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Culture - Media - Society

David I Steinberg - Nikkei Asian Review

The NLD has a strong public image as a "taut ship" controlled by its leader. The reincarnation of civil society groups as critics of the organization they supported may present a conundrum for the NLD, and especially its leadership, no matter how essential civil society may be for democratic governance. 

How Suu Kyi deals with such changes will be important both for the future of the reforms and the democratic process in Myanmar. 

DPA International - 23 February 2016

Visitors will no longer be allowed to climb the ancient temples of Bagan in an effort to preserve the monuments from the thousands of tourists who scale them to see the site's distinctive skyline every year, the government said Tuesday.

[Latest: Myanmar backpedals on total ban - AFP]

Bagan's temples, many of them more than a thousand years old, are one of the most important collections of Buddhist architecture in the world, and a major tourist attraction in the developing country. But experts have criticized the site's management for allowing almost unfettered tourist access, and the UN's cultural body has declined its application for World Heritage Site status largely because of several cosmetic restorations.

The Ministry of Culture's announcement came after a Chinese medical company held a corporate event on top of a pagoda. A video of the event was posted on social media on February 16. The ban on climbing temples and pagodas will take effect from March 1, state-run media said, citing the ministry.

Hannoversche Allgemeine - 11 October 2015
The documentary heritage submitted by Germany, the United Kingdom and Myanmar for inclusion in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register in 2014 has now been approved. The Golden Letter of the Burmese King Alaungphaya to King George II of Great Britain from the year 1756 is a unique attestation in world history as well as in the history of Burma and Europe in the eighteenth century and is of outstanding aesthetic value. The content of the letter is a trade proposal from Alaungphaya to the English.  
Details of the 'Golden Letter' (in German) may be found at this link. The Nomination Form to UNESCO (in English) is at this link.

Historical presentation by Jacques P Leider: "The story of an exceptional manuscript and the failure of a diplomatic overture"

The Global New Light of Myanmar gave front-page coverage to the award on 11 October 2015.  UNESCO has however incorrectly described the UK as the "United Kingdom of Great Britain". The population of Northern Ireland would not be amused. 

Nicholas Farrelly: The Myanmar Times - 27 July 2015
The writer notes that KFC's arrival in Myanmar is actually the product of 1000 decisions about political and economic change that are now starting to really add up. KFC’s bold positioning is yet another reminder that the old Myanmar is being shunted aside, whether or not we are ready.

Of course not everybody is happy. Criticism of the corrupting influence of globalised fast food has followed KFC’s Myanmar thrust. But these moans of displeasure can’t compete with the cheerful reaction of local fried-chicken lovers. Long queues at the central Yangon outlet testify to the attraction of Colonel Sanders’ secret herbs and spices. As the cash registers hum with activity, those who can afford a few dollars for a small meal are following a well-worn path to calorific overload and so much more.

KFC is a signpost on the road to economic transformation and global enmeshment. It is also a signal of something profound for Myanmar society – KFC’s arrival in wet-season Yangon is merely a symptom, a well-managed commercial response to a much bigger trend.

Those that would remake Myanmar find that words fail them
Thomas Fuller: New York Times - 19 July 2015
It’s the dawn of democracy in Myanmar. If only the Burmese had their own word for it. As this former dictatorship opens to the world, language is a stumbling block.

For half a century, Myanmar was so cut off from the outside world that people were jailed for owning an unauthorized fax machine. As the rest of the world was hurtling into the information age, the strict censorship of publications, limited access to global media and creaking connections to the Internet stunted the evolution of the Burmese language, leaving it without many words that are elsewhere deemed essential parts of the modern political and technical vocabulary.

Today, as Myanmar embraces change, many foreign words are being imported wholesale, but their meanings are getting lost in translation. Read more....
Tom Kramer: Transnational Institute - May 2015
This paper explores the current state of counternarcotics policy and policy reform debates in Myanmar. It analyzes the main trends in drug production, trafficking, and consumption, and assesses the key harms and threats these pose to the country. 

