Yangon 23

Yangon, Three Years Later

Chapter 4, Part 21 Everything seems so familiar as I step out of the plane that takes me from Bangkok to Yangon. The clean and airy modern airport terminal looks just how I remember it, and the squiggly Burmese script is as mysterious as it […]

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Mandalay 9

Mandalay and the Last Burmese Kingdom

Chapter 4, Part 20 Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, is a land that gave birth to great kings who ruled some of the mightiest empires in the history of Southeast Asia. Anawrahta established the first Burmese empire in the 11th century, a regional power that […]

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The Old Town Hall

George Town’s Light and Shadow

Chapter 4, Part 17 The 19th century in South Asia. It was a period of time in history when the British consolidated their colonial possessions in the Indian subcontinent. What started out as mere trade missions in the early 17th century, became a vast colonial […]

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Thanjavur 2

Thanjavur and the Doctrine of Lapse

Chapter 4, Part 16 Once South and Southeast Asia were lands where Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms and empires, and later Islamic sultanates, conquered one another not only to exert their dominance, but also to control the lucrative spice trade in the region. Then the Europeans […]

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Pondi 4

Pondicherry: Vestiges of French India

Chapter 4, Part 15 In 2006 I was in my second year learning French, and like many others who learned the language, I became a Francophile. I spent a considerable amount of time turning the pages of various French magazines and tuning into TV5Monde whenever possible, […]

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Gandhi Statue at the Beach Promenade

Chennai: An Enduring Charm

Chapter 4, Part 14 A string of light emerged on the horizon – scattered yellow speckles suggestive of an incoherent network of offices, houses, temples and roads – forming a boundary against the darkness beyond. The plane made a turn, and more were presented to […]

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Al Mahsun Grand Mosque, A Landmark of Medan

Medan: From Deli to Tjong A Fie

Chapter 4, Part 13 In politics there are no permanent friends or enemies, only interests. This has been repeatedly proven in the history of relations among nations where two unlikely partners often formed alliances to defeat their common rival. The Dutch East India Company (VOC) […]

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Bang Uci

The Faces of Banda

Chapter 4, Part 10 Blessed with fertile soils and pristine waters, which at one point in history turned out to be a curse, the Banda Islands today is a place where avid divers go for its world-class reefs (the islands lie at the heart of […]

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