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Letters from Burma

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4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  1,070 Ratings  ·  84 Reviews
For the last decade of Burma's traumatic history, Aung San Suu Kyi - winner of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize - has been the inspirational leader of attempts to restore democracy to her country. In these fifty-two pieces, originally written for a Japanese newspaper and begun soon after her release from house arrest, she paints a vivid, poignant yet fundamentally optimistic pic ...more
Paperback, 209 pages
Published 1997 by Penguin Books (first published 1996)
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Sidharth Vardhan

"When bathing in the rain was no longer one of the great pleasures of my existence, I knew I had left my childhood behind me."


"From where does man's passion for recording people and events spring? Did cave dwellers paint hunting scenes to pass an idle hour or was it fulfilment of an unconscious need to immortalize their deeds for posterity? "

This is Amazing stuff. I didn't know she was already married and settled in UK before she came to Myanmar and joined the struggle against military regim,
...more
Aubrey
When I was a freshman in high school, I watched with my English classmates a movie called Beyond Rangoon, wherein white people think trying to have fun in 1988 Myanmar is a great idea to spend money on. Scanning through the Wiki page, I see "film may have had an impact beyond movie screens", "celebrated democracy leader thanked filmmakers", "helped raise world attention on a previously "invisible" tragedy", all alongside a movie poster of a floating Truth has a witness. and staring blue eyes. Al ...more
Hadrian
Jul 13, 2012 Hadrian rated it really liked it
A set of introductory essays on life in Burma. Serene detail of daily life, water festivals, Buddhist ceremonies, peacocks, military police assaulting innocent people. Life passes on. At the time of this writing, her life and work was a symbol, synonymous with the nascent Burmese peoples' hopes for democratization and the peace and security to do as they chose.

I am watching the almost surreal process of reform in Burma with interest. Ms. Suu Kyi holds a seat in the Burmese parliament. We'll see
...more
Frahorus
Dec 04, 2013 Frahorus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
La Birmania, oggi conosciuta con il nome di Myanmar - è soggetta a un regime spietato e autoritario. Aung San Suu Kyi, premio Nobel per la pace nel 1991, è stata la protagonista assoluta, il leader ideale del partito che ha tentato per lungo tempo di riportare la democrazia e i diritti civili nel paese. Questa donna tenace e coraggiosa ha subito, a causa delle sue idee, profonde umiliazioni, come l'arresto, la detenzione, l'allontanamento dalla famiglia, senza mai arrendersi alla violenza e alla ...more
Kaung Myat Han
‘Letters From Burma’ is a collection of beautifully written letters which touches all the topics related to Myanmar (Burma) ranging from daily activities of a Burmese such as tea-shop sitting, traditional festivals such as Thingyan(Water Festival/Burmese New Year) to serious topics like SLORC (the State Law and Order Restoration Council)’s abuses and frequent harassments on pro-democracy activists and NLD members (including a brief biography of the members of the NLD executive committee). These ...more
Margarita
Aug 02, 2012 Margarita rated it liked it
Aung San Suu Kyi's Letters From Burma is a great place to start if you're looking to be introduced to what life was like during her house arrest, the beauty of her country and it's people. A quick read, and a hard one. I loved the beautiful prose, there's gentleness in her writing and so much light depicted in friendliness, the peoples sense of humour and hospitality. I mostly enjoyed the letters about Burmese traditions, from how to take tea, the annual Water Festival and others like this but f ...more
Jasmine
May 14, 2012 Jasmine rated it really liked it
The letters that Aung San Suu Kyi wrote to a Japanese newspaper after her first period of house arrest are intelligent and charming and a great insight into many parts of Burmese culture. Covering topics from traditional seasonal and Buddhist festivals, to economics, the law and of course the political situation in Burma, it is a must read for anyone interested in the thoughts and ideas of a modern day heroine.
Sinead
Apr 01, 2015 Sinead rated it really liked it
It was really short and easy to read.
The pictures in my edition were amazing and went well with her letters. It was engaging and it gave me an insight of some things within Burma such as their culture and politics through the writings of an amazing political icon of Burma.
Sanam
Apr 21, 2017 Sanam rated it liked it
This makes for interesting ironic reading now that Aung San Suu Kyi is effectively head of state and the NLD is using the same censorship laws that prevented them from functioning under military rule. Suu Kyi tends to idealise and exoticise Burmese traditions as she presents them to her Western reader, and often shows herself as deeply privileged, especially when she talks about shopping for steak in Oxford, or the entire chapter on the Japanese tea ceremony lesson she had from an American teach ...more
Bruno Lucas
Jan 30, 2017 Bruno Lucas rated it it was amazing
The 52 letters written by Aung San Suu Kyi depict the never-dull life of the leader of an opposition movement in what she herself describes as a Fascist Disneyland. The accounts of political repression are harrowing: arbitrary emprisonments, no right to convene, kangaroo courts and the such. The letters on the relationship between children and their imprisoned parents (Young Birds Outside Cages) and the ones on her companions who died while in prison (Death in Custody 1, 2 and 3) are extremely m ...more
Maria Mefe
É una collezione di lettere, scritte tra il novembre 1995 e il dicembre 1996, che toccano vari argomenti riguardanti la Birmania: dalla religione alla spiritualità, dalle feste tradizionali agli usi e costumi, e infine alla politica e lo SLORC.

