June 14, 2019 / 2:52 PM / a month ago

Myanmar doctor's license revoked due to bikini Facebook posts

BANGKOK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A Myanmar model and doctor said she would appeal against a medical council decision to revoke her license for posting photos of herself on Facebook in revealing outfits and bikinis.

The Myanmar Medical Council suspended the medical license of Nang Mwe San in a letter to her dated June 3, saying she dressed inappropriately.

On her Facebook page here, the 28-year-old often posts photos of herself wearing tight dresses, lingerie, swimwear and even traditional Burmese clothing in sexy poses.

Mwe San has been a general physician for four years, but stopped practicing two years ago to pursue a modeling career. The move to revoke her license bans her from medical practice.

According to the letter posted on her Facebook page, the council said Mwe San had continued to post photos of herself in outfits that did “not fit with Burmese tradition” despite promising to stop doing so after a warning in January.

“I was shocked and very sad. To be a doctor, it was a long struggle,” Mwe San told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone on Friday.

“Did I dress in sexy outfits when I was meeting my patients? Never.”

The Myanmar Medical Council did not respond to the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s request for comments.

Mwe San’s post of the council’s letter has drawn more than 18,000 reactions and 5,600 comments.

One user, May Thet Htar, commented: “You must choose between being a medical professional and an exhibitionist. You can’t take both because they contradict each other.”

Shunn Lei, a founder of the Myanmar feminist magazine Rainfall, said the case of Mwe San was an example of society’s control of women’s bodies in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.

“Sexism is rooted in the mindset of the Burmese. The problem is our patriarchal society equates a woman’s role with protecting Burmese traditions and culture,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“Whenever a model poses for sexy photos, it’s always against Burmese culture. But what is Burmese culture? I don’t really get it.”

Mwe San said she has not been in contact with the council yet, but she planned to appeal their decision.

“There are many important ethical issues in Myanmar’s medical sector. I don’t want them wasting time taking care of minor issues like my modeling,” she said.

“But whatever I’m facing, I won’t give up my modeling profession.”

Reporting by Nanchanok Wongsamuth @nanchanokw; Editing by Ros Russell. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking, property rights, and climate change. Visit news.trust.org

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