Item description for Welcome to Burma and Enjoy the Totalitarian Exp... by Timothy Syrota...
"Hello, this is your tour guide speaking. I'd like to take this opportunity to welcome you all to Burma. As you travel through our beautiful country please do not look beyond the glittering pagodas, do not talk about politics, and please ensure that you do not leave the clearly defined trail. Please acknowledge that our government is working hard to improve the state of the nation and that we do not abuse human rights. Should you not understand this, you are a neo-colonialist axe-handle who works for the CIA. Thank you for your attention and please enjoy your visit". A joke, yes, but joking in Burma is a criminal offence punishable with seven years' hard labour.
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Reviews - What do customers think about Welcome to Burma and Enjoy the Totalitarian Exp...?
Shallow ,sophomoric writing about an important subject Feb 9, 2004
Syrota's slim volume is a first person account of his stay in Burma, including his brushes with immigration and internal security. The book has been well-reviewed in the travel press, but unfortunately, doesn't really add much to the information that one can get from one of the more politically aware guidebooks. There isn't much cultural or historical detail and we often get little depth from his experiences. Mostly, it reads like a paraphrasing of a traveler's journal. Some travelers are marvellous storytellers, but many are not. The tone is whiny in places and the author's unhappiness at having his itinerary curtailed gets in the way of the Burmese own stories.
The book is a helpful reminder that even important stories can be poorly told.