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The People Elsewhere

Unbound Journeys with the Storytellers of Myanmar

Lucas Stewart

In a five year journey all across Myanmar, Lucas Stewart travels from Yangon in the south to the northern limits of Kachin State in search of the literary luminaries of the country’s recent past. He bonds with censored and jailed writers, poets, publishers and booksellers, recording their stories of heritage and resilience. In his conversations with students at an Aung San Suu Kyi rally or sharing stories with a Kayah farmer in his village house, the long-suppressed literatures and languages of minorities such as the Chin, Kachin, Shan and others shine through. The People Elsewhere is a vivid tableau of time and place, and an ode to the ethnic richness of Myanmar.

Penguin Books/Viking

…This book isn’t a memoir but a weaving of two stories. On the one hand it is a simple journey through the writers of a country that is undergoing a transformation many thought would never come; this is a story set in the ‘now’, where change can be seen and touched. The other story is much more complicated: it tells of a country in which the ‘now’ is not as important as the ‘before’, where history and the lessons learnt from it, cannot be easily set aside or forgotten…

Lucas Stewart, The People Elsewhere, Viking, 2016

Available from Penguin/Viking and in digital formats from Amazon.

 

Praise for ‘The People Elsewhere’:

‘Lucas Stewart’s book is an exquisite map of the many literatures of Myanmar, of the human impulse to express oneself through story and song… In scenes alternately warming and harrowing, it braids travel, history and literary criticism in a most ingenious way to give us an unforgettable portrait of a country long forgotten by the world.’

Chandrahas Choudhury, Author of Clouds and editor of India: A Traveller’s Literary Companion

‘The People Elsewhere is a vigorous and compelling travel parable … In a vivid and tenacious tour through some of the country’s militarily-sealed borderlands, Lucas Stewart explores with great generosity and kinship how previously banned or censored languages are still being preserved in some of remotest and educationally-marginalised areas in the world.’

James Byrne, Co-editor of Bones Will Crow: 15 Contemporary Burmese Poets

‘Lucas Stewart’s journey across Myanmar offers a fascinating insight and a rare glimpse of life through its storytellers … Anyone wanting to discover Myanmar’s rich cultural heritage and how these endearing, diverse and remarkable peoples did more than just survive will find this an important and essential read.’

Nick Danziger, Photojournalist and Author of Danziger’s Travels.

More by Lucas Stewart:

The Act of Insanity – Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Issue 25

Shadow Signatures: A Legacy of Burmese Pen Names – The Bamboo Sea

Hidden Worlds – The Irrawaddy, July, 2014

Myanmar’s Literary Talk Shows – The Diplomat, May 2014

The Kachin: Culture of the Mountain Lords – The Dissident Blog, March 2014

SADAIK A digital manuscript chest for all things literary in Myanmar

 

Further Reading:

Burma or Myanmar? Burmese or Burman? – U Khin Maung Saw

Between Two Fires – Ludu U Hla (The Caged Ones, Orchid Press, 1998)

Modern Burmese Literature – U On Pe (The Atlantic, 1958)

 

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Royal Court of Ava 1

Lokanīti – The Nîti Literature of Burma

The Lokanīti was one of the most venerated works in Burma. It belongs to the Pāli non-canonical literature; to the gnomic literature of Burma. Today it is known more by its name than by its contents. It is most probable that it was prepared for a king’s ācārya (religious instructor), in order to help him discourse on ethics and polity, to pronounce moral maxims and give advice. Since it was in use in the royal courts of India, it could have been introduced into the court of Ava

Ludwik Sternbach S.O.A.S Bulletin, Vol. 26, No.2, 1963

  ‘The Lokanîti and Dhammanîti embrace a miscellaneous collection of subjects, and serve as suitable handbooks for the general reader for the study of prudential rules and principles of morality. The former is taught in almost every monastic school in Burma, and printed editions of it have helped considerably to extend its popularity. That a work of the kind should have charms for the Buddhist is not to be wondered at. He firmly believes that his future happiness depends upon his behaviour in this present life, and relies more on practical deeds rather than on the faith which his religion demands; and nothing could be more suitable to his wants than a literature which lays down for him, in pithy stanzas, and often in metaphoric language, a number of simply-worded apophthegms which are to shape his career in this world and fit him for a better sphere of existence when he leaves it ..’

