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No Time for Dreams: Living in Burma under Military Rule
     

No Time for Dreams: Living in Burma under Military Rule

by Carolyn Wakeman, San San Tin, Emma Larkin (Introduction)
 

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Compelling images of cinnamon-robed monks confronting the guns and clubs of Burma's military junta outraged the world in September 2007. Then communications links were cut, and curfews, interrogations, midnight raids, beatings, and arrests crushed the remnants of defiance. Tragically, it had all happened before. No Time for Dreams narrates a remarkable woman's

Overview

Compelling images of cinnamon-robed monks confronting the guns and clubs of Burma's military junta outraged the world in September 2007. Then communications links were cut, and curfews, interrogations, midnight raids, beatings, and arrests crushed the remnants of defiance. Tragically, it had all happened before. No Time for Dreams narrates a remarkable woman's search over four decades for independence and purpose as repression spreads throughout her country, once known as the Golden Land.

Inspired by the legacy of her father, Ba Tin's struggle against British colonialism beginning in the 1930s, San San Tin infuses her journey from school girl to journalist and, briefly, to businesswoman with an unbroken spirit of resistance. Offering a compassionate insider's view of politics, culture, religion, and family during nearly half a century of unrelenting dictatorship, this riveting personal story traces an arc of decline to reveal the bitter fate of a once-prosperous and cosmopolitan society.

Editorial Reviews

Irrawaddy - Jim Andrews
A compelling personal account of living under successive regimes of mounting incompetence and oppression.
Sean Turnell
San San Tin's journey reflects the despair and tragedy that is modern Burma, but it is also a testament to the ways personal integrity and courage can overcome the stifling conformity and unrelenting banality of one of the world's most enduring and irrational dictatorships. Beautifully written and evocative of what was and what could be again, this memoir is essential reading for anyone interested in this oft-forgotten land and, indeed, in the universal struggle for truth and freedom.
Pascal Khoo-Thwe
San San Tin’s beautiful and intricate narrative vividly and intimately describes her personal feelings and family life, the state of the community, and her struggles against the oppressive political system and the chauvinistic traditions of her culture. Above all, she unfolds her fight for dignity and freedom amid the heart of darkness that is military-ruled 'Myanmar.' The book captures the sights, the sounds, the scents, and the atmosphere of the country in such delicate detail that it feels like reading an epic poem one wants to return to again and again.
Southeast Review of Asian Studies
This personal account of one person's life in Burma is written for anyone who is interested in how a journalist manages his/her role, particularly in an atmosphere of heavy censorship. . . . [A] vivid description of Tin's attempt to navigate a difficult professional and personal life in an environment that not only does not support her goals but also almost restricts her every move.
Irrawaddy
A compelling personal account of living under successive regimes of mounting incompetence and oppression.
— Jim Andrews
Booklist
From Burma, ruled by the gun for the past five decades by a xenophobic military regime, authentic voices only occasionally escape. Tin’s is one such voice.
Wellesley Centers For Women
Engaging and fluid. Most importantly, No Time for Dreams provides the reader with a truly intimate view of Burmese culture, which is based not only on historical knowledge but also on lived experience.
Mizzima
No Time for Dreams is one person’s story of surviving, and searching, behind [Burma's] closed doors. . . . Well written and provocative.
Southeast Review Of Asian Studies
This personal account of one person's life in Burma is written for anyone who is interested in how a journalist manages his/her role, particularly in an atmosphere of heavy censorship. . . . [A] vivid description of Tin's attempt to navigate a difficult professional and personal life in an environment that not only does not support her goals but also almost restricts her every move.
Feminist Formations
The book is written as Tin's memoir in the hopes of providing a glimpse through the eyes of one woman into what is perhaps the most closed society in the world. . . . Few such writings exist. . . . Thus such a memoir achieves importance under these conditions. . . . Tin provides a candid and readable account of her own ideological and emotional journey. . . . Along her journey, she provides evocative word-pictures of places and people . . . and gives us glimpses of the diversity of Burmese society in terms of social classes, religious groups, ethnicities, and sexual minorities.
Publishers Weekly

In elegant prose colored by vivid-but not precious-descriptions of her homeland, Burmese journalist Tin relates with great effect the insidious erosion of freedoms that occurred in her country, beginning in the 1950s with the installation of military rule and the imposition of socialism. Burma, or Myanmar since 1989, is a country often obscured to the rest of the world via the political paranoia of its government. Tin lifts the lid on how the country deteriorated under authoritarian socialism to become one of the world's poorest nations, and writes of her own personal conflict as both government-regulated journalist in a male-dominated environment and despairing Burmese patriot. As the turmoil grows, Tin's story continues to vacillate between resignation and the furtive search for any signs of hope, such as the one in 1988 when democracy advocates took to the streets for a brief moment of free expression. After enduring 10 more years of the often violent military junta's rule, Tin moved to the United States in 1998 to pursue a journalism fellowship. Her quiet but powerful story deserves a wide audience. (Feb.)

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Kirkus Reviews
Now an expatriate, the author chronicles her fight for personal and political independence in a repressive nation almost completely sealed off from the rest of the world. Born in 1950 to a family with a history of battling for political independence against colonialism, Tin attended university and did what she could to carry on the family tradition, contending with Burmese military repression rather than the British. At age 49, she decided it was time to expose the junta's brutality from a safer place and moved to the United States. She studied at the University of California with Wakeman (Journalism/Berkeley), director of the university's Asia Pacific Project. This text, written by Wakeman but presented as Tin's first-person narrative, relates her story up to the time of her departure from Burma. Accounts of personal and societal horrors alternate with vignettes of bravery, but Tin never manages adequately to explain how an entire population numbering in the millions has allowed relatively few oppressors to remain in power decade after decade. Once prosperous and rich in natural resources, Burma (rechristened Myanmar by the junta in 1989) has become one of the world's most impoverished nations. Tin provides examples of daily deprivations and government repression. The detailed narrative provides a rich education about Burmese life. For those without a prior knowledge of Burmese society, however, the specifics are sometimes overwhelming. Freedom to speak in the United States has not brought Tin unalloyed happiness; she bemoans being labeled a traitor by the government of her homeland and understandably misses the family members she left behind. Educational but relentlessly depressing.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780742557031
Publisher:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
01/16/2009
Series:
Asian Voices Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

What People are Saying About This

Pascal Khoo-Thwe
San San Tin’s beautiful and intricate narrative vividly and intimately describes her personal feelings and family life, the state of the community, and her struggles against the oppressive political system and the chauvinistic traditions of her culture. Above all, she unfolds her fight for dignity and freedom amid the heart of darkness that is military-ruled "Myanmar." The book captures the sights, the sounds, the scents, and the atmosphere of the country in such delicate detail that it feels like reading an epic poem one wants to return to again and again.
Sean Turnell
San San Tin's journey reflects the despair and tragedy that is modern Burma, but it is also a testament to the ways personal integrity and courage can overcome the stifling conformity and unrelenting banality of one of the world's most enduring and irrational dictatorships. Beautifully written and evocative of what was and what could be again, this memoir is essential reading for anyone interested in this oft-forgotten land and, indeed, in the universal struggle for truth and freedom.

Meet the Author

Carolyn Wakeman is professor at the University of California Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism, where she directs its Asia Pacific Project. San San Tin is an international broadcaster at Radio Free Asia and a freelance writer and poet. Emma Larkin is the pseudonym of an American writer based in Bangkok and the author of Finding George Orwell in Burma.

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