To my cover-exchanging friends, please try as much as possible to
as these give a more personal touch to the cover
the Philippine postal service damages the cover with scribbling that highly devalues the aesthetic value of the cover, which is what I am after
or at least same themes when sending covers, but it is okay if this is not possible or if this would be expensive, and
not too small, but maybe around 4"x6" or something like that; big envelopes are not very attractive unless they have many stamps.
Thank you!


Pyi-daung-zu Myan-ma Naing-ngan-daw (Union of Myanmar)

Okay, so as you all have probably figured out by now, I am fond of looking up autonyms and endonyms even if I myself do not understand their true meanings or cannot read the alphabet in which they are written, as in this case:

This reads "Pyi-daung-zu Myan-ma Naing-ngan-daw" (Union of Myanmar) and is written in the Burmese language, whose script, consisting of circular and semi-circular letters, was adapted from the Mon script, which in turn was developed from a southern Indian script in the 700s.

The cover below is my second from Myanmar. Again, though, and to my dismay, the postmarks are very unclear and dates are beyond untintelligible. The sad thing is that this was sent registered, which is supposed to make it a more prized addition to my collection, but these terrible postmarks just detract from the cover.

Anyhow, as you can see from the stamps, the sender was thoughtful enough to use the Philippine stamp in the Myanmar set of the ASEAN 2007 joint issue. The other stamps is the traditional Lao house, and the other shows a Burmese xylophone. The covers below are some FDCs that the sender sent me; they're very nice and I wonder if they are official?

Notice how on this third cover, they seem to highlight "4th" in red. Is this a Buddhist practice?

Also you may have noticed that I switch from Myanmar to Burma interchangeably. This is because there is still some debate over what to call Myanmar/Burma officially.

"Myanmar" is derived from the local short-form name Myanma Naingngandaw, the name used by the regime currently in power in the country. While the etymology of the name is unclear, it has been used since the 13th Century primarily as a reference to the Myanma ethnic group.

"Burma," the older name for the nation, is believed to have come from the word Bama, which is the Indian name for Burma. Westerners grew accustomed to using this term and the practice caught on until the current regime decided to follow the footsteps of the Chinese Communist Party by also initiating a cultural revolution by changing place names, etc. Case in point, "Yangon" was used to replace "Rangoon," which is a British transliteration of the name for the capital city.

To an extent, this also happens in the Philippines. Street names that carry foreign influence (since they were set up during he colonial period and were thus given foreign names) have been revamped by using Filipino words and the names of Filipino heroes and statesmen in an attempt to "erase" the foreign influence.

Another interesting thing about Myanmnar is the Kyat, its official currency. Since 2001, the official exchange rate has varied between 5.75 and 6.70 kyats per US Dollar . However, the street rate (black market rate), which more accurately takes into account the standing of the national economy, has varied from 800 kyats to 1335 kyats per USD . This black market exchange rate tends to decrease during the peak of the tourist season in Myanmar (December to January).

So, if ever you are to go to Myanmar, do not go to the bank where they will give you only about 7 kyats per USD! That would be a major, major rip-off!

Notice that the postage for this registered letter is only 105 Kyat. The official exchange rate would make you think that this is very expensive since, using the 7kyat/USD rate, this would mean it cost $15! But, in reality, it only cost about $0.10!

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