Readers who liked Nicholas Farrelly’s Myanmar Times article ‘Misplaced affection for Myanmar’s old days’ (reposted on New Mandala, 9 March 2016), might also be interested in a long essay by Andrew Selth entitled ‘Burma after forty years: Still unlike any land you know’. The essay has just been published as an e-book by the highly-regarded Australian literary magazine Griffith Review.
Andrew, who lived in Rangoon (now Yangon) for nearly three years in the mid-1970s, looks back and compares Burma then with Myanmar now. He opens his essay with a parable about the harsh reality behind the ‘idyllic’ picture of the country that is so often portrayed in coffee table books and sold to foreign visitors. He then compares the Ne Win and Thein Sein eras, drawing on available statistics. He ends his essay with comments on more recent developments.
Andrew shares Nich’s concern that tourists visiting the country are being encouraged to ignore the hardships and lack of freedoms experienced by the people of Myanmar, both in the past and more recently. He seems less enthusiastic than Nich, however, about the tide of modernity now sweeping over the country.
Andrew’s essay can be found on the Griffith Review website, at https://griffithreview.com/articles/burma-after-forty-years/