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Heritage-making and post-coloniality in Yangon, Myanmar

Roberts, JL ORCID: 0000-0001-5287-658X 2017 , 'Heritage-making and post-coloniality in Yangon, Myanmar', in HHM Hsiao and H Yew-Foong and P Peycam (eds.), Citizens, Civil Society and Heritage-making in Asia , ISEAS Publishing, Singapore, 40-.

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In a nation where the post-independence, military-led governments saw their people as potential enemies who threatened the territorial integrity of Myanmar,' heritage-making has been deployed as an exclusive technique of the state to manufacture a unitary national identity. That identity has been Burman (the dominant ethnic group), Buddhist, and, until recently, staunchly anti-colonial, with the Shwedagon Pagoda standing as its ultimate monument. Since 2012, educated elite in Yangon have begun to rewrite the narrative of colonial oppression to incorporate the modernity implanted through British rule as represented by the grand facades of institutions such as Grindlays Bank and the Secretariat. This foregrounding of aesthetic modernity has been spearheaded by Thant Myint-U (grandson of U Thant, the third UN secretary-general), who has returned to Myanmar from a cosmopolitan life in the West. With the assistance of foreign-educated Myanmar architects, Thant has founded the Yangon Heritage Trust (YHT) to safeguard the physical and aesthetic integrity of colonial-era buildings. In the words of Thant, "If we can make Yangon the most attractive, beautiful and liveable city in Southeast Asia, this is an asset worth billions of dollars" (Linthicum 2014).

Item Type: Book Section
Authors/Creators:Roberts, JL
Keywords: Mynmar, Post-coloniality
Publisher: ISEAS Publishing
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2017 ISEAS - Yusof Ishak Institute, Singapore

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