‘Ugly and Foreign’: Burmese React to Flag Change
25 October 2010, KUALA LUMPUR – Burmese migrant workers and refugees in Malaysia say they were shocked and disappointed with the change of their country’s flag, seeing it as the latest move by the military junta to suppress democracy.
Burmese nationals here say the single-star new flag is not representative of the multi-ethnic character of the country which consists of seven ethnic states and seven administrative divisions.
“I prefer the old flag as it has 14 stars that represent all states and divisions in Burma. The new flag shows only one star and the star definitely represents the dictators in my country.”
“What we want is not the change of the flag or the national anthem, what we really need is the change in government,” says one Burmese worker.
The new Burma flag has a horizontal band of light green at the top, dark green in the centre and red at the bottom, with a white star in the middle.
The flag is the only national flag among Southeast Asian countries with green color. Critics say the color represents military rule in the country.
The old Burma flag was replaced at 3 p.m. on Thursday in Naypyidaw, and at 3:33 p.m. at Yangon City Hall, a decision that observers said was made based on advice from astrologers.
The new flag will represent the Republic of the Union of Myanmar under the junta-backed 2008 Constitution, adding a third flag to the history of the post-colonial Southeast Asian nation.
The news on the hoisting of the new flag soon spread among Burma nationals in Malaysia who see the flag as ugly and foreign to them.
“I really cannot understand why my government wants to choose this flag, it is very ugly”
” At a first glance, I thought it was an Africa country’ flag, it cannot be a Burma flag,’’ says another Burmese living in Malaysia.
By Thomas Chong