James GrayLokanîti, Trübner & Co, 1886

Further Reading:

Burmese Proverbs – Hla Pe

The Pali Literature of Burma – Mabel Haynes Bode

A Burmese History of Buddhism – Mabel Haynes Bode

A Burmese Tract on Kingship – Ryuji Okudaira and Andrew Huxley

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Daw Khin Myo Chit

Shadow Signatures

A Legacy of Burmese Literary Pen Names

U Win Tun may not have had his face emblazoned on T-shirts sold for Westerners outside Yangon’s tourist shopping mecca of Scott Market, but for the Burmese, he was one of a trio of democratic heroes, just as iconic as Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and Min Ko Naing, having spent nineteen years in prison for his involvement in the 1988 revolution.

Then in his eighties, his frail figure dwarfed by the chair he sat on, he mesmerized the Pearl Room of the Asia Plaza Hotel in Yangon with his love for books; how when he was a child books spurred him to become a journalist; how in prison books were banned by the jailors; how scraps of papers with letters became novels in his free imagination. Flanking him were two people with very similar stories; Dr Ma Thida (Sanchaung) political activist and writer, jailed for four year in the nineties and blogger Nay Phone Latt, sentenced to twenty one and a half years for ‘creating public alarm’ by reporting on the 2007 Saffron Revolution.

In fact, a lot of the people in the room that day had breathed U Win Tun’s memories.

On my table alone, there were two ex-literary prisoners and a former exile: Seyar Lay Ko Tin, sentenced for 4 to 10 years for possession and distribution of censored materials in the 1970’s under the Ne Win era; poet and installation artist Saw Wai, imprisoned for his infamous 2008 Valentine Day poem which criticized General Than Swe; and poet-translator U Zeyar Lynn, forcibly relocated from Yangon to Upper Burma.

But then, such a roll call of literary giants was to be expected when the event was to officially announce the new chapter of a literary organisation once so despised by the military junta; PEN Myanmar. Inconceivable as little as a year ago, the event was an historical occasion, for many of those present had won PEN Freedom awards during their imprisonment.

For me, however, the afternoon took on a more personal significance. It was the afternoon when, almost by accident, I was gifted a pen name.

Top-L-R-U Win Tu, Min Ko Naing, Ma Thida, Bottom-L-R-Nay Phone Latt, Saw Wai, U Zeyar Lynn

The use of alternative names is not just reserved for writers in Burma. Unlike in the West, Burmese do not use surnames, and often use astrology to name their children, corresponding to the day they were born to the consonant that represents that day; which accounts for the propensity of Aungs and Kyaws amongst ethnic Bama men. People will also use numerology and horoscopes to forecast their lives. If a negative future is viewed, then a simple change of name will divert the bad luck.

In other regions of Burma such as the northern Kachin State, clan names are prevalent resulting in several ‘Bawk’s in a single room. In in the east, most Kayin men you meet will be called ‘Saw’ meaning ‘Mr.’ but used as integral part of their name; on passports and national registration cards. A few months ago I conducted a short story workshop in Mawlamyine, the capital of Mon Sate in which every participant, man and woman, had ‘Mon’ in their name.

It’s no surprise then that most Burmese employ multiple titles, if only to distinguish themselves from their neighbours. Yet it is a practice which even foreigners in Burma have adopted. Eric Arthur Blair most famously took an alter-ego to heart; writing ‘Burmese Days’ under the authorship of George Orwell. Mr Orwell may possibly have been influenced by Hector Hugo Munro, a Scot born in Burma in 1870, employed as an imperial policeman – like George Orwell – before going on to write short stories under the pseudonym Saki. J. G. Scott, a man who devoted most of his life to Burma and its people, wrote his seminal ‘The Burman: His Life and Notions’ in 1882, under his given Burmese name, Shway Yoe. Then of course, there was Nefaltí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto, Chilean Honorary Consul to Burma in the 1920’s, probably better known as the poet Pablo Neruda. Foreign writers in Burma have carried this inclination over into the 21st century, with Emma Larkin aping the object of her quest in her excellent book ‘Finding George Orwell in a Burmese Teashop’; Emma Larkin not being her real name.

