Lost Footsteps
Lost Footsteps

Contemporary Myanmar and the World (1962-2018)


Time to gamble. Somewhere in the Shan states, 1970.


After staying up all night: a pwè at sunrise c.1970.


Burmese ladies on their way to the Mandalay bazaar, January 1907

19th Century
International Tiger Day

A hundred years ago there were tens of thousands of tigers across Asia, from the Black Sea to the Pacific and from Siberia to the Indian Ocean. Today there are only a few thousand left in every shrinking enclaves. Myanmar is one of 13 countries where tigers still live. In the 19th century tigers lived in the outskirts of Rangoon, including "Tiger Alley" (now U Wisara Road). In 1903 British soldiers shot a tigeress who had wandered onto the Shwedagon...


Rangoon 1978(credit: Polyrus)

20th
Important figures from Myanmar history who studied at Cambridge

No university outside of Myanmar (and probably no university in the world other than Rangoon University) has been as important to Myanmar history as Cambridge. Important figures from Myanmar history who studied at Cambridge include: President Dr Ba U, Prime Minister and later Adhipati Dr Ba Maw, KNU President Saw Ba U Gyi, Foreign Minister Sao Hkun Hkio, Justice U Chan Htoon, Justice U Myint Thein, Justice U Kyaw Myint, historian and Rangoon University Rector Dr Htin Aung, ICS U...

1920s
Pablo Neruda’s Burmese experience

What many in Myanmar do not know is that Pablo Neruda lived in Rangoon in the late 1920s, as a (somewhat poor and unhappy) "Honorary Consul" of Chile. During his time here he had a torrid love affair with a Burmese woman (who used the English name "Josie Bliss"). When she became overly possessive and slightly mad, he secretly left for Ceylon, only to find her one day camped out on his front lawn in Colombo with a bag of...

December 1953
Vice President Richard Nixon confronting a very witty Burmese communist

In December 1953, Vice President Richard Nixon confronts a very witty Burmese communist outside Pegu. The sign reads: Pax Vobiscum 
Scant regard for homo sapiens of the East
Begets doubts about your move for peace. 
Rest assured, however, of one important fact
That we shan't fight like Kilkenny cats
To ensure for ravenous wolves of Wall Street
 An easy lie and wealthy retreat.

8 July 1962
The 8 July 1962 New York Times’ headline

The 8 July 1962 New York Times ran this headline: "15 DEAD IN BURMA IN STUDENTS' RIOT; 27 Wounded by Army After Curfew Protest Campus Building Is Blown Up". Photo courtesy of Mizzima.

1 March 1962
Dalhousie Street the day before military rule: 1 March 1962.

(Photo credit: W Robert Moore, National Geographic)

2 March 1962
The day democracy died.

2 March 1962 beginning at 2am units of the Burma Army seized control of the Secretariat, the Windermere Estate, the guest house at Halpin Road, and other important government sites. President Mahn Win Maung, Prime Minister U Nu, all members of the cabinet and many other senior political figures including leading Shan sawbwas were arrested over the day. Sao Myee Myee, the 17 year old son of the first President Sao Shwe Thaike was killed before dawn during the takeover...

2 March 1962
Front page of "The Guardian" published on 2 March 1962 (Photo credit: Renaud Egreteau @R_Egretau)

1963
Burmese names in the novel “Rayuela” by Julio Cortazar

In the 1963 novel "Rayuela" by the great Argentine writer Julio Cortazar, the main character comes across a a list of words that have no meaning, and so seem magical. This was the list of strange and fantastic words:

  • U Nu,
  • U Tin,
  • Mya Bu,
  • Thado Thiri Thudama U E Maung,
  • Sithu U Cho,
  • Wunna Kyaw Htin U Khin Zaw,
  • Wunna Kyaw Htin U Thein Han,
  • Wunna Kyaw Htin U Myo Min,
  • Thiri Pyanchi U Thant,
  • Thado Maha Thray...

1963
Pegu 1963

1964
One of our great gentlemen-scholars: Bohmu Ba Shin

A photograph from the time of our great gentlemen-scholars: (from left) Bohmu Ba Shin, U Bo Kay, Saya Min Thu Wun, and Gordon Luce (expelled in 1964, aged 75, after a life time of contributions to this country's teaching and research, together with his wife Daw Tee Tee Luce, a tireless worker for disadvantaged children and sister of U Pe Maung Tin).

1964
Rangoon 1964. A good city for walking. (photo credit Robert Garfias)

1964
Rangoon Chinatown 1964

(photo credit: UC Irvine)

1966
Rangoon 1966 (Dalhousie Street, now Maha Bandoola Road) (credit: John Guest)

May 1967
Brigadier Tin Pe at the Burma Pavilion at Expo '67 in Montreal

To the right of the image is Brigadier Tin Pe and to the left is Yi Yi Chit Maung and Mrs Robert Shaw, the official hostess of the World's Fair. Expo '67 (or more properly the 1967 "International and Universal Exposition") was one of the most successful of all the many World's Fairs of the 20th century, with over 50 million people visiting and 62 nations, including Burma, participating. The Burma Pavilion highlighted the country's precious stones, mineral, forest and...

1969
Myanmar has hosted the Southeast Asian Games twice: in 2013 and in 1969

Myanmar has hosted the Southeast Asian Games twice: in 2013 and in 1969, when they were called the Southeast Asian Peninsula Games (SEAP). The photograph is from the 1969 Rangoon opening ceremony. http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2013/02/08/putting-it-briefly-myanmar-games-offer-460-golds.html