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{Free Book} è From the Land of Green Ghosts: A Burmese Odyssey ¶ eBook or E-pub free

This is an extraordinary story of one man s journey from a tribal village in the jungles of Burma to his graduation with honours in English Literature at the University of Cambridge It was particularly interesting to read of his student days in Mandalay and his growing awareness of the political turmoil in Burma and the need for him to take an active part.Having read George Orwell s novel Burmese Days and the first volume of a biography of Aung San Sun Kyi helped me to have a little understanding of the recent history of Burma, whose tragedy is still unfolding.A sobering and powerful story, and a reminder of what a fortunate life I have led. Pascal Khoo Thwe is a Padaung villager from Burma s Myanmar s highlands who offers his memoirs in FtLoGG I was reading this in preparation for a trip to Myanmar, which clarified some of the country s history between the demise of the Aung San, revered as the founder of modern Burma and assassinated in 1947, to the flagging days of Ne Win s military dictatorship, succeeded by General Saw Maung in 1988 While a university student in the late 1980s, he meets a Cambridge don who successfully rescues him from the country s civil war and the Thai refugee camps and supports his admission to an English literature course Khoo Thwe becomes the first Padaung to attend Cambridge and one of the few Burmese to have studied in the UK If you are scantly aware of the history of Burma s dictatorial regimes, I would suggest this on the grounds of its literary merit and personal reflections about how individual citizens and movements were affected My major criticism against the book is that he spent significant effort in recounting his childhood and pre college days, but less than 30 pages on his time during and after Cambridge One of the concerns raised by a fellow rebel fighter while Khoo Thwe was in the bush and contemplating an education abroad regarded whether he would forget his homeland and the struggles his people would endure while he lived in British luxury Supposedly he grappled with this, but offers no evidence about the outcome It seems as if he exhausted himself in his focus on adolescence and sloppily ran through the final 50 pages without sufficient closure to appease the reader What has he done now Is he still in touch with his siblings How has life changed Aside from references to some friends and the passing of his father, answers to these are in short supply. Burma for my Around the World reading tour My ancestors told me it was after the beginning, said my grandmother, Mu Tha, adjusting her head on the log she was using as a pillow Her brass neck rings gleamed in the candlelight The rings were fourteen inches high and rose to her head as though they were supporting a pagoda stupa.we sat at her feet massaging her legs and shoulders as we listened to the story So begins this strange, magical story of a young man from the Kayan or Padaung tribe of Burma Our grandmothers would allow us to touch their armour when we were ill One should touch them only to draw on their magic to cure illness, to bless a journey They were portable family shrines.I have a vivid memory of her as she came to visit our house, when the first thing we saw was her long neck and head floating above the hedges like a walking wild goose Pascal Khoo Thwe has a marvelous sense of humor and an eye for the absurdities of life he tells his extraordinary story with grace, compassion and affection I loved the poetry, the stories of his childhood, the vivid characters like his grandmother whose attitude towards animals was entirely without sentiment It was a matter of knowing the rules of mutual dependence, which produced respect she talked to them as she talked to her own grandchildren.she would talk to the ants and instruct them not to take her lunch before she ate it I will give you some lunch, all in good time, she would say Then she went to work in the fields Lunchtime came and we went back to the hut, where, to my surprise, no ant had eaten her food They circled round it but made no attempt to invade Before settling down to her lunch she would give them a scoop of rice My awe was reserved for my grandfather, La Pen If my grandmas were jointly the oracles and educators of the tribe, he was the quiet god who was not to be trifled with We seemed to feel his presence before we heard or saw him Although he was a benevolent presence, I felt his power also as something feral, even tiger like as he prowled quietly around his domain La Pen was a tribal leader among the Padaung and eventually a friend of the British and a skeptic of the new regime Early in his reign as a chief La Pen captured an intrepid Italian missionary on his way to China The missionary challenged and bested the chieftain in a wrestling