Posts Tagged ‘history’

Sucked into the swathes of mesmerizing beaches through Southeast Asia, each leaves its own impression. Some beaches are good for swimming, others for snorkeling, surfing or beach-combing. Varying shades of blue merge with white and crimson sand, soft or hard and sometimes dotted with pin-sized holes from small scurrying crabs. Cambodia’s southern hot-spot known as Serendipity Beach is no less beautiful, though displays a new, this time heart-wrenching tropical paradise. (more…)

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As we enter China, it is unfortunate the world of WordPress does not follow. We will be back in a month with much more from Cambodia, Vietnam and China.   

For now, I leave you with a short paraphrase from a Cambodian tour guide:  

Our tour guide in white, 52 years old.



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The unwanted city


Two years after the unification of Malaysia in 1963, the ideologies and social make-up of its two largest cities, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, clashed. In a rather bizarre twist of post-colonial reshuffling, the capital of Kuala Lumpur firmly suggested Singapore leave the federation. Soon after the decision was ceremoniously showered in Prime Ministerial tears live on Singapore television. Nearly fifty years later, my visual impression places Singapore far ahead of its former administrator and other Southeast Asian Nations. The economic data is no less impressive. Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Brunei return a combined economic product little more than half that of Singapore (Studwell, xi). (more…)

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Considering Burma: Equality

WWII never completely ended in Burma. Today, Burma consists of an oppressive central government and hundreds of armed groups and militias along the periphery. Although today fighting is sporadic and largely affects only isolated areas, thousands of refugees remain outside of Burma. (more…)

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Burmese delegates including Aung San (fourth from right) met British politicians including Prime Minister Clement Attlee (fifth from right) in London to agree an independence deal in January 1947. (Image: Fox Photos/Getty Images)

 “Every man and woman in Burma wanted to get rid of the English government, not because it was oppressive or lacking in good qualities, but because its policy was pro-English instead of being pro-Burman” —excerpt from Maurice Collis book Trials in Burma (1937)

Defeating colonialism became a primary objective by the 1930’s, with a rise in Burmese political activity and nationalism. Anti-colonialist leaders rose and sought opportunities for change in militant ideologies.  Bogyoke Aung San remained greatest among them.  Aung San and a group of university students of his time known as the ‘Do Bama’ society, which one scholar calls “schoolboys playing politics,” were ultimately the ones who led protests, formed the Burmese Independence Army during WWII, and later formed the first independent government. Initially, Aung San sought opportunity and training from the rising power of Japan at the beginning of WWII, who promised Burmese independence. (more…)

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When considering Burma, you may remember the atrocities committed against protesters in anti-government protests in 1988, recall news clips of Monks and others taking to the streets in 2007, or the lack of access granted by the military government to humanitarian workers following cyclone Nargis in 2008.  Depending on age, maybe you think of nothing more than ‘Burma Shave’ a brushless shaving cream marketed in the US through rhyming poems on small, sequential highway signs. Regardless, few of us have actually considered the complexity that is Burma and how this country fits into the world. As the first major stop on my journey, I’m curious to learn more. (more…)

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