Key Findings  

  • Myanmar is the world’s second largest producer of opium after Aghanistan. Following a decade of decline, cultivation has more than doubled since 2006.
  • The production and use of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) is also rising.Most of the opium is turned into heroin and exported via neighboring countries, especially to China.
  • Decades of civil war and military rule have stimulated drug production and consumption, and marginalized ethnic communities.
  • Myanmar has high levels of injecting drug users infected with HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C.
  • Drug policies in Myanmar are repressive and outdated, with an ineffective focus on arresting drug users and eradicating poppy fields.
  • The central government is unable to provide quality treatment for drug users.
  • Past political repression and human rights violations by the military government caused an international boycott which prevented international donors from providing assistance.
  • The reform process by the new quasi-civilian government includes both a peace process to end the civil war and a review of the country’s drug laws, raising hope for more effective and humane drug policies.
Transnational Institute - February 2015

In October 2014 the Myanmar government unveiled a draft National Land Use Policy (NLUP) and announced it would take public comments for a limited time before finalizing the document. Once it is finalized, the new policy will determine the distribution, use and management of the country's land and related natural resources like forests and rivers, for years to come.

Transnational Institute - February 2015

This report reviews Myanmar's drug laws and related policies, including the 1917 Burma Excise Act; the 1993 Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Law; and the 1995 Rules relating to Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. Since these laws were enacted several important changes have taken place inside and outside of Myanmar. The decision of the Myanmar Government to review the law is not only timely but also offers a prospect to improve the drugs legislation and to ensure that the laws address drug-related problems in the country more effectively. It is an opportunity to ensure that affected populations have access to health care and development, taking into account both national conditions and international developments and best practices.

Pope elevates Myanmar's Archbishop to Cardinal
Mizzima - 5 January 2015
Myanmar’s Archbishop Charles Maung Bo is one of three Asian Catholic prelates nominated to the College of Cardinals by Pope Francis on January 4. The head of the Catholic Church nominated a total of 15 new cardinals with the majority coming from developing countries including Myanmar, Tonga and Cape Verde. The choice of Archbishop Bo, 66, and others is said to reflect the pope’s efforts to reorient the College of Cardinals - which helps govern the Catholic Church - towards the developing world. The names also demonstrate the pope’s support for prelates with pastoral experience in smaller dioceses and for those coping with violence, migration and poverty, according to the news service.

Survey: Myanmar people 'cautiously optimistic'
Asian Foundation/Deutsche Welle- 15 December 2014
Published by The Asia Foundation and titled "Myanmar 2014: Civic Knowledge and Values in a Changing Society", the report reveals that a majority (62 percent) of respondents believes things in Myanmar are going in the right direction, while 28 percent say they don't know.

But the poll - based on over 3,000 face-to-face interviews conducted between May and June across all 14 states - also finds limited knowledge among the public about government institutions and their functions, a low level of social trust, a high degree of political polarization, and deep apprehension about economic opportunities.

The nationwide survey, released on December 11, is the first to document public knowledge and awareness of new government institutions and processes in the Southeast Asian country. The poll comes at a critical time amid longstanding religious and communal conflicts and ahead of a presidential election next year. President Thein Sein's quasi-civilian government has earned international praise for undertaking political and economic reforms that have resulted in the lifting of most Western sanctions.

Google Translate adds Myanmar to list of languages
Mizzima - 12 December 2014
Google Translate has just added 10 more languages including Myanmar to allow internet users to translate text on websites into their own language. In a press release on December 11, Google Translate said they were adding 10 languages to Translate, bringing the total number of supported languages to 90. “Myanmar language has been in the works for a long time as it's a challenging language for automatic translation, both from language structure and font encoding perspectives,” read a Google Translate blogpost. “While our system understands different Myanmar inputs, we encourage the use of open standards and therefore only output Myanmar translations in Unicode.” 

The new languages include Myanmar, Malayalam, Sinhala, Sundanese, Kazakh, Tajik and Chichewa. These 10 new languages will allow more than 200 million additional people to translate text to and from their native languages, according to the press release. The languages are available on translate.google.com.

