Burma (now Myanmar) was always placed under severe political unrest due to several dictators taking control of government powers. In 2020, a coup d’ etat took place, overthrowing what was once a democratic nation. Now, the unrest has caused chaos in the streets and darkness in the lands of Myanmar as the country is plunged into another civil war.
The author’s story takes us back to the beginning of his birth towards the end of World War II and his life as a young boy with hopes and dreams of becoming a Christian missionary doctor. Eventually, this got him accepted into Rangoon University’s medical program during the time of Ne Win’s oppressive leadership. Slowly, things got complicated for his family, and his fellow students were being killed by the soldiers, barely escaping his life in the center of the crossfire. Although most media reported that there were only a few who had been killed by the soldiers, Yay was a witness to several other deaths of his classmates.
This anecdote tells the story of one man’s journey of telling the truth through his own words and writing, knowing that he could tell the story without the revisions made by historians in his own time. Being a witness to the political unrest of his time, his inspiration to be involved in politics includes several figures such as Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela, Abraham Lincoln, and Mahatma Gandhi, who were all-powerful figures in their own country fighting oppressive leadership.
What readers will see in this memoir is Yay’s personal experiences facing the threat of death under the hands of a fascist—seeing the struggle of becoming a public servant while being persecuted by its own government. Yay’s brother was imprisoned for three years as a political prisoner during Secretary-General U Thant’s funeral, and his uncle, the private advisor of the ex-democratically elected Prime Minister U Nu, was killed in prison. He eventually moved to Britain to find freedom from corruption and the right to assess his own human rights.
After Ne Win resigned from his position after the failure of his leadership, Yay tried to go back to his country to help the nation with their drug problem and economic and medical development, but due to several issues with severe corruption in the regime and lack of knowledge in understanding development and lacking the desire to achieve economic stability in the country. He was forced to be confined back to Britain, hoping for better days for his home country. His personal accounts of the implications of British colonization in Burma show the reader that apart from their oppressive leadership, there were other forces that affected the stunt in growth by his own country.
The book is touching and memorable because it leaves a lesson to its readers to know how to watch out for the signs that will endanger the lives of their families and children through political leadership and how politics will affect someone one way or the other. In addition, Yay’s narrative will have the reader gripping their chests as he runs for his own life for the sake of his dream of becoming a surgeon and a free man.
With what’s happening in Burma today, Yay tells us that he only hopes that international organizations and countries will help his people in the country to escape from the slaughter under another fascist regime.