George Orwell in Myanmar (back row 3rd from left)

Among early Burmese writers, the practice of taking a pen name was a natural path to take considering the ease and familiarity at changing names in their public life. The use of literary pseudonyms can be found at the birth of modern Burmese literature. The first recognised short story published in Burmese, ‘Maung Thein Tin, Ma Thein Shin Wuthtu’, printed in Thuriya Magazine, volume 1, no.1 in March, 1917 was written by Shwe U Daung. Shwe U Daung is perhaps more famous in Burma for his detective stories based in large part on Sherlock Holmes; his Burmese Sherlock U San Sar complete with longyi and living on his own version of Baker Street – 38th Street, Kyauktada Township. Other modern literature pioneers of the early 20th century followed, with U Sein Tin, better known as Theippan Maung Wa, depicting the lives of ordinary villages through his short stories using the experimental ‘wuthtu saungbar’ style; narratives based on real people or events with a loose fictional plot and dialogue. Thein Han, an early proponent of the ‘khitsan’ movement – literally ‘testing times’; a fundamental shift in literary focus away from courtly prose, Buddhist scripture and national myths to lives and words of the common people – ironically, wrote poetry under the name Zaw Gyi, an anthropomorphic sorcerer of Burmese legend.

L-R Zaw Gyi, Dagon Taya

And then there is Dagon Taya, as close to a national bard as is possible in a country like Burma with such a legacy of literature. Passing away at the grand age of 94 only in August 2013, Dagon Taya, born Htay Myaing, was a poet, a story writer, an anti-imperialist campaigner, leading member of the 1930’s khitsan movement, Independence day speech writer, national literature award winner, political prisoner and ultimately an exile, removing himself away from the attentions of the New Win government in the 1970’s to the small town of Aungban in Southern Shan state and disappearing from public view. He was also a man of many pen names; at least 7.

The post war period saw the rise of Burma’s golden generation of female writers. Ma Khin Mya, often called the ‘grand dame’ of Burmese literature, wrote under the pen name Daw Khin Myo Chit. Her fist novelette ‘College Girls’ appeared in the 1930’s and she continued writing up to her death in January 1999. Writing in English, her short story ’13 Carat Diamond’ published in 1956, was later included in the Bantam Classics ‘50 Great Oriental Stories’.

This great tradition of female writers and pen names continues to this day in Burma with the likes of Cho Cho Tin (Ma Sandar), and Nu Nu Yi (Inwa).

Of course, in a country like Burma, the reasons for the popularity of aliases amongst writers aren’t simply down to the fluid customs of name giving and taking in Asia. In a country like Burma, with its recent history of censorship, imprisonment and general abandonment of freedom of speech and expression it was never a bad thing to write under a name which had no physical connection to you.

This was certainly the case with Dr Ma Thida (Sanchaung), who published her documentary fiction ‘The Roadmap’ in Thailand under the name Suragamika, which roughly translates as, ‘Brave Traveller’; a suitable moniker giving the context of the book (it is set during and after the 1988 revolution following the lives of one family whose father had been imprisoned). Maung Thura, writer, comedian, democracy activist and a constant thorn in the military junta’s side goes by the name of Zarganar, in English, ‘Tweezers’.

Having a pen name can distance the writer from the words, can protect themselves and their families from the scrutiny of the feared special police, but often the writer cannot distance themselves from the name. The poet Maung Ba Gyan is a particular favourite of mine. When I came to Burma, I stenciled a three line poem of his onto the wall of my lounge, ‘The Great Guest’, he left Burma in 1999 never to return, yet before he died in a Californian exile in 2007 he continued to write and publish as Tin Moe.

L-R Maung Thura, Tin Moe

Often the use of a pen name in Burma goes further than self-preservation. Simple realities of the literature industry in Burma dictate that poets and short story writers must submit their work under different guises. A poem can fetch as little as 5 dollars; a short story, if the writer is lucky, maybe 10 dollars. To survive on your writing in Burma – which many writers don’t, having second day jobs as editors or language teachers – means multiple submissions. But like any publishing industry, editors are wary of over-selling a single author; so a writer will adopt several names. I once met a writer who had forgotten how many names he had submitted work under, he guessed about twenty but he wasn’t sure. Most writers here I speak to say about five is norm.

Which begs the question, how do writers in Burma choose their identities, if so many must be utilized?

As the only Westerner on my street, it’s safe to assume that everybody knows who I am; knowing who everybody else is, is trickier. Even those who have lived on the street all their lives often refer to their neighbours, not by name, but by physical or habitual characteristics that have morphed over time into the standard name that everyone uses. For example, the old Chinese man who spends his days sitting on his front step smoking, is known simply as ‘old Chinese man’, the curiously obese boy who plays street football every night is called, cruelly, ‘fatty’, there is also ‘skinny man’ and ‘tall man’. The last foreigner who lived on my street in the mid 80’s, a British Embassy employee, was affectionately known as ‘Uncle Poori’ due to him eating poori every night in the Indian restaurant on the corner.

