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Children's Crossing Signs in Burma

Bagan, 02.IV.2005; pict. M. Plessers

Burma is certainly one of the must-see countries for the serious roadsign collector. Dark clouds are building up, but it's still a country with plenty of roadsigns nicely drawn true to local custom. Many countries should take an example (e.g. —deep breath, be strong— Belarus).
The first two samples feature a mother with offspring. The body shape doesn't fit a man wearing a longyi and a older sister would carry a bookbag. So it's definitely a mother with child. Elsewhere it's a man who accompanies the child (e.g. Hungary, Czech Republic — not that I believe them).

23.XII.2013; pict. Thoonen & Courtens
23.XII.2013; pict. Thoonen & Courtens

25.XII.2013; pict. Thoonen & Courtens
25.XII.2013; pict. Thoonen & Courtens

Most of our finds are amazingly true to life. Notice the local style of the clothes (there is even a knot in the longyi) and that apart from their books, the children also carry the very popular shoul­der­bag with two bunches of tags of cloth.
Not all is well however. Changes are underway. The children make a quarter turn and drop their native fashion for a more western make. But what alarms me most is that the design is rapidly loosing the local touch.

Myitkina, 5.I.2015;
pict. Thoonen & Courtens
Yangon, I.1998; pict. D. Schelch

10.I.2014; pict. Thoonen & Courtens
It strikes me that whenever a pedestrian crossing features one per­son only, it always is a man (e.g. Nigeria) or a genderless thing (e.g. Dominican Republic), never a woman.

Roadsigns with more than two persons are rare. When three persons are drawn it's usually three children (e.g. The Gambia). The constellation at hand —a mother with two children— is an extremely rare find. The only countries where we've found a similar roadsign are Belize and Spain.

It's a shame though that the quality of the drawing is down to the worst of the worst: a static and lifeless modern design giving no trust in Burma's future as an leading example in roadsign design.


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More roadsigns from Burma: Falling Rock Signs