Derek Tonkin writes: To read articles on this website, or entire pages, in Myanmar (Burmese), click on the link in the right-hand column and the website will automaticaly appear in Myanmar (Burmese). This link will be included in the "GTranslate" link immediately above in due course. The new facility may also be used to translate from Myanmar to English. The quality of the translation is likely to remain in the developmental stage for some time.

UK House of Lords debate on Soft Power and Conflict Prevention
Hansard House of Lords - 5 December 2014
During this debate, Lord Williams of Baglan made the following observations about the BBC:

"Another country I want to mention, which has already come up in the debate, is Burma, or Myanmar, as it is now called, where I recently chaired a conference on transition and reform for Chatham House. The BBC has broadcast in Burmese for 75 years - through the period of colonial rule, Japanese occupation, military dictatorship and now, I hope, a transition to representative government. 

"Two years ago, censorship of newspapers was still in place and the BBC could not operate officially. Things have changed at such a pace that a few weeks ago the BBC’s Burmese Service launched its own-language version of a “Question Time”-style format. The BBC now has a permanent presence in Rangoon. In the rapidly changing media market of the country, its weekly audience stands at 6.8 million. The Burmese Service operates not just on short wave radio but also through FM rebroadcasts, social media and mobile telephones. In April this year, it launched a limited television bulletin which is broadcast via partner channel, Myanmar National Television."

Derek Tonkin writes: The intervention by Lord Williams illustrates the difficulty of assessing the progress of media freedom in Myanmar. On the one hand much publicity has been given this year to the severe prison sentences handed down to journalists accused of  illegal entry into a military installation as well as to the recent killing of a free-lance journalist by the military. While this might be seen as "backsliding" on media freedom, it should be born in mind that these two serious events involved first and foremost the military authorities, and that just as there may well be instances which appear to show the curtailment of media freedom, other reports suggest that there is continuing progress in the direction of improved media independence. 

Myanmar catholics celebrate 500 years in the country
Mizzima - 22 November 2014
Thousands of Myanmar Catholics marked 500 years of the Church's presence inside the country in a lively celebration at a Yangon cathedral held four years late because of religious restrictions under the former junta.

Believers, many wearing colourful traditional dress from ethnic minorities across the diverse Southeast Asian nation, released balloons and sang hymns in the first of three days of parades and services that show a resurgence in confidence for Catholicism after reforms under a quasi-civilian regime.

"It is a day to say we are so proud that the faith came here 500 years ago," Cardinal Oswald Gracias, the Archbishop of Mumbai and the Pope's envoy, told congregants at a ceremony at St Mary's Cathedral to kick off the festivities.

"Myanmar is so special to Pope Francis because the Church is small, because the Church has got challenges, because the Church has got a great future," he added.

Contesting Buddhist Narratives
Matthew J Walton and Susan Hayward - East-West Policy Center Study October 2014
"Clashes between Buddhists and Muslims in Myanmar have highlighted the challenges that latent inter-communal tensions pose to the govenment, as the reform process reveals old grievances that can be easily manipulated by those seeking to obstruct reform. Amplifying and supporting the actors who are able to criticize anti-Muslim arguments and rhetoric on Buddhist grounds is crucial. In order to be effective, these responses need to directly acknowledge and incorporarte the complex dynamics described in this paper. Without acknowledging the entire range of contributing factors and encouraging cooperation among actors inside and outside of the country, interreligious conflict could be the downfall of Myanmar's once-promising transition to democracy."

Derek Tonkin writes: The main thrust of the paper is commendable and its recommendations sensible and persuasive. In analysing the historical background, more weight might have been given to what distinguishes the Muslim-Buddhist conflict from other ethnic tensions in Myanmar, notably British policy of allowing, even encourgaging substantial migration into Arakan where active and successful Bengali immigrants post 1870 displaced many Rakhine Buddhist smallholders, causing growing resentment which came to a head in the pogroms of 1942 in both Muslim and Buddhist-dominated localities.

