Prayer for Burma

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Overview


After living in the United States for over a decade, Kenneth Wong returns to his native Burma—a country fraught with political upheaval and laden with superstition—to face the cultural specters of his own past and the spirit of a land trapped in time.

Sealed off from the outside world, first by an oppressive military regime’s isolationism and then by economic sanctions, Burma lives on like a lingering ghost of its colonial past. A Prayer for Burma is a beautiful, stunning ...

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Overview


After living in the United States for over a decade, Kenneth Wong returns to his native Burma—a country fraught with political upheaval and laden with superstition—to face the cultural specters of his own past and the spirit of a land trapped in time.

Sealed off from the outside world, first by an oppressive military regime’s isolationism and then by economic sanctions, Burma lives on like a lingering ghost of its colonial past. A Prayer for Burma is a beautiful, stunning portrait of the country as seen and remembered by a homecoming native battling his conflicting national, cultural, ideological, ancestral, and ethnic identities.

In the tradition of Orwell, Maugam, and Theroux, Wong shows Burma as an exotic place that invites, frightens, teases, and haunts citizens and visitors alike with its unique mixture of ill-kept Edwardian structures, pockmarked English mansions, and glittering Buddhist temples. And as a former Burmese rediscovering Burma—an outsider who was once an insider—Wong reveals the courage, humor, and perseverance of the Burmese people and their endearing, yet mysterious way of life.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Essential reading for anyone interested in this fascinating country, its people, and their ongoing ‘revolution of the spirit.’”  —Alan Clements, author, The Voice of Hope

“In witty and enlightening prose, Wong shines a light on a country filled with [people of] courage and grace.”  —Zarni, founder, Free Burma Coalition

Alan Clements
"Essential reading for anyone interested in this fascinating country, its people, and their ongoing 'revolution of the spirit.'" — (Alan Clements, author of The Voice of Hope)
Zarni
In witty and enlightening prose, Wong shines a light on a country filled with [people of] courage and grace.
founder of the Free Burma Coalition
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781891661280
  • Publisher: Santa Monica Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2003
  • Pages: 216
  • Product dimensions: 5.48 (w) x 8.52 (h) x 0.46 (d)

Meet the Author


Kenneth Wong was born and raised in Rangoon, Burma, where he cultivated an addiction to aromatic Indian tea and an aversion to totalitarianism. He came to America at the age of twenty-one, not long after the 1988 massacre. After an unfulfilling decade in the financial industry, he decided to jump off his career path and begin making a living as a writer. He currently works as an editor for Cadence, a trade magazine dedicated to computer-aided design. Kenneth lives in San Francisco, California, surrounded by eccentric friends and boxes of books.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 7
The Foreigner and the Native 11
The Colonial Tongue 29
The Guardians of the Pagoda 49
The Guardians of the Underworld 61
The Flower of the Orient 73
The Flight of the Peacock 91
Francis of Assisi 109
Tea Leaves at Twelve 123
The Marionettes of Bogyoke Market 155
Mya Nan Nwe of Botataung 175
The Ghost 201
Afterword 213
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2006

    A Painful Truth (but some corrections)

    The writer closely mimicks the mordern Burma, shameful and undeniably painful truth. (Although some facts are a little bit exaggerated and I felt like way too much put-down on Burmese people). And it is not great that the author is putting down on Burmese way of blaming on Karma. It is the only savior which deterrs people from a nervous breakdown. And in very few instances, he broke the fine but concrete line between cruel regime and innocent Burmese people). Also bravo for his flow of English (as I was born and rasied in Burma (about the same time as the author) and had spent first three decades of my life there. I hope the author would read this, as I want to advise on some factual flaws. The first thing is about the bodyguard of Bogyoke Aung San. He wasn't assassinated with BoGyoke. He was in the other room collecting paper for Bogyoke. His name is Bo Htun Hla aka the writer Tet Ka To Ne Win. One of his daughters was a teacher at the English Department and she is about the same age as Aung San Suu Kyi. And Bo Htun Hla passed away only a decade ago. But, he wasn't appropriately honored by U Nu's geovernment and U Ne Win's. And I felt some sort of personal anger and dissatisfaction from the author. I am sure, he has decided not to visit there again, as he bravely put his picture on the back cover. (JUST FOR THE AUTHOR.. I did not and do not and will not pronounce RECEPTION as recessio(n).)

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