Blood, Dreams and Gold launches in Yangon in mid-March. Getting new books into Burma, let alone organising events around them, is still a bit of a novelty in this fast-changing country, so it’s taken a while…..but finally I am going out there to talk about the book and some of its themes in the week beginning March 14th. So far, the events that have definitely been fixed up are as follows; a talk on “The Meaning of Yangon” to the British Council at 6pm on Tuesday March 15th; a panel discussion about the prospects for Burma’s economy organised by the local Konrad-Adenauer Foundation on Wednesday March 16th, taking place at the Rose Garden Hotel, located at #171 Upper Pansodan, in Yangon; a a book launch at Monument Books at 4pm on Friday March 18th. I am also doing a few more private events. The dates and venues for these talks will be posted up as we know them on a Facebook page Yale University Press had created for the book at https://www.facebook.com/BloodDreamsandGold/?fref=nf
The British Council event will be held at its offices on The Strand. I will be talking about the history of Rangoon, as it was called in colonial days, and its particular significance in world history. I argue that it was one of the first truly globalised cities, drawing people in from all parts, and I then go on to talk about how the phrase “the plural society” was coined specifically to describe this new form of society. But it could not last, and this society contained within it the seeds of its own self-destruction and decay. I will be talking about the hundreds of thousands of immigrants who created the city in the last century, the extraordinary buildings that still survive from that era and the hopes that one day Yangon can recover some its former verve and importance, for the benefit of all of Burma’s citizens.
My talk to the Konrad-Adenauer Foundation will be more of a panel discussion, in a venue that is yet to be decided. This will be mainly about Burma’s economy and future growth prospects, so it should be of interest to business people, policy-makers, journalists and the like. There is a lot of speculation now about the direction that the new NLD government will take the country in – is the eventual destination an open, market friendly liberal economic system, or more of a half-way house, a predominantly market economy, but still dominated by cartels and cronies, and still partly shielded from the outside world by some protectionist measures? Come along to find out what we think will be best for the country.
And the book launch at Monument books on March 18th will be a drinks event…and will also give a brief talk about the book then.
If you are in Yangon on those dates, you are very welcome to come along to any of these events.