Hilarious Burmese

As we have been talking a lot about the Burmese being very friendly and downright funny, we thought it was maybe time to give you a small example.

Of course, with tourism down by 90% compared to last year due to the events in September 2007, everybody tries to sell you something and children singing in chorus “You want to buy postcard? Not expensive! Very cheap!” were not very uncommon. We tried to buy some stuff sometimes, but one can only buy so many postcards and of course we had to say no sometimes. But the Burmese, despite not selling anything, they will always stay friendly and turn out to be in for jokes at any time of the day. Here is a funny example of one of the typical conversations we had.

Vendor #1: Showing us some “old antique” statue “Sir, sir! You want to buy a statue? Very nice! I make you a good price! Very cheap for you!”.

Jean-Christophe (JC):No thanks. I am not interested in statues.

Vendor #2: Showing us some (probably fake) rubies “Sir, sir! You want to buy rubbies! Very cheap! Good quality! I make you a good price, very cheap!

JC:Rubies? Oh no! That’s for old people! Maybe when I will be older I will buy that, but not now. So thanks a lot!

Vendor #3: Showing us some statues “Sir, sir! You want to buy? Really cheap! I make you a good price! Lucky money*, because you are my first customer!

JC: “Well that’s a statue and I told you guys before that I am not interested in statues, so no thanks.

Vendor #3:It’s not a statue! It’s the head of a statue!!” (Not the same thing!!!)

:-) Burmese people are so funny!

JC:Yeah, I know, but it’s still a sculpture! It’s the same thing as a statue!”

Vendor #3: A little bit taken back “I know…” while making a deep frown.

Vera: Imitating the vendors face with big frowns “What’s this face? I thought Burmese people were always friendly and smiling?!?! It’s the first time we see somebody making a face like you!

Vendor #3:Pfff… I’m an ogre**…

JC & Vera:Ah! You’re Shrek!” while laughing out loud…

Vendor #3:Shrek? What’s Shrek?” making even more of an ogre face… ;-)

So we quickly explain him and of course he has never heard of it as most foreign movies are censured and not permitted in the country. But he quite seems to like the concept of a farting, burping ogre making faces all the time, so he replies:

Vendor #3:Ok, I’m Shrek! Ko Shrek***!

And of he goes, repeating “Ko Shrek, Ko Shrek!!” happy as ever and with a smile on his face.


Vera & Jean-Christophe

* Lucky money is a term they use for the first deal they make in a day. So they believe that the first deal they make brings them good luck and promises many other deals for the rest of the day. When you are actually the first customer and buy something, they will take the money you paid them and touch other items still for sale with it, as a sign of good luck for the rest of the day.

** Ogres are well known to Myanmar culture and depicted on mural paintings, where they play an important role in folk tales.

*** “Ko” means “Mister”. Mister Shrek.


  1. Posted April 2, 2008 at 21:01 | Permalink

    coucou à vous!!
    Ravie de pouvoir vous lire à nouveau,, je peux ainsi continuer mon worldtrip virtuel!!
    Les birmans ont l’air en effet d’être un peuple merveileux et je vois d’ici la tête de cet homme en train de faire “oh je suis shrek”!!! j’adoooore!!
    biz à vous 2!
    à bientôt

    PS: je vous ai dédicacé un article dans mon blog (http://anbasoleyla.over-blog.fr/article-17412451.html ) !! et je connais déjà un certain nombre de personnes qui espère que vous fassiez un recueil de photo à votre retour (auquel cas, ils souhaitent déjà réserver quelques exemplaires!! :D )

  2. Posted April 7, 2008 at 11:00 | Permalink

    Que c’est bon de rire! C’est tellement communicatif, ça crée des liens, c’est fabuleux! Ils ont vraiment l’air sympa les birmans! Gros bisous aux aventuriers de la part des casaniers! ;-)
    Flo, Manu et Marion

  3. Vera
    Posted April 7, 2008 at 13:27 | Permalink

    @Melanie: T’es geniale!!! Merci beaucoup! Cela nous fait enormement plaisir! :-)

    @Manu: Oui ils sont super les Birmans! Bientot des nouvelles d’Australie ou les gens sont bien sympas aussi. :-)