fragrance is covered with some smells. Therefore, I am hoping those scents are blown away from the flower and exude with its fragrances.
I have read the eyes of Kayan and Kayah races that they want to meet and unite with their relatives who left behind in other country and want to contribute together for our nation.
I just hope this flower can get back its origin fragrance and can blow away the smell that is covered its fragrance.