Languages of Security in the Asia-Pacific

College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University

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Shan – Lawng Hom Lom

May 27th, 2011 · No Comments · Security, Shan

Lawng Hom Lom

Relates to security

Hom means ‘to cover’, and combined with other words gives the connotation of covering something. Lom is to be ‘well protected’ or ‘well covered’. Combined with the substantive prefix, lawng, the term means security.

The literal definition of this term is that all sides are fully covered, meaning that nothing can get in to harm whatever is inside. This gives lawng hom lom the core meaning of protection. In Shan this term is generally used for countries, states, places and groups, but can be used for an individual. Implied in the term is that people’s safety is protected because they are completely covered or secure.

Lawng hom lom is used in describing protection in a more general way, i.e. from human rights abuses, military attacks that can threaten ones physical safety, as well as economic and political security. At a January 1949 special conference (in Mong Nai) concerning various aspects of governance in Shan State, the issue of security was addressed. The conference passed a resolution to request the War Office in Rangoon to increase the number of military police posts in Shan State to ‘reinforce security along the frontier’.[1]

Lawng hom lom can also take on the dimension of people feeling secure through having enough food or shelter. Sai Aung Tun described security in Shan feudal society before the British, ‘For the Tai, food meant security, and the Shan rulers considered food to be an element of national power’.[2]



[1] Sai Aung Tun, History of the Shan State from its Origins to 1962, Silkworm Books, Chiang Mai, 2009, p. 335.

[2] Ibid, p. 42.


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