Nobody remembers his real name.

L-R Dagon Khin Lay Lay, Ma Ma Lay.

While not many Burmese writers fashion aliases around their height or weight, there are commonalities to most. Attaching the name of the journal they publish has been a popular method since the early 20th Century. Khin Lay Latt, arguably the greatest of the pre-war female writers in Burma, wrote as Dagon Khin Khin Lay, after her magazine of the same name, ‘Dagon’, ‘The Star’. Her post-war successor, Ma Ma Lay, wrote one of only two Burmese novels to be translated into English, ‘Not Out of Hate’, though her biography of her husband ‘A Man Like Him”, translated and published in America in 2008, is without doubt one of the most heartfelt pieces of Burmese literature in English. Right through the war she published a magazine with her husband, the title of which, ‘Journal Kyaw’ (Brave Journal), she prefixed to her name to become, ‘Journal Kyaw Ma Ma Lay’. Ludu U Hla, the great Mandalay publisher, writer and collector, most famous for his series of interviews with prisoners in the 1950’s, ‘The Caged Ones’ simply attached the name of his printing press, Ludu.

In rare circumstances, the journal itself will decide to bestow its name upon a worthy writer. Depending on the quality of the journal, this is about as big an honour a writer can receive in Burma. ‘Shwe Amyutay’ is without doubt the leading literary journal in Burma, to have a short story included in their edition is the sign a writer has ‘made it’. In fact, competition is so fierce that the journal actually has a two tier selection criteria; to even be considered for inclusion in the journal, a writer must have published at least two stories in its smaller, less critical sister edition. Eight years ago, a young woman writer called A Phyu Yaung, translated as ‘white’ or ‘pure’, having spent two years in careful deliberation on her pen name, was distraught to find another writer had successfully submitted a story to ‘Shwe Amyutay’ under the same name only weeks before her. The Chief Editor, in a decision which caused ripples in the Yangon literary community, authorized A Phyu Yaung to affix ‘Shwe’ or ‘Gold” after her name, thereby associating this young writer – and only this writer – to his journal.

Most pen name constructions are less dramatic; some like ‘U Phone’ (Chemistry) denote their university major, others are less specific, such as pre-war writer ‘Paragu’, which simply means, ‘The Expert’. Many Burmese writers choose a place of special importance to them; Dr Ma Thida places ‘Sanchaung’ after her name as this is the Yangon township where she was born; Nu Nu Yi chose ‘Inwa’ as this was the name of her university hall where she started her writing career; Naing Swann uses a combination of a location and abstract referencing, writing as Thway (Sagaing), ‘Thway’ meaning ‘blood’, a respectful allusion to her father, the famous detective novelist Sagaing Ei Lwin and ‘Sagaing’ the area in Burma she grew up in.

However a Burmese writer chooses their pen name, once they are in possession of one, it will become the name by which, for all intents and purposes, they will die with. They will introduce themselves by it, sign by it, biographies and news articles will refer to them by it. Only their passports (if they have one) and national registration card will bear their real name.

Just like the neighbours in my street, often writers who have known and respected each other for years will not know each other’s real name. Working recently with A Phyu Yaung (Shwe) it was necessary for me to book an air ticket for her. Feeling embarrassed at not knowing her real name, I trawled through my correspondence with her; emails, articles, an old application form for a workshop, I could find no mention of it. I called a writer friend, who also didn’t know, I called a second writer with the same results; at one point there was the real possibility of contacting somebody who apparently knew A Phyu Yaung (Shwe)’s mother who surely would have known. In the end, the editor of ‘Shwe Amyutay’ magazine delved into his database and came up with her real name; Yee Kyaw.

PEN MYANMAR

As a founding member of PEN Myanmar, it was A Phyu Yaung (Shwe) who steered me towards the table I was sitting on. Recognizing only some of the writers and publishers present, I asked Seyar Lay Ko Tin who else had come. Leaning his small frame closer to me he pointed to several distinguished members of the Burmese literary community; U Win Nyein, the Chief Editor of ‘Shwe Amyutay’; short story specialist Ye Shan; the poetess Pandora. Eventually he pointed to a middle aged man sitting on the table across from us.