match that won the entire village over to the clearly superior god A challenge was a challenge Henceforth all of La Pen s village and all of La Pen s descendants would be Catholic.Pascal s father played the radio each morning to signal to the household that he was awake and ready for his tea and rice wine The usual Burma Broadcasting Service morning radio selections Jim Reeves, Paul Anka, Elvis Presley and the Beatles.As Pascal leaps ahead in his education and finds and seizes his chance for , he and I are both joyous and sad It was the last monsoon of the year, a feminine rain, dropping lazily on the surface of the lake The rays of the late afternoon sun made the raindrops sparkle like precious stones Under the steady rain we wallowed in the shallows of the lake with the abandon of water buffaloes, lapped by the mini waves, yelling with pleasure At the same time there was a touch of melancholy not unnoticed I seemed to shed my seminary self and to revert to being a wild tribesman, as though I had never left, never been subject to discipline and austere ideal, never been a civilized man or a potential saint Once Pascal reaches Mandalay, the story becomes linear, less poetical and for some readers it will be exciting but I loved the days of his childhood, the magical world of family and ancestors, and a living world of forest and wildlife and ghosts made visible and real to me through his artistry.I read to be transported, to live for a brief time in other worlds, real or imaginary I will never make it to Burma in this life I would not survive in the jungle for than a half day I cannot bear to think what it s like to live out my life with metal rings elongating my neck I hope I never have to eat insects or kill a snake with my bare hands But I am very, very glad that Pascal Khoo Thwe learned to love James Joyce, met a Cambridge don in Mandalay, and miraculously survived the wars to tell this tale I hope that the land of his ancestors finds a way to walk, as he did, out of the shadow of death and darkness.Content rating PG mostly for wartime violence Most Burmese have strong animist leanings and ghosts are very much part of the world as they experience it. Growing up, I knew of the country Burma I knew of Aung San Suu Kyi and that it was terrible she was locked up in her house I knew Burma was a dictatorship, and depending who you talked to, the word communist was thrown around now and then And that s about it.So after my fail of a read for Burma earlier in the tour, I really wanted to make sure I read a book that taught me something about the country So when someone in our Around the World group suggested a book written by a member of the Padaung tribe, widely known as the tribe where some women have brass rings lengthening their necks, I had to read it.What we get is a beautiful, slightly poetical, incredibly South East Asian account of Pascal s life We start with his life in the tribal hills with the Padaung, looking at the beautiful mix of missionary Catholicism with animist, Buddhist and tribal beliefs Then his transition to seminary school in the city, to University student in Mandalay You get a wonderful insight of the incredibly remote village boy changing to a city dweller.This is where the story starts to change a bit from the usual coming of age story we are used to While in university in the 1980s, Pascal is involved in the student uprising and demonstrations against the dictatorship In the first third of the book, we had been given insights what it was like living under the regime, their propaganda and their whims and how this affected the Burmese In the 80s, some students and monks protested against the regime and some people were shot Then protested, and were shot, and so on and so forth Then we have Aung San Suu Kyi enter on this wave of unrest and talk about democracy, and provided a united front to the people.Pascal takes a while to come around to the movement and cause, but ends up being pursued by the regime He ends up as a fugitive in the jungle, with other rebels who have been fighting the government for years with different causes, living on the Thai border Eventually, after all of this, he gets rescued by a Don of English from a Cambridge college whom he met briefly in Mandalay before the trouble, and granted permission to travel to the UK and study English at Cambridge.It s a book of contrasts in a way Tribal verses city Fugitive verses complying citizen Seminary student verses other ways of life Burmese verses UK I must say it s the last contrast that does make me feel a bit ill He talks about the way of living after he is rescued and it makes me sick with the extravagance compared to the poverty not only in the next country, but within Thailand Having been there in the last year or so, it s apparent how much we have compared to every day Thais, let alone people who s entire country and economic status has