“To us you tourists are like stars in the night sky. We hope a little of that light will shine on us.”
Under the Dragon recounts MacLean’s journey through Burma weaving together MacLean’s story with those of four women: a girl named Ni Ni, born with remarkably sensitive hands who, through revolution and upheaval , becomes trapped in Southeast Asia’s sex trade; Ma Swe, a reluctant government censor; Nan Si Si, mother of a hill-tribe warlord; and, naturally, Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace laureate and elected leader of Burma, who has been held under house arrest for over a decade.
Along the way MacLean weaves in a remarkable range of subjects — Burmese history, philosophy, art, archaeology, ornithology and even magic.
Dragon evokes Burma is such a way that you feel like you’re there and, in light of the continuing struggles and tragedy in Burma, it feels every bit as relevant now as when it was first published ten years ago.
A must read especially for anyone with an interest in Burma.