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Planet Myanmar - Calendar 2003/2004
REFERENCE! Comprehensive Calendar of Myanmar Nat and Pagoda Festivals for the Year 2004.
Britain-Myanmar Society
Regular meetings are at: the Medical Society of London, 11 Chandos Street, LONDON W.1.
Admission is £5.00 per person.
Meetings are confined to members and their guests - and are subject to reporting restrictions.
NB - Click HERE for some non-Society coming events in the UK.
Members can click on grey buttons, for a Flierlier, a  Summaryummary on some events.
2003 2004
Monday, 3rd February 2003
Myanmar 1999 - 2002 Flier for membersSummary for members
by Victoria Billing
Victoria has just completed a tour of duty as Second Secretary in the British embassy in Yangon. She gave a general survey of the situation in Myanmar, and showed photographs of the many parts of it that she has visited.
Thursday, 5th February 2004
John and Anna Eat Pizza in Yangon Flier for members
by Anna Allott and the Okells

Some things about Myanmar never change, and others are constantly in flux, to the discerning visitor.

Today John Okell and Anna Allott, who are two of our most popular speakers as well as some of the most knowledgeable and discerning students of Myanmar,will bring us up to date on the Myanmar scene. Both have just returned from Myanmar and Mrs Okell will also be contributing her impressions of the country.

Tuesday 11th March 2003
Pre-Colonial Myanmar Boats Flier for members
by Dr Michael Charney
Mike Charney is Lecturer in South-East Asian History at SOAS but Myanmar boats are his fascination. They have taken him upriver on the Kaladan and Ayeyarwady; he has admired them on temple walls in Bagan, Mrauk-U and Pegu, and dug them out from palm-leaf manuscripts, in archives and libraries in Myanmar, India, Europe and North America.

Mike Charney showed us photographs of temple murals, river navigation and old Burmese drawings to give us a feel for life afloat in precolonial days.

Tuesday 9th March 2004
  Son of Donnison Flier for membersSummary for members
by Professor David Donnison

Our speaker is the son of Vernon Donnison, who as Chief Secretary presided over some of that unsettled time after World War Two. The period between the 1920s and Independence in 1948 was a period in which the relationship between the British and the Myanmar people was transformed, in a multitude of ways, and the Donnison family was in the thick of it. David Donnison puts together his parents' stories from his own memories and their diaries.

Thursday 8th May 2003
  ELEPHANTS Flier for membersSummary for members
by Daw Khyne U Mar, BVS, MPhil, MSc

We are fortunate to hear from one of the world's greatest experts on elephants: Daw Khyne U Mar, who until 1999 was head of the Veterinary Division in Myanmar's Ministry of Forestry, which meant she had in her care 2700 Government-employed elephants, and kept up a stud book of all Government-owned working elephants employed for the last 50 years. More recently, many other countries of Asia have been seeking her advice on the proper care and management of elephants, as the old knowledge dwindles and new problems arise. She gives a PowerPoint lecture on elephants she has known, using a data projector onto the big screen.
Tuesday 4th May 2004
A Carriage Fit for a King Flier for members

In the early years of the 19th Century, the traditional magnificence of Myanmar's gold-covered Imperial State Carriage made a tremendous appeal in Britain, a land where grand royal carriages are the centre of much ceremony. The carriage had been captured in Tawei, during the First Anglo-Myanmar War, and was brought back to London by Captain Frederick Marryat, who had commanded the British naval forces. Marryat was a man of many parts, and managed to bring a remarkable variety of Burmese treasures with him. The Rath, or Myanmar carriage, was later to be imitated by an enterprising circus proprietor, who paraded it through the centre of London pulled by elephants.
Ralph Isaacs is passionate about Burmese art treaures, and few could bring them to life more vividly than he. He tells the story with the help of a wealth of contemporary pictures.

Wednesday 18th June 2003
Family Routes Flier for membersSummary for members
by Wendy Law-Yone
One of the best-known Myanmar novelists outside Myanmar will read from her latest book and talk about how she came to write it.

