Recently I stumbled on some intriguing data about the number of foreigners registered as living in different parts of Myanmar in the years 2001 – 2005.

It tells us, unsurprisingly, that there were thousands of Chinese, registered with the authorities, who were living in the Kachin and Shan States, and in Yangon Division. There were also significant numbers of Indians in Yangon and Ayeyarwady Divisions.

Perhaps most intriguing are the large numbers of “others” registered as living in the Shan State. I assume, although I am happy to be corrected, that these would be mostly Thai (and probably some Lao). By contrast, Rakhine State has no “others”: all of its registered foreigners were Chinese, Indian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi.

I should also point out that Chin State has, by far, the lowest number of registered foreigners living there. There were only 5 in 2005, with only 2 Bangladeshis.

I would anticipate that in the decade ahead these numbers will change radically, and the Myanmar authorities will start presenting data on groups like Thais, Singaporeans, Americans and Brits, alongside the new waves of Chinese, Bangladeshis and all the rest.