An Exile’s Memoir of Burma
Published by: Wipf and Stock Publishers
270 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.54 in
- Published: July 2016
- Published: July 2016
- Published: July 2016
This author knows his country and its people well! In writing the highlights of the 20th Century and some of the period that precedes it, he uses both his personal history and that of his family to relate how people dealt with the "passing parade"; how they sometimes made social and political advances and at other times fell back. He draws the reader's attention into the narrative alongside those being discussed or telling the story and makes them feel a part of the story. Once he captures your attention he won't let go. You may have known nothing about Burma when you picked up this book, but when you finish reading it you will want to know more about its past and, more important, its future.
--Josef Silverstein, Professor Emeritus, Rutgers University
Indonesia and Myanmar share mutual empathy derived from a common struggle for independence from colonial rule. A similar core of cultural heritage binds their nation building aspirations. The challenge to bring unity in diversity brings our nations together. Professor U Kyaw Win, having lived as an exile for over four decades, speaks from his heart of his hopes and aspirations for a brighter democratic future for his homeland.
--Dr. Hassan Wirajuda, Foreign Minister of Indonesia, 2001-2009
I think of the author as not only a compatriot but someone I could truly share my life-long feelings of patriotic devotion to our homeland and our people. Although in our Burmese way, being senior age-wise it is incumbent on him to allow me precedence in most ways, I have looked up to him as one of my leading counsellors in our political endeavours ever since I found him as the editor/publisher of The Burma Bulletin in 1973. I was, like him, also exiled in USA but I was given the opportunity to continue work with the democratic forces abroad when the Committee for Restoration of Democracy in Burma was formed in Washington, DC in 1986 by young Burmese expatriate veterans of many battles against the military dictatorship.
U Kyaw Win was one of the leading personalities who founded the CRDB of which I became a member. We are now privileged to read about the influence his esteemed parents and family have had on his upbringing and on his achievement of high academic honours and wish him the best that life can bring.
--Maung Kin Oung, Author of Who Killed Aung San?
In this lively and moving memoir U Kyaw Win, one of Burma's most outspoken opposition leaders, vividly brings home the heavy toll exacted on his nation and family by a half century of rule by a succession of incompetent, brutal and swaggering military dictators. Once one of the most prosperous nations of Southeast Asia, by the beginning of this century Burma earned a UN classification as one of the poorest members of the international community. In unfolding the story of his family Dr. Win also unfolds the troubled history of modern Burma. We see through his eyes a nation ruled by fear by a military clique whose loyalty is kept in place by material rewards and special privileges while the Burmese people sink deeper into poverty and despair. But the Burmese picture is not one of unremitting gloom.
In fresh detail accompanied by insightful analysis, Dr. Win expounds on the popular uprising of 1988 which, though in the end bloodily suppressed, came close to overthrowing the regime and gave rise to one of its most powerful and determined opponents, Aung San Suu Kyi.
He also recounts the regime's unprecedented use of force against Buddhist monks protesting a rise in fuel prices which aroused such popular hatred of the regime that it forced upon the military leadership the need for change. For the past few years that process of change has been underway. Burma is gradually opening to the outside world and its harsh totalitarianism is easing.
Burma still has a long way to go and it remains to be seen as to how accommodating the still dominant military leadership will be to the reform process. As Burma stirs favorably it would be remiss not to take our hats off to Dr. Win for a consuming and for the most part lonely five decade long struggle for Burmese freedom. At eighty-two he can let up a bit, secure in the knowledge that he has contributed greatly to breaking the Burmese log jam.
--Burton Levin, American ambassador to Burma, 1987-90
I spent three years in Burma in the 1960s as a junior member of the British embassy, and returned there 25 years later as ambassador. I was at my post during the uprising of 1988, and its aftermath, so vividly covered in the book. The author with Riri his Indonesian wife describes a huge range of experiences and events throughout these years, his objective to make Burma's vicissitudes known to the widest possible audience and to point the way to the future. He managed to involve the great and sometimes the good in his efforts, in the U.S. from ex-President Carter downwards and in Burma all the main players. While his father did his best to give Ne Win and the army the benefit of the doubt he rejected their claims from the outset. I can only add that U Nu once told me emphatically Burma was two thousand times better under the British, two thousand times.
--Martin Morland, British ambassador to Burma, 1986-90