That’s Ko Anyu.”

Mr. Brown?” I asked recognizing the colour in Burmese.

Yes. That’s his pen name.”

Why on earth is his pen name Mr. Brown?” I asked again.

Because he is brown. His skin is dark.”

But everybody is brown here,” I protested.

You’re not,” Zeyar Lynn chipped in, “You’re white.”

So what does that make me then? Mr. White?”

That is a good name for you.” Seyar Lay Ko Tin casually suggested, adding, “Although I think there is already a Ko Phyu, so you should put your township after it. Ko Phyu (Kyauktada).”

 

Lucas Stewart (Ko Phyu Kyauktada)

 

Read More by Mr White:

The Act of Insanity  – Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Issue 25

Hidden Worlds – The Irrawaddy, July, 2014

Myanmar’s Literary Talk Shows – The Diplomat, May 2014

The Kachin: Culture of the Mountain Lords – The Dissident Blog, March 2014

SADAIK (An online manuscript chest for all things literary in Myanmar)

 

Further Reading:

Writers Day, 9 December, 1988 – An Address by U Win Tun

– Burma Debate, Vol. VIII, No.1, 2001

Voices of ’88: In Their Own Words – Burma Debate, Vol. V, No. 3, 1998

Burma or Myanmar? Burmese or Burman? – U Khin Maung Saw

Selected Myanmar Short Stories – Translated by Ma Thanegi

Khin Hnin Yu’s Short Stories

Dandruff in My Hair – Khin Myo Chit, Burma Debate, Vol. VI, No.1, 1999

Burmese Sketches – Taw Sein Ko, British Burma Press, 1913

Modern Burmese Literature – U On Pe (The Atlantic, 1958)

Another Look at Burmese Days

– Stephen H. L. Keck, SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, 2005

Neruda’s Burmese Days – Seamus Martov, The Irrawaddy, June 15, 2015

 

 

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The Pali Literature of Burma – Mabel Haynes Bode

 

‘Our purpose is not to describe again the outward aspect of the temple, the monastery, and the village, very vividly presented to Western readers by learned and sympathetic writers from Bishop Bigandet onwards. So many Europeans have come under the charm of Burma – of the Burmese people, their life and religion – that there is no need to do more than recall to readers the names of the writers who have made that charm a familiar thing to us. We have chosen for our study the less well-known subject of the Pali Books of Burma. The authors were the ancestors and masters of the monks to-day, through whom we know those old-time scholars and can still see, as it were, a far-off picture of their lives, their schools, and their work.’

Mabel Haynes Bode

The Pali Literature of Burma

The Royal Asiatic Society, 1909

 

 

Mabel Haynes Bode (1864–1922) was one of the first women to enter the academic fields of Pāli, Sanskrit and Buddhist studies. She lectured in Pāli and Sanskrit, made an edition of the Pāli text Sāsanavaṃsa, and helped with the English translation, from German, of the Mahāvaṃsa. She specialised in the Pāli literature of Burma, about which she wrote the book above, published in 1909, by The Royal Asiatic Society.

 

royal barge

 

Further Reading:

Sāsanavamsa – Mabel Haynes Bode, Pali Text Society, 1897

Mahāvamsa (The Great Chronicle of Ceylon)

Translated by Willhelm Geiger (Assisted by Mabel Haynes Bode), Pali Text Society, 1912

Recherches sur le Bouudhisme

I. P. Minayeff, 1894  (French – Translated from the Russian by R.H. Assier de Pompignan)

Arakan

Emmanuel Forchhammer, 1891 (Report on the antiquities of Arakan (western Burma))

The Life, Or Legend of Gaudama, The Budha of The Burmese

Rev. P. Bigandet, American Mission Press, 1866

The Origin of the Buddhavarsha – J. F. Fleet, Journal of The Royal Asiatic Society, 1909

The Day on which Buddha Died – J. F. Fleet, Journal of The Royal Asiatic Society, 1909

T’Oung Pao (Vol. VI) – Henri Cordier, Gustave Schlegel, 1895

 

 

 

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Akutagawa

Ryūnosuke Akutagawa

[Ryūnosuke Akutagawa]

A further installment in our series of pieces on and by Ku Hung-ming, [Gū Hóngmíng 辜鴻銘] (1857-1928).

