The Coming of the “Future King: Burmese Minlaung Expectations Before and During the Second World War
Throughout the history of Burma we come across rebellions often led by so-called “future kings,” minlaungs. In western historiography, minlaung-movements are usually attributed to the pre-colonial past, whereas rebellions and movements occurring during the British colonial period are conceived of as proto-nationalist in character and thus an indication of the westernizing process. In this article, the notion of minlaung and concomitant ideas about rebellion and the magical-spiritual forces involved are explained against the backdrop of Burmese-Buddhist culture. It is further shown how these ideas persisted and gained momentum before and during World War II and how they affected the western educated nationalists, especially Aung San whose political actions fit into the cultural pattern of the career of a minlaung.
Conqueror of Kings: Burma’s Student Leader
Megan Clymer and Min Ko Naing
During the democracy uprising in 1988, Paw Oo Htun, whose nom de guerre, Min Ko Naing, means Conqueror of Kings, emerged as one of the movement’s most prominent student leaders. Together with other student leaders, he revived the umbrella students’ organization the All Burma Federation of Student Unions. Today, while serving out a twenty year prison sentence, Min Ko Naing remains a symbol of the Burmese student movement. In this essay, interviews with close friends and student colleagues help document his story.
The Self-conscious Censor: Censorship in Burma under the British 1900–1939
It is often assumed that censorship was not used to any great degree by British authorities in Burma. Yet, by looking at the way the British colonial government reacted to a variety of media including traditional Burmese drama, western blockbuster movies, and Burmese political pamphlets agitating against colonial rule, it is possible to see that censorship was very much a part of the British administration. British authorities censored pamphlets, books, dramas, and movies not only to contain political thought contrary to colonialism, but also to control the image of British officials as seen in the eyes of the Burmese.