Lines from a SHINING LAND - Excerpts (2)

1921-22 - Stella

When the then Prince of Wales visited the Far East it was a time for grand festivities. On the residential side of Rangoon there was a beautiful lake "the Royal Lake". Many years later we lived by it. On this occasion all the trees around it were garlanded with lights and bands played and there were firework displays. My parents knew someone who had a House-boat on the lake and we visited them and enjoyed the excitement even more. We were invited to visit them on this special night and I can remember the slap slap of the wavelets under the floor boards and the delicious box of chocolates that was passed around. Boxes for chocolates were actually made of tin in those days. On this night there was a wonderful firework display but I kept falling asleep. I can also remember seeing the Prince play polo and overhearing snippets of gossip about him. Another time my father phoned to say Lady Elizabeth Bowes Lyon was about to drive past the house. So we got out our flags and stood by the gate and waved frantically when her car drove past. When abroad we felt so cut off from Britain that these Royal visits were possibly greeted out of all proportion.

Early 1942 - Sylvia

We heard that the Prime Minister of Burma, U Saw, was under arrest for having contact with the Japanese after the beginning of the war with Japan; he was in Britain at the time. He hoped by league with the Japanese to get independence for Burma, but he was foolish to trust the Japs. I did not condemn him entirely. I felt his attitude was influenced by the behaviour of a large class of English people in Burma. There was much snobbery there, especially in Rangoon among the trading class of English people there. There were clubs in Rangoon barred to Burmese people, which I felt to be quite wrong. This attitude was not as a rule found among the civil servants, who wished to help and co-operate with the people. The civil service was open to Myanmar as well as English.

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