 

The Japanese writer Ryūnosuke Akutagawa (芥川龍之介, Akutagawa Ryūnosuke), author of “In a Grove” and “Rashomon”, was told before going to China in March 1921: “If you go to Peking, you may skip a visit to the old Imperial Palace, but you must not miss a chance to see Ku Hung-Ming.” Akutagawa’s visit to China lasted four months but due to ill-health he did not write a single article until he returned to Japan. Incidentally, his visit to China also included an interview with the monarchist Zheng Xiaoxu (鄭孝胥), formerly a high-ranking official in the Qing dynasty administration, who was to become Prime Minister of the Japanese-controlled puppet state of Manchuko under the Emperor Puyi.

Ku Hung-ming, Gu Hongming

 

***

“Akutagawa did have one other meeting with a Chinese intellectual, though not in Shanghai. Later in his travels, he met with the celebrated arch-reactionary Gu Hongming (1857-1928), who subsequently became an advisor to the warlord Zhang Zuolin. Gu was still wearing his queue, sign of fidelity to the Qing dynasty then ten years defunct, as he greeted his Japanese guest in English, the language they had in common and used for their conversation. While speaking nonstop in English, Gu wrote in Chinese on paper, and somehow Akutagawa conveyed the whole exchange into his travel narrative in Japanese.

 

Mr. Gu calls himself a man of east, west, south and north. He was born in Fujian province in the south; he studied in Scotland in the west; his wife is Japanese from the east; and he resides in Beijing to the north. He speaks English of course, but German and French as well. However, he is unlike [those associated with] young China. He does not have an inflated opinion of Western civilization. He heaps abuse on Christianity, republicanism, and the omnipotence of machinery. And, when he saw me dressed in Chinese garb, he said: “Not wearing Western clothing is quite admirable, though I do find fault with the lack of the queue!””

 

[The literature of travel in the Japanese rediscovery of China, 1862-1945 by Joshua A. Fogel.]

 

***

Akutagawa dressed in Chinese clothing

 

[Akutagawa dressed in traditional Chinese garb, as per his description above.]

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CHINESE PICTURES

Notes on Photographs Made in China

MRS. J. F. BISHOP

(Isabella Bird)

CHARLES L. BOWMAN & CO.

1900

Introduction

“This little book is the outcome of talks with Mrs. Bishop over some of the photographs which were taken by her in one or other of her journeys into and across China. Some of the photographs have already appeared in her published works, “The Yangtze Valley and Beyond” and “Korea and Her Neighbourhood”. The notes were, in substance, dictated by Mrs. Bishop. It is hoped they contain some real information on the people, their surroundings, and habits which, though slight in form, may be helpful to a better understanding of a very difficult problem.

According to our newspaper press to-day, the Chinese are simply cruel barbarians. According to Mrs. Bishop, when you know them they are a likeable people — and she has formed this opinion in spite of the fact that, in their deeply-rooted hatred of the foreigners, they twice attacked her with violence. A real understanding of the people is for us, with our different modes of thought, most difficult to arrive at; but we shall not advance towards it by accepting all the evil reports and shutting our ears to the good ones. That the problem of China is, and will for some time continue to be, the most interesting question to the rest of the world is certain. The future of its people is all unknown, but there are in it possibilities which make it a terror to all other nations.”

[Above, front cover. Below, the Altar of Heaven, Foochow (Fuzhou).]

Download as a PDF file.

(from the Internet Archive)

Download as a MS Reader LIT file.

(from the E-Asia Digital Library)

(inc. illustrations)

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Camps & Trails In China

CAMPS AND TRAILS IN CHINA
A Narrative of Exploration, Adventure, and Sport in little-known China,
By
Roy CHAPMAN ANDREWS,
And Yvette BORUP ANDREWS
1918

“We rode toward Ta-li with the beautiful lake on our right hand and on the other the Ts’ang Shan mountains which rise to a height of fourteen thousand feet. As we approached the city we could see dimly outlined against the foothills the slender shafts of three ancient pagodas. They were erected to the feng-shui, the spirits of the “earth, wind, and water,” and for fifteen hundred years have stood guard over the stone graves which, in countless thousands, are spread along the foot of the mountains like a vast gray blanket. In the late afternoon sunlight the walls of the city seemed to recede before us and the picturesque gate loomed shadowy and unreal even when we passed through its gloomy arch and clattered up the stone-paved street.”

Read this book online

(via Project Gutenberg)

Download as a PDF file

(from the Internet Archive)

Download as a MS Reader LIT file

(from E-Asia Library)

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