Death in Army custody of journalist

Latest News and Views

Burmese Daze
Letter to 'The Times' - 14 October 2014


With reference to your report (11 October) on the 1944 manual given to British soldiers, my late father was given, also in 1944 and while serving with the Royal Navy in the Far East, a booklet entitled Rubbing Along in Burmese. This contained useful phrases, translated into the local language, that every sailor would presumably find invaluable. Phrases included “Please shake hands, we have come in the cause of freedom”, “If you do as we tell you, you will come to no harm”, “Where can I find a bicycle?” and “Can you row a sampan?” It also included the Burmese for “Do you have any Epsom Salts?” 

Robert Spicer
Colchester, Essex

The last Armenian church in Myanmar
First Things - 10 October 2014
This summer, the BBC did a lovely story about a 150-year old Armenian parish church in the city of Yangon, St. John the Baptist. Hardly any parishioners remained, the BBC said, maybe ten people on a good Sunday. Most of the congregation were not Armenians, either, the Armenians having left Myanmar, with the British, decades before.

A small group of holdouts had continued to maintain the church, however, led by a priest, Fr. John Felix. Fr. John was not Armenian Orthodox, the story indicated, but Anglican. Nonetheless, the Armenian Church had, in an ecumenical gesture, invited him to use St. John the Baptist for the small number of faithful who remained, even though he had a very limited knowledge of the Orthodox liturgy. Continue reading.....

Myanmar transparency sets 'global precedent'
Reuters - 10 October 2014
More than half the companies that won major oil and gas blocks in resource-rich Myanmar over the past year have declared their ownership details, setting "a global precedent" for others, advocacy group Global Witness said on Friday.

Only four months ago the London-based group criticised the country's oil and gas sector for being highly secretive. But in a few days Myanmar will host a meeting of the international board of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, a global anti-corruption scheme for oil, gas and mining firms.

"Around the world, countries like the UK have committed to setting up company ownership registers  but this is the first time that we are actually seeing details of real owners systematically opened up to public scrutiny," Juman Kubba, analyst at Global Witness, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. "Crucially, eight of the 15 private Myanmar companies with stakes have given us full information," she said.

EIA: Most Myanmar log exports illegal
Associated Press - 25 March 2014
The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) has said that an analysis of international trade statistics shows that global buyers reported importing 22.8 million cubic meters of logs from Myanmar in 2000 to 2013 - 16.4 million cubic meters more than was listed in the government's own export figures. This suggests that 72 percent of the log shipments were illicit, the London and Washington-based group said.

The report noted, however, that "Myanmar's government has claimed that most illegal logging and timber smuggling occurs in areas controlled by ethnic groups, particularly in Kachin State bordering China's Yunnan province, a major recipient of illegal timber. SThe imposition of a log export ban in Myanmar from April 1, 2014, indicates that the government is now attempting to stop the flow of logs from the country," the EIA said. "This is a long overdue acknowledgment that Myanmar's forests have been systematically looted during the past 15 years. Reform of the timber sector is urgently needed to counter the pervasive corruption and secrecy which continue to threaten Myanmar's dwindling forests."

Monks plan changes to Sangha Rules
The Myanmar Times - 10 March 2014

More than 2,500 members of Myanmar’s nine recognised Buddhist orders will meet in May to review the rules that the country’s monks must abide by. The 5th All Orders Sangha Meeting, the first of its kind in almost 19 years, will take place at Maha Pasana Cave at Yangon’s Kabar Aye Pagoda from May 11 to 13.

Some sections of Myanmar’s clergy have drawn criticism from both local and international observers for taking on a prominent role in political affairs, which is currently forbidden under monastic rules. But government officials remain tight-lipped on what changes are likely to result from the meeting.

At a recent meeting to discuss details of the 5th All Order Sangha Meeting, Minister for Religious Affairs U San Sint said only that it would seek to “amend inappropriate Sangha rules”. U Zar Ni Win, deputy director general of the Department of Religious Affairs, agreed that some of the current rules are “defective”. “Rules will be changed in accordance with the current customs, times and circumstance. Some rules and regulations of the Sangha will be tightened up, while others will be loosened,” he said.

