The social ideal for most Burmese citizens no matter
what their ethnic background is a standard of behaviour
commonly termed bama hsan-jin or Burmese-ness.
The hallmarks of bama hsan-jin include: an acquaintance with
Buddhist scriptures (and the ability to recite at least a
few classic verses); the ability to speak idiomatic Burmese;
showing respect for elders; dressing modestly; showing
discretion in behaviour towards members of the opposite sex;
and most importantly, exhibiting modes of expression and
comportment that value the quiet, subtle and indirect rather
than the loud, obvious and direct.
The degree to which a Burmese can conform to these ideals
matches the degree of respect he or she will receive from
associates.Although high rank - civil, military or clerical
- will exempt certain individuals from chastisement by
social inferiors, it doesn't exempt them from the way they
are perceived by other Burmese. This goes for foreigners as
well, even though most firsttime visitors can hardly be
expected to speak idiomatic Burmese or recite Buddhist
scripture. Nowadays one also hears the term myanma hsan-jin
although clearly the cultural norms themselves originally
derve from Bamar (bama) and/or Mon culture.