Golden Earth: Travels in Burma


That afternoon, the surviving second brother, a gay, philandering fellow, turned up with a jeep he had borrowed for my benefit from some government department. This be-ringed young blood, with his gold bracelet and wrist watch, his American cigarettes, and the chic severity of his longyi of grey chequered silk, was the antithesis of his austere and authoritarian elder brother. With totally oriental insouciance we motored out into the bandit-infested countryside. Climate seems, after all, seemed to have little to do with temperament. Here in the Eastern tropics you felt that while swaggering bravado was probably unknown, an emergency would be met with more than Anglo-Saxon phlegm. Perhaps the wholehearted belief in the immutability of one’s horoscope had something to do with it. I found the Burmese imperturbable.

Norman Lewis, Golden Earth: Travels in Burma, 1951

See images here.