Latest News on the Media in Myanmar     

Tread with caution in highly sensitive Burma
David Steinberg: Yale Global Online - 13 February 2014
The government in Burma (Myanmar) is loosening political controls, and welcoming more trade and interactions with the rest of the world. The strong culture has resisted waves of Indian, Chinese and Western influences in the past, suggests David I. Steinberg, distinguished professor of Asian Studies emeritus at Georgetown University, and new connections are introducing rapid change that could prompt a backlash against globalization.

Particular areas of concern include the influence of China, growing demographic strength of Muslims, and the technological savvy and growing connections for Burma’s urban youth. If economic progress does not accompany fast-moving integration, some could target external forces from other nations or even the country’s youth. “The potential of backlash calls for deft policies from the United States and other Western states,” concludes Steinberg. “Otherwise, the fast-moving cultural changes, coming from all directions.

Myanmar surpasses Malaysia, Philippines on press freedom
Wall Street Journal - 12 February 2014
The 2014 World Press Freedom Index published by the Paris-based media rights watchdog 'Reporters Without Borders' ranked Myanmar at 145th place out of 180 countries after a series of reforms initiated by the former military government led to scores of newspapers launches.

The ranking takes Myanmar up six notches from last year, and places it ahead of Malaysia (147), the Philippines (149) and Singapore (150). Indonesia, which has seen some of the region’s greatest media reform in the 15 years since autocrat Suharto left power, jumped seven spots to 132nd place. Finland tops the global index as the freest country for the press.

While the latest ranking reflects positively on Myanmar, the results were compiled before police arrested four reporters and the chief executive of a Yangon-based weekly newspaper, the Unity Journal, for publishing a story on the construction of a weapons’ factory in the central part of the country.

Burma synagogue preserved as symbol of multi-racial past
Voice of America - 12 December 2013
In the 1930s there were more than 2,500 Jews in Rangoon, including its mayor, businessman David Sophaer. The vast majority of the community was of Iraqi descent, and began to arrive in Rangoon via India in the mid 19th century as the British empire expanded. Today there are an estimated fewer than 20 local members of the community.

Author and historian Thant Myint-U heads theYangon Heritage Trust, an organization dedicated to saving Rangoon’s heritage buildings. He says the synagogue's preservation effort is about more than just the building: it's about recovering Burma's past, to help people understand the city's rich multiethnic history. Continue reading.....

Big Tobacco eyes Myanmar Market 
Al Jazeera  - 20 November 2013
Tobacco is already a problem in this impoverished Southeast Asian country where anti-tobacco legislation is weak. But as Myanmar opens its doors to the world after half a century of military rule, it faces a new threat: Large multinational cigarette companies looking for new markets.

Activists say between one-third and half of Myanmar's 60 million people consume tobacco in some form. Most people in Myanmar get their tobacco fix by chewing it in betel leaves and smoking cheroots. Filtered cigarettes tend to be seen mainly in cities. The cancer ward at Yangon's main hospital is usually crowded, and the World Health Organisation estimates one in five deaths in Myanmar is attributed to smoking. Continue reading..... 

A Selection of 50 Selected Works of Fact and Fiction on Myanmar/Burma

Soldiers and Diplomacy in Burma: Understanding the Foreign Relations of the Burmese Praetorian State by Renaud Egreteau and Larry Jagan. National University of Singapore Press, Singapore (2013). ISBN: 9789971696733. Price: US$32; 560 pages.

Strong Soldiers, Failed Revolution: The State and Military in Burma, 1962-1988 by Yoshihiro Nakanishi. National University of Singapore Press, Singapore (2013). ISBN: 9789971697020. Price: US$38; 384 pages.

Military Matters in Myanmar reviewed by Bertil Lintner
Asia Times Online - 20 September 2013
Both books have merits and shortcomings. Soldiers and Diplomacy in Burma contains a wealth of information about Myanmar's past and present relations with China, India and Japan, as well as neighboring Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries. Strong Soldiers, Failed Revolution, on the other hand, includes at least 50 useful tables with the names and ranks of officers and government officials and their respective places in the country's military hierarchy that are not easily found in other literature on Myanmar.

