Burmese days: Yangon monuments to the rare Chinese who made their fortunes in colonial era

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Chin Tsong Palace in Yangon. Source: South China Morning Post 20181102

via South China Morning Post, 02 November 2018: Interesting story about heritage houses in Yangon built by Chinese tycoons in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Chin Tsong Palace in Yangon. Source: South China Morning Post 20181102

Chin Tsong Palace in Yangon. Source: South China Morning Post 20181102

Ethnic Chinese accounted for less than 3 per cent of the population of Burma in 1881, a figure that had increased to 8.9 per cent by 1911, at which time Indians made up 56 per cent of the population, according to figures cited in Mapping Chinese Rangoon. By 1931, the Indian population of Rangoon exceeded one million, while the ethnic Chinese population was less than 200,000.

Although the races were not legally forced to live separately, downtown Rangoon was essentially divided into three quarters: the European quarter east of Sule Pagoda Road, the Indian quarter west of Sule Pagoda Road, and the Chinese quarter west of the Indian quarter (starting around Shwedagon Pagoda Road) down to 19th Street – now the culinary heart of Yangon’s Chinatown.

A westward stroll down Maha Bandoola Road takes the visitor past still visibly Indian neighbourhoods, with their mosques and Hindu temples; these slowly make way for Chinatown, with its Guan Yin and Kheng Hock Keong temples, and restaurants serving typical southern Chinese cuisine – noodles and pork, chicken and rice, and the ubiquitous fried rice and fried noodles.

Rangoon’s overseas Chinese were drawn to opportunities the city’s booming commercial port offered. While some came by land, crossing into upper Myanmar from Yunnan province, the majority were Cantonese speakers from Guangdong and Hokkien speakers from Fujian, who came by sea.

Source: Burmese days: Yangon monuments to the rare Chinese who made their fortunes in colonial era | South China Morning Post

Survey Finds 6,000 Heritage Buildings in Yangon

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Myanmar Business Today, 24 May 2017: The Yangon Heritage Trust has identified some 6,000 heritage buildings in Yangon.

A building survey conducted by the Yangon Heritage Trust (YHT) has found 6,000 heritage buildings spread throughout nine Yangon townships.Of the nine town­ships, four are located in downtown – Kyauktada, Pabedan, Latha and Lan­madaw.

Source: Survey Finds 6,000 Heritage Buildings in Yangon | Myanmar Business Today

Dhammazedi Bell search proves fruitless

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Rumours that a bell stolen from the Shwedagon Pagoda in the 16th century had been found proved to be just that – rumours. The salvage company has reportedly given up on the search, and public opinion has shifted to that of anger after donations were given to the ultimately fruitless cause.

Source: Myanmar Times 20140830

Source: Myanmar Times 20140830

Officials insist bell must return to pagoda
Myanmar Times, 30 August 2014

Hope turns to anger as bell search ends
Myanmar Times, 12 September 2014
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Are there really Spitfires buried in Myanmar?

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It’s been a month since the fanfare of the search for buried Spitfire planes in Myanmar was launched, but little has been reported of anything actually found. This piece in the Myanmar Times talks about how the ‘legend’ of buried Spitfires may have been exaggerated and that the evidence to suggest the existence of the planes is quite flimsy.

Myanmar’s phantom Spitfires: how a legend was born
The Myanmar Times, 04 February 2013
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The hunt for Spitfires in Myanmar

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Earlier this month a group of researchers from the UK went to Myanmar to look for buried Spitfire planes from World War II. Here’s a list of news links related to the story – the latest development is that the crew have found some waterlogged crates that may contain the planes, but excavations are hampered because they are lying beneath electric cables.

The Project Spitfire Blog

Myanmar Spitfire hunter still optimistic
Bangkok Post, 18 January 2013

Myanmar Spitfire hunters say search has hit snag [Link no longer active]
Salon.com, via AP, 18 January 2013

Burmese Spitfire Hunt Leads to Water-filled Crate
The Irrawady, 10 January 2013

David Cundall leads Burma archaeology team in search for buried World War II spitfires
Culture 24, 09 January 2013

Crate find lifts hopes of Spitfire hunters
Bangkok Post, 09 January 2013

Dig for Spitfires begins [Link no longer active]
TRWeekly, via AFP, 08 January 2013

British team in Burma begin lost Spitfire hunt
BBC News, 07 January 2013

British Spitfire Search Team Arrives in Burma
The Irrawady, via AP, 06 January 2013

British team flies to Myanmar for buried Spitfire planes
Channel NewsAsia, via AFP, 05 January 2013

WWII Spitfires digging team leaves for Burma
BBC News, 05 January 2013

Spitfires hunted in Myanmar
Bangkok Post, 05 January 2013

Mission heads to Burma to unearth hidden Spitfires
The Guardian, 04 January 2013

Spitfire Planes Buried In Burmese Jungle At End Of Second World War To Be Located By British Team
Huffington Post UK, 04 January 2013

Briton heads for Burma to start dig for Spitfires
Evening Standard, 04 January 2013

Buried Spitfires to be excavated next month

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Researchers from the UK believe they have found the Spitfires planes from World War II buried near the Yangon airport and are ready to excavate them next month, after a lengthy process of investigation and negotiation.

Investigators David Cundall, Dr Roger Clark and Dr Adam Booth at the Imperial War Museum. The Irrawady 20121211

Investigators David Cundall, Dr Roger Clark and Dr Adam Booth at the Imperial War Museum. The Irrawady 20121211

Quest for Hidden Spitfires Nears Completion
The Irrawady, 11 December 2012
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Myanmar tourism industry wants protection for colonial sites

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The opening up of Myanmar means more money and more tourists coming in, which means more development – which in turn means the once-grand colonial-era buildings may have to make way for newer ones. The tourism industry is expressing a desire to protect some of these colonial neighbourhoods so that they may be kept as tourism products.

Myanmar Times, 19-25 March 2012

Tourism sector urges protection of colonial sites
Myanmar Times, 19-25 March 2012

Historic Yangon cityscape thrown a lifeline
Myanmar Times, 19-25 March 2012
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Myanmar Pagoda collapses

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An ancient structure at the southern border of the capital Yangon, the Danok Pagoda, collapsed on Saturday injuring at least 30 with an unaccounted number of people under the rubble. The pagoda was said to be undergoing recent reconstruction; however Myanmar’s reconstruction works have been notoriously questionable from a heritage conservation point of view, and now it seems from an architectural point of view as well. Given the tightly controlled media of the military junta, it is unlikely that we hear any more information from this tragedy.

Ancient Myanmar pagoda collapses, injures 30
AFP, via Channel NewsAsia, 30 May 2009
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