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Planet Myanmar - Calendar 1996/1997
Britain Burma Society
Regular meetings are at: the Medical Society of London, 11 Chandos Street, LONDON W.1.
Admission is 4.00 per person.
Meetings are confined to members and their guests - and are subject to reporting restrictions.
1996
1997

Tue 6th February U Thant Myint-U:
"Why Burma Has No King"

U Thant Myint-U outlined the theme of his PhD thesis at Cambridge - which was that King Mindon, through his very success in doing away with Burma's outmoded structure in the last century, left the British with nothing to build on.

Thu 6th February John Okell
"Burma Revisited"*

Our Chairman, John Okell, used slides taken on his recent visit to Burma to judge the extent of changes in the past few years.

Tue 12th March 1996 Rev Peter Burtwell:
"Met Along the Way"

The Rev Peter Burtwell gave a heartwarming account of a journey to revisit his birthplace in Maymyo. He and his companions were enchanted with the warm welcome they received.

Tue 11th March 1997 Video from Yves Rodrigue: "Burma's Fantastic Supernatural World"*

Yves Rodrigue, a former French Ambassador to Burma, produced this fascinating study of Burmese nats. which was projected onto the big screen and given a real-time English commentary by Martin Morland - aided by Jenny.
Thu 25th April 1996
Thingyan Pwe
Water was ceremonially sprinkled; there was Burmese music, dancing and food, followed by a raffle and a disco. Attended by the Society's patron, HE the Myanmar Ambassador, plus some 250 other people. Organized by Deputy Chairman Dr Daw Tin May Aye.
Sunday 27th April 1997

Thingyan Pwe

Took place from 7 p.m. till midnight in the Kennedy Hall at Cecil Sharp House. Ceremonial water spraying was led by the Society's Patron, the Myanmar Ambassador, U Win Aung.
The programme included Burmese food and dancing, a raffle and a disco. See separate report.
Thu 9th May 1996 Pasquale Khoo Thwe &
Derek Brooke-Wavell:

"Dragon Necks in the Ascendant"

Burma's Padaungs are perhaps best known for the brass neck rings worn by some women - but their cultural life is rich and unique. Pasquale Khoo Thwe is himself a Padaung who recently graduated from Cambridge, and gave a poetic and yet totally credible account of his early memories. His talk was accompanied by slides from Derek Wavell, and a brief video account by Harriet O'Brien of her recent visit to some Padaung villages in Kayah State.
Thu 8th May 1997 Dr Roger Webber
"A New Approach to Malaria Control
in Shan State"*
Dr Webber, who is senior lecturer at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, has been investigating the prospects for malaria control in the Lashio area of Shan state, using mosquito netting impregnated with pyrethroids.
Health work in the area is complicated by drug running (and addiction), and the strong chemicals used in nearby gold mining.
The talk will be illustrated with colour transparencies.

Thu 12th June 1996 AGM followed by Sir Nicholas and Lady (Susan) Fenn: "Reflections on Four Years in India"

Sir Nicholas Fenn was already familiar as a former British Ambassador to Burma; since then he had achieved distinction as High Commissioner in India. The audience was enthralled by his witty and elegant account of his time there, with a detailed rundown on Indian politics. Lady Fenn presented some 80 luminous slides of India.
Wed 11th June 1997 AGM followed by
Maureen Baird-Murray
"A World Overturned"
To coincide with the appearance of her book in the shops - the author reflected on that long-ago world of Burma before and during the war.
See separate report - which also covers the inauguration of a new President for the Society.

Sun 8th September 1996
Thames River Cruise

Four hours cruising on the Thames in the ss Golden Salamander, chatting, eating and meeting old friends. This time Burmese food was on sale - at very reasonable prices - from U Bala Zeyya and Moira.

Monday 14th July 1997 Maureen Aung Thwin
"The Burma Project"

The Burma Project of the Open Society Institute is funded by millionaire idealist George Soros. Maureen, its Director, said that some $1.8m per year is spent on Burmese activities outside Burma - to establish ethnic identity, give information and education, and promote basic freedoms. She demonstrated some of the wealth of Burmese activity that can be found on the Internet.

Wed 2nd October 1996
The October Reception

Wine was served and new members were properly greeted. A unique collection of several hundred Burmese postcards, up to a century old, was displayed by Nicholas Greenwood.
There was also a display of books, papers and pamphlets on new economic and tourist development in "Golden Myanmar".
Thu 2nd October 1997
The October Reception (see report)


Marking, also, the 40th anniversary of the Britain Burma Society (founded on 15th October 1957).

Celebrations included Burmese food, a dance by Hnin Kay Thwe, recollections of the old days, and a full performae of the Britain Burma Society Song of Welcome - composed in 1961, and led by accomplished harpist U Ne Wa and many others.

Tue 5th November 1996 Dr Donald Stadtner

"The Royal Pagoda at Mingun"

Dr Stadtner used Burmese court records to put up a valiant case that King Bodawpaya did not abandon the vast pagoda at Mingun in mid
construction - it was meant to be like that: a new
architectural concept that was unfortunately
obliterated by earthquake soon afterwards.
Tue 4th November, 1997: Dr Thant Myint-U
"The Fate of the Burmese Royal Family' *
The last Burmese Royal house has 10,000 living descendants, said Dr Thant Myint-U - but that is quite a small number.He went on to place the royal family in the context of 19th Century Burma - a very different land from today, with hereditary classes and occupations. He traced through the story of the last few reigns - and of Thibaw and Supayalat after their exile to Ratanagiri in India, a very wet town where they tried to keep up a royal lifestyle on a limited income, and where both their daughters made marriages that they deemed unsuitable.
Fri 6th December 1996 Vanna Skelley
"The Archives of the Burmah Oil Company"
Vanna Skelley is archivist of the BOC (now Burmah Castrol plc), one of the world's oldest oil companies, and Burma was where it started. With the help of black and white slides she brought this little-known saga to life.
NB - This meeting also featured a short ceremony to thank Anna Allott for her 16 years as hon. secretary.
Wednesday 17th December, 1997 by Robert Lemkin

"Who REALLY Killed Aung San?"

Robert Lemkin, who produced the BBC2 TV programme of the above name in July, tells the story of the film and how it came to be made. There will be a discussion of evidence for and against the contention that U Saw was secretly abetted by dissident members of a former British administration.

NB - NOTE CHANGE OF DATE

* Members who missed this talk can get a digest of the content by sending SAE to the hon secretary Derek Brooke-Wavell at: 40, Kidmore Road, Caversham Heights, READING RG4 7LU, Berkshire, UK - or email D.Wavell@ntlworld.com DATES FOR 1998: 3 Feb, 10 March, 5 May, 11 June.