Wendy Law-Yone grew up in U Nu's Myanmar - her father was EM Law-Yone, the founder and publisher of the Yangon Nation. Her life has been a varied one - she fell in love successively with German, Russian and French literature, and got herself a degree in Comparative Literature from Eckerd College in Florida. She published two novels in the USA: The Coffin Tree and Irrawaddy Tango. The book she has now been writing is about the "Burma Road", and her researches into the lives of her two grandfathers, one a Yunnanese merchant, the other a British colonial officer.

Wednesday 9th June 2004

Briefing on Ethnic Politics
by Ashley South

Although the Britain-Myanmar Society is not politically active, we bring ourselves up to date from time to time with the current scene in Burma, which is especially interesting at the moment as ideas for democracy in Burma are in the air, and a National Convention is due soon. We know from Iraq that establishing democracy is not a simple or trouble-free business. Ashley South, our speaker, has visited Myanmar some 70 times; he has written a book on the Mons and has a Karen wife. His preoccupation is the society and politics of ethnic nationalities, and how they relate to the centre.
(Please note that the meeting is open only to members and their guests).

Wednesday 1st October 2003
The October Reception Flier for members
A chance to meet up over a glass of wine at the beginning of the Society's year.
Although as usual there was no formal speech, Anna Allott gave a little presentation about a number of self-help projects that are now going on in Burma, run by monasteries or other philanthropic institutions.

Thursday 7th October 2004
The October Reception Our Council cordiality invite Britain-Myanmar Society members new and old to share a joyous glass of wine at the start of our new season.

Thursday, 6th November 2003
First Impressions of a Third Secretary Flier for membersSummary for members
by Martin Morland CMG
Martin Morland's talk concentrated mostly on his first posting to Myanmar, at the end of the 1950s, though he did also make some camparisons with his second posting, as British Ambassador to Myanmar, in 1986-90.

U Nu was Prime Minister when Martin Morland arrived, an unknown young diplomat learning the Myanmar language and fascinated with this unique country. U Nu was soon succeeded by General Ne Win. Martin had two 3-month periods in Mandalay, and travelled widely in Shan and Kachin States. And in Yangon too, as junior Secretary he had scope for a rich and varied social life, with a number of international visitors and even a white elephant.

Thursday, 11th November 2004
Myanmar Antiques Road Show


Members are invited to bring their best Myanmar lacquerware, silver, fabrics, and Buddha images with inscriptions, to hear the wisdom of a panel of experts.

There will public examination of a limited number of items "on the platform" and on a large screen via CCTV, plus private consultations on a lot more.

Thursday 11th December 2003
Second Chance in Mandalay Flier for membersSummary for members
by Diana Millington

Up to the age of 16 she knew nothing about her real father, or the childhood she nearly had in Myanmar, her birth on the run from Japanaese soldiers, or even her grandfather who had first come to Myanmar in 1904.

It was only when her husband, Graham Millington, was posted to head the British Council in Myanmar, in the year 2000, that she was able to follow up some of this history - and to make her own contribution. She was invited to teach English at Paung Daw Oo monastery school near Mandalay. And, discovering how few books the students had at their disposal, she was inspired to build a library as a donation. She tells her story in pictures, via data projector on the big screen.

Tuesday 14th December 2004
Médecins sans Frontières in Yangon Flier for members
by Dr Muriel Vollpellier

From November 2002 to September 2003, Muriel Volpellier was in Yangon heading Myanmar's first anti-retroviral programme for HIV patients.

Myanmar is one of Asia's countries most at risk from AIDS, with infection rates as high as 20% in some places.

Anti-retrovirals are the best drugs against AIDS, and allow the patient to live a normal life - but only if they are taken lifelong with absolute regularity. That was a difficult condition to ensure among patients in the poor area of Yangon where Muriel worked. Her clients included male and female sex workers and drug addicts. Muriel herself, being the only European doctor to visit the clinic regularly, was the centre of much interest, so she had a lot of children running after her and peeping through the windows!

(Please note that all meetings are open only to members and their guests).

2002-2003 Calendar.