La Birmania è governata da un regime militare dal 1962, e nonostante la vittoria schiacciante ottenuta alle elezioni del 1990 dalla NLD (National League for Democracy), la situazione non è cambiata.

Dal punto di vista politico, questo è uno di quei tanti li
...more
Divya
Apr 17, 2014 Divya rated it really liked it
I picked up this book with high expectations as I was very interested into the real truth behind Burma's most famous political figure and her personal role in the struggle versus her public image. This book is funny, touching, wry and an intensely individual look into Aung San Suu Kyi's Burma - the past, present and visions of the future written in beautiful simple and direct letters. You definitely get the sense that she is directly talking to you and that she genuinely cares and feels rather t ...more
Biche
Mar 20, 2015 Biche rated it liked it
J'ai lu "Letters from Burma" dans le cadre de mes recherches de mon mémoire.
Même si il a pu me paraître parfois long et compliqué (lu en anglais, le vocabulaire utilisé n'est pas forcément évident), on en apprend définitivement d'avantage sur la vie d'Aung San Suu Kyi, mais surtout sur les problèmes rencontrés par son parti politique. Qu'est ce qu'être un défendant de la démocratie en Birmanie? Comment ont été traités les prisonniers politiques? Bien qu'ayant été écrit entre 1995 et 1996, ce liv
...more
Mike Han
Sep 13, 2011 Mike Han rated it really liked it
A series of letters from Daw Aung San Su Kyi during the brief gap of 20 plus years long house arrest during the 90s to be published in a certain newspaper. (She might have mentioned the name in the book, but I couldn't remember)

Unlike her other book Freedom from Fear, this book is filled with many poignant stories about her daily life, lovely stories of cultural events and political events centered around her life as a political dissident. I love many of her delicate metaphors. The tremendous me
...more
HY
Mar 19, 2017 HY rated it liked it
Long road towards freedom...
John
Oct 03, 2016 John rated it liked it
52 short pieces -- columns Aung San Suu Kyi wrote for a Japanese newspaper -- that give a good sense of both everyday life in Myanmar and the political struggle of he party , the NLD, under military rule. Still a good introduction to both topics, even 20 years (and a democratic election) later, although superficial in the way one would expect a series of newspaper columns to be.
Ashley Boggs
Mar 01, 2017 Ashley Boggs rated it really liked it
Read while traveling through Myanmar (Burma). :)
Surya
Oct 02, 2014 Surya rated it really liked it
"Letters From Burma" struck me as an informal treatise to political life in Burma, unassailable in it's credentials due it's author's obvious and deep involvement in the Myanmar political struggle for democracy, and at the same time informal because of the frequent and often profoundly accurate peeps it affords readers of normal, everyday life in Myanmar. The best way to make political struggles understandable, and thus bring the reader to a place of empathy, is to make the impact of invisible p ...more
Anna
Feb 21, 2017 Anna rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent book. If you want to understand the nld and a little of burmese history and culture this book is perfect. It is a set of 52 letters written by daw aung San suu kyi between 1995 and 1996. Reflective, informative, witty, and well written.
Kimyan So
Feb 22, 2017 Kimyan So rated it it was amazing
Special woman like her father General Aung San. I like her books.
Patrick
Dec 22, 2015 Patrick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, politics
Letters from Burma is a charming look at the beauty of Burma and the struggles for democracy in the wake of the ignored election results of 1990. Burmese politics have obviously moved on since then (and lately for the better), but it's a revealing insight into the times from the woman at the center of the maelstrom. Told as a series of short letters (in a later era, they would have been blog posts), the book starts out with vignettes describing Burmese customs and daily life. They are quite evoc ...more
Robyn
Jan 08, 2017 Robyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Aung San Suu Kyi is more than just a Burmese politician and diplomat. She is a symbol of unfaltering loyalty to her people, a symbol of courage and faith and an advocate of non violence towards resolution.

