Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Memories of Burma

Burma was one of the countries I visited in 1996. Burma and Japan have long historical relation. There were people who went to Burma escaping from the days of war in 15th and 16th centuries and stayed there became Burmans.

After World War II, Japanese soldiers who could not escape were protected and hidden by Burmans did not become POW. Most of them stayed there and became Burmans. There is a story of a soldier who became a Burman. "Burmese Harp" is the title of the story. I remember it became a movie, too. His friend soldier went back to Burma and found him in a crowd. His friend shout to him "Hey, Mizushima, let's go back to Japan." Mizushima did not answer and disappeared into crowd.

Image of Pagoda at night, (Thailand)
Photo by (c)Tomo.Yun, http://www.yunphoto.net
It was October 1996, Japanese Business Group formed business feasibility study team and my company let me participate in it. I flew from India to join the group who flew directly from Japan. I needed to spend 6 hours waiting in Bangkok Airport to catch the flight.

I arrived in Rangoon (Yangon) one day earlier than other team member and spent afternoon there. I saw a Pagoda close to my hotel. I walked there. I started to climb the Pagoda. In the entrance, there were 5-6 years old girl and her mother stood. This young girl asked me something in Burman language. She was pointing to my feet. I thought she was asking to take off my shoes. So I did. She was asking to take off my socks, too. I was afraid to bare footed to keep climbing, so I gave up. But, I was impressed how deep Burman people respect Pagoda.

Later in the evening, there was a black out of electricity. My hotel room was darkened, too. But there was bright object right outside of my hotel room. It was Pagoda which was lighted even during the black out. It looked like there are self generating facility in Pagoda to keep being lighten up.

Next morning I asked hotel staff if the Pagoda has electrical equipment, she said yes. I asked why other buildings were blacked out and Pagoda must be kept lightened. She answered "Sir, it will be sad if the Pagoda will be darkened because of black-out."

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Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Shaw .. thanks for telling us a little about Burma ..

It's the time now when we should be understanding different cultures and respect them .. we are so selfish in our outlooks.

Thanks again .. & I'm pleased you took your shoes & socks off .. & for telling us about the permanently lit Pagoda ..

Go well .. Hilary: Be Positive Be Happy

Shaw said...

Hello Hilary, Thank you for your comment. I was surprised when I was told (?) to take off shoes and socks. But, it was nice to learn this young girl respect their culture. We should also respect other cultures as well as you say.

Thanks again.