A new set of stamps by Myanmar Post again draws controversy over “national races” labels to categorise the population.

Myanmar’s former military regime often used new issues of the country’s postage stamps to send political signals, not only to its own people but also to the international community. It appears that this practice is also being followed by Aung San Suu Kyi’s quasi-democratic government, which took office in 2016.

This was suggested recently by the issue of a new set of stamps by Myanmar Post, an agency of the reorganised Ministry of Transport and Communications. In two mini-sheets of eight stamps each, and on the associated first day covers, there are depictions of the country’s eight recognised “national races”, namely the Bamar (Burman), Kachin, Kayah (Karenni), Karen (Kayin), Chin, Mon, Rakhine (Arakanese), and Shan communities.

Myanmar is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world, and the use of such labels to categorise the population has long attracted controversy.

Please click here to read the full “Myanmar: Postage stamps and political signals” article published at The Interpreter, written by Griffith Asia Institute Adjunct Professor Andrew Selth.