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The Lady and the Peacock

Peter Popham ¹ 7 Read & download

Rd and worked for three years at the UN in New York In 1972 she married Michael Aris a British scholar They had two sons and for several years she lived as a self described “housewife” but she never forgot that she was the daughter of Burma’s national heroIn April 1988 Suu Kyi returned to Burma to nurse her sick mother Within six months she was leading the largest popular revolt in the country’s history She was put under house arrest by the regime but her party won a landslide victory in the 1990 elections which the regime refused to recognize In 1991 still under a. This book has a number of serious defaults all of which are alerted to the reader or buyer upfront Author Peter Popham does not speak Burmese makes no claim to know Burma and had only met the author twice at the time this book was published He had however been the Southeast Asia correspondent for the Independent for 20 years before starting on the subject and thus possessed the instincts of an experience journalist familiar with the regionThe weakest parts of the book are those dealing with Aung San Suu's time in Burma The section covering her stay in India where her mother served as the Burmese ambassador was uite good while his description of her time at Oxford is absolutely stellarPopham's main argument is that by personal experience education and instincts Aung San Suu Kyi was thoroughly committed to non violence She was never able to attain power in Burma Myanmar but she made significant gains for the causer of democracy in her country Myanmar Burma is one of those closed countries like North Korea and Albania that pose tremendous challenges to any journalist or academic attempting to write about them Given the enormity of the obstacles facing him Popham acuits himself admirably Nonetheless the reader clearly needs to start this loopy and frustrating book with modest expectations

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Rrest she received the Nobel Peace Prize Altogether she has spent over fifteen years in detention and narrowly escaped assassination twicePeter Popham distills five years of research including covert trips to Burma meetings with Suu Kyi and her friends and family and extracts from the unpublished diaries of her co campaigner and former confidante Ma Thanegi into this vivid portrait of Aung San Suu Kyi illuminating her public successes and private sorrows her intellect and enduring sense of humor her commitment to peaceful revolution and the extreme price she has paid for i. There is no denying that Aung San Suu Kyi is a remarkable person and there is a fair amount of interesting detail But the author has at times rather obscured this with gushing as her delicate beauty and the incessant references to her fringe and yes one of the chapters of the book is called Super woman By all means in journalism one has to support one's case and to represent what you write with facts and to always have catchy headings But is Peter Popham writing a book or a very one sided long article for some sensational newspaper I find Popham can't seem to distinguish between the two So much is at stake here The definition of democracy how it is relevant to countries where the governor of the land was a king a series of kings down through generations and not only that but a country that went from kingdom to being pressed into colonial yoke by some distant remote insipid monarch George IV So does a transition from democracy work and can it What democracy would it be regardless of such a thing were possible Could it be like India as referenced in this book on than one occasion where voting takes place parties put themselves forward and then the most corrupt takes office and as in other democratic countries in the world the poor get poorer and the rich get richer The history of Burma is very much a myriad of intrigues battles fought won and lost dreams created and shattered and myth and legend is rampant Aung San came from a very obscure background wasn't anyone much in school and then decided to take it upon himself with some cough cough others to free his people from the colonial yoke Which I must add for those living under the yolk there is nothing good from a colonial power Absolutely nothing America may have been a colony once however it was the First Nations and Black people that felt what it really meant to be brutalised and what it meant to be subservient to a foreign power The families that came on the Mayflower had no idea what it meant to be slaves to colonialists To say otherwise is an outright lie Having had past generations of my family in Burma as part of the invading force I can say without hesitation no good came of the British being in Burma So what of Aung San and his desire for an independent Burma There is the current mantra anybody is better than this guy well that isn't true You can't vote for someone just because they are not the guy in power right at this moment You need to know who you are dealing with before you invest something in that person As it was Aung San didn't know what he was dealing with when he signed up with the Japanese Japan may share the same part of the world and they were keen to broker a deal with Burma to rid Asia of the British however neighbours make strange bed fellows As history showed Japan wasn't interested in helping out Burma for independence all empires are hungry for land and will grab it by any means necessary But it could be seen that Aung San was hopping between bed fellows to get what he wanted most at any cost Up to a point he got it Burma became independent of both British interests and Japanese however that resulted in the death of Aung San By this time he had made himself a dynamic personality and like all leaders of movements he was the one and only to be able to achieve what he did Aung San Suu Kyi has inherited that from her father Whether intentionally or not Popham writes freuently how the people of Burma see her as a reincarnation of a Bodhisattva She alone can save Burma through their eyes So what does that mean If she dies before her time or even if not there will surely be another vacuum in Burma History has shown that when many rely on one person and they die everything tumbles For many years all eyes were Burma and wondering who this woman was Popham has that she described herself once as an Oxford housewife No identity whatsoever she was married to a house somewhere in Oxford and had two children Then she comes to a realisation she was somebody's daughter when she is back in Burma A man she doesn't remember on a personal level but a man that had many transformations of character by the people of the country and by the people that said they knew him best History won't really be able to tell us as yet really what sort of man he was Indeed between Peter Popham and other biographers we won't really know what sort of woman Aung San Suu Kyi is Has she only ever been a person caught by mere circumstance Or is she really power hungry anticipating to take Burma back to the older days of yore as the uncrowned ueen of Burma After being held captive in a sense of house arrest for many years where will she guide Burma uite a few promising politicians have felt the need to make sacrifices on their principles Is she going to be one of them When you don't speak up against an injustice to a people you are complicit by your silence The goal for many politicians is the bigger prize which is to mean getting into power But will it be too late then for honesty and integrity because by then of getting into power by courting the big shareholders in this instance Buddhists over Muslims who knows how many other situations will have risen that silence was acted on rather than words Despite Popham's best efforts there is no real halo over the Lady's head She is no super woman At the end of the day she is no human than anyone else before her or after We still cling to our idols our celebrities our demigods as of ancient times past Nor then should it have come as any surprise that American businesses were making deals with the regimes of Burma Which must be pointed out for accuracy sake communism and socialism are not the same things and shouldn't be banded about as such It's very easy to affix titles and names to oneself or a party that has absolutely nothing to do with the party or person's mandate The very notion that a party called the Conservatives would be interested in conversing things In reality that be furthest idea from the party's mandate Shouldn't we therefore despise anything to do with conservation because a party calls themselves Conservatives but are really sucking the life out of a country and its people But no most people would cry Of course not they'd say But when it comes down to communism and socialism the root words here being commune meaning to get together and socialism meaning to be social these words are despised by a great many people Most that don't even know what either communism is or socialism or the fact that both are different I do say for those that wish to disparage communism without fully understanding what it is beyond the legacies of Lenin and Stalin that according to many it was Communism to integrate black and white students into one school It was also Communism when in the dirty 30s when tenant farmers wanted a meager raise in their wages and were shot for their Communism And so this book while holds a lot of information it holds a lot that is not accurate information

