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” about the Kachin, or almost any topic is inappropriate as they offer little more than propaganda and falsehoods. Burmese Government reports and statistics 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.
List of Names, Titles and Acronyms – Below are a list of names and titles of commonly quoted figures from Kachin. The KIO/KIA use English titles both internally and externally. It is most accurate to use the original English titles that shown here.
- Gen. Gam Shawng – KIO Chief of Staff
- Gen. Gun Maw – KIO Vice Chief of Staff
- La Nan – Spokesperson for the KIO Central Committee
- ??? – KIO laision officer (based in Bangkok)
- La Rip – Director of the Kachin Development Group – Coordinator of the Relief Action Network for Internally Displaced Persons and Refugees. (RANIR)
- KIO – Kachin Independence Organisation
- KIA – Kachin Independence Army
- KNO – Kachin National Organisation
IDP – Internally Displaced Person
SSA(S) – Shan State Army South
KIA – Kachin Independence Army
KIO – Kachin Independence Organization
KWAT – Kachin Women’s Association Thailand
KDG – Kachin Development Group
WPN – Wunpawng Ninghtoi (Light for the People)