A Travellerspoint blog

Rangoon at a Glance

sunny 37 °C

This is one of the most iconic buildings in Southeast Asia – if not the entire world – and it’s a fair bet that you’ve no idea what it is. Had we taken this photograph a few years ago we would now be uploading this blog from the dungeons of a Burmese prison, because this is the building in which President Aung San and six of his ministers were assassinated in July 1947. Following the assassination the government locked the gates and threw away the keys. The entire Minister’s Secretariat complex, built by the British in the late 1800s when Rangoon was one of the greatest colonial cities of the Empire, has been abandoned ever since and until recently the military junta took a dim view of anyone photographing it.
Here is the entrance to another iconic building – the house of Aung San's daughter, Suu Kyi. The Nobel Peace Prize winner needs absolutely no introduction, but here is Sheila standing at the gates in the forlorn hope of getting one...

There is a reason that Noel Coward wrote, “Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun,” while travelling in this part of the world and, to quote a popular1970’s BBC Tv series set in Burma and India, “It Ain’t Half Hot Mum”. It may be the height of the cool season but it’s still a baking 37 degrees in the shade - and the Burmese certainly know how to find shade…
It is only a few years since the military rulers released Suu Kyi from house arrest and began welcoming the world to her doorstep but, we are told, the changes have been dramatic. We were authoritatively, though quite erroneously, informed that we wouldn’t see western TV, we would have difficulty using the internet and that cellphones and ATMs were just a future dream. Well, the future’s here…
Although many people already have their own cellphones, young ladies on every corner will happily rent you time on theirs…
If you are reading this you know that the internet works without censorship, (if you can’t read this then please phone the British/Canadian embassies and report our mysterious disappearance). And, when it comes to television – just how many satellite dishes do you need to bring the world to your doorstep?
Tonight – Chinese New Year, Burmese style. See you tomorrow, (hopefully).

Posted by Hawkson 07:14 Archived in Myanmar

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Wow! What an opportunity to get a glimpse into another world, so long closed off from view. I'm so appreciative of you sharing your experiences.
hugs, Sharron

by Sharron

I was brought up with tales of Rangoon and Burma from my father's time there in the war. Great to see how things are opening up again.

by liz

I nominate Sheila for a Nobel Peace Prize. (and I would nominate Jim too but that might cloud the process if you can only nominate one at a time - not that I've researched it or anything.)

by Janet

great stuff...such an adventure!
Love You, Gabriole/***

by gabriole

Ragoon, I never dreamt that I would ever see after planning a visit seven decades ago. It looks very beautiful and well worth visiting.
Love from David and Jean

by Jean and David

David and his mates undertook a project to make a raft on the beach behind the family home in Ceylon with the view of sailing to Rangoon.

by Jean and David

Looks amazing - wish I was there. It's definitely on my list for later this year (or during a cool season if there is one).
Suu Kyi was on R4 Desert Island Discs recently. I have the podcast if you want to hear it.
As I'm now a part-time Westminster resident, I saw the Chinese celebrations in London in the rain and also the red carpet for the BAFTAs.
Bonne continuation!
Love Heather

by Heather M-T

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