Summary ↠ eBook, PDF or Kindle ePUB ¹ Peter Popham

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi known to the world as an icon for democracy and nonviolent dissent in oppressed Burma and to her followers as simply “The Lady” has recently returned to international headlines Now this major new biography offers essential reading at a moment when Burma after decades of stagnation is once again in fluxSuu Kyi’s remarkable life begins with that of her father Aung San The architect of Burma’s independence he was assassinated when she was only two Suu Kyi grew up in India where her mother served as ambassador studied at Oxfo. Biographies of living people during rapidly changing times have to be difficult for the person who is the subject the author and sometimes even the readers But author Peter Popham's The Lady and the Peacock has been done well and his extensive experience as a journalist shows through The black white dust jacket cover photo by Joachim Ladefoged taken her house arrest back 1998 offers a tiny preview of what's to be found here as we see her riveting eyes looking out at usThe Lady and the Peacock the final chapters are yet to be writtenThere are few in the world today who draw the esteem and respect that Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi does considering her almost lifelong efforts concerning the struggle for democracy as an almost iconic figurehead Author Popham brings the reader through Burma's recent history offering the political background behind the country Suu Kyi's family and father Aung San who founded the modern Burmese army and negotiated Burma's independence from the British Empire in 1947 He was assassinated by rivals in the same year when Suu Kyi was two years oldPeter Popham takes us to where Suu Kyi seemed destined to travel which she did She grew up in India where her mother served as ambassador studied in the UK at Oxford and worked for three years at the UN in New York Working for UN Secretary General U Thant she also did volunteer work at New York City's Belleview Hospital She married author and scholar Michael Aris in 1972 whom she had met while they were in college After spending a year in Bhutan they established themselves in North Oxford in the UK where they raised their two sons Alexander and Kim During this time he did postgrad studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies University of London and obtained a PhD in Tibetan literature in 1978But in 1988 Aung San Suu Kyi returned from Britain to Burma to nurse her sick mother and within six months found herself to be the unchallenged leader of the largest popular revolt in her country's history going from being an collegiate mother in Oxford to a nationally and then a recognized political leader around the worldWhen the National League for Democracy NLD party she co founded won a victory in Burma's first free elections for thirty years winning 392 out of a total 489 seats 80% of the seats a true landslide But the military refused to recognize their right to take office and responded by imprisoning party members and supporters Suu Kyi was herself already under house arrest and barred from taking office by the military junta And it was during this inconceivably painful period of seclusion that she fell back on her Buddhist faith and meditationNational League for Democracy NLD peacock logoOver the past two decades she suffered for a total of fifteen years under house arrest and at a terrible personal toll When she learned that her husband had been diagnosed with terminal cancer in 1999 the Burmese regime refused to grant him a visa to visit her She knew that if she went to see him in the UK she would not be allowed back into Burma again and as a result the couple was never able to say their final farewells to each otherThe words of Ma Thanegi a Burmese writer and artist who became Aung San Suu Kyi's personal aide during the lead up to the elections of 1990 play heavily here as extracts from her diaries are reproduced in this book Through her words we are offered a human view of the very private Aung San Suu Kyi We see a woman who could gleefully sing old 1950s hits and who played the board game Monopoly with such intensity that she and her husband finally agreed to stop playing together to prevent suabblesOther extracts show Suu Kyi's bravery standing up to the Burmese Army along with her annoyances with the challenges and hardships of being on the road in Burma We see her frustrations while dealing with older established politicians in Burma some of whom appeared to be sincerely committed to working together to bring change to Burma but in actual practice were driven solely by their own ambitionsThere are things that stand out in this book such as the 45 black white photos of Aung San Suu Kyi her family and those who influenced her life These include images from her youth her college the house in Rangoon where she was detained for than fifteen years members of the Myanmar junta her NLD party compatriots and a final one with Hillary Clinton during her visit to Suu Kyi's home in December 2011 Before the prologue there's a map of Burma showing the adjacent countries and with an inset of Rangoon All of these offer us visual understanding into her life and surroundingsThe author gives us some good insight into Suu Kyi character her sometimes irreverent sense of humor her sense of traditions her moral commitment her alleged stubbornness and much Yet there's a two dimensional feel to all of this a detached style of writing to all of it In many parts the book reads like a novel making it easy to understand how and why the military junta has been able to sustain its power but also how Suu Kyi and her colleagues were able to effectively provide a powerful alternative to the generals On the other hand there are sections where it seems to bog down where we become immersed in too much detail to the point of distractionThough there's often an almost ponderous feel to this book author Peter Popham provides us with an excellent glossary of Burmese terms in the back of the book a well done index a list of names with explanations of the roles of the people and a thorough list of books and references for further readingSuu Kyi's 1991 book Freedom from Fear describes Burma's political intellectual and literary history in her own words along with her essay My Father a biographical portrait of the father of modern Burma and contains an introduction by her late husband Michael Aris But it is her other work Letters from Burma where she talks about her country her people and about herself in this collection of essays written in the mid 1990's for a Japanese newspaper Through her own words we see the misfortunes of her people in the most natural and unruffled way as if she was narrating about everyday lifeAuthor Popham's The Lady and the Peacock The Life of Aung San Suu Kyi cannot be described as spellbinding nor is it easy to get through in many places But it's thorough journalism and as an introduction for those wanting to learn about Burma and Aung San Suu Kyi it's a solid 4 star read worthwhile especially for those who only know of Suu Kyi through television clips and news snippetsIn November 2010 after the duplicitous elections in which she played no part Suu Kyi was again freed She was greeted by jubilant crowds but only time will tell what role this extraordinary woman will have in the future of her beloved country The Lady and the Peacock tells this story of Aung San Suu Kyi and her ongoing struggle for democracy but it's a story that remains to be fully toldNote this review appeared earlier on com in a slightly different format7262012 The Lady and the Peacock


