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The Lady and the Peacock: The Life of Aung…

The Lady and the Peacock: The Life of Aung San Suu Kyi (2011)

by Peter Popham

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1032180,087 (3.4)15
"Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi known to the world as an icon for democracy and nonviolent dissent in oppressed Burma, and to her followers as simply "The Lady" has recently returned to international headlines. Now, this major new biography offers essential reading at a moment when Burma, after decades of stagnation, is once again in flux. Suu Kyi's remarkable life begins with that of her father, Aung San. The architect of Burma's independence, he was assassinated when she was only two. Suu Kyi grew up in India (where her mother served as ambassador), studied at Oxford, and worked for three years at the UN in New York. In 1972, she married Michael Aris, a British scholar. They had two sons, and for several years she lived as a self-described "housewife" but she never forgot that she was the daughter of Burma's national hero."--Book jacket… (more)


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Popham brings this study to a restrained but moving conclusion. And it sets up the next phase of Aung San Suu Kyi's life and career with even higher stakes. Popham makes a compelling argument for the importance and correctness of her choices, and goes into detail on how her moral example has worked in Burma/Myanmar. But now of course she is a member of parliament, embedded in the messy choices of politics. What comes next? I had my quibbles with this book, but it deserves to be read very widely in Singapore. ( )
  Katong | Apr 14, 2013 |
I’ve just finished reading “The Lady and the peacock” and what an interesting and eye-opening read it has been! Popham not only tells us the life story of THE famous human rights activist and one of Burma’s finest and best-known persons, but also gives the reader a brief history of Burma since WWII until ca 2010 and explains the culture, traditions and mentality of the Burmese nation. There is a lot to learn from this book, therefore it may not be an easy read for those only getting interested in Burma’s heartbreaking history. I also found the often non-chronological order of events a bit confusing at times, but all in all the book was rather clear and well written, with interesting comments and reflections and not just the dry facts.
What I also liked about the book was the fact that it wasn’t only a story of a politician or activist, but it offers quite an in-depth look into Suu’s personal life: being famous parents’ child, being a foreign student in Oxford, being a wife and a mother and finally being that individual who decides to make a huge sacrifice to make a difference. It’s a very inspiring book altogether and I’m really glad I took the time to read it. Well worth reading! ( )
  justine28 | Jan 29, 2013 |
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"I have never ceased to be moved by the sense of the world lying quiescent and vulnerable, waiting to be awakened by the light of the new day quivering just beyond the horizon."
Aung San Suu Kyi, Letters from Burma
"If they answer not your call, walk alone...
With the thunder-flame of pain ignite thine own heart,
And let it burn alone."
Rabindranath Tagore, Walk Alone
"Oh this ruler of our kingdom, a pretty thing, a pretty little thing."
Old lady in Po Chit Kon village, Kachin state, singing to her grandchild
In memory of Michela Speranza Bezzi
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In November 2010, Burma was preparing for its first elections in decades.
She had lost. That was the point. She had challenged the Old Man, Number One, General Ne Win, to a duel, cheered on by millions - but he had the gun and she had only flowers to throw and now she had lost the duel and they had locked her up and thrown away the key.
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