During a public speech in Thanbyuzayat Township, Nai Kasauh Mon, HURFOM director, told participants it’s very important to identify with their culture whether they reside in other parts of the country or have relatives resettled in Thailand, Malaysia, or the U.S.
“Some do not admit that they are Mon. They do not want to be Mon, but Burman” because of this the numbers will fall short resulting in “less opportunities” from the census, Nai Kasauh Mon said.
Children of mixed marriages should also identify with their Mon heritage for data collections.
Nai Kasauh Mon suggested those qualified within the community should help in monitoring census. They can suggest to people instead of writing the letter “Mon”, they should write “601” number in English.
But the minister for Immigration and Population said everyone can decide for themselves during the census scheduled to start March 30 until April 10.
“If they say they are Mon, we will list them as Mon, if they say Burman; we will mark them as Burman. They have the right to choose as they like,” Minister U Khin Yee told ethnic media groups at a Naypyidaw press conference in January.
After millenniums long displacement, recent decades saw successive regimes force a Burman centric agenda to assimilate the country’s ethnic groups.
“Concerned with the census, I really know nothing. I just do what other people do. I know only now that if there is less Mon population, there is less rights for Mon people,” said Nai Muu, a villager from Pa-nga village in Thanbyuzayat Township.