10 thoughts on “The Lady and the Peacock

  1. says:

    The Lady and the Peacock The Life of Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma by Peter Popham is a biography of the current State Councillor akin to PM of Myanmar and a figure of great interest in the West Suu Kyi is the daughter of the founder of BurmaMyanmar Aung San who united the country against British colonial rule fought with the Japanese in WWII and eventually came out as President of the country only to be assassinated mere months into his term After this various military juntas ruled the country and this trend has continued right up to the easing of control in 2016 Suu Kyi's mother was a low level politician with duties in the Foreign Affairs sphere of Myanmar ostentatiously to see her removed from Myanmar proper Suu Kyi left the country and settled in the United Kingdom for many years married a local professor on Bhutanese culture and was involved in academic circles in the UK She returned to Myanmar to care for her sick mother and became embroiled in local political troubles during the 8888 uprising which was forcefully put down by the military regime with hundreds killed Suu Kyi became the focal point for those hoping for a democratic transition of political power in Myanmar This was because of her background as the daughter of Aung San At first she was reluctant to become involved as she was a wife and mother of two kids in the UK However she was won over to the democratic cause and formed the National League for Democracy NLD as a political party and struggle group in Myanmar She began to meet with local politicians military leaders and civilians in Yangon formerly Rangoon and traveled the country meeting with local peoples across Myanmar This led to the 1990's general election which the military held to try and claim legitimacy for their rule The NLD one a large majority of seats 80% with 59% of the popular vote The military then claimed the winning party would not form a government as a constitution for the country needed to be created Suu Kyi and much of the NLD leadership was arrested at this time Suu Kyi would spend much of the following decade under house arrest even though her husband in the UK suffered a terrible illness and passed away The book ends basically with her in house arrest it was written before her release and subseuent elevation to high political status in Myanmar I will be frank by saying I did not enjoy this book Popham's account pf Suu Kyi is sometimes interesting but feels disjointed His biography is glowing in its account sometimes bafflingly so Popham refers to Suu Kyi as saintly Gandhi like and references her great beauty numerous times He focuses solely on perceived character traits and little on actions facts or even politics His references to her physical appearance her dress and so on seems insulting to a politician The book also fails in my opinion from its lack of political information Suu Kyi is leader of a political party that struggled for many years to gain legitimacy in the eyes of Myanmar's ruling elite Why is their so little information on the inner workings of the NLD? Why so little information on Suu Kyi's strategic thought? Most of the book is on her travels throughout Myanmar and has little to do with Myanmar's political history I may be spoiled somewhat with the uality of biography I have been reading of late but Popham's book did not sit well with me Although there are some interesting tidbits of information here and there the biography comes off as shallow overly praiseworthy and of little substance Frankly I will recommend a hard skip on this work especially as Suu Kyi's political career in the leadership has just begun as of 2016 She has also become involved in the Rohingya Muslim issues affecting Myanmar as she has failed to criticize the Rohingya massacres and is on record stating Rohingya are not Burmese and do not belong in Myanmar A mixed character at times seeming like Burma's Gandhi and at times like an aristocratic daughter of the former President Suu Kyi is a developing figure who's fascinating career will one day be written about in an excellent biography This one however is not worth the time


