Myanmar Unicode Migration Campaign

10 September 2019

Unicode is a computing industry standard for the consistent encoding, representation, and handling of text expressed in most of the world's writing systems. The standard is maintained by the Unicode Consortium, and as of May 2019 the most recent version, Unicode 12.1, contains a repertoire of 137,994 characters covering 150 modern and historic scripts, as well as multiple symbol sets and emoji, with that being said, let’s hear out from the Chairman of Myanmar Computer Federation (MCF), U Min Zay Yar Hlaing.

"As the day for Official Nationwide Migration for Unicode standard font which will be on October 1st is very soon as of now, we have been preparing a lot of services and giving awareness to the public as much as we can. For instance, we have negotiated the telecommunication companies to start using Unicode as their standard when messaging important service messages to the public and consumers' phones. We have also talked with most of the service centers across the country to help changing the Unicode font system in each of the respective area. Moreover, we have also collaborated with most of the influencers and celebrities to reach more to the public through their followers, we think that it would be really reliable and powerful. For this event we will be meeting with artists from Movies, Music and Thabin to explain the industry for how Unicode is important and how we should work as a team to make a real change. And we are also making the theme song for the Unicode Migration, also some comics in collaboration with some of the talented people in the industry as well."

What kind of preparations has already been made for majorities of the people who are not used to technology and services, and how much progressions has been made, will also be answered.

"It is an easy task for the people who are into technology and stuffs but the thing is that there are more people in Myanmar that who are not into technologies yet. That is why we are setting priorities for those people. For those users, we will be solely prioritizing through service centers near each of the respective area to help them out when they reach out in the form as they want to. And also, manufacturers are really important, they have to make the Unicode font default in every phone they manufactured, which will make it way easier for people who just want to like have an easy life using the phone normally and don't want to tweak a lot of stuffs. But for this event, we have contacted each of the manufacturers to help out the people who came to the event today in each of its small booths area."

In the event we will also be hearing out a speech from Union Minister for Transport and Communications, U Thant Sin Maung.

"Why do we have to migrate Unicode? Is it not possible to just use the font that we are more used to at the present time? Well the answer is, if we don't, our country won't have development. For our country to have improvements, we have to make sure to quickly use the E-government system. But think about it, if we were to use E-government system, we will be mostly using Social Media, websites and other online services between each other, even if its Government to Business or Government to the public. So, if we were to use those services, we have to have a uniform standardized font system which we can process and manage with no delay. And also, for all of our ethnic groups in Myanmar to be united, we have to of course, use a standardized font system only. Unicode plays a big part where it can process all or majority of our country’s ethnic group languages."

We will also be hearing out from Vice Chairman of MCF, U Tun Thura Thet for his perspective in fully migrating Unicode as well, let’s find out.

"While migrating to Unicode, we have to change 100%. For example, in 100 people, if only 95 people change to Unicode, and if the other 5 still forcefully use other font system, we can say that our process to migrate to Unicode fails. Because, it’s about changing together and accessible between each other with no delay. Those are also the reason for why we had taken more than 20 years to migrate Unicode. In summary, Unicode is not just our country's standard, but the international’s country standard, if we won’t change, we will be lacking behind, even now we are lacking 8 years with the last country which have migrated to Unicode. So, we have no option but to work this out together as soon as possible, together before even the official day which is on October 1st come."

Dave