Some Lashio residents are furious after the name of a market was changed from a Shan name to a Burmese one.
The Lashio Municipal Committee posted on its Facebook page the city accepted a request to change the name of Mansu market to Shwe Chan Myay. The name request was made by Maung Nge, chair of the market committee, and apparently 330 of the vendors in the market.
The committee replaced the original sign on the market last Monday (June 22) with a new sign calling it Shwe Chan Myay. The same day many turned out to protest the name change. By 4 p.m. the new sign was taken down by the Lashio Municipal Committee.
“We told them to hang up the old sign that says Mansu market,” says Sai Harn, chair of Shan Youth Organization (SYO), who lives in Lashio.
Nang Khin Htar Yee, who is a state parliamentarian for Hsenwi Township, told SHAN that they’re collecting signatures from other parliamentarians to officially restore the market’s original name.
Locals say the market, located near Mansu Pagoda in downtown Lashio, has been around for years but didn’t specify exactly how long. At one time, residents played football on the grounds at the same time vegetables were being sold. Later, Mansu Plaza and Mansu Bus Terminal were built.
Lashio residents say there was no reason to change the market’s name.
Some say the Mansu market was changed to Shwe Chan Myay to increase sales.
But Sai Harn says: “I think they want to remove the Shan name from the market.”
Under the military dictatorship, many Shan historical and religious buildings were destroyed. Shan villages, towns, townships and districts were renamed with Burmese pronunciations.
One Shan youth says: “They shouldn’t do whatever they want.” They still haven’t put the old one back, even though the new market sign has been removed.