Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Myanmar (Burma): Introduction

Myanmar posts are coming*.  B. and I just returned from ten days of travel in Myanmar; I'm currently sifting through several thousand photos, picking my favorites.  Myanmar is a fascinating country and I haven't yet figured out what story to tell.  Do I tell about the "Golden Land", rich with rubies, sapphires, jade, gold, petroleum, and teak?  Do I tell about the distant past, about the mighty empires that rose and fell over thousands of years, the battles waged, the gods worshipped?  Or about the recent past, about British colonialism -- the fall of the Burmese monarchy, the fracturing of Burmese ethnic groups, the utter destruction wrought by the Japanese invasion during WWII, the fight for independence?  Do I tell about the isolationist military regime which strangled Myanmar's growth and development for decades and is now loosening its grip?  Or about a people (many peoples) whose spirit endures, endures and flourishes, and who dare to dream of much, much more?

Myanmar is all of these.  All of these and more.  I encourage you to visit and hear their stories yourself.

In the meantime, here's my Myanmar reading list:

The River of Lost Footsteps: A Personal History of Burma (Thant Myint-U)

Saving Fish from Drowning (Amy Tan)

The Glass Palace (Amitav Ghosh)

Letters from Burma (Aung San Suu Kyi)

* But may take some time.  It's back to work tomorrow and, while my US-based clients have been off, my China-based chemists have not.  Two weeks of backed up emails are screaming for my attention.