I met many foreigners (mostly westerners) who do not feel anything to put their feet on the table while sitting on the chair. This seems a normal habit to them. They don’t feel like it is a strange or rude thing to do it. And I know they don’t mean to be rude. However, in the eyes of a Burmese (Myanmar) man, it is a strange behavior. Indeed, in the eyes of a Burmese, it is really a very rude thing.
For Burmese (Myanmar), head is the most sacred part of the human body while feet are the most inferior part. Being the lowest part, they are not only under every part of the body but also the dirtiest part. They touch ground, dirt, mud, garbage, feces; just think of all the dirty things lying on the ground. Invariably, feet become the most dirty and smelly part of your body. Just try to sniff your feet at the end of the day. For Burmese, dirty part should only be in the lower place. When you put that dirty part of yours onto somebody’s clean table, it is like an insult to that person; I mean if that person is a Burmese. There is nothing more insulting to a Burmese than to point your feet towards him.
So, if you want to win heart and mine of your Burmese friends, next time you visit him or he visit you, try not to put your feet on the living room table or point your feet towards him. Indeed, your feet should never be pointing to the direction of a person or a sacred place (like Buddha’s image or shrine, or a photo of an elderly). This is the rule you must strictly follow in Burma (Myanmar). Possibly, your Myanmar friend will not say anything even if you do it, but it does not mean he is ok with your behavior or approves of your behavior. He will not say anything but will consider you as a very rude person. Even if that person is your employee or your house maid, you should never do it to him/her.
Hope you find your stay pleasant in Burma (Myanmar)