All posts by murni

Walking the Streets of Yangon

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WALKING THE STREETS OF YANGONWALKING THE STREETS OF YANGON

The people, stories and hidden treasures of downtown cosmopolitan Yangon (Rangoon)

by Bob Percival and Jonathan Copeland

Ebook: US$4.99




My Balinese partner Murni and I first met Bob shortly after he left China and moved to Yangon. He had set up his successful walking tours of local streets around the neighbourhood where he lived on 29th Street. The streets were amazingly contrasted, colourful and pulsating with life. At the same time everything was crumbling and paint peeled off the mildewed walls. It was a photographer’s paradise. Bob seemed to know everyone. He was excited to be living there in a time of transition, in a place that was changing before his eyes.

We met in his office, the Shangri-La Hotel reception. It had the best wifi and best breakfasts in the city and was the perfect starting point for his tours. We hit it off immediately and got together for meals and drinks and breakfasts after that. He came to Bali with his daughter Gina a few months later.

I suggested that he write a book about his walks and he said that he was already thinking of that. I told him that I’d be delighted to come back and take the photographs.

We kept in touch and the next time I visited he’d finished the book and had printed it himself. It was doing well. The photographs were his own, in black and white.

We talked about an ebook, so that the streets and their stories could reach a wider audience, with photographs in colour to bring the streets to life. I came back a month later and met him in his Shangri-La office, the day before his return to Australia. He had to go back and live there for two years to establish residence to claim his pension and also to see his doctors. Some years earlier he had had a heart attack in Amsterdam.

I spent a week walking up and down Bob’s streets, book in hand, going into as many of the buildings and chatting to as many of the people he describes as I could. I accomplished the whole thing with a day to spare, which I used to photograph the colonial side of Rangoon, which is totally different and gave rise to the accompanying ebook Strolling down the Streets of Old Rangoon, The History and the Buildings.

Bob was back in Sydney, catching up with friends and doctors. I’m pleased to say that he approved the photographs and added another five streets to the book. The book is a real contribution to the history of Yangon, a unique and valuable record of real life in the city. We’ve kept his black and white photographs for Local Products, Local People, Odds and Ends.

Unfortunately Bob did not live to see the book although he knew what it would look like. He died of a heart attack on a flight to New York to attend his son’s 40th birthday party.

Jonathan Copeland

Bob Percival Bob Percival

Jonathan CopelandJonathan Copeland

 

Colour photographs
Bibliography

 

What they said about


WALKING THE STREETS OF YANGON

The people, stories and hidden treasures of downtown cosmopolitan Yangon (Rangoon)

 

“An authoritative and poetic insight into the streets of Yangon. If there was ever one book that purportedly held the magical secret of downtown Yangon, we may have discovered it, at last.”

Sondang Grace Sirait, MYANMORE, 12 September 2016

“Bob Percival’s Walking the Streets of Yangon, a collection of vignettes on downtown blocks, local restaurants and random shops.”

Coconuts Yangon, 21 September 2016

“Whether new to the city or a Yangon veteran, the book makes one feel as if Yangon is full of nooks and crannies begging to be explored.”

R.J. Vogt, Myanmar Times, 9 December 2016

 WALKING THE STREETS OF YANGON

 

Strolling down the Streets of Old Rangoon

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Cover-Strolling-Down-the-Streets-of-Old-RangoonStrolling down the Streets of Old Rangoon: The History and the Buildings
by Jonathan Copeland

Ebook: US$4.99


I first went to Rangoon in 1981. It was called Rangoon then before the military government changed the name to Yangon in 1989. They also changed the name of the country to Myanmar, but most people preferred to use the old, poetic, evocative names, partly to make a political statement.

I was immediately struck by the time warp that the city was languishing in. Old-fashioned limousines cruised around the city. Old British fire engines languidly poked out from the old British Fire Station. It was as if time had stopped still at the very moment that the British had sailed away in 1948.

Since then I have become even more enchanted, but even more concerned by the endangered condition of the colonial buildings. Hence I determined to photograph thirty-five of my favourites and place them in their historical context, because each one of them has a fascinating story to tell and is best understood and appreciated as a milestone in the history of Rangoon.

Jonathan CopelandJonathan Copeland

190 pages
Colour photographs
Bibliography

What they said about
 Strolling down the Streets of Old Rangoon, The History and the Buildings

“Take a leisurely stroll through Old Rangoon and be mesmerized by the fin-de-siècle architecture—a unique time capsule of a bygone age.”

San Tin Lun, Yangon writer and author of ten books, including The Legendary Heroes of Myanmar, Ancient Myanmar Heroes, and Reading A George Orwell Novel in A Myanmar Teashop and Other Essays

“Follow in the footsteps of Somerset Maugham and Noël Coward: high tea at the Strand Hotel—five-star history at its best.”

Ni Wayan Murni, owner of Murni’s Warung, Murni’s Warung Shop, Murni’s Houses and Tamarind Spa, Ubud, Bali

“The highest number of colonial buildings in one square mile—a fascinating glimpse of a distant corner of the British Empire.”

Audrey Pipe, Anglo-Burmese, resident of the United Kingdom

Strolling down the Streets of Old Rangoon: The History and the Buildings