By Thant Myint-U
From their very beginnings, China and India were walled off from one another: by means of the towering summits of the Himalayas, by way of an enormous and impenetrable jungle, by way of adversarial tribes and distant inland kingdoms stretching one thousand miles from Calcutta throughout Burma to the higher Yangsi river.
In the following couple of years this final nice frontier will vanish—the forests lessen, airborne dirt and dust roads changed through superhighways, insurgencies beaten, leaving China and India uncovered to one another as by no means prior to. This simple shift in geography—as unexpected and profound because the establishing of the Panama Canal—will result in exceptional connections one of the 3 billion humans of South Asia and the a long way East.
What will this modification mean—not only for trade, yet for heritage, for politics, for tradition? Thant Myint-U is in a special place to understand. An American of Burmese descent, for years he has traveled frequently within the Asian no-man’s land that has Burma at its center. He has heard a lot of its 1000s of languages and dialects, encountered its mixture of Buddhists, Hindus, Christians, and Muslims, and ruefully appeared on as high-speed trains and glowing buying department shops encroach at the final closing forests and impoverished mountain groups. And he has reflected the recent strategic centrality of Burma, the place, with large oil reserves newly discovered offshore, China and Asia will grapple for dominance.
Part travelogue, half heritage, half research, Where China Meets India takes us around the fast-changing Asian frontier, giving us a masterful account of the region's lengthy and wealthy heritage and its unexpected importance for the remainder of the area.
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Additional resources for Where China Meets India: Burma and the New Crossroads of Asia
She’s returned for a social visit and confides, ‘You know, when I was living in Yangon, I actually knew a woman who pulled that off. ’ ‘Forget about bananas,’ says Carsten, a young German traveller house-sitting a luxurious mansion in the nearby suburb of LAND OF A THOUSAND EYES 37 Bahan. ‘I’ve got peacock problems. Two peacocks flew into my garden from the monastery behind the house. My gardener ate both of them, and now the monks are after me. ’ The conversation lazily drifts around the table until it is time for Rhonette to leave.
When I see the streets of Yangon through her eyes, it is as if I am wandering through a slightly dotty auntie’s version of a magical kingdom. Lasheeda knows every nook and cranny, and she knows where anything can be found. I show her a particular type of electric plug and she steers me this way and that way, further and further into the maze of downtown Yangon until I am sure she is leading me a merry dance. But then she stops, points, and 34 PETER OLSZEWSKI there on the footpath is a little old lady sitting behind a plastic sheet containing small mounds of electronic esoterica and salvage, including a neat little pile of the exact plugs I’ve been seeking.
Military Intelligence interceded, instructing Dunkley to give his column a rest. A long rest, because it never reappeared. Radio Free Asia, beamed into Myanmar from Washington, is one of the Times’ most fervent attackers; it broadcasts the opinion that Dunkley should be granted the national literary award, because his writings bolster the military government’s policy. The network calls him Lorr Dunpli or Mr Traitorous Flattering—in Myanmar lorr means traitorous or sly and pli means flattery. The many vociferous opponents of the Times claim Dunkley is merely an apologist for the military, and his paper is a pathetic attempt to present an acceptable face for the regime.