A great book to put the current nastiness in Myanmar into more historical (but not boring) perspective is the travelogue, literary investigation, political analysis of Emma Larkin's Secret Histories: Finding George Orwell in a Burmese Teashop : A Journey Through Burma in the Company of George Orwell.
Thoroughly recommended. Larkin goes to Burma to seek out where Orwell lived and what he lived like in the 1920's, and discovers instead that the people of Burma today live in an 1984-like Orwellian nightmare of thought-crime, violent-reprogramming, torture and out-right repression on all fronts. The locals joke (but don't laugh) that Orwell wrote a trilogy set in their country - Burmese Days, Animal Farm and 1984.
The present Burmese are waiting (hoping) for the day America invades in order to instill democracy and stop the dead-of-night murders and random and interminable imprisonments of free-thinkers and the like. They really would welcome the troops!
Nice to see that staunch ally of (market) freedom, Singapore, is one of the few countries dealing economically with this thoroughly repulsive and unrepentantly genocidal regime.
As if ripping sand out of Sihanoukville - because the Indonesian navy (for what THAT's worth) have kicked the Singaporean dredges out of the Straits of Malacca - to provide clean-fill for our new integrated resorts is going to do anything to improve the plight of the majority Burmese people.
A coupla Myanmar Generals might buy some Sentosa property with the proceeds and find it easier to go high-class gambling and so Singapore gets its money back after all, is about what will happen.
OTHER MONKEYS SAID
Yes Occeuteal Beach can definitely use a bit more sand. I've been saying that for years. Finally somebody is listening.
That'd be LESS sand now, Mr Deadley.
And I supposed the irony of America's current fascism under Bush & Co - Guantanamo Bay and renditions for out-sourced torture - would have been missed by the Burmese, as they don't get much outside information.
I see they shoot journalists in Burma too. Just like Iraq. I can't find any up to date information about the dredging in Sihanoukeville. Is it just me?
Dick: They prolly thought he was a Japanese tourist, always open season.
...and moi, exaggerate for politically rhetorical effect? It may not be the actual foreshore at Sihanoukville but Myanmar ARE selling sand to Singapore for landfill projects - the deep water Harbour out west, new runway at Changi way east - and of course to feed the huge demand for concrete during our current insane building hyper-blastosis...