  2. says:

    Biographies of living people during rapidly changing times have to be difficult for the person who is the subject the author and sometimes even the readers But author Peter Popham's The Lady and the Peacock has been done well and his extensive experience as a journalist shows through The black white dust jacket cover photo by Joachim Ladefoged taken her house arrest back 1998 offers a tiny preview of what's to be found here as we see her riveting eyes looking out at usThe Lady and the Peacock the final chapters are yet to be writtenThere are few in the world today who draw the esteem and respect that Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi does considering her almost lifelong efforts concerning the struggle for democracy as an almost iconic figurehead Author Popham brings the reader through Burma's recent history offering the political background behind the country Suu Kyi's family and father Aung San who founded the modern Burmese army and negotiated Burma's independence from the British Empire in 1947 He was assassinated by rivals in the same year when Suu Kyi was two years oldPeter Popham takes us to where Suu Kyi seemed destined to travel which she did She grew up in India where her mother served as ambassador studied in the UK at Oxford and worked for three years at the UN in New York Working for UN Secretary General U Thant she also did volunteer work at New York City's Belleview Hospital She married author and scholar Michael Aris in 1972 whom she had met while they were in college After spending a year in Bhutan they established themselves in North Oxford in the UK where they raised their two sons Alexander and Kim During this time he did postgrad studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies University of London and obtained a PhD in Tibetan literature in 1978But in 1988 Aung San Suu Kyi returned from Britain to Burma to nurse her sick mother and within six months found herself to be the unchallenged leader of the largest popular revolt in her country's history going from being an collegiate mother in Oxford to a nationally and then a recognized political leader around the worldWhen the National League for Democracy NLD party she co founded won a victory in Burma's first free elections for thirty years winning 392 out of a total 489 seats 80% of the seats a true landslide But the military refused to recognize their right to take office and responded by imprisoning party members and supporters Suu Kyi was herself already under house arrest and barred from taking office by the military junta And it was during this inconceivably painful period of seclusion that she fell back on her Buddhist faith and meditationNational League for Democracy NLD peacock logoOver the past two decades she suffered for a total of fifteen years under house arrest and at a terrible personal toll When she learned that her husband had been diagnosed with terminal cancer in 1999 the Burmese regime refused to grant him a visa to visit her She knew that if she went to see him in the UK she would not be allowed back into Burma again and as a result the couple was never able to say their final farewells to each otherThe words of Ma Thanegi a Burmese writer and artist who became Aung San Suu Kyi's personal aide during the lead up to the elections of 1990 play heavily here as extracts from her diaries are reproduced in this book Through her words we are offered a human view of the very private Aung San Suu Kyi We see a woman who could gleefully sing old 1950s hits and who played the board game Monopoly with such intensity that she and her husband finally agreed to stop playing together to prevent suabblesOther extracts show Suu Kyi's bravery standing up to the Burmese Army along with her annoyances with the challenges and hardships of being on the road in Burma We see her frustrations while dealing with older established politicians in Burma some of whom appeared to be sincerely committed to working together to bring change to Burma but in actual practice were driven solely by their own ambitionsThere are things that stand out in this book such as the 45 black white photos of Aung San Suu Kyi her family and those who influenced her life These include images from her youth her college the house in Rangoon where she was detained for than fifteen years members of the Myanmar junta her NLD party compatriots and a final one with Hillary Clinton during her visit to Suu Kyi's home in December 2011 Before the prologue there's a map of Burma showing the adjacent countries and with an inset of Rangoon All of these offer us visual understanding into her life and surroundingsThe author gives us some good insight into Suu Kyi character her sometimes irreverent sense of humor her sense of traditions her moral commitment her alleged stubbornness and much Yet there's a two dimensional feel to all of this a detached style of writing to all of it In many parts the book reads like a novel making it easy to understand how and why the military junta has been able to sustain its power but also how Suu Kyi and her colleagues were able to effectively provide a powerful alternative to the generals On the other hand there are sections where it seems to bog down where we become immersed in too much detail to the point of distractionThough there's often an almost ponderous feel to this book author Peter Popham provides us with an excellent glossary of Burmese terms in the back of the book a well done index a list of names with explanations of the roles of the people and a thorough list of books and references for further readingSuu Kyi's 1991 book Freedom from Fear describes Burma's political intellectual and literary history in her own words along with her essay My Father a biographical portrait of the father of modern Burma and contains an introduction by her late husband Michael Aris But it is her other work Letters from Burma where she talks about her country her people and about herself in this collection of essays written in the mid 1990's for a Japanese newspaper Through her own words we see the misfortunes of her people in the most natural and unruffled way as if she was narrating about everyday lifeAuthor Popham's The Lady and the Peacock The Life of Aung San Suu Kyi cannot be described as spellbinding nor is it easy to get through in many places But it's thorough journalism and as an introduction for those wanting to learn about Burma and Aung San Suu Kyi it's a solid 4 star read worthwhile especially for those who only know of Suu Kyi through television clips and news snippetsIn November 2010 after the duplicitous elections in which she played no part Suu Kyi was again freed She was greeted by jubilant crowds but only time will tell what role this extraordinary woman will have in the future of her beloved country The Lady and the Peacock tells this story of Aung San Suu Kyi and her ongoing struggle for democracy but it's a story that remains to be fully toldNote this review appeared earlier on com in a slightly different format7262012 The Lady and the Peacock


