...Our Country Our Country, the Union of Myanmar, is known as the land of golden pagodas. Myanmar is surrounded by big countries like China in the north and India and Bengladish to the west. Thailand and laos lie to the east of Myanmar and the south is the east of Myanmar and the south is the sea. Its area is about 676553 square kilometers, and it is the second largest country in Southeast Asia after Indonesia. Although it is still a developing country, we can say it has good neighbours, great resources and beautiful natural surroundings. And, Myanmar is divided into seven states and seven divisions. There are althogether 135 ethnic groups, like Kachin, Kayar, Kayin, Chin, Bamar, Mon, Rakhine, Shan, Palaung, Paoh and different races like Chinese and Indians, living in unity. Our country is situated near the Bay of Bengal, it has monsoon climate. It is colder in the north than in the south, and the central region is dry. It has three separated seasons, the hot season, the rainy season and the cold season (winter). Each season lasts about four months. The hot season begins in February and ends in May. The rainy season is from June to September. The cold season starts in October and ends is January. The hot season is the most unfavourable season in our country as it is the most unpleasant time to live. It is really hot, dry and dusty. The lakes and wells dry up in...
Chapter I. Of National Pride in General.
THERE is no passion more universal than Pride. It pervades all orders of society: from the throne to the cottage, every individual in some point or other conceives himself superior to the rest of his species, and looks down with contempt or haughty compassion on all who are placed beneath his ima|ginary superiority. Every nation contemplates itself through the medium of self-conceit, and draws conclusions to its own advantage, which individuals adopt to themselves with complacency, because they confound and interweave their private with their national character. The inhabitants of most countries, great or small, powerful or otherwise, value themselves upon a certain something, of which they believe themselves to be exclusively possessed, and are apt to view every thing that re|lates to this particular point of honour, both in themselves and others, with prejudice and prepos|session. Page 42 Thus humility, which forbids ascribing to ourselves greater worth than we really possess, and equity, which enjoins us to bestow the tribute of praise wherever it is due, have with respect to the judgement passed by nations upon each other become antiquated virtues. A powerful state may overawe, may destroy the dependence of its weaker neighbour, but can never bring its inhabit|ants to be humble; every thing else may be taken away, but their good opinion of themselves will remain. The Doge of Genoa, who had the ho|nour of submissively begging pardon of the haughty Lewis the fourteenth in his palace at Versailles, for the trouble that Prince had been put to in bom|barding his native city, saw nothing, amidst all the splendour of that magnificent court, so worthy of admiration, as the Doge himself.
National advantages are either imaginary or real: in the former case, when a nation unjustly pretends to the possession of great advantages, its pride is arrogance; in the latter, the pride arising from the consciousness of possessing greater worth than others, when well founded, may be called a noble pride, which arrogance can never be; for that always implies an unjust, an overweening, pre|ference of ourselves. Self-esteem proceeds from a sense of our own imaginary or real perfections, con|tempt for others from a sense of their imaginary or Page 43 real defects; and the union of these two sentiments in the mind, by the partial comparison which a na|tion makes between the advantages it possesses, or believes itself to possess, and the deficiencies of other countries in the same respects, begets nation|al pride.
The nature of my subject requires uncommon li|berality of sentiment, and the strictest regard to equity, to avoid giving any reasonable cause of com|plaint against me. It is an arduous and difficult undertaking to attack men in their tenderest point, to delineate with forcible strokes the foibles and ridiculous characteristics of the most considerable nations, and, penetrating through the exterior ap|pearances and prejudices of mankind, to lay before the reader a true picture of their actions and mo|tives, so as not to offend any one, and to steer at an equal distance between the opposite extremes of fawning flattery and wanton satire.
Misinterpretations, I am aware, can hardly be avoided. I may often appear to exemplify a nation|al foible by that which may have been remarkable in one of its individuals; yet to allege on that account that I draw general inferences from few and partial observations, or that I cast on a whole nation the odium resulting from the defects of a few persons, would be doing me injustice. I believe I have not Page 44 offended any man of understanding; and the sensi|ble part of mankind in every country, I am sure, will not take umbrage at the exposure of the weak|nesses which tarnish the better qualities of its inha|bitants.
Illustrious characters of all professions are every where to be met with; and, in this work, I de|fend the just claims of all nations to common sense and a good understanding, against the selfish mo|nopoly which has been exercised by the vanity of a few. I esteem and love persons of merit of what|ever clime or religion, and glory in their regard; but this does not prevent my censuring as ridicu|lous whatever really is so among the generality of their countrymen: this remark may peculiarly be applied to what I say respecting the Spaniards. It would be to form from my writings a very im|proper idea of my real sentiments, and of the whole tenour of my life, to suppose that I entertain an aver|sion to the English, whom I hold to be the wor|thiest nation of the globe, notwithstanding the ill I have to say of them: amidst all my censures, I love the French, and highly respect many individu|als among them: the Italians too are well worthy of my regard, on account of the fertility of their ge|nius and the vivacity of their conceptions: yet none of these nations will I spare.
Page 45A remark in a certain Paris review, though it made me smile, requires some explanation to the public. It states, that I have not indiscriminately passed my satirical censure on all nations; that I ought to have looked nearer round me, and might full as easily have traced in Germany, instances of the same ridiculous pride with which I made myself so merry when I find it in the French, the Spani|ard, or the English, if I had but deigned to cast an eye on the circle more immediately within my own observation.
Instances of the most laughable personal pride, it is true, are plentifully to be met with in the German universities, in the German cities, in the German nobility, and in short in every thing that may be called German; but instances of silly na|tional pride occur but very seldom in people, who despise the works of their own artists, who give the preference to foreign manufactures, and to foreign learning, and occasionally console themselves by a comparison with the petty nation of the Swiss. With what assurance could I have exposed the slight traces of national pride to be met with among the honest Germans, when one of the most learned men of our age reproaches them with the want of this useful folly as a very great national defect? This gentleman says, in his preface to the history of the frogs, "In Eu|rope there exists a great nation, distinguished by laboriousness and industry, possessing men of inven|tive Page 46 faculties and of great genius in as great a num|ber as any other, little addicted to luxury, and the most valiant among the brave. This nation never|theless hates and despises itself, purchases, praises, and imitates only what is foreign; it imagines that no dress can be elegant, no food or wine delicious or even palatable, no dwelling commodious, unless stuff, taylor, clothes, cook, wine, furniture, and architect, come to it at an excessive expence from abroad; and what adds a zest to all, from a coun|try inhabited by its natural enemies. This singular nation exalts and praises solely and above measure the genius and wit of foreigners, the poetry of fo|reigners, the paintings of foreigners; and especi|ally with regard to literature, foreign books written in the most miserable style, are solely purchased, read, and admired by these infatuated people, who know little even of their own history, save from the faulty, unfaithful, and malicious relations of fo|reign authors."
Let others decide on the justice of this well-meant reproach; for me it only remains to inform the Parisian censor, that I am really no German, although I write German, and yield, in his opinion to none in the humility with which I address the Austrian and Swabian nobility, according to the custom of the country, using the title of Gracious Lord, and seem to him to sacrifice truth at the shrine of servile adulation.