Pathways That Changed Myanmar

A review by T. F. Rhoden of Pathways That Changed Myanmar by Matthew Mullen.

Why has the regime of Myanmar (Burma) only recently moved away from military authoritarianism toward a civilian government with democratic processes? Political scholars of Myanmar, and comparative democratization more generally, have sought to answer this question to varying degrees of success. Some works in this vein include Marco Bünte (2013), Nick Cheesman, Nicolas Farrelly, and Trevor Wilson (2014), Lee Jones (2014), Nehginpao Kipgen (2016), and David Steinberg (2014) – with Renaud Egreteau’s (2016) argument of the ‘caretaking’ and ‘pacted’ nature of the military’s ‘top-down’ approach to reform being one of the more notable dissections to date.

Pathways that Changed Myanmar by Matthew Mullen is an interesting addition to this landscape of recent works on Myanmar’s transition. In many ways, this publication is able to explore and provide invaluable data on dimensions of regime transition that these other accounts have generally glossed over in their analyses. In other ways, however, Mullen’s explanation for change seems to tackle more than is necessary and is, in general, not a very focused work – one that is theoretically a mess of ideas without any stable or coherent direction.

Mullen posits the main question of the book in the following fashion… [click here to continue to read full text]

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*Review of Pathways that Changed Myanmar by Matthew Mullen originally published in NewBooks.Asia by T. F. Rhoden; photo image credit of Khin Shwe, chairman of Zaykabar Company, at the top of this re-post goes to Soe Zeya Tun of Reuters, found in the article “In Myanmar on Cusp of Change, Former Junta ‘Crony’ Sees Business As Usual” by Hnin Yadana Zaw and Antoni Slodkowski. Why use this image at the top of this review? Because it explains more about the changing dynamic of Myanmar’s “transition” than any wishful thinking by us milksop academics (in which I include myself). Unless otherwise stated, all posts on this website are under Creative Commons licence. 

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Texaners: Eight Short Stories

A new book for all of you bored with the normal Texas stereotype!

Texaners: Eight Short Stories can be purchased through normal book distributors, including Amazon.

Description

None of us wishes to abandon stereotypes if we don’t have to. Their utility is unquestionable. Yet, this anthology cares little about all of that. Occasionally, the sensation of sheepishness often associated with a change in one’s understanding of a place or a time is well worth the trial in self-reflection. This is, of course, occasionally. The Irish apostate James Joyce succeeded in secularizing the term “epiphany” for literature.

The book in your hands now, entitled Texaners, borrows unabashedly from Joyce’s insight. Texaners is, naturally, inspired by Joyce’s Dubliners. Impish errors aside, why else bother really? Earlier versions of some of these stories have appeared in literary magazines. “Oils” appeared in The Monarch Review and Status Hat. “The Gulf” appeared in Foliate Oak Literary Journal. “Drywall” appeared in Microstory a Week. “Airfare” appeared in Weirdyear. “Rooftop” appeared in Black Heart Magazine. The stories “Chinese Spoons”, “The Bat Mitzvah”, and “W Martin Luther King Jr Blvd” are new to this collection.

Paperback: 120 pages
Publisher: Etoile Solitaire Press (2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0692512748
ISBN-13: 978-0692512746
Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.3 x 7.8 inches
Shipping Weight: 6.6 ounces

TEXANERS, rhoden (front cover only)

TEXANERS, rhoden (back cover only)

*Original paperback and ebook copyright held by T. F. Rhoden. Unless otherwise stated, all posts on this website are under Creative Commons licence. 

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Yangon and Shwedagon Pagoda

Newest guidebook by T. F. Rhoden!

The newest travel guidebook from Other Places Publishing is called Yangon and Shwedagon Pagoda. Guidebook is available on Kindle and in paperback from all major book distributors, including the publisher, and on Amazon.

Description

Myanmar is turning a new page and Yangon is at the center of a vibrant cultural, political and economic renaissance. This publication, the first travel guide in over half a century to focus only on Myanmar’s most famous city, explores this transforming city from a local’s perspective with firsthand, on-the-ground research that highlights the city’s best sites, restaurants and eateries while providing all the context and insight a traveler needs to fully appreciate the local culture. Written by people who love to travel, let us be your guide to this amazing town, and reveal the most unique and memorable experiences that Yangon has to offer.

– Unique insight into Yangon’s history, people and culture, plus need-to-know information on preparing for travel and what to expect when visiting Yangon.

– Reviews and personal recommendations for 102 sites, 111 nightlife venues, 164 accommodations (from budget guesthouses to luxury hotels), and 343 eateries.

– A chapter dedicated solely to Shwedagon Pagoda, including a full write-up of the major halls and stupas found in and around the temple complex.

– Detailed maps, sprawled over 35 pages, cover nine unique areas of Yangon.

Paperback: 310 pages
Publisher: Other Places Publishing (2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1935850164
ISBN-13: 978-1935850168
Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
Shipping Weight: 15 ounces

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*Original copyright for book is held by T. F. Rhoden; photo credit for image of this post as well as cover of this book publication goes to Daw Yi Yi Win. Unless otherwise stated, all posts on this website are under Creative Commons licence. 

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A Teacher’s Letters from the Thai-Burma Border

Thomas Rhoden has published a book of letters called Burmese Refugees: Letters from the Thai-Burma Border.

The American teacher spent a year in refugee camps in the Mae Sot area in one of ten camps dotted along the border. Thomas decided to give his students an assignment one afternoon but he was not prepared for what came back.