  3. says:

    This was a really good comprehensive overview of Aung San Suu Kyi's life and recent Burmese history neither of which I knew very much about going in democracy activist Nobel Peace Prize winner house arrest repressive? You could've fit my knowledge on the back of a generous matchbook The book is incredibly readable which is at least partly due to my lack of prior knowledge previously unknown history is basically just a story so the plot kept me hooked It feels complete and balanced and is very well researched I highly recommend the book just to get that out of the way before the next part of my reviewI have a few uibbles Popham takes constant sometimes confusing liberty with the timeline Chapters start in 1995 swing back to 1988 jump ahead to 2002 then he'll say November or something and you're supposed to realize that you're back in 1995 The first time he mentions her kids it's in a paragraph about how she and her husband conducted an epistolary courtship and makes next to no sense they exchanged hundreds of letters; the family met for holidays in India What family? Did they get married? What year is it?The family angle is also noticeably lacking he doesn't interview either of her sons or any of her in laws or mention what happened when she got to see them again after her last stint under house arrest If that's because they didn't want to be interviewed for an unauthorized biography then say so It felt like a real gap in the coverageLastly it seemed like he was sucking up to Thien Sien in the Afterword It really rubbed me the wrong way to hear him call this guy courageous and intelligent; he's the one who sicced the military on the monks during the Saffron Revolution a misnomer I now know but still a recognizable point of referenceBUT I think that the chronological liberties might have been warrantednecessary to explain certain subplotsundercurrents and to make the book readable The first couple of parts give a mile high overview of Suu's life from 1960 1988 and then he doubles back to give a in depth look and though that was not linear I thought it was a useful device though maybe someone with prior knowledge would be bothered He uses and cites to a LOT of source material from newspaper reports to personal diaries to every other biography or article ever written about her So even if it sometimes felt like a compendium I liked the feeling that I was getting a real comprehensive understanding of the subject matter His perspective is compassionate toward even defensive of Suu and her choices but I feel like my own would have been even without the slight slant so I wasn't bothered Obnoxious white person compliment I feel like it would have been pretty easy for me to get lost in the names especially because there are a few that are very common and crop up in a lot of main characters' names Aung Oo U etc but he had a deft hand at realizing when it had been a while since a person had been mentioned and reminding you with a descriptor which person this is Perhaps this is a compliment to the editorIf you have any interest in Burmese historycurrent events or Aung San Suu Kyi read this It's great


  4. says:

    This book has a number of serious defaults all of which are alerted to the reader or buyer upfront Author Peter Popham does not speak Burmese makes no claim to know Burma and had only met the author twice at the time this book was published He had however been the Southeast Asia correspondent for the Independent for 20 years before starting on the subject and thus possessed the instincts of an experience journalist familiar with the regionThe weakest parts of the book are those dealing with Aung San Suu's time in Burma The section covering her stay in India where her mother served as the Burmese ambassador was uite good while his description of her time at Oxford is absolutely stellarPopham's main argument is that by personal experience education and instincts Aung San Suu Kyi was thoroughly committed to non violence She was never able to attain power in Burma Myanmar but she made significant gains for the causer of democracy in her country Myanmar Burma is one of those closed countries like North Korea and Albania that pose tremendous challenges to any journalist or academic attempting to write about them Given the enormity of the obstacles facing him Popham acuits himself admirably Nonetheless the reader clearly needs to start this loopy and frustrating book with modest expectations


  5. says:

    This is a stirring if a bit detached biography of Aung San Suu Kyi As she currently runs for office with newly arranged elections in Myanmar her country has been difficult and taken a toll on her life Aung San Suu Kyi was born after World War II as her father was negotiating liberation from Great Britain At age 3 her father Aung San was assassinated by rivals one year before the freedom he had been fighting for was reality Eventually Aung San Suu Kyi and her older brothers with their mother left for India where she grew up in privileged boarding schools She was able to see how Mahatma Gandhi led the Indian people to freedom with Neru and other supporters Later she moved to Britain where she attended Oxford married a British husband and had two children Aung San Suu Kyi never lost her Burmese language or culture because she spoke it with her family and visited there yearly Eventually her mother returned to live there She was aware of the turmoil and military rule of SLORC but promised not to get involved in government in order to visit In 1988 the junta announced elections and Aung San Suu Kyi returned to care for her mother She eventually announced plans to form a party Winning elections by a landslide the junta detained her and tried to force her to leave Her children went back to Britain and were not allowed back Her husband had to leave From 1990 to 1995 she was detained under house arrest She was freed and allowed to travel through Rangoon She constantly tried to move freely through the country but was prevented In 1996 her motorcade was attacked and there was an attempt to assassinate her 200 followers died but she survived The book details all major aspects of Aung San's life but because of the reluctance of Aung San to favor biographers the author has only a limited sense of her as a person Most of the 2000s she was under severe detention where very few saw or spoke to her She was suddenly released in 2011 and even the Secretary of State has been able to see her Myanmar has pledged to change


