Journal of Burma Studies - Volume 5

Journal of Burma Studies"The Concepts of Dobama ("Our Burma") and Thudo-bama ("Their Burma") in Burmese Nationalism, 1930–1948"
Kei Nemoto

This article attempts to demonstrate the interdependent operation of the term dobama (“our Burma”) and its opposite, thudo-bama (“their Burma”), in the minds of members of the Dobama-asiayoun (“Our Burma Party”). From the party’s very beginning in 1930 to the Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League’s struggle against Japanese rule and subsequently for independence from the British from 1944 to 1947, Dobama party members, known as “thahkins,” avoided being identified as thudo-bama, meaning “the Burmese of their (the British or Japanese) side” or “the Burmese people who collaborated with the colonial regime.” Instead, they invariably identified themselves as dobama, or “our Burmese.” The thahkins preferred to define themselves in negative rather than positive terms. In other words, they chose to identify themselves by describing what they were not rather than what they were, and by attacking their imagined enemies, the thudo-bama, rather than attempting a clear definition of dobama.

"Yenangyaung and its Twinza: The Burmese Indigenous "Earth-Oil" Industry Re-examined"
Marilyn Longmuir

In the early nineteenth century, the indigenous oil industry at Yenangyaung may have been the largest in the world. The article summarizes and evaluates the descriptions of nineteenth and early twentieth century European observers, with special attention to the pre-colonial uses of the oil, the legends about the site, the local institutions governing ownership of the wells, the indigenous methods of oil extraction, and the Europeans’ estimates of production levels.

"An Annotated Bibliography of Articles on the Burmese Peasantry from the Journal of the Burma Research Society, 1911–1970"
Maria Serena I. Diokno

This compilation covers fifty articles and twenty-six township records published in the Journal of the Burma Research Society between 1911 and 1970. The selected articles all shed light on the economic life of the peasantry and have been divided as follows: Part I) Translations of relevant sources or commentaries on the peasantry, Part II) Geographic and other background information necessary for understanding peasant life, and Part III) Analyses or descriptions of the traditional, colonial, and early modern economy, of which the peasants were an important part. The articles are arranged by theme and date of publications within each section and sub-section.

"The Fall of Ayutthaya: A Reassessment"
Helen James

Conventional views of the 1760–1767 Burmese attacks on Ayutthaya contend that the Burmese were taking advantage of an opportunity to attack a politically and economically weak kingdom. This article adduces evidence from the Burmese chronicles, from accounts by contemporary foreign observers, and from economic history to argue that Burma’s campaigns against Ayutthaya were part of an epic struggle between the two polities that began in the 1500s and continued until the Anglo-Burmese War of 1824–1826. Control of trade was one of the central factors motivating this centuries-long conflict. It was the very strength and wealth of the Siamese kingdom, not its alleged weakness, that motivated the Burmese invaders, who hoped to strike a blow that would knock Ayutthaya out of contention as the trading hub of mainland Southeast Asia.