The result is a collection of stories that captures the lives of the refugees living on that border, where some 150,000 Burmese asylum seekers are waiting for a new home. Thomas says refugees there are closely monitoring news about Australia’s government’s refugee policies.

Presenter: Adelaine Ng

Speaker: Thomas Rhoden, editor of Burmese Refugees: Letters from the Thai-Burma Border.

*Original talk can be found on Radio Australia; photo credit via Virgina W. Mason, Maruesrite B. Hunsiker, and Maggie Smith at National Geographic Magazine. Unless otherwise stated, all posts on this website are under Creative Commons licence. 

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Burmese Refugees: Letters from the Thai-Burma Border

New publication by Rhoden brothers!

DL Press presents the edited collection Burmese Refugees: Letters from the Thai-Burma Border. Book is available on Kindle, from normal book distributors, and online at Amazon.

Description

The misrule of the Burmese military junta continues to be the main catalyst of refugees in Southeast Asia today. In this collection of letters, learn about the true stories of people who have fled from that regime. All of the accounts are written by the refugees themselves and explain how they became asylum seekers, what life is like in the camps, and what they envision for their future. These stories document persons from the 8888 generation, the 2007 Saffron Revolution, and various ethnic struggles. This book contains the narratives of thirty diverse individuals – all of them united by the simple desire to have a more representative government in their homeland.

Paperback: 112 pages
Publisher: Digital Lycanthrope Press (2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0615471072
ISBN-13: 978-0615471075
Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.3 x 8 inches
Shipping Weight: 6.2 ounces

BR Letters

*Original copyright for book and ebook held by T. F. Rhoden and T. L. S. Rhoden; cover design by Inga Böhm and cover photos by Khin Maung Kyaw; photo credit for image post goes to Current Issues in Refugee Education.Unless otherwise stated, all posts on this website are under Creative Commons licence. 

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Making Out in Burmese

Zaniest book on Burmese language ever!

New language phrasebook by T. F. Rhoden entitled Making Out in Burmese, published by Tuttle Publishing. Find a traditional book stores and online at Amazon.

Description

Making Out in Burmese is a fun, accessible and thorough Burmese phrase book and guide to the Burmese language as it’s really spoken.

Nihn yeh myiht lohn goh jait deh. Beh daw teht-dway ja oo me-lah?—(You have beautiful eyes. When can I see you again?) Answer this correctly in Burmese and you may be going on a hot date. Incorrectly, and you could be hurting someone’s feelings or getting a slap! Burmese classes and textbooks tend to spend a lot of time rehearsing for the same fictitious scenarios but chances are while in Myanmar (Burma) you will spend a lot more time trying to make new friends or start new romances—something you may not be prepared for.

If you are a student, businessman or tourist traveling to Myanmar and would like to have an authentic and meaningful experience, the key is being able to speak like a local. This friendly and easy-to-use Burmese phrasebook makes this possible. Making Out in Burmese has been carefully designed to act as a guide to modern colloquial Burmese for use in everyday informal interactions—giving access to the sort of catchy Burmese expressions that aren’t covered in traditional language materials. As well as the Romanized, each expression is now given in authentic Burmese script (myanma bhasa), so that in the case of difficulties the book can be shown to the person the user is trying to communicate with.

This Burmese phrasebook includes:

– A guide to pronouncing Burmese words correctly.
– Explanations of basic Burmese grammar.
– Romanized forms of words and phrases.
– Complete Burmese translations including Burmese script (myanma bhasa).
– Useful and interesting notes on the Burmese language and culture.
– Lots of colorful, fun and useful expressions not covered in other phrasebooks.

Titles in this unique series of bestselling phrase books include: Making Out in Chinese, Making Out in Indonesian, Making Out in Thai, Making Out in Korean, Making Out in Hindi, Making Out in Japanese, Making Out in Vietnamese, Making Out in Burmese, Making Out in Tagalog, Making Out in Hindi, Making Out in Arabic, Making Out in English, More Making Out in Korean, and More Making Out in Japanese.

Series: Making Out Books
Paperback: 96 pages
Publisher: Tuttle Publishing; Bilingual edition (2011)
Language: English, Burmese
ISBN-10: 080484173X
ISBN-13: 978-0804841733
Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.3 x 7.5 inches
Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces

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*Original copyright for book is held by T. F. Rhoden; photo credit for image of this post via Jessica Mudditt. Unless otherwise stated, all posts on this website are under Creative Commons licence. 

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Behind the Barbwire

Adventure in Thai-Burma Refugee Camp Inspire Book.

I heard the good news only days before our class graduation: There was an opportunity for me to return to Southeast Asia and work with refugee populations along the Thai-Burma border. This was in spring 2009; when the financial recession was at its nastiest and consequently not the best time to be a newly minted MBA looking for work.

I recall there being more than a few lackadaisical Thunderbirds at the graduation reception party that evening. That night I had felt myself lucky to have had found a gig that synced perfectly with my experiences before Thunderbird.

Living in a remote refugee camp does not normally register on an MBA’s list of optimal places to work after graduation. If not for a slightly bizarre desire on my own part to keep chasing one adventure after the next, I too might have found myself fi led away into a more traditional post-MBA existence.

Surprisingly, I found our MBA tool chest of skills to be extremely useful when I arrived in the refugee camp. After learning about the… [click here to continue to read full text]

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*Originally published on page 70 of Thunderbird Magazine by T. F. Rhoden (Spring 2011); photo credit for image in this re-post goes to Khin Maung Kyaw. Unless otherwise stated, all posts on this website are under Creative Commons licence. 

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