She has faced a life of hardship with persistent harassment and abuse from the Burmese authorities, and put under 'house arrest for almost 15 of the 21 years (1989-2010), becoming one of the world's most prominent political prisoners.' (Wikipedia)

Aung San is one of my heroes and she continues
...more
Laura
Dec 02, 2016 Laura rated it really liked it
fascinating glimpse into life under Burma's military rule during one year, both as a member of the opposition, hampered at all turns by the ruling government, but also the impacts of corruption and inflation, and state control, on everyday life.

suu Kyi is one of the iconic political figures of our time, in the fight for democracy. it's inspiring to read how much she is able to give Burma in pursuit of that goal, every day, with apparent unwavering strength and belief. it's also incredible how c
...more
Koby
Nov 07, 2015 Koby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not exactly the most riveting material I've ever read, but that's not the important thing here. This collection of letters was definitely educational in more ways than one: one facet explained a political situation which has confused me for a long time, but probably the more important information was Aung San Suu Kyi's exemplification of a leader. If she truly lives as she describes in the book (and I have no reason to disbelieve her), then she's a model of the kind of politician and citizen I h ...more
Wsclai
Jun 16, 2012 Wsclai rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As Fergal Keane wrote, "this is a book to be savoured and cherished. It is of course extremely well-written, but more than that, it offers us a privileged encounter with one of the most remarkable leaders of the world".

Aung San Suu Kyi has always drawn my admiration and the book gives me an opportunity to get to know her inner thoughts and political views. I especially like articles which evolve from her everyday life and end with critiquing the regime. I am extrememly impressed by her Buddhist
...more
Sze Wei
Aug 13, 2012 Sze Wei rated it really liked it
Letters From Burma is a collection of beautiful, poetic yet simple orchestrated insights of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. The mainstream media has elevated Daw ASSK on a pedestal while these handwritten letters provide us with her personal and daily thoughts- bridging the gap between her pedestal-ised politician image and her compassionate, earthly human ways.
I am very impressed by her love for Burma and her faith in the Buddhist teachings.
Being a Buddhist myself, I have been inspired by Daw to apply a
...more
Andrew
Feb 25, 2013 Andrew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks
i really enjoyed this book and found it exceptionally insightful into a life lived in direct opposition to the established government and also life lived under and non-democratic government, both lives focused on the fight to gain democracy. what struck me the most was when she spoke about fairly commonplace events that took place in her own and others' lives. things that happened seemed normal to them, sometimes laughable. in contrast to this, when she speaks about her work with her party, one ...more
Bobby
Aug 23, 2016 Bobby rated it it was amazing
This book was a perfect companion to a week in Myanmar. Though it's 20 years old It helped to give me a clearer picture of so many whys of the country. It's a beautifully well rounded series of articles that suu Kyi wrote for a newspaper, making each piece very concise and to the point. I enjoyed not only her breakdown of the government scare tactics and the sufferings of the jailed members of her party, but her writings about the autumn, Burmese fashion, festival culture, and visits to holy mon ...more
Kayleigh
May 15, 2015 Kayleigh rated it really liked it
An interesting look into the daily life of a political leader and a situation that I knew little about. The politics of the region and the letter writer's life melded interestingly. I did wonder what changes must have been made in translating from the original Japanese, but it was only a point of curiosity for me - nothing that distracted from the content of the book. I also enjoyed learning about different Burmese holidays, foods, and the culture in general. I do wish that I had had more backgr ...more
Michael Andersen-Andrade
Oct 13, 2016 Michael Andersen-Andrade rated it really liked it
"Letters from Burma" is a charming and poignant book that chronicles a year in the life of Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar's Nobel Prize winning champion for democracy. She weaves delightful stories of Myanmar's beautiful cultural traditions with the brutality of its despotic military regime. Written during the mid 9o's, it highlights the struggle to restore democracy against a brutal, cruel and greedy dictatorship. I bought this book while traveling in Myanmar and it will have a treasured spot in my ...more
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Myanmar opposition leader, daughter of Aung San (a martyred national hero of independent Burma) and Khin Kyi (a prominent Burmese diplomat), and winner in 1991 of the Nobel Prize for Peace.

Aung San Suu Kyi was two years old when her father, then the de facto prime minister of what would shortly become independent Burma, was assassinated. She attended schools in Burma until 1960, when her mother wa
...more
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“To view the opposition as dangerous is to misunderstand the basic concepts of democracy. To oppress the opposition is to assault the very foundation of democracy.” 86 likes
“There is a special charm to journeys undertaken before daybreak in hot lands: the air is soft and cool and the coming of dawn reveals a landscape fresh from the night dew.” 23 likes
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