  6. says:

    A solid 35 stars bumped up to 4 Very well researched and clearly written Popham is a journalist and knows how to tell a story And what a story it is This book goes up to the end of 2010 and Popham has now written a second volume to bring the story up to the present I look forward to reading itIf you want to learn what made Aung San Suu Kyi the extraordinary truly charismatic and unbelievably brave woman that she is I recommend this book


  7. says:

    There is no denying that Aung San Suu Kyi is a remarkable person and there is a fair amount of interesting detail But the author has at times rather obscured this with gushing as her delicate beauty and the incessant references to her fringe and yes one of the chapters of the book is called Super woman By all means in journalism one has to support one's case and to represent what you write with facts and to always have catchy headings But is Peter Popham writing a book or a very one sided long article for some sensational newspaper? I find Popham can't seem to distinguish between the two So much is at stake here The definition of democracy how it is relevant to countries where the governor of the land was a king a series of kings down through generations and not only that but a country that went from kingdom to being pressed into colonial yoke by some distant remote insipid monarch George IV So does a transition from democracy work and can it? What democracy would it be regardless of such a thing were possible? Could it be like India as referenced in this book on than one occasion where voting takes place parties put themselves forward and then the most corrupt takes office and as in other democratic countries in the world the poor get poorer and the rich get richer? The history of Burma is very much a myriad of intrigues battles fought won and lost dreams created and shattered and myth and legend is rampant Aung San came from a very obscure background wasn't anyone much in school and then decided to take it upon himself with some cough cough others to free his people from the colonial yoke Which I must add for those living under the yolk there is nothing good from a colonial power Absolutely nothing America may have been a colony once however it was the First Nations and Black people that felt what it really meant to be brutalised and what it meant to be subservient to a foreign power The families that came on the Mayflower had no idea what it meant to be slaves to colonialists To say otherwise is an outright lie Having had past generations of my family in Burma as part of the invading force I can say without hesitation no good came of the British being in Burma So what of Aung San and his desire for an independent Burma? There is the current mantra anybody is better than this guy well that isn't true You can't vote for someone just because they are not the guy in power right at this moment You need to know who you are dealing with before you invest something in that person As it was Aung San didn't know what he was dealing with when he signed up with the Japanese Japan may share the same part of the world and they were keen to broker a deal with Burma to rid Asia of the British however neighbours make strange bed fellows As history showed Japan wasn't interested in helping out Burma for independence all empires are hungry for land and will grab it by any means necessary But it could be seen that Aung San was hopping between bed fellows to get what he wanted most at any cost Up to a point he got it Burma became independent of both British interests and Japanese however that resulted in the death of Aung San By this time he had made himself a dynamic personality and like all leaders of movements he was the one and only to be able to achieve what he did Aung San Suu Kyi has inherited that from her father Whether intentionally or not Popham writes freuently how the people of Burma see her as a reincarnation of a Bodhisattva She alone can save Burma through their eyes So what does that mean? If she dies before her time or even if not there will surely be another vacuum in Burma? History has shown that when many rely on one person and they die everything tumbles For many years all eyes were Burma and wondering who this woman was? Popham has that she described herself once as an Oxford housewife No identity whatsoever she was married to a house somewhere in Oxford and had two children Then she comes to a realisation she was somebody's daughter when she is back in Burma A man she doesn't remember on a personal level but a man that had many transformations of character by the people of the country and by the people that said they knew him best History won't really be able to tell us as yet really what sort of man he was Indeed between Peter Popham and other biographers we won't really know what sort of woman Aung San Suu Kyi is Has she only ever been a person caught by mere circumstance? Or is she really power hungry anticipating to take Burma back to the older days of yore as the uncrowned ueen of Burma? After being held captive in a sense of house arrest for many years where will she guide Burma? uite a few promising politicians have felt the need to make sacrifices on their principles Is she going to be one of them? When you don't speak up against an injustice to a people you are complicit by your silence The goal for many politicians is the bigger prize which is to mean getting into power But will it be too late then for honesty and integrity because by then of getting into power by courting the big shareholders in this instance Buddhists over Muslims who knows how many other situations will have risen that silence was acted on rather than words? Despite Popham's best efforts there is no real halo over the Lady's head She is no super woman At the end of the day she is no human than anyone else before her or after We still cling to our idols our celebrities our demigods as of ancient times past Nor then should it have come as any surprise that American businesses were making deals with the regimes of Burma Which must be pointed out for accuracy sake communism and socialism are not the same things and shouldn't be banded about as such It's very easy to affix titles and names to oneself or a party that has absolutely nothing to do with the party or person's mandate The very notion that a party called the Conservatives would be interested in conversing things In reality that be furthest idea from the party's mandate Shouldn't we therefore despise anything to do with conservation because a party calls themselves Conservatives but are really sucking the life out of a country and its people? But no most people would cry Of course not they'd say But when it comes down to communism and socialism the root words here being commune meaning to get together and socialism meaning to be social these words are despised by a great many people Most that don't even know what either communism is or socialism or the fact that both are different I do say for those that wish to disparage communism without fully understanding what it is beyond the legacies of Lenin and Stalin that according to many it was Communism to integrate black and white students into one school It was also Communism when in the dirty 30s when tenant farmers wanted a meager raise in their wages and were shot for their Communism And so this book while holds a lot of information it holds a lot that is not accurate information