be completely destroyed and devalued in the nation next door.But this astonishment and even understandable bitterness is not displayed at all, if it is there, even when he talks about times of despair and depression The book has this air of gratitude about it Gratitude for being alive at all For surviving childhood For getting a chance at education For being rescued For having a chance a handful of his fellow countrymen have ever been offered in a foreign country And I think that is the takeaway from this book You should read it and understand the story of this country we all know little about, and the diverse cultures and traditions within it Read it and be grateful that you are in a place where you can read these stories, that you are healthy, have means and education, and overall are safe We are so very lucky for that.For reviews visit Central Burma is an alien land, the abode of evil spirits, green ghosts and the like Pascal Khoo Thwe was born in 1967, in a remote village in Burma This memoir details his life from his childhood as a member of an extended family of a headman of the Kayan people in southern Shan State his journey through conflict ridden Burma and finally his life in Britain.Pascal Khoo Thwe is a member of the Kayan Padaung tribe best known for the brass neck rings worn by women which create the effect of an elongated neck Pascal Khoo Thwe writes of village grandmothers who had been taken to England in 1936 to be exhibited in a circus The women, when they returned to Burma, spoke about strange English tea time rituals, and wondered about the absence of rice wine Pascal Khoo Thwe writes of a comfortable childhood in a small town with mixed ethnicity and multiple languages Religiously, Roman Catholicism, Animism and Buddhism seem to co exist together comfortably I used to see people in a different light, depending on which language I spoke to them in Pascal Khoo Thwe leaves his village behind when he travels to Mandalay to study English literature at the University Here he forms friendships with other students, falls in love with a Burman girl named Moe and adapts to a new way of life Here, too, while working as a waiter in a Chinese restaurant, he meets Professor John Casey a chance meeting which later has a huge impact on his life Moe is murdered by the Tatmadaw armed forces and eventually Pascal Khoo Thwe, like so many others, flees into the hills away from the military crackdown of September 18, 1988 This is a Burma which he did not know a jungle in both a literal and pejorative sense The word jungle still carried pejorative overtones in the speech of urban Burmese Anyone taking refuge with the ethnic insurgents was called a jungle child, which implied primitiveness, anarchy, violence and disease as well as the unpleasant proximity of wild animals, which the Burmese detested I had always been painfully sensitive about being regarded as part of a primitive tribe, Pascal Khoo Thwe s journey, learning about the devastation of this war specifically on the rural people of Burma, while coming to appreciate the country itself was for me the most powerful part of this memoir It s a view of Burma which reflects some of the impacts of its turbulent history Ours is a ghost and spirit culture, and for us the presence of ghosts is as natural as reincarnation is to the Buddhists Pascal Khoo Thwe survives this experience and, as a consequence of meeting John Casey in Mandalay, because of a shared interest in the works of James Joyce, he is able to escape from Burma and eventually to study at Cambridge The final part of this memoir is about Pascal Khoo Thwe s experiences in Britain, of the challenges faced as he studies for and attains his degree in English from Cambridge.There are a number of ways to read Pascal Khoo Thwe s story An interest in James Joyce led to his meeting with Professor John Casey and finally to Cambridge and the polished English with which he tells his story But while it s interesting to read the story of the first Burmese tribesman to attend Cambridge University, it s Pascal Khoo Thwe s story of life in Burma which haunts me What does the future hold for Pascal Khoo Thwe, and for Burma I can see why the story of Eveline in The Dubliners moved Pascal Khoo Thwe how circular will his own journey be I wonder, though, what he thinks of Ulysses Remember what your grandfather said about the earth s being round at school and flat at home This is a thought provoking memoir which I enjoyed reading, and am still thinking about.Jennifer Cameron Smith I was given a copy of Paschal Khoo Thwe s From the Land of the Green Ghosts by a couple from our church He is from India and she from Burma The copy was signed by the author The autobiographical book is divided into three parts In the first part Pascal describes his young life, his family, food, the fascinating cultural life of Burma, particularly his own Padaung ethnic