This chapter may well begin with a plea. It has long been said with pride in Burma that the family is so close knit by feelings of love and duty that the young grow up to be good citizens naturally and the old grow old gracefully, that there is nothing but beauty and happiness in family life, unmarred by juvenile crime, untroubled by angry young people, unembarrassed by old unwanted people tottering about on the fringes of bare subsistence. Burma is an abundant land, and in the early days when the population was small there was plenty for the people to eat and more than enough to give them their small needs in their contented lives. Burma has not grown bigger or richer, but the population has been shooting up from 16 million in 1940 to 21 million estimated in the sample census of 1953–54, and it hovers today over the 22 million mark. The per capita income, about 56 Burmese kyats or 10 U.S. cents per day, is among the lowest in the world.1 In times when there are floods or failure of crops, as there were on tragic scales in 1961, starvation, an unfamiliar ghost, stalks the poorer areas of the country. Mothers were reported, in 1961, to have sold their infants for petty amounts of money, partly because they needed the money for themselves to live, partly because the infants needed homes which could give them food and life. Extreme poverty shatters the family, and neither law nor custom can hold it together then. Great efforts need to be marshalled in the building of the economy, in the education of the young, in giving them hope and greater horizons, in raising them right, in gently correcting them when they err.


Natural Child Adoptive Parent Young Offender Deceased Parent Juvenile Crime 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, Netherlands 1963

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maung Maung
    • 1
  1. 1.Lincoln’s InnUK

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