However, both books fall short of their stated objectives: to analyze the role of the military in what, at least on the surface, appears to be sweeping changes in the country's contemporary political landscape. Continue reading.....

Derek Tonkin writes: Bertil Lintner does not disappoint with his traditionally waspish comments on authors who dare to challenge his arrogated surpremacy to  comment on the affairs of a country whose fortunes he has followed with commendable expertise and insight for so long. He tends however to place greater store on surmise and rumour in analysing situations where what he describes as "well-documented reports" and "intensive research" do not at times reach the level of intellectual integrity on which other authors insist. 

New press bill criticised after approval by Lower House 

An introduction
by The Honorable U Kyaw Nyein, Deputy Prime Minister of the Union of Burma

Building a Nation
Goals for the future
by The Honorable U Thant

Burma's Socialist Democracy
Some problems of practical politics
by U Law Yone

Continuity in Burma
The survival of historic forces
by U Kyaw Thet

People of the Golden Land
Burmese character and customs
by Daw Mi Mi Khaing

Burmese Names
A guide
by Daw Mi Mi Khaing

The Public Weal    
Excerpts from speeches by the honorable U Nu, Prime Minister of the Union of Burma
by Daw Mi Mi Khaing       

The Women of Burma
A tradition of hard work and independence
by Daw Mya Sein

Burmese Music
A partnership in melodic sounds
by U Khin Zaw

Burmese Entertainment
Drama, dance, and film
by U Myo Min

The Early Art of Burma
Surviving traditions from pagan and Mandalay
by Thaw Ka

Contemporary Burmese Art
A modern perspective
by U Thein Han

Burma's Economy
An eye toward growth
by U Tun Thin

Indians and Chinese in Burma
Notes on immigration
by U Myay Kyaw

Modern Burmese Literature
Its background in the independence movement
by U On Pe

The Burmese Language
An overview
by U Wun

The Meaning of Buddhism
Fundamental principles of the Theravada doctrine
by Bhikkhu U Thittila

Folk Elements in Burmese Buddhism
Alchemy, spirits, and ancient rituals
by Maung Htin Aung

The Concept of Neutralism
What lies behind Burma's foreign policy
by James Barrington

The Concept of Neutralism
What lies behind Burma's foreign policy
by James Barrington

The 13-Carat Diamond
A story
by Daw Khin Myo Chit

The Prince of the Prison
A story
by Dagon Shwe Hmar

Books on Myanmar

A selection of reasonably up-to-date books on Myanmar which are generally available through booksellers. It should however be noted that some of the books are not of the highest calibre, some have biases particularly in the use of evidence and treatment of historical sources, while others excite controversy. We think it prudent to issue a general "health warning".

David I Steinberg - Burma/Myanmar: What everyone needs to know - [January 2010 - OxfordUniversity Press - ISBN 978-0-19-539068-1 paper back] A brief guide to the history of Burma/Myanmar and to its present-day problems.

Robert Taylor - The State in Myanmar - [September 2008 - C Hurst and Co Publishers Ltd - ISBN-10 1850659095] This is a very recent revision of the author's The State in Burma published in 1987. An analytically incisive and original history of modern Burma.

Andrew Selth - Burma’s Armed Forces: Power without Glory [2002 - Eastbridge Signature Books  -  ISBN 1891936131]  The author examines the dramatic expansion and modernization of the Burmese armed forces, the Tatmadaw, since the 1988 pro-democracy uprising. There are valuable insights into the way the armed forces have attempted to govern Myanmar since then.

Aung San Suu Kyi - Freedom from Fear [1995 revised edition  -  Penguin  -  ISBN 0140253173 ] This collection of writings reflects Aung San Suu Kyi’'s greatest hopes and fears for her people and her concern about the need for international cooperation.    

Bertil Lintner - Burma in Revolt: Opium and Insurgency since 1948 [2003 reprinted  -  Silkworm Books  - ISBN 9747100789]  The author examines the nexus between  Burma'’s narcotics production, insurgency and counter-insurgency. His likely account is interspersed with numerous anecdotes gleaned from personal research and interviews. 

