Relates to ceasefire
Karn, which literally means ‘activity, action or work’, is used here as a prefix turning a verb into a verbal noun. It is only used by Thai-Shans and is meaningless in proper Shan.
Hseuk means ‘battle’, ‘war’ or ‘armed conflict’. Many of the word combinations in Shan with hseuk as a component tend to connote battle rather than war. Yang, is defined as ‘rest, tarry, wait, or stop’ and keud has a similar meaning of ‘cease, stop, remain, wait’. While the terms look similar, yang, implies more impermanence – that this is merely a pause before an action resumes. For keud, there is more finality implied – actions that have keud have stopped, although maybe not ended.
The exact meaning of yang hseuk is ‘a battle or war is resting or on hold’ while keud hseuk is ‘a battle or war has stopped’. The two terms, however, are used interchangeably – so that colloquially there always tends to be a suggestion that the fighting has only paused and may resume again. There is no connotation that the war is over and certainly no connection made to a political agreement.
The term wang kurng, ‘lay down arms’ or ‘surrender’, is used for the laying down of arms and is considered to refer to a permanent end to fighting. When Khun Sa decided to stop fighting the government, disband his forces and hand over his weapons in 1996, the word used was wang kurng rather than yud ying, yang hseuk or keud hseuk.  In the following excerpt from the Shan exile newspaper, Independence, Colonel Sai Yi – whose Shan State National Army has had a ceasefire agreement with the government since 1995 – is being ordered to surrender. Sai Yi later took his troops and went underground again.
“Encouraged by this initial success, Maj-Gen Myint Hlaing, Commander of the Lashio-based Northeastern Region Command, sent for Col Sai Yi, Ganna’s erstwhile boss and the Commander-in-Chief of the SSNA. Forewarned by Ganna’s example, Sai Yi simply sent his representatives to meet the Burmese commander who expressed anger and said in effect, ‘Go tell your chief he doesn’t have any choice but to surrender (wang kurng). I will not be accountable for what happens if he refuses to do so.’”
The term for a ceasefire group joom keud hseuk simply adds the Shan word joom or ‘group’ to keud hseuk. As such it means a ‘group that has stopped fighting’ – again carrying the sense of a temporary state of affairs
Differing views on what exactly is entailed in a ceasefire have been at the core of relations between the various ethnic-based politico-military groups in Shan State. Since 1989 the Burmese regime has arranged ceasefires with at least nine major insurgent groups with an estimated total of 35,050 troops. The ceasefires are all verbal, with the exception of those with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA).
This has led to major differences in opinion between the ethnic leaders and the military government about what is entailed in the ceasefires. Shan leaders see the ceasefires (keud hseuk), as the terminology implies, as just that – a halt in shooting. They argue that there are no implications of surrender or a political settlement in either the word keud hseuk or in their verbal agreements with the government. The junta has chosen to interpret its agreements in a different way and has equated the agreements with a ‘return to the legal fold’ – a government phrase meaning to re-enter mainstream politics and return to governance by the SPDC.
For the various insurgent groups in Shan State, the temporary nature is important. They see their struggles as unfinished and the terminology they use implies that their meaning of ‘ceasefire’ (keud hseuk) is understood as little more than a pause in fighting. As such, the central government is still an enemy that may still have to be fought. The temporariness is their justification for retaining their arms. For these groups the fighting has stopped, but not ended. Even the regime sometimes admits to this:
“Another technique in use is to grant business concessions to armed groups that have sworn allegiance to the Army in preference to those who had merely concluded ceasefire pacts. ‘They are still enemies of the state unlike yourselves,’ a Burmese commander was quoted as saying to a militia leader in northern Shan State.”
An illustration of this is the government’s attempts to convince the ceasefire groups (joom keud hseuk) to transform themselves into border guard forces that would allow them to retain their arms, but as units of the Burmese Army. The use of the term keud hseuk, as opposed to wang kurn, to describe the cesasefire group implies that this group does not see the fighting as over, or that they have surrendered – consequently it would be impossible for them to serve their adversary, that is, the Burmese Army. The joom keud hseuk still sees the government as a potential enemy and most have resisted the overture while political problems remain unsolved and the possibility of renewed conflict still exists.
 Discussions with Sai Khuensai Jaiyen, Chiang Mai, 2008-2009.
 “Forced Submission Campaign On”, Independence, Shan Herald Agency for News, Vol. 22, No. 219, 2005.
 “New Word for Surrender”, Independence, Shan Herald Agency for News, Issue No. 2, November 2005.