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Maymyo Days: Forgotten Lives of a Burma Hill Station

The title of the book is Maymyo Days, but it is really the sub-title, Forgotten Lives of a Burma Hill Station which best describes what the book is really all about – I have written about some, as is the case with most of us ordinary, ‘normal’ people, who lived in the Shan Hills, ordinary people but people who did some extraordinary things. Some turned out to be gifted, a few were courageous, others tragic, whose lives I first stumbled upon around 20 years ago in Rangoon: amongst others, Henry Morshead, a Royal Engineer who got to within a shout of the summit of Everest with George Mallory (Morshead later murdered in Maymyo), Princesses Ma Lat and Yadana Nat Mai – Shan Princesses who lead risky and fascinating lives, General Po Yay – a Karen who won an MC in Burma during the war, ‘Elephant Bill’ of the Bombay Burma Trading Corporation, Charlotte Wheeler Cuffe who painted orchids and rhododendron in Burma and who turned out to be a quite superb, ‘amateur’ artist (her art is jealously guarded by Glasnevin Botanical Gardens in Dublin). Whilst the book is not a current affairs book, but rather a series of mini-biographies of extraordinary people I do nevertheless update on the (terrible) state of things in Burma now.

About the speaker

Stephen Simmons is a former soldier who served for 16 years with The Royal Irish Rangers in Berlin, Belize, Cyprus, Northern Ireland and England. Towards the end of his service, he spent two years as a Staff Officer at HQ 48 Gurkha Brigade in Hong Kong and on leaving the Regular Army joined Hong Kong’s Territorials – The Royal Hong Kong Regiment.

He then spent the next 20 years or so broking equity markets in Hong Kong, Thailand and London and working in private equity in Cambodia. Married with two grown-up children, he now lives in East Sussex for 2/3rds of the year and in Bangkok for the remainder where he carried out much of the research on Maymyo Days. He wrote Club Classic In Asia Pacific 12 years ago, a historical and practical guide to reciprocal Clubs in the Far East which was published by Editions Didier Millet in Singapore.

He is a member of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand in Bangkok, of the Army and Navy Club in London, of The Pilgrims in London and is a Fellow of The Royal Asiatic Society.


Tuesday, 24 October 2023 at 19:00


Lecture Room, 4/Floor, The Siam Society


Members and Students (to undergraduate level) — Free of charge
Non-Members — THB 200

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