  8. says:

    Aung San Suu Kyi is a remarkable figure She is a peaceful fighter for her country’s freedom a winner of the Noble Peace Prize and an inspiration to many around the globe who yearn for freedom from all sorts of oppressions She seems to be the rightful heir to some other giants of the non violent struggle in recent times notably Marthin Luther King Jr and Mohandas Mahatma Gandhi She is eually admired for her determination and resilience as well as the simple and unassuming charisma that she has exhibited over the course of almost uarter of a century of involvement in Burmese politics This is a very well written and detailed book about the life of Aung San Suu Kyi – the “Lady” from the title – and to the much lesser extent about the Burmese pro democracy party that she is heading – the “peacock” The book covers some of the lesser known aspects of Suu Kyi’s life including parts of her private life that have been hinted at in the media but have in large part remained hidden In fact it’s the personal aspects of her struggle that I find the most heart rending and painful to read about The sacrifice of separation form her family and the inability to be at her husband’s side during his dying days would have been too much to bear for anyone Even though Suu Kyi is by any account a heroic figure it remains unclear how effective her tactics have been in bringing the change and reform to Burma Popham paints a very sympathetic picture of her political engagement but after reading this book I am left feeling that Suu Kyi might lack the savvy and political shrewdness necessary to be an effective agent of change However this is all very speculative as the political situation in Burma can often defy all rational expectations Even though this is a very interesting and readable book it is not without a couple of shortcomings For one Suu Kyi herself primarily due to her severe isolation been able to contribute much direct material for a biography of this kind Most of the material on which the book was based comes from second and third hand sources Further the arrangement of the material does not follow a strictly linear progression in time The narrative jumps back and forth a couple of times which can be mildly annoying Overall I really liked this book but I really hope that one day Suu Kyi will be able to write an autobiography – and one with a very happy ending despite all the travails she had gone through


  9. says:

    The Definitive Biography of Aung San Suu KyiHow did Aung San Suu Kyi become one of the world’s most admired figures an advocate of Gandhian style nonviolent opposition to the radical Socialist tyrannical military dictatorship that has ruled Burma for decades? In Peter Popham’s definitive biography of her “The Lady and The Peacock The Life of Aung San Suu Kyi” he describes how a shy academically oriented daughter “The Lady” of Burma’s “George Washington” or “Simon Bolivar” Aung San would become a living symbol of the democratic aspirations of her fellow Burmans He takes us on a compelling riveting journey spanning decades from her birth to the present noting how Aung San Suu Kyi was greatly influenced by the British oriented education she received in India and in Great Britain the latter at one of Oxford University’s newer colleges – and realizing that she had an obligation to her late father and her mother – who was Burma’s ambassador to India during much of Suu Kyi’s youth – in affirming the democratic aspirations of her people even as she spent years away from Burma residing in India Great Britain and the United States Popham’s book is also an excellent account of the rise and fall of “The Peacock” the National League of Democracy – the political party created by Suu Kyi and several other notable Burmese dissidents – in which many of its leading figures have been imprisoned or forced into exile by the Burmese government In other words Popham has written an important uite insightful account of modern Burmese history as seen through the eyes of Suu Kyi and her colleagues in the National League of Democracy I salute Popham for giving us a most comprehensive account on the life and career of a person whose nonviolent opposition towards her government continues to inspire many across the globe


  10. says:

