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Singing to the Dead: A Missioner's Life among Refugees from Burma [Hardcover]

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Item description for Singing to the Dead: A Missioner's Life among Refugees from Burma by Victoria Armour-Hileman...

It is 1992, and the Burmese government's current war on its indigenous people runs into its fourth year. In neighboring Thailand, a small band of Buddhist monks harbors refugees from Burma inside their modest temple in the slums of Bangkok. The monks and refugees are all natives of the Burmese Mon State. All have the same residential status in Thailand: illegal. Under surveillance, and overwhelmed by the needs of their charges, the monks reach out to international aid agencies in Bangkok for help in ministering to the tortured, the wounded, the diseased, and the orphaned.

"Singing to the Dead" recalls a Catholic lay missioner's work alongside the Mon Buddhist monks of Bangkok. For more than two years, Victoria Armour-Hileman was a go-between for the monks, interceding with the world outside their temple walls for everything from a cornea transplant for a land mine victim to money to buy shoes for barefoot orphans. At the same time, "Singing to the Dead" details an aid worker's ongoing education: how to weave through an embassy bureaucracy, how to stave off burnout, how to pull money out of thin air at the eleventh hour, when to trust and when to be cautious, when to kowtow, when to pray.

As the centuries-old conflict between Burma and its Mon people worsens, police raids on the temple in Bangkok increase. Refugees have never been safe, but now even the monks' unofficial immunity seems tenuous. When one of the monks is threatened with repatriation to Burma and possible imprisonment and torture, Armour-Hileman begins the desperate race to secure a new home country for him. She knows that these final efforts are as selfish as they are humanitarian, for what kind of God, and what kind of universe, will she believe in if she fails?

Awards and Recognitions
Singing to the Dead: A Missioner's Life among Refugees from Burma by Victoria Armour-Hileman has received the following awards and recognitions -

  • Kiriyama Prize - 2002 Finalist - Nonfiction category

Citations And Professional Reviews
Singing to the Dead: A Missioner's Life among Refugees from Burma by Victoria Armour-Hileman has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Booklist - 06/01/2002 page 1649
  • Multicultural Review - 12/01/2002 page 79
  • Booklist - 03/01/2003 page 1143
  • Wilson Public Library Catalog - 01/01/2002 page 9
  • Wilson Public Library Catalog - 01/01/2004 page 84

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Item Specifications...

Studio: University of Georgia Press
Pages   280
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.24" Width: 6.26" Height: 1.17"
Weight:   1.26 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jun 26, 2002
Publisher   University of Georgia Press
Edition  New  
ISBN  0820323586  
ISBN13  9780820323589  

Availability  0 units.

More About Victoria Armour-Hileman

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Victoria Armour-Hileman was born in New York City. She has been a Catholic lay missioner since 1988 and has served in Hong Kong, Thailand, and the United States.

Victoria Armour-Hileman was born in 1958.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > General
2Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Leaders & Notable People > Religious
3Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Specific Groups > Women
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Evangelism > General
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Evangelism > Missions & Missionary Work

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Reviews - What do customers think about Singing to the Dead: A Missioner's Life among Refugees from Burma?

Deserves More Readers  Jul 29, 2005
Vicki Armour-Hileman's auto-biographical tale, Singing to the Dead, would be an astonishing success as a novel. Here the human heart is opened for us to see in a most illuminating manner, using the novelist's tricks of suspense and phraseology to keep us turning the pages. And we do!

I fear the title might be off-putting. Not that it is inappropriate, but when one reads on the jacket that the book is about oppression in Burma and Thailand of the unheard of Mon people, and written by a Catholic Missioner, and with such a title, the temptation is to give it a pass as probably rather dreary. Wrong impression. The author interposes herself and her humor between us and the suffering, and we come away enriched by sharing in this, her distillation of an extraordinary experience.
An Unforgettable Story of Courage Under Fire  Nov 16, 2004
The author is comical, insightful, and witty. She minces no words in telling a delightful, though often tragic tale of her mission in Burma. The characters in this book are so inspiring and left me wondering what I could do to help people like them who suffer so much at the hands of ruthless governments. This book should be better publicized than it is. I had never heard of it, I just happened to see it at a local book place. I'm so glad I found this treasure of a book, it is absolutely beautiful.
Warm and gripping story of love  Feb 5, 2003
Having spent a lot of time visiting friends in Burma over a ten year span of time, and having been priviledged to travel more than the ordinary tourist, what Armour-Hileman writes about the Mon refugees escaping into Thailand, the torture and privations and suffering a so very real. She doesn't make light of these sufferings and is very accurate in presenting them to us.
having visited the magnificent Kingdom of Siam (Thailand) often as a "rest stop" on the way out of Burma, the author showed me an entirely new facet -- the underbelly -- of this lovely country and its proud People.
I found it difficult to put the book down and it will live for a long time in my mind and heart.

It was even more "sharp" after having read Paschal Khoo Thwe's book "from the land of green ghosts" which was marvelous and a must read for anyone interested in recent and present Burma!


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