Burma (or Myanmar as it is now called) is in the news for all the wrong reasons. It has been ruled for many years by a ruthless, repressive junta, it suffers regular earthquakes and the cyclone of May 2008 left more than a hundred thousand people injured, homeless or dead. Yet this is a magical place: a country of contrasts with a rambunctious history and a culture that is both awesome and fascinating. Largely on a whim, prompted by sitting next to the “neighbour from hell” on a...
Burma (or Myanmar as it is now called) is in the news for all the wrong reasons. It has been ruled for many years by a ruthless, repressive junta, it suffers regular earthquakes and the cyclone of May 2008 left more than a hundred thousand people injured, homeless or dead.
Yet this is a magical place: a country of contrasts with a rambunctious history and a culture that is both awesome and fascinating. Largely on a whim, prompted by sitting next to the “neighbour from hell” on a long-haul flight, the author decides to visit Mandalay, the “Golden City” foreseen by ancient Buddhist prophesies. Despite controversy – there are campaigns suggesting you do not travel to Burma on the grounds that doing so supports the government - he makes a trip, flying to Bangkok and on to Yangon (previously Rangoon) and makes much of the journey on the river cruiser Road to Mandalay sailing along the famous Ayeyarwady.
Along the way he encounters taxis pulled by oxen; rings the largest bell in the world; learns how to wear a skirt, the difference between a stupa and a pagoda and why florescent pink tiles are used in temples.
In this lively and light-hearted account of his journey he watches the best sunset in the world on the plains of Bagan, and as the sun sinks behind the towers of pagodas stretching in countless numbers to the horizon, concludes that this wonderful country is worthy of everyone’s attention, and perhaps help too.
PATRICK FORSYTH runs Touchstone Training & Consultancy, an independent firm based in the U.K. specialising in marketing consultancy, and training on marketing issues, sales, communication and management skills.
He is a consultant of more than twenty years experience and was a Director of a major consulting organisation before starting his own firm in 1990. Previously he began his career in publishing, holding sales, sales management and marketing positions, subsequently working for a management institute before moving into consultancy.
His work has spanned many industries, and also many countries. He has worked in most countries in continental Europe (including eastern Europe) and also works regularly in South East Asia. In training he conducts tailored in-company courses and individual tutorials. He also conducts “public” seminars and has presented regularly for a variety of organisers including: The Institute of Management, The Chartered Institute of Marketing, The London Chamber of Commerce, The City University Business School and more specialised bodies (such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants, the Publishing Industry Training Centre and the British Council). He has worked for similar bodies overseas, for example the management institutes in Malaysia and Singapore; South East Asia being his main area of overseas work – visits have been made, usually four times each year, for more than twenty years.
Writing: He is the author of more than 50 successful business books. These include: Marketing and Selling Professional Services, How to Write Reports and Proposals, and How to Motivate People (Kogan Page), Successful Negotiating (How to Books) and How to craft successful business presentations (Foulsham) and books on careers, such as Getting a top job in Marketing (Kogan Page) and the Detox Your Career (Cyan Books). He has titles translated into twenty-two different languages. He also writes articles (for a variety of journals such as Better Business, Professional Marketing and Writing Magazine), training materials (for example to accompany training videos) and also for several web sites. He undertakes some copywriting for brochures, newsletters etc. and has written a variety of corporate publications.