    All right sit back and relax because this is going to be a doozy of a review I have many many thoughts about this bookFirst off let me start by saying that I started this book with a completely open mind When I started this book I knew nothing about Burma I didn't even know that Burma was Myanmar I had a fuzzy idea that Burma was part of India and that's what I started with So my judgment of this book is not informed by what has been happening in Myanmar recently or the issues with the Rohinga genocide I didn't even know about it until someone pointed it out to me when I was 23 of the way through the book I will try to separate my perceptions of the book from before that knowledge and after that knowledgeThanks to this book I learned a lot about Burma I learned a smattering of their monarchical era history a teensy bit about their colonial period and way than I ever wanted about the military dictatorship of the 80 2010s I know about their generals than I know about anyone or anything else Sadly I know about Ne Whin than I know about Aung San Suu Kyi because despite this book being about her I still don't know much about her I don't know what she thinks I don't know what she believesBefore finding out about the Rohinga I didn't like Aung San Suu Kyi She just rubbed me the wrong way This was probably not helped at all by the fact that this is simply a terribly written book I lost respect for all the people who blurbed about it like Archbishop Desmond Tutu who said 'Masterlysuperb' I have no idea how he got that idea He must have been blinded by the name of the subject matter and didn't bother actually reading the manuscript because this book is a travesty It's incredibly difficult to follow it's organized badly it jumps through time like a drunk sailor It starts out with her father then jumps forward in time to her first political speech the backtracks to her childhood then jumps to her first imprisonment then back to her mother's life then back to her political campaigning then to her marriage then to life in Burma in the 2010s then back to the 80s It's incredibly difficult to keep track of the timeline The book is full of incredibly irrelevant details Details that only reinforce my impression of Aung San Suu Kyi assuperficial? Flighty? No that is definitely not the wordSuperficially strong and dedicated and then inside uick to lose interest and wander off to some other thinginconstant? The opposite of industrious uick to blame other peopleWhy do I find her superficial? The first half of the book is excerpts from the journals kept of her political campaigning and those journal excerpts are full of descriptions of what she was wearing I kid you not What she was wearing Now this could be because that's what her confidant was interested in But at the same time thanks to these entries we now have written down for posterity that she wore a different outfit to every political speech on that journey And that she carried with her name brand French lipstick sandals and perfume That she hated being sprayed by cheap perfume by the adoring Burmese populace That's entirely too much focus on appearance for my taste I mean granted appearance is very important if you don't look the part of a leader people won't follow you It's just the focus of the book is there Why? Surely there were important issues? What were this woman's beliefs? I still don't know Nonviolence Metta Buddhism Okay but you kind of have to explain how those concepts apply to her political belief The author at one point sneers at the 'superficial understanding of Buddhism in the west' but then never went on to explain anything about BuddhismAnd wearing name brand lipstick while her people were literally starving to death? That makes my blood boil I'm not going to lie When your people wear the same clothes for days on end and you change every day I cannot help but see you as an elite of the elite Maybe that's what the Burmese people wanted from her Maybe they wanted a ueen maybe she was just responding to their expectations but it seemed like she was just a idealist elite who didn't even notice that she was living a life so far above those that she was with Blind to her own advantages Gosh I sound like an SJW I'm not saying that because she was privileged she was therefore bad It just seems like that maybe a little bit of self awareness would have been in order But then again I may just be reading far too much into the discussion of lipstick and clothing and hair adornments and complaining because the mosuito net that people sacrificed to give her was too pink The part about beingeasily distractedalso shows up in her life in how she started many different things and never finished them She got a useless degree in political science because her mother forced her to so she didn't put any effort into it and scraped by Then when she tried to apply for something interesting like literature it was denied because of her prior record then instead of acknowledging her own fault she blames it on her mother and gives up on the literature degree Then she goes off to another degree finds it too difficult and wanders off into something else She decides to work for the UN but doesn't like it either so wanders off again I think that she did have strength of character to stick to her guns about bringing democracy to her country but first she was like 'don't attack the junta' 'attack the junta' 'no tourism' 'yay tourism' 'no sanctions' 'yay sanctions' ????As for my opinion of the book after finding out about the Rohinga let's just say I wasn't that surprised Nonviolence is a good thing and no one can say that Aung San Suu Kyi is not a courageous woman she is Anyone who can walk straight at people holding guns on her is incredibly courageous But I think there are other values besides nonviolence Transparency is one of them Transparency about what you believe about what your plans are about what kind of negotiations are happening and with who Transparency was a problem from the very beginning of her political activity Another one that I think is important is being open to advice it seems like she makes her decisions entirely on her own Her political rallies were her talking to a hundreds of thousands of people but not a whole lot of her listening to them I think those weaknesses are what have led to the issues todayReading this book made me think about two biblical truths that are really true The first is that without council plans fail but with many advisers they succeed There were lots of people who worked with Aung San Suu Kyi throughout her political life but it didn't seem like there were any advisers that she really trusted and listened to Maybe that's the fault of the junta who jailed everyone and made it so that she didn't have anyone to listen to and so she came to the opinion that she had only herself to depend on which led to the issues Burma is facing today where she has solidified power to herself and is trying to micromanage everything and doing it badlyThe one that got me was the verse in 1 Timothy Do not lay hands upon anyone too hastily and thereby share responsibility for the sins of others; keep yourself free from sin Gosh all the people who were lauding Aung San Suu Kyi as the goddess of peace and human rights are really regretting it right now All of the biographers including this one who describe her as 'pure' and 'ghandilike' and those who dare to speak against her as 'craven' 'cowards' 'traitorous' etc must be looking back and wishing fervently they had waited until the eggs hatched before declaring them to be swans It makes me think that biographers really should wait until someone's political career and even maybe their life is over before writing their accolades Interview them by all means gather information and research while they live but wait for a bit afterwards to make sure that everything comes to life then write a glowing eulogy if it's warranted But this glorification of living sainthood is a problem and that was the biggest thing I came away with from reading this book


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