Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Books on Myanmar

These are recently published books on Myanmar:

Myanmar's Transition: Openings, Obstacles and Opportunities edited by Nick Cheesman; M. Skidmore and T. Wilson. With the world watching closely, Myanmar began a process of political, administrative and institutional transition from 30 January 2011. The 2011 Myanmar/Burma update conference considered the openings offered by these political changes and media reforms and the potential opportunities for international assistance. Obstacles covered include impediments to the rule of law, the continuation of human rights abuses, the impunity of the Army, and the failure to end ethnic insurgency.

Politics of Silence: Myanmar's NGOs’ Ethnic, Religious and Political Agenda by Lois Desaine. This IRASEC study of NGOs in Myanmar is based on primary sources mainly, contacts and interviews in 2010 and 2011. Part 1 explores religious and ethnic dimensions of Myanmar NGOs including the emergence of an active Myanmar civil society and the 2008 impact of cyclone Nargis. Part 2 looks at the power and legitimacy of NGOs and their activities at higher, central and local levels. After two case studies in Kachin State, perceptions of the NGOs in the ongoing period of political transition are discussed. Their permanent presence on the Myanmar scene is affirmed. Bibliography.

Informal Trade and Underground Economy in Myanmar: Costs and Benefits by Winston Set Aung. This ground-breaking IRASEC study presents carefully researched perspectives on the sensitive subject of Myanmar's informal/illegal cross border trade and other movements of goods and people between the five adjacent countries. Case studies and interviews and other surveys of many of the parties involved form the basis of the Myanmar-centric study which focuses on the trade and population movements themselves and on the associated costs and benefits. Most of the research was done in cross-border areas involving China and Thailand and the migrant flows mainly from Myanmar to Thailand. Case studies and recommendations for action are included. With graphics, tables, black-and-white photographs and bibliography.

History of Myanmar since Ancient Times: Traditions and Transformations by Michael Aung-Thwin and Maitrii Aung-Thwin. The Republic of the Union of Myanmar, known amongst English speakers as Burma, is often characterised as a place of repressive military rule, civil war, censorship and corrupt elections - and despite recent attempts to promote tourism to this little-known country, few people visit this region of Asia. In A History of Myanmar since Ancient Times, Michael Aung-Thwin and Maitrii Aung-Thwin take us from the sacred stupas of the plains of Bagan to the grand, colonial-era British mansions, revealing the storied past and rich culture of this country. The book traces the traditions and transformations of Myanmar over nearly three millennia, from the relics of its Neolithic civilisation to the protests of Buddhist monks in the early 20th century, the colonial era of British rule and the republic that followed. The authors also consider the present-day life, culture and society of the largest country in mainland Southeast Asia and examine the 2010 elections - its first in over 20 years. The most comprehensive history of Myanmar ever published in the English language, this book makes a significant contribution to our understanding of Southeast Asian history and will surprise, challenge and inform in equal measure.

Abhaya: Burma's Fearlessness by James Mackay. The struggle for reform and democracy in Burma (Myanmar) continues. The now released Aung San Suu Kyi introduces this gallery of 244 photo portraits of Burmese former political prisoners, now scattered throughout the world, who show their support of 244 still-incarcerated prisoners whose names are inscribed on the palms of their raised right hands. The photo gallery is being exhibited in New York and Washington until 2013 by the Open Society Institute.

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