What to give and when if you're giving somebody a gift in Burma
The Burmese are a generous nation, and gifting is a key part of their culture. The gifts aren’t what you expect though. Here’s a short guide of what to gift, and when.
A rice cooker. The bigger the box the better. And if you can’t get a rice cooker, go for an electric fan. Again size matters. Ideally a floor-standing one.
A shrink-wrapped hamper, with as many foreign products as possible. Must include a large jar of 3-in-1 coffee. And crackers.
Higher-End Corporate Gifts (if you're trying to seal a deal)
An iron or a blender. Ideally Japanese. Definitely not Chinese made, unless dealing with the Chinese.
Longyi fabric for boys (a longyi is the cloth that men wear around their waist in Burma - a bit like a sarong), and a bag made of Myanmar traditional fabric for girls. If you're the birthday girl/boy, provide cakes for your office. The more neon the better.
Treats for the Office
If you've been on a trip, take the local food speciality from wherever you've been back for the office. Potato cakes from Mandalay, palm sugar from Bagan. "Cheese Cake" (proceed with caution - it has grated cheese on top).
Bumper packs of Ovaltine for your grandparents. A giant box of J'Donuts for the children. KFC for your siblings. As in... a chicken bucket. Don't worry about it surviving the 16 hour bus journey - that's normal.
A Restaurant or Business Launch
An extraordinary flower arrangement, ideally with dyed flowers. Consider fairy lights and having it wrapped up like Miss Haversham.
A Gift for a Departing Colleague
A portrait of them made with glittery sand, and framed in a faux-gold and velvet-effect frame.
P.S. This didn't have a specific category, but I can't not include it. It's the Lucky Draw prize for a giveaway from a Burmese cosmetic brand from this summer.
The bumper prize bonanza includes:
A Thai electric blender. Sure.
A Hotpot, BBQ and Steak 3-in-1 pan. Japanese. Only the best.
BK-22 Wireless headphones. Not a brand I'm aware of but nice nonetheless.
A Redmi phone. Winner.
An electric food mixer.
And, the finale, and the best part: 4 packets of oxygen-flow sanitary pads. FOUR PACKETS.
Where do we sign up?!