Thiri Myaing HotelHotel Thiri Myaing
. If you think you are raised up at the end of a history of combat..... you have fallen prey to a very old and horrible falsehood.
" Only a few will see a morale upswing when they read Brendan Koerner's Now the Hell Will Launch (2008), the shocking but exciting real tale of Herman Perry, an afroamerican army who was to help construct the Ledo Road during the Second World War. Or you can live your own little hell by trying to get an offical travelling permission for this inaccessible area.
Luckily, the author Jamie James found Slowinski's tale narrative-worthy, which he does in intriguing details in The Snake Charmer (2008). Slowinsky ended during an exploration of the same area in Kachin State that was investigated by the UK herbist F. Kingdon-Ward in Burma's Icy Mountains (1949).
Maurice Collis' 1936 edition of Hissiamese White revives this period, which will lead many people to abandon everything and make a booking for a cruise on the isles. With its adventurous plot and occasionally humorous tendencies, her 2005 novel Fishing Save from Crowning is somewhat less succesful, yet provides proper, informal reading, especially for those who are interested in fictitious portrayals of contemporary Myanmar.
A group of Chinese travellers entering Myanmar following the Burma Road for a while and landing at Inle Lake, where they are abducted by a group of guerrilla people. Mandalay " (1892) by Rudyard Kipling is by far the most popular fictitious or non-myanmar-inspired play in the history of Myanmar.
It has been published in hotel pubs, used on the web sites of tourist operators and quoted ad infinitum in reports about the state. If you have overcome Kipling's religion and culture, and the fact that it is not possible to look "east to the sea" from somewhere in Moulmein/Mawlamyine (but you can look west to the broad Thanlwin River), it really is a beautiful little poetry that successfully evokes a romance of Myanmar in the Colonies.
It is also a memento of the fact that Mawlamyine is definitely a place in Mon State: a peaceful, green city, interspersed with a mountain range with a number of mountain peaks, among them Kyaikthanlan Paya, which is said to have been the inspiration for Kipling's work. Nu Nu Nu Yi's 2008 novel Nu Nu As They Bow is the first novel by a Myanmar author to be published in English by a large US publishing house. In 2007 he was nominated for the Man Asia Literary Prize.
This short novel takes place in Taungbyone, just off Mandalay, during the annual nature (spirit) festivals around the full month of the Monde Wagaung (August). Following the tale of the ageing transvest-media Daisy Bond and an evolving romantic delta with his assistent and a young mistress, Nu Nu Nu Yi is the celebrity of the film itself, renowned for its noisy and impetuous ambience.
Travellers staying in the Mandalay area in August will want to visit the event, which is sure to provide an exaggerated sensorial event like no other in Myanmar. There is no backpack package for Myanmar backpackers that would be incomplete without a copy of George Orwell's novel Burmese Days, but how many people actually make their way to the city of Tagaing Region's Katha where the novel is located?
In the novel the name of the city was altered to Kyauktada and the history is fictitious, but the place is still alive and the visitor will still recognise many of the symbols that existed when Orwell (real name Eric Blair) was deployed in the city in the 1920s as part of the UK city' s collective guard.
Like the old British club, the courts are still there. Katha residents will soon find that the way to these monuments is not exactly signposted with blinking fluorescent labels, but random walking in an unknown city is one of the true delights of traveling independently.
Michael Takeyama's Harp of Burma (1946), as well as the splendid 1956 adaption of Kon Ichikawa The Burmese Harp, focus on a group of Korean troops sent to Myanmar during the Second World Peace but it is less about the struggle for a human purpose under barbaric circumstances than about the struggle to preserve a humanity.
Much of the history is told after the British capture the troops and send them to a POW encampment in Mudon, Mon State, where they strengthen their morals by chanting and also try to unravel the secret of the extinction of one of their people. The captive Japans may have been more interested in coming home after the end of the conflict than admire the countryside, but the Mudon area is a captivating countryside of woods, gum orchards and brooks that flow into the ocean from the hills.
Paul Theroux released The Great Railway Bazaar in 1975, which reports on his 25,000-mile trip by rail from London to Southeast Asia, on to Japan and back to London on the Trans-Siberian Express. During both journeys he travelled to Myanmar, the first on a banned trip across the Gokteik Viaduct in the north of Shan State.
The most interesting thing, however, is the reference between Theroux' night in Candacraig to Pyin Oo Lwin in the 70s and his homecoming a decade later, when it was re-named the Thiri Myaing Hotel. Reminiscing every detail of the previous trip, the director told Theroux that there are still those from the US, the UK and Australia who "want to hold their books and see my father" - an illustrative example of the strength of good travelling, getting innocent lives out of their houses and discovering the whole wide globe.
Daniel Mason's novel The Tuner (2002) recounts the tale of a Londoner called Edgar Drake, who is to go to Myanmar to fix the pianoforte of a UK military surgeon based in Shan State in the East. Drake's impressive portrayal of his trip through Myanmar - by boat to Yangon, the Ayeyarwady River up to Mandalay, on horseback through the Shan State hills to a Salween River town - has a fantastic sense of historic reality combined with a sense of ageless romance.
It is the kind of story that adventure-loving discoverers crave after the era before the invention of the travel packages when they get off the well-trodden paths, which means more than taking an air-conditioned coach on a slightly narrow street.