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Culture, Literature

Classical poems, Burmese language, happy land, popular magazines, independent newspaper

The Burmese language lends itself well to poetry and puns since words are usually one syllable long, beginning and ending with consonants, while the vowel in the middle carries one of several tonesólow, high, high and short, or high and falling. Classical poems of four lines with four syllables in each line followed a complex rhyme scheme. A wealth of satirical puns play on exchanging vowels. For instance, the public switched the title of a government welfare program known as pyi-daw-tha (a royal, happy land) to pya-daw-thi (a pile of royal ashes). With the end of the monarchy in the late 1800s, nationalist aspirations were carried forward in an indigenous literature. Particularly notable in the post-World War II era were the poetry and essays of Thakin Kodaw Hmaine and stories of Thakin Thein Pe Myint, whose Tet Pongyi (written from 1936-1938) ridiculed the corruption of the modern monastic orders. An outstanding critical novelist of the independent period and publisher of an independent newspaper was Ludu U Hla. In recent years the military government has exercised severe censorship, though some short-story writers in popular magazines are still published, under duress of the law.

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Classical poems, Burmese language, happy land, popular magazines, independent newspaper, thi, duress, monarchy, consonants, poetry, military government, corruption, tones, syllables, post-World War, words, instance, lines, publisher, law, public, recent years, title


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