Bertil Lintner -  Outrage: Burma's stuggle for democracy [1989 Review Publishing Company Hong Kong - ISBN 962-7010-35-9] This book, the result of manmy visits to Burma, interviews with thise most closely involved, his first-hand experiences, eye-witness accounts, is the fullest report of the August 1988 revolt. 

David L Steinberg - Burma: The State of Myanmar [2001  -  Georgetown University Press  -  ISBN 0878408932]  David Steinberg sheds new light on Myanmar by exploring issues of authority and legitimacy in its politics, social structure and culture.  

Justin Wintle - Aung San Suu Kyi: [2007  -  Hutchinson/Arrow Books  -  ISBN 9780091796518]  The author gives us the fullest biography of Aung Sam Suu Kyi to date. He includes her father’s story, and indeed the story of the Burmese people at large, and lays bare the ambiguities which nourish a tragedy that is national as well as personal.  

Kyaw Yin Hlaing, Robert H Taylor, Tin Maung Maung Than, editors  -  Myanmar : Beyond Politics to Societal Imperatives [2005  -  ISEAS Publications  -  ISBN 9789812303004]  This volume of essays looks at the underlying  socioeconomic and public policy issues which the country faces regardless of its political future.

Peter Popham - The Lady and the Peacock, The life of Aung San Suu Kyi [2011 - Rider Books - ISBN 978-1-84-604248-5] A narration of the life of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, strong on original sources, a sympathic portarit of an iconic personality.

Martin Smith - Burma: Insurgency and the Problems of Ethnicity  [1999 revised  -  White Lotus, ZED Books,  Dhaka University Press]  Essential reading for those interested in the conditions giving rise to guerrilla warfare, the character of national liberation movements, and the impact of ethnicity on political conflict. 

Mary P Callahan - Making Enemies: War and State Building in Burma  [2003  -  Cornell University Press  -  ISBN 0801441250]  A significant contribution to our knowledge of the Burmese military, essential to our understanding of  present aspects of military rule and its likely continuing critical influence in Myanmar. 

N Ganesan and Kyaw Yin Hlaing - Myanmar: State, Society and Ethnicity  [2007  -  ISEAS Publishing Singapore and Hiroshima Peace Institute  -  ISBN 139789812304339] A volume of collected essays which focuses on some of the most important and topical questions about Myanmar. Collated from papers present at workshops held by the Hiroshima  Peace Institute in 2005.  

Richard Horsey - Ending Forced Labour in Myanmar: Engaging a Pariah Regime [2011 - Routledge Contemporary Southeast Asia Series - ISBN-10 9780415600774] This book gives a first-hand account of efforts by the International Labour Organisation to address the problem of forced labour in Myanmar and how the regime allowed the ILO to operate a complaints mechanism.  

Michael W Charney - A History of Modern Burma [2009 - Cambridge University Press - ISBN 978-0-521-61758-1] An accessible, well-organized and extensively reserached account of Myanamr's recent past by a leading scholar. A balanced and factual survey of modern Burmese history.

Thant Myint-U - The Making of Modern Burma  [ 2001 Cambdrige University Press ISBN 0-521-79914-7] A sophisticated and much-needed account of the influences which have formed Modern Burma, notably through 19th Century influences and changes.

Thant Myint-U - The River of Lost Footsteps: Histories of Burma  [2006  -  Farra, Strauss and Giroux  - ISBN 139760374163426]  A balanced, fascinating and sometimes humorous account of nation-building, which offers many lessons for today’s international interventions without ever simplifying the historical complexities of Myanmar.

Thant Myint-U - Where China meets India [2011 - Faber and Faber - ISBN 980571239634] Part travelogue, part history, part investigation, the book takes us across the fast-changing frontier, giving us a masterful account of the region's long and rich history and its sudden significance for the rest of the world.

Digitalized Historical Books  

   "The Loyal Karens of Burma"  by Donald Mackenzie Smeaton (1846-1910) first published 1887 and available from Amazon             

•   "A Personal Narrative of Two Years' Imprisonment in Burmah 1824-26"  by Henry Gouger first published in 1860 and available from Amazon 


Lee Jones 1