Spellings – The Kachin people’s native language uses Roman letters to write, so it is important to get spelling correct. It is not just a matter of getting the names to sound phonetically close like some other Asian languages. Don’t rely on spellings previously used by other media outlets, most are transliterated from Burmese back into Roman letters and do not match the original Roman spelling.

Names – Most Kachin first and family names are two syllables. For example, one figure frequently quoted in the media is Gen. Sumlat GunMaw. Gun Maw is his first name. So it is inappropriate to refer to him as “Maw”. It is only half of his first name and meaningless. Family names usually come first.

Sources – Relying on Burmese government sources for “credible information” regarding Kachin, or almost any topic is inappropriate as they offer little more than propaganda. Burmese Government statistic reports should be treated with equal skepticism. Common misinformation includes: statistics about Kachin’s population, the percentage of Christians and other religious minorities and areas/groups where drugs are being grown and sold. If you must use a Burmese government statistic, please not that it is from a government that is known to publish unreliable or false information.

Acronym List:

IDP – Internally Displaced Person

SSA(S) – Shan State Army South

KIA – Kachin Independence Army

KIO – Kachin Independence Organization

KBC – Kachin Baptist Convention

KWAT – Kachin Women’s Association Thailand

KDG – Kachin Development Group

WPN – Wunpawng Ninghtoi (Light for the People)