The debate raging is whether it should be ethical to visit villages where people elongate the necks and earlobes of women through rings. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/21/AR2009082101701_2.html?hpid=features1&hpv=local&sid=ST2009082102187
I asked her why she did not wear the costume.
"I am part of a new generation, and I do not like it. It is hot and uncomfortable," she said. But she noted that she might have to because the chief is considering forcing everyone to wear the costume. "If the chief orders us, we will do it." The chief of the village, a 52-year-old named Nanta Asung, told me that Thaijun was the only woman in the village who did not wear traditional dress and that her choice was unacceptable. "If you are Palaung, you have to wear the costume of the Palaung," he said while chopping pork for dinner. "This is a must. A must!"
Asung said they must wear the dress because of tradition, but he also spoke excitedly about its appeal to tourists and noted that half of the village's income of $30,000 a year comes from tourism. That night an Australian family was paying $15 to sleep in his hut. "He is very worried that visitors will stop coming," my guide, who served as my interpreter, told me as we left and headed to our own hut.
As we walked across the village, Asung began broadcasting over loudspeakers: "This is a reminder that all women should wear traditional dress. Some foreigners just came to complain that some women were not wearing their costumes." (We quickly returned to explain to the tribal chief that I was asking questions, not complaining, but, unsurprisingly, he did not issue a correction over the village intercom.)