Anade

   (Ah-Nar-De)
   A social value that many Burmese believe is unique to their culture, though equivalents are found in other Asian societies. It involves very strong inhibitions against asserting oneself in human relations, described as shyness, embarrassment, or awkwardness. This is coupled with a strong sense of consideration for the feelings of others and a desire not to cause them to feel psychological distress or unease. For example, anade may inhibit a student from asking questions of a teacher, even if he or she does not understand a lecture, because this would trouble a social superior; a Burmese person may go to great effort or expense to show a guest some sight of interest, such as a pagoda, that he or she has seen many times but to put the guest's heart at rest about obligations accrued will claim that this is also the first time he or she has seen it. A person may hesitate to tell family members that he or she is seriously ill, for fear of causing them worry and distress.
   Anade is not supposed to be typical of relations between close friends, who can afford to be frank with each other, or in situations where the agent sees himself or herself as superior to others, for example, a colonial-era civil servant interacting with villagers, a Tatmadaw officer dealing with civilians, or perhaps a Burman (Bamar) among ethnic minorities. In such cases, bullying often occurs, given the strong sense of hierarchy and inequality that pervades social relations. Many observers of the contemporary Burmese scene claim that anade inhibits the development of democracy and a civil society because it makes it difficult for people to discuss things frankly or debate issues. Such frankness or directness is regarded as aggression.
   Non-Burmese dealing with Burmese often find it difficult to get at the truth of a matter because the latter may feel reluctant to divulge bad or unsettling news that could be distressful to the hearer, even if in the long run it would be in his or her interest to know about it. It is probably necessary to distinguish between anade and mere survival tactics, or passivity in the face of danger. For, example, during the Ne Win period (1962-1988), his subordinates were very careful to give him nothing but good news, for example, about the performance of the socialist economy. Because the hot-tempered dictator's word was law, he would readily punish subordinates who displeased him, with no hope for reprieve.
   See also Hpoun.

Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). . 2014.

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