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Burma's 10 big ledgers
Myint-U, the son of Burmese families in New York City, has devoted his entire life to analyzing the story, cultures and policies of his ancestral lands, and this is the climax of this life-long endeavor. The Personal Story of Burma tries to understand the complexity of Burma's sociopolitical landscape, which can often seem erotic to the outsider, and to place it in the broader perspective of Southeast Asia's past.
Thant' s familiy belonged to the group of nationals who took over Burma after the end of Britain's colonialist regime, and his grandpa served as Secretary-General of the UN. Combining this austere analytical approach with Thant's own memories, this book is a captivating work that explores the obscure realm of Burmese policy and story from an insider's point of view while at the same time looking in a nostalgic way at a vanished home from the outlooks.
Orwell' s years in Burma were crucial to the evolution of his policy awareness as he evolved from a rebel but naive young man to a dissatisfied member of the UK imperialism. Burmese Day, the novel that emerged from his rural period, is a loose fictionalized representation of his era there, revealing the darkness of the Raj in a way that few have before or after.
Although not consistent with the classical works Orwell would have produced, the novel nevertheless represents an important step in Orwell's development in politics and provides an important glimpse of what Burma was under UK domination. Pascal Khoo Thwe, a member of the Revolutionary Party of Burma's legendary poverty, was suffering from the violent pursuit of his country's dictatorial regime before starting a new war.
That is the tale of his unbelievable voyage from the jungle of Burma, where he fought as a liberation warrior against the dominant regimes, to Cambridge University, where he was studying literary studies in the early 90s. Pascal's Padaung are living in a relatively secluded place in "Burma's only Roman catholic city", practice a mixture of Roman Catholics and animist faiths and seldom hear from the outside worlds, or become overarching modern.
This work is a captivating introductory account of Burma's twentieth year history due to the history of this tribe's unparalleled way of living, the history of Burma's abrupt decline into power and Pascal's flight out into the outside space. Burma's British history and the impact of colonization on the land require further investigation and are all too often overlooked in reports of Britain's heroic deeds in South Asia.
So Andrew Marshall's The Trouser People is a rewarding supplement to the Burmese literary cannon, although it does have an unconventional view of the whole thing. This follows the little-known tale of George Scott, the English discoverer who presented the football match to the Burmese and travelled the land thoroughly before becoming colonial administrator of Burma.
Following in his footprints a hundred years later, Marshall discovered a Burma far from Scott that is under the grip of police oppression and bribery. This is an enlightening and amusing introductory reminder to the British in Burma and an irreconcilable portrayal of the lasting effects of their reign.
The Aung San Suu Kyi is the epitome of decades of fighting for the right and an end to Burma's dictatorial domination, and her recent liberation was an extremely important milestone on the path to liberty and responsibility in the state. Their 15-year detention restricted their protests, but it was still a permanent spine in the eye of the Burmese army jungle, not least as a sign of the discontent and disappointment most Burmese felt.
Letter From Burma gathers her epistles from her time of home arrests, which show her untiring work in spreading Burmese democracy and give an idea of her unselfish mindset and her thoughts and thoughts about her compatriots, for whom she has stood up for so long.
While Letters from Burma is a intriguing introductory piece to the spirit of Aung San Suu Kyi, Justin Wintle's Perfect Hostage: Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma's prisoner of conscience, offers a more subtle and contextualized view of the lives and periods of Burma's most celebrated political dissenter. Aung San Suu Kyi's education and the impact of her fathers, U Aung San, the Burmese independent leader who was murdered when she was only two years old.
It also explores her career in England, where she graduated from Oxford University and was wedded to the academic Michael Aris. Aung San Suu Kyi's enlightening account of her own lives illustrates the sacrifice she has made in her fight for Burmese democracies and reinforces the sacred aura that still encircles this most powerful campaigner.
Ghosh's The Glass Palace is an epochal storyline of colorful intrigues, adventures and treachery that follows the demise of the Konbaung dynasty in Mandalay, Britain's domination of the land and the abrupt intrusion of the Second World War into the jungle of this previously outpost. Ghosh's comprehensive account is built on the historic recording and concretizes the hitherto little-known history of the demise of the Burmese kings.
The project also extends beyond Burma to its close neighbors India, Bengal and Malaysia and shows how closely the fate of these nations has changed in the twentieth year. Instead, it is a page break in the classical meaning and provides the reader with a gripping depiction of court intrigues and noble doom in Burma.
His early political and social perspectives in Burma, where he worked for the Imperial Police, led George Orwell to new highs with classical works such as Animal Farm and 1984. But as Emma Larkin finds out in Finding George Orwell in Burma, Orwell's glory in Burma went far beyond what this early biographic link suggests.
For many, he was regarded as a predictive character who predicted Burma's turbulent twentieth century and whose works are on the bookshelves of every Burmese thinker, not because of their response to the policies of the twentieth century in Europe, but because of their portrayal of the Burmese regime that ruled for much of the same time.
She is exploring this link and using Orwell as a travel companion as she travelled through Burma, visited the places where he was living and found the lasting impact of the colorful red tape to which he belonged. She has travelled to see Burma and Orwell in a new light and to gain an understanding of the current politics of one of the most important characters of the twentieth centennial.
Guy Delisle's Burma Chronicles is a graphical novel that depicts the year Delisle lived in the land with his little boy and woman, and her turbulent experiences with the authoritarian army junta that governed the state. Burma Chronicles is a straightforward but very insightful novel in Delisle's typical austere and minimalist styles that demonstrates the ability of the graphical novel to report.
Showing the apparently small but enlightening cases of autoritic oppression affecting Delisle and his wife and daughter that unveil the further reality of what happened among the Gentiles. There are no prejudices against Delisle, and although he has made a name for himself by written graphical books about dictatorial regime - see Shenzhen and Pyongyang, respectively - this volume is committed to capturing the Burmese adventure and narrating it in the most simple way.
Wendy Law-Yone, probably Burma's most famous author, has had a successful carreer re-interpreting the Burmese tradition in her works. Her most famous novel, The Road to Wanting tells the tale of Na Ga, a young Burmese northeastern frontier boy in search of a better world.
Troubled by destitution and the discomfort of the countryside, Na Ga is overwhelmed by various seeming saviours, who only cause her to dissolve and further abjurement. The novel is an enlightening portrayal of Burmese social outskirts and at the same time a profoundly intimate confrontation with the anomy and distress that crosses all of Burma's international boundaries.