group, the beautiful Burman countryside, and the political history of Burma We see here the general happiness Paschal enjoyed living a simple but rich life in the Burmese countryside In the second part, he details his efforts to become a respected, educated young man But this experience begins to separate him from his peaceful tribal world Attending Mandalay University, his education leads to certain key realizations about the nature of Burmese politics and authority that begins a chain of events fating him to eventually become rebel guerilla in the jungles along the Salween River near Thailand He breathtakingly illustrates his experience in graphic detail The third, and shorter part of the book, recounts his rescue by English Literature Professor, John Casey and his attendance and graduation with a degree in English Literature from Cambridge University Many have lived and suffered as Burmese, but Pascal Khoo Thwe displays a rare, astonishing ability to bring to life the magic, richness and subtlety of Burmese life for the English reader To have such an ability combined in a person whose story is so poignant can only be described as a miracle And beyond a miracle was that given the constant danger he often found himself in, he lived to tell his story The book s title is interesting As Pascal explains, the Padaung though Catholic, held to their animist past including a strong belief in ghosts It was common for people not only to believe in them but to tell stories of their interactions with them Most feared were the green ghosts who became such when death came by unnatural causes such as murder Given the political executions and murderous violence in Burma, it was a land filled with green ghosts One central theme throughout the book is the role of seeming chance events in directing the author s thoughts and ensuring his safety through great risk Though these events may seem chance, Pascal implies that a higher hand was directing his life And I think this is true Key among those chance events was his meeting in Mandalay with John Casey at a Chinese restaurant in Mandalay which eventually resulted some years later in his rescue from the land of Green Ghosts But other, subtle events also directed his path It began with his early fascination with books, creating in him a great thirst for knowledge Then there was his village s interactions with the West that brought those books and the Christian God It brought even, funny men who had no toes they wore shoes whose humanity could be doubted on that account, but whose ways were grafted into Padaung ways of life There was also his much admired Uncle Yew who organized childhood bullies into a cohesive soccer team Pascal writes of his early revelation about the power of the individual and the nature of Burmese society I had a sense, even at that age, of how the majority can submit to the bullying of a few determined individuals, and how a single man can restore to others a sense of the dignity of individuals and the power of a community I had the obscure feeling that it was not just my school but the larger society around me that was afflicted by bullies Later in seminary at Taunggyi he discovered a strange fascination in a bridge built by Isaac Newton that stood without nails or screws at the very university from which later he was to graduate Cambridge Eventually he turned from his seminary education and came to realize a mission in life to, as he says, to help his people succeed by succeeding himself He thought that the place for his success was Mandalay He threw himself into study and learned much, he also learned, confirming his earlier sense, that thinking for himself was not only not rewarded in Burmese Socialism, but resulted in bullying, threats, torture, and sometimes even death Another realization was that that friendships between different Burmese ethnic groups was an essential strategy in bringing about positive change in Burma, running counter to the government strategy of divide and conquer But finishing study in Mandalay was not in the cards as the government carried out two severe demonetizations in response to rapid inflation This wiped out many lifesavings and sent the country spiraling into poverty and government sponsored brutality Protests and demonstrations against the government resulting in increased repression including the imprisonment, beating, rape and death of his girlfriend, Moe Her travails did not break the author, rather his fierce love for her resulted in an iron determination to resist Returning to his hometown, Pascal took on a leadership role in speaking out against the government, and eventually became a marked man, forcing his retreat into the jungle as a guerilla fighter Unable to ever return safely home, he vowed to fight He overcame extreme obstacles malaria, wounds, starvation, and sickness until the day that Dr Casey returned to Thailand to help him