A Krama for All Reasons

A Krama for All Reasons

By Jody Hanson

Nothing screams “Cambodia” louder than the ubiquitous krama. But, what, exactly is a krama – spellings vary – and why does everyone need one? This versatile piece of cotton or silk – or a combination thereof – is perhaps next to the wheel when it comes to versatile usefulness.

The scarves come in two sizes: small, 35 by 170 cm and large, 65 by 170 cm. Colours abound: red and white, green and black, purple and brown. Or go for the rainbow effect and get them all in one. Different provinces have varying shades, although the design stays the same. It is a much classier way of making a statement of where you are from – or have been – than “Hard Rock Cafe Siem Reap.”

Uses of the Krama

Found only in Cambodia, the uses of a krama are infinite.  Distained by the contemporary  upper-echelons of Cambodian society as old-fashioned, the peasants cling to their cotton scarves and don’t hesitate to use them. 

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Moving Up-Market From Off-The-Rack in Cambodia

 

 

By Jody Hanson

South East Asia has some of the most beautiful natural fabrics in the world – silk, linen and cotton – and the people to whip up the clothes for you. When it comes to getting a new wardrobe, the basic problem is that most people don’t think it through. Instead they wander into some shop in Bangkok that offers packages and end up with things they don’t like and will never wear.

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Special Performances Only Seen in Myanmar

Like many people who go to a new destination, you probably want to see the popular sights and landmarks in an area, but part of doing things in style is seeing what makes a place truly special. With Myanmar, you can do that easily, such as going to one of the many special performances that are performed on a daily basis. Here is an introduction to some of your choices.

The Moustache Brothers

The Moustache Brothers consist of three men, Par Par Lay and Lu Maw, who are actually brothers, and Lu Zaw who is their cousin. The former trio had made their home in Mandalay, where the government put them under house arrest after they performed an “insulting” show at the home of Aung San Suu Kyi in 1996. Lay and Zaw even served 6 years in a labor camp for that performance.

Their performances, geared toward tourists, consist of slapstick humor, singing, and traditional Burmese dances and also act as mini politics and history lesson for the audience. Their act may not have changed over the years, but they feel, despite the change in government, there are still many basic issues not yet addressed.

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The Longyi: Myanmar’s Traditional Attire

 

By Marianne Comilang

Across the world’s myriad cultures, there don’t seem to be any universal norms in fashion, style, and standard attire. In some countries, for example, skirts remain the strict domain of women’s fashion. In other parts of the world, it is quite commonplace to see both men and women donning sarongs or skirts.

In Myanmar, the skirt, in this case called the longyi, is commonly worn by both genders as everyday attire. Ever since south Indian immigrants introduced the longyi to Myanmar in the 19th century, this sarong-like tube of cloth – worn floor-length and wrapped around the waist - has been the traditional mode of dress for many of Myanmar’s people.

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