Beauty That’s More Than Skin Deep
covering burma and southeast asia
Thursday, October 19, 2017
Feature

FEATURE

Beauty That’s More Than Skin Deep


By YENI Friday, August 5, 2011


In this photo taken on April 12 , 2011, Burmese girls participate in the Thanaka grinding competition during the Thingyan festival in Rangoon. (Photo: Reuters)
COMMENTS (4)
RECOMMEND (599)
FACEBOOK
TWITTER
PLUSONE
 
MORE
E-MAIL
PRINT
(Page 2 of 2)

Due to increasing demand and a dearth of thanaka trees in natural forests, privately owned thanaka plantations and seedling-selling businesses are becoming more common in the Burmese dry-zone, particularly in villages around Yesagyo, Myaing and Shinmataung townships in Magway Division. Around 200 thanaka trees can be planted on an acre of land, along with seasonal vegetables such as beans and sesame, according to farmers.

The thanaka tree is a perennial that becomes mature enough to put on the market after three to seven years of growth. Expert growers say that great care is needed when the tree is young due to its vulnerability to insect attack. They say that this, along with the normal expenses of the time-consuming plantation business, makes it is difficult to make much profit.

Since 2006, thanaka has been approved for export, in particular targeting Burmese communities living abroad and for body scrubs in some spas in Thailand. But Burmese thanaka farmers say that the increased export prices do little to benefit them.

“The agents from companies pay us in kyat, and tell us that they are the only ones who can export it abroad, so we feel exploited,” said Daw Than, a thanaka grower at Yesagyo. “We know thanaka is a good business but the growers don’t make the money. They are only just getting by.”

In the market, organic thanaka logs from the Shinmataung area of Yesagyo Township in Pakokku District, Magway Division are the most expensive. A log of 10-20cm in length is worth around 3,000-8,000 kyat (US $4.00-10.70) while a ready-made product can cost 500 kyat ($0.67). Without doubt, thanaka in its natural state is, as the traders say, “pricey.”

Than Oo, a thanaka trader, said that the scarcity of wild thanaka trees, increasing costs in thanaka farming and rising transportation fees are the main causes of a price peak in the business. “I bought thanaka from Yesagyo and sold it wholesale in Rangoon for 3,000 kyat ($4.00) per log, but Rangoon retailers will sell it for 5,000 kyat ($6.70) per log,” he said.

An old Asian proverb says that the world’s most beautiful women have a Thai smile, Indian eyes and Burmese skin. Perhaps the Burmese have thanaka to thank for the glowing reputation of their complexion.

 

This article appears in The Irrawaddy’s latest e-magazine. http://issuu.com/irrawaddy/docs/irr_vol.19no2_june2011_issuu/52?viewMode=magazine&mode=embed



« previous  1  |  2  | 

COMMENTS (4)
 
Please read our policy before you post comments. Click here
Name:
E-mail:   (Your e-mail will not be published.)
Comment:
You have characters left.
Word Verification: captcha Type the characters you see in the picture.
 

Mg Yit Wrote:
07/08/2011
In this photo taken on April 12 , 2011, Burmese girls participate in the Thanaka grinding competition during the Thingyan festival in Rangoon. (Photo: Reuters)
There was not Burmese Grils!!! And also not Thankha grindng competition at all.

It was Rakhine Tradition and it was call "Nant Thar Thwe Pwe" to offering Buddha during Thingyan Festival.

It was not Thanaka grinding at all. And the
dresses of competitor girls were not same as Burmese girls and how editor can saying that
was competition for "thanakhar Grinding" ?

Myanmar Patriots Wrote:
07/08/2011
What a great, illuminating article!We are very proud to see our beautiful ladies in beautiful Burmese national costume.

Thanaka can cure eczema and restore natural skin colour where there was a burn. A pro-Burmese monarchy Englishman was trying to import thanaka into EU but not enough quantity was available to make the venture viable.

WE don't normally see eye to eye Kerry but
"The ugliest young women in present day Burma are the Singapore educated rich young women, with professional smiles (sometimes beautiful faces) fashionable clothes, and hairstyles, eating in expensive restaurants w...you are not looking!" is SPOT ON!THANK YOU KERRY.

These women are shameful.They think they class. Not at all. A peasant girl is higher than them.

We are proud of our cluture, our dignity and traditional values.The picture really warms our hearts.

TJR Wrote:
06/08/2011
Dear Sir,

The photo accompanied by with this article is absolutely wrong. Even though the writer of this article or editorial staffs use from Reuters new and photo, the picture is
(1) Not Burmese girls grinding Thanaka during Thingyan festival. Those are Rhakine girls, you can tell by looking at their dresses. Plus it is the tradition of Rhakine people to start that Thingyan Festival
(2) Plus The second mistake with this photo is it is NOT Thanaka Grinding. Rhakhine do not do Thanaka Grinding during the Thingyan Festival. They grind "Nanthar" on the eve of Thingyan Festival for the Buddha.
(3) And the last of all it is not competition.
It may be a mistake by Reuters about description of the photo, but you as a writer of this article or you as the editor of this article should have caught this mistake and should use the correct photo for the article.

Sincerely yours,
TJR ( aka) Rhakhine Thar

kerry Wrote:
05/08/2011
Burmese women are very beautiful, and have great grace. Thanaka is beautiful and unique. But many women (and men) are not safe in your tortured country.

The ugliest young women in present day Burma are the Singapore educated rich young women, with professional smiles (sometimes beautiful faces) fashionable clothes, and hairstyles, eating in expensive restaurants with their bored looking friends...or the 'Paris Hilton' wannabes driving around such a poor country in sporty cars and big sunglasses. They are the gross ones. Your sisters are in great pain, and you are not looking!

For every women who is raped, forced into labor, or used to build roads for those in control, I send you love and prayer for your freedom. For every brave woman in (or visiting) prisons I send you my deepest respect. For 'pretty' young Myanmar woman attending expensive schools overseas, flying on tourist planes, and with shopping bags and bank accounts in Singapore, I send you sympathy - for your family's karma.

more articles in this section