Friday, 30 September 2016

Mourning Mandalay.

Having remembered the fondness I felt for the name Mandalay when I was a kid, I just did a bit of reading about the place.

Oh dear, it seems that I was tapping into a fading icon because I gather the place has changed greatly during my lifetime. Whether the flying fishes still play there I don’t know, but it isn’t the dawn that comes up like thunder ‘outer China crost the bay’ any more, it’s the Chinese. Great swathes of them have crossed the border over the past few decades, rebuilding the city following several devastating fires in the 1980s and revitalising the old place in the process. That’s good in its way, I suppose, but the grandeur of pre-colonial days and the charm of the colonial era have gone now. Judging by the picture I saw, modern Mandalay would look more at home in Texas.

You know, it does bother me that resurgent parts of the world like East Asia so insist on aping the west in their architectural developments. I mean, where do we westerners go these days to escape the tyranny of sky scrapers and smartypants yuppie condominiums? Bhutan?

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