Migrants | Myanmar social club providing community Cantonese lessons

A performance during an event in Macau to celebrate Myanmar’s New Year Festival “Thingyan,” yesterday

Language barriers between Burmese non- residents living in Macau and their mostly Cantonese-speaking employers is one of the most pressing difficulties that workers from Myanmar experience in the SAR.

On the sidelines of a Burmese community event yesterday, the Chairman of Myanmar’s Social Club of Macau, Ricky Myint, said that among other issues faced by migrants in the region, including long working hours and being underpaid, a number of his compatriots still find it challenging to communicate with their employers.

“It is also interesting that we found out that a communication problem between the employee and employer still exists because they only know a bit of Cantonese, so they have difficulties in dealing with their employers or with customers,” said Myint.

To help solve the issue, the chairman said that the association provides lessons in Cantonese to these migrant workers.

Meanwhile, Myint noted that the association had co-organized, with the Myanmar Consulate General in Hong Kong, events for the community with a view to fulfilling their consular needs.

The Burmese community gathered yesterday at the Kam Pek Community Center to celebrate “Thingyan,” Myanmar’s New Year Festival that is celebrated over a period of four to five days.

The association is commemorating the Buddhist festival for the fourth consecutive year. This year it involved a series of performances, including traditional dance and live music performances, along with food sharing amongst the community.

One of the traditions includes splashing water on one another, as they believe that water cleanses a person of sins committed during the past year.

“We are expecting around 400 to 500 people to come. Everybody celebrates it in a traditional way. Today is exactly the right date to celebrate in Myanmar also.

The aim of the event is to gather the Myanmar people who work and live in Macau and just be united and celebrate our tradition together,” the event organizer said.

“The association also wants to help them […] through disseminating [information on] local laws including labor laws or assistance if there are conflicts between employee and employers,” said Myint.

“We are like a bridge between the community and the Myanmar Consulate in Hong Kong,” the chairperson added. “The consulate makes it convenient for the people working here to process any passport-related concerts.”

The consulate currently opens its service in the region once a month.

The association also holds a series of events including World Migrants Day and participates in local activities such as the Walk for a Million and blood donation activities. LV

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