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Essay sample - The Ethnic Groups in Southeast Asia
Pages 6 (1506 words)
Karen tribe is well known for their long necks, for which they are called 'long neck' tribe or Giraffe tribe. Originally belonging to Myanmar a large of Karen tribe is also found in the hilly terrain of border areas of Thailand. Many of their women members put on typical brass rings around their neck, which helps in providing a separate identity to the tribe…
But there are oral accounts in the form of folk tales, out of which some suggest that Burma is indeed their original home, but there are some folk tales which point towards their origin being China. The Karens have script of their own as well, which is often termed as 'chicken scratch script' because the script resembles the scratches made by the movement of a chicken when it moves on sand or soft soil.
Smith (2003) stated that, "until the annexation of Burma in the nineteenth century, the Karens were largely a hill of forest-dwelling people without a written literature.as a result, the Karens appear as an ethnic group very much on the fringes of the recorded history." Myanmar has at least 15 major ethnic groups with Burman (Bamar) comprising about half the population. The population of Karen is the next highest with 6-7 million people. The last comprehensive census with ethnicity count was held in the year 1931, under the British Colonial government. Thereafter the Burmese government avoided the questions about separate ethnic identity (Bowles, 2000).
Basically, the Karen tribe is known to be agriculturists, with Buddhism being the predominant religion amongst the tribe. A belief amongst the Karen tribe is that historically they have come from a place called "Thibi Kawbi". ...
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