Issue 31

Editor’s note

George Orwells five years as a miserable policeman in colonial Burma, fomented a trove of critical contemplation for an entire genre of Orwellian classics, including ‘Animal Farm’ and ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’. Much of his bitter experience of “….seeing the dirty work of Empire”, was to be later rebutted by an elderly Burmese citizen who said, “ The British may have sucked our blood, but these Burmese generals are biting us to the bone”.

Orwell’s dystopia, in reality, has been an interminable nightmare since 1824. Yet Burma’s survival through the British, Japanese and their own autocracy has been endured with uncommon equanimity. A people, nurtured by the Buddhist faith, their innate calm, ability to be philosophic and relatively cheerful beneath the most dire circumstances, seems to be the nation’s defining character. Having said that, collective composure such as this must have its inevitable implosions, as with the ’88 students’ revolt and the monks-led Saffron Revolution. In fact, most of the people I met within Burma, had clocked several months if not years in prison.

In this issue

  • Claiming a New Space
    Essentially it was Buddhism that inspired much of Burma’s early art. While indigenous responses to landscape and people prevailed in...
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  • The Unbreakable Body
    Seeding a critical idea or inquiry in the minds of your audience within the span of a few minutes is...
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  • We Hope
    At a critically vulnerable juncture, Myanmar is poised for national reconciliation and a possible democratization. For the first time in...
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  • Poetry
    I get delicate each time I shed my skin Don’t you dare
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  • The Relevance Of Neglected Things
    Dressed like a man, father of a family, in a village where her husband’s family lives, the artist reinvents a...
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  • Living With Buddha
    In Myanmar, we believe that little monks are the future of Buddhism and they will bring peace which is essential...
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  • Portrait Of The Artist As An Artist
    The people in these pictures are artists. Most of them are performance artists. As a professional photographer, I usually shoot...
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  • Looking Back, Looking Ahead
    The speed of political change in Burma, has taken us by surprise: the abolition of overt censorship; the representatives of...
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  • A Little anticipation From The Margins
    What are your expectations of a land littered with ‘moral hazards’? A land, whose ‘historical rhythm’ is poverty, and her...
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  • A Strange Collection of Clear Victories
    “ Dissidents can’t be dissidents forever; we are dissidents because we don’t want to be dissidents “ she said about...
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  • Aung Aung Taik
    Aung Aung Taik is one of the pioneers of modern art in Burma.
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  • Zarganar. Seriously Funny
    “A free spirit can only emerge from free thought. From that free thought, free speech and free art blossoms"...Zarganar
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  • Theatre Of The Disturbed
    Burma has a strong tradition of dance-drama and until today, the traditional performing arts include dance, singing, music and comedy...
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  • Arresting Humour! The Moustache Brothers
    The Moustache Brothers have been arrested, but their captivating mirth means they may also be the ones having the last...
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  • Return To Burma
    First time filmmaker Midi Z’s semi-autobiographical drama ‘Return to Burma’, is reputedly the first feature film shot on location in...
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  • They Call It Myanmar
    Even today, the mention of names like Rangoon and Mandalay elicits a sense of adventure and romance.
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  • Prisoners of Conscience
    Since 1962, when General Ne Win seized power in a military coup, Burma has been controlled by a succession of...
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