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The girls conjure up images of the Spice Girls and other female pop singers like Britney Spears with their colorful wigs and dance tunes. The Yangon-based band is also helping to break down cultural taboos in a country where there has been censorship. The new album by the group Me N Ma Girls came out December 17th, in the midst of some significant changes in the group's native country of Myanmar, also known as Burma. Then there are some ways that the experiences of the five members of the group seem very particular to Burma.
Burma's censorship board, which has to approve all the lyrics, music, videos, and artwork for any album produced in the country, gave them the go-ahead to use colorful wigs in a video. That was in Htike Htike says it may not seem like a big deal in the US, but the group was pretty psyched.
It was a pretty progressive move for the board, which had until recently blocked bands from wearing colored wigs or dying their hair, calling such things quote "against Burmese culture. Heather MacLachlan, a professor at the University of Dayton in Ohio and author of a book about pop music in Burma, says the conservatism doesn't just reflect the views of stodgy apparatchiks. In fact Htike Htike herself—even though she's in a group that's pushing the cultural envelope in Burma—is not totally gung-ho about the idea of all censorship ending right away.
She got it into her head to form a girl band along the lines of the Spice Girls and, two years ago, put out an ad for auditions. Lists with This Book. A man, on the other hand, must leave his wife for three years before she can get an automatic divorce. About Us Contact Donate Now. Asia selected China India. Robert Fisk.
The group is the brainchild of Nikki May, an Australian dancer whose first experience in Burma was as a volunteer at orphanages there. She got it into her head to form a girl band along the lines of the Spice Girls and, two years ago, put out an ad for auditions.
And the energy coming off of them was something that I really hadn't seen in many of the entertainment acts in Myanmar. The audience was in the thousands, and some didn't quite know what to make of the group. And one guy said, in English, 'Which country are you girls from? We are Myanmar.
The local Burmese Army commander has stated that they will take action, but only if the woman becomes pregnant as a result of the rape. Almost four weeks later, no arrests have been made despite detailed descriptions of the soldiers involved. Neither the military or police appear to be making any serious effort to investigate the case.
Local people are demanding that the two soldiers be arrested and that the military hand them over to the local civilian court for trial, rather than them being tried in secret military courts. They also emphasise that responsibility and action must be taken regardless of whether the survivor is pregnant; rape is always a crime. It is hard to believe they could not identify them if they tried.
It seems only a public outcry will shame the military and police into acting. Infantry Division has, as with the rest of the Burmese military, violated international law with impunity for decades.
In a report to the United Nations General Assembly on 4 th October , the Special Rapportuer on the situation of human rights in Myanmar documented how soldiers from Infantry Division had tortured and then massacred residents of an ethnic Karen village, including a baby and children, and in a separate incident gang-raped women including a 9 year old girl, before killing them, including shooting a pregnant woman in the abdomen.