take his struggle to Britain Though he felt guilt for leaving his fellow soldiers, he felt this escape his only legitimate one In England, he studied He struggled to learn English literature in a way foreign to him at Mandalay University He learned it in a way that caused him to make it his own, because he was encouraged to have an opinion on it It was difficult but liberating He said If I get an education, I will be able to write about it in a way that will move people And that is what he did with this bookI am moved and much aware and concerned about events in Burma and pray that a spirit of democratization will grow in this beautiful land Many who read this book will be motivated to an even greater degree I highly recommend this book.. As a young member of the Padaung tribe, a band from eastern Burma famous for their giraffe necked women, Pascal Khoo Thwe lived in a world of spirits and jungles Yet he also somehow developed a taste for British literature, and a chance meeting with a Cambridge professor in a Mandalay restaurant in the mid Eighties eventually carries him far from the jungles to the lawns of Cambridge University.That story would in and of itself be remarkable, but it is rendered all the so by the historical coincidence that Shwe happened to be a university student in Burma in 1988, when a massive student uprising shook the nation to its foundations and propelled the previously apolitical Shwe into the world of guerrilla warfare Like hundreds of other students of his generation, Shwe took up arms against the brutal Junta, and From The Green Ghosts is a vivid, incredibly moving portrayal of these years Ghosts will have you variously inspired and on the verge of tears The early chapters are steeped in the sort of idyll that characterizes pre modern tribal life, but the pace and tension picks up dramatically as the politics thrusts itself into his life More than simply a memoir, the book is an important document of the long hidden struggle of the Burmese against their brutal dictatorship. I loved this book The author is amazingly honest and humble about his extraordinary life His description of the Burmese landscape is so beautiful, especially when he writes about the remote areas where he grew up It is partially a story about why armed struggle is sometimes necessary However it is a story about how life is much complex then the rhetoric used to talk about religion, war, socialism and freedom I learned so much about Burma through Pascal Khoo Thwe s story I also learned a little bit about the hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing Burma Right now I am working with Karen refugees who live in camps crowded with as many as 40,000 people Some people spend their whole lives in the camps Many Burmese refugees are moving to Albany, Utica and NYC and this book helped me understand their situation a little.Pascal Khoo Thwe s writing is a little choppy in the beginning He jumps around a bit from sentence to sentence But its kind of fine because the world he is explaining is so magical and yet so real I have mixed feelings about the end, but we can talk about that after you read it xoz {Free Book} Ï From the Land of Green Ghosts: A Burmese Odyssey ⚡ Winner Of The Kiriyama Prize In NonfictionThe Astonishing Story Of A Young Man S Upbringing In A Remote Tribal Village In Burma And His Journey From His Strife Torn Country To The Tranquil Quads Of Cambridge In Lyrical Prose, Pascal Khoo Thwe Describes His Childhood As A Member Of The Padaung Hill Tribe, Where Ancestor Worship And Communion With Spirits Blended With The Tribe S Recent Conversion To Christianity In The S, Pascal S Grandfather Captured An Italian Jesuit, Mistaking Him For A Giant Or A Wild Beast The Jesuit In Turn Converted The Tribe The Padaung Are Famous For Their Giraffe Women So Called Because Their Necks Are Ritually Elongated With Ornamental Copper Rings Pascal S Grandmother Had Been Exhibited In A Touring Circus In England As A Freak Pascal Developed A Love Of The English Language Through Listening To The BBC World Service, And It Was While Working As A Waiter In Mandalay To Pay For His Studies That He Met The Cambridge Don John Casey, Who Was To Prove His Saviour The Brutal Military Regime Of Ne Win Cracked Down On Dissidents In The Late S Pascal S Girlfriend Was Raped And Murdered By Soldiers, And Pascal Took To The Jungle With A Guerrilla Army How He Was Eventually Rescued With Casey S Help Is A Dramatic Story, Which Ends With His Admission To Cambridge To Study His Great Love, English Literature I love his POV over the politics of the late 80s in our country.Just a boy with difficulties..And him, overcoming them reaching for his dreams.This might sound a bit ordinary for those of you who don t really understand the situations in our country back in old times when the military government ruled it But there were probably news about them, I guess