Showing posts with label Burma. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Burma. Show all posts

Nov 8, 2013

What's in a Name, White Elephant

Sacred white elephants were and are kept by some Southeast Asian monarchs. Possessing a white elephant was regarded, and still is in Thailand and Burma (Myanmar) as a sign that the monarch reigned with justice and power, and that the kingdom was blessed with peace and prosperity.

It derives from stories that the kings of Siam would make a present of one of these animals to courtiers who were obnoxious or unpleasing, in order to ruin the recipient by the cost of its maintenance. A white elephant was a valuable, but burdensome possession, which its owner could not dispose of and whose cost and upkeep was out of proportion to its usefulness or worth.

These days a white elephant can mean an object, business venture, etc., that is without practical use or value. The term is used in business and even more frequently used during the gift-giving holiday season as friends and relatives strive to find unique gifts to give. Many people consider dried fruit cakes as white elephants.

Nov 30, 2012

New Monkey Species

This monkey was discovered in 2012 in the mountains of Myanmar (Burma) by a group of scientists who were originally participating in surveys on gibbons.

Its nose is upturned to such an extent that it actually sneezes when it rains. Local hunters say that ‘Rhinopithecus strykeri’ can be seen on rainy days with its head down between its knees to avoid inhaling water.