Burmese Colonial Architecture
By Lindsay Kuhlmann
urban landscape is still dominated by colonial-era buildings,
especially in the
Central Business District fronted by the Rangoon
River, site of
pre-world War Two
“plural society’ that included large, economically active populations
immigrant Indians and Chinese. Despite the encroachment of post-1988
structures, the foreign visitor can still see a colonial-era downtown
anywhere in Asia." (Seekins, pg 258)
in Donald M. Seekins' “The State and the City: 1988 and the
Transformation of Rangoon” is
something that I related to when visiting Yangon. The architecture of the city
appeared to be stuck in
Looking out of my thirteenth floor hotel window I could see the
of the colonial era. Except for the few new hotel buildings, which must
been funded by the government, the buildings were deteriorating. These
observations also relate to what Seekins describes in the article as “a
line of military leaders aggressively transformed the capital city in
strategic, commercial and ideological goals" (Seekins, pg 258).
Everywhere that I
visited it was almost impossible not to financially support the
From the hotels to the airlines many of the tourist industries seemed
controlled by the military regime in power or at the very least heavily
by the government. Ethically I found it very confusing to visit Burma.
I wanted to support the people of Burma
with the money I spent in the country but found it very difficult.
transaction I made, in the back of my mind I wondered who would really
from this money? After reading “The Heart of Burma” by Maura Stephens,
sure if I was acting as a responsible member of the international
end only time will tell me.