Lost Footsteps
Lost Footsteps

The 1950s at Home and Abroad

1957
San Francisco Ballet performing Swan Lake

The San Francisco Ballet performing Swan Lake outdoors near the Shwedagon Pagoda in 1957. At the centre is the renowned ballerina Jocelyn Vollmar, now 88 years old. The San Francisco Ballet were the first American ballet company to tour the Far East.

1957
When Rangoon had proper taxi companies (1957)

(Photo credit Renaud Egretau)

1958
Mandalay 1958. (photo credit Boston University)

1959
Chinese new year 1959: HRH Prince Philip visits Rangoon.

This was during General Ne Win's "Caretaker Government". Both General Ne Win and President Mahn Win Maung are in the clip. In the middle of the clip (1.02 - 1:45) you will see the beautiful old Government House (President's House). The demolition of this historic building c.1980 was an terrible act of vandalism, on par with the demolition of the Kengtung Saopha's haw a little more than a decade later. At the end of the clip, Prince Philip is in...

1960
Thingyan in Rangoon 1960 with Prime Minister U Nu.

"Thingyan" (spelled "Saṁkran in Burmese) is derived from the Sanskrit "Saṁkrānti". It is the same word as "Songkran in Thai. "Saṁkrānti" means the day the sun moves from one "rashi" or constellation of the zodiac to another. The "new year" marks the movement of the sun from the last constellation (Pisces or Mina in Sanskrit, Tabaung in Burmese) to the first (Aries or Mesa in Sanskrit, Tagu in Burmese). The zodiac originated in ancient Babylon approximately 2,600 years ago. The...

1961
Israel's founder and Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion in Burmese dress

Israel's founder and Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, who visited for 16 days in 1961 and wore Burmese dress (and had his other officials do the same). The photograph is of David Ben-Gurion, President Mahn Win Maung, and U Nu at Government House.

5 December 1961
The visit of David Ben-Gurion, the founder and first Prime Minister of Israel

5 December 1961 was the landmark visit to Burma of David Ben-Gurion, the founder and first Prime Minister of Israel.Few remember that Burma in the 1950s and early 60s had particularly close relations, including military relations, with Israel. Both countries had achieved independence from the British Empire at the same time, both found themselves immediately at war, and both were governed (initially) by elected socialist governments. Burma was the first country in Asia to recognize the Jewish state (in 1949),...

1961
West German airforce officers listening to Daw Aye Aye Than (Patricia Doliner) at the UN in 1961

1961
President Mahn Win Maung in 1961

One of Myanmar’s president without a military background. Not sure the debonair style will make a comeback.

1961
"No parking" in Rangoon

As it should be. "No parking" Rangoon 1961. More parking spaces means more cars and more traffic jams, narrower pavements for walking and street life, and a downtown that no one will want to visit or live in.