Moken Alive Museum

The Moken, nomads of the Mergui archipelago in the south of Myanmar, have developed an ideology which makes them a people of free men: free of movement (even if regularly constrained by the politics of the countries they pass through), free from the incessant quest for accumulation specific to capitalist societies, free from hierarchical shackles.

The model of the Moken company is discovered through orality (hundreds of hours of myths, epics, songs etc.) and gives food for thought on our own societies, our references, our desires, our modes of development and the existing alternatives… It offers answers to the questions we ask ourselves about the rupture of the balance between man and nature, man and his fellows, man and his dream of poetry and links between things. Singing has a special place in Moken society. This is what sets them apart from other beings. Singing is a means of taking charge of one’s destiny and all that is meaningful is sung. This is the perfect way to release tension, share your anxieties with the group, free yourself and express yourself in a metaphorical way. The poetry of the songs feeds on multiple sensitive approaches to the environment (the touch of sand, the smell of coral, etc.).

Since the 2000s, with the liberalization of the fishing industry, the opening of Burma to tourism, foreign investments and the country’s desire to modernize, the Moken have been faced with the economic development of the region which compromises their future and their fashion. current life. It is in this context that the idea of ​​a museum gradually took root among the Moken. A museum, if it is “alive” and truly collaborative, perhaps an effective structure for preserving the memory and “heritage” of a society, expressing its values ​​and sharing them. Commitment to the museum is a decision based both on an intimate relationship between researchers and society, and above all on the will of the Moken. The objective of the museum is clear here: it is, on the one hand for the Moken with the team of the museum project, to provide the keys to understand a unique culture, show its inscription in history, enhance its knowledge. of the archipelago and its sustainable management of resources; and on the other hand, for the authorities and developers of the region, to strengthen the cultural and tourist potential of the region where no lasting cultural structure has ever been established.

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