New name of BarmaA new name for Barma
Learn the history of Burma
Travels outside Rangoon are limited by control points, the intelligence service and an extensive information-web. It was in a dozen talks that I encountered only two persons who were willing to renounce a pen name, and they had the brave sighteously. A man from Burma with whom I used to spend a lot of my spare minute always used to call me "G", even when we were alone.
Myanmarians are wrapped in an ever-changing line of aliases, pseudonyms and e-mail aliases; among youngsters, they often come from their Western intellect. But despite all the secrecy and oppression, not a word of Burma did not refuse to address me. Not only were they willing to converse, but also keen to do so, and in the most incidental meetings - with a Trinhaw rider in Mandalay, my seat neighbor on a home trip - the Myanmar residents unsolicitedly presented their opinions, with the quiet, linear desperation of those who had remained unseen and unsaved for a long time.
but I' ve never been anywhere where I liked the population more and the administration less. Yangon is a town where you can think of spending a few years. There is an irrepressible poetic quality to the old name of the town ( "Yangon", the name of the regime).
It' weird that Graham Greene never written about Rangoon because the whole town felt like the scene of one of his books. Of course, all this is an ex-pat imagination and is of little use to the lives of the humans who are still there. There was a man from Burma who was helping me to get a visas and he kept asking me to see him and show him around; I kept telling him what I was really doing, or wasting my precious expedition hours he had to suggest.
Burmese bravery in helping a non-Burmese reporter is a testament to the fact that they still believe in the integrity of the outside environment. Sometimes when I wrote the stories of some particularly courageous young Burmese who find their own ways to question the complete rule of the Burmese people over their life, I had to keep back uncompromising detail that encourages me to work.