Understanding Reform in Myanmar
People and Society in the Wake of Military Rule
A lot has been going on in Myanmar in the last few years, and even people who are deeply familiar with the country have had trouble following and interpreting the many changes. Fortunately, Marie Lall’s new book, Understanding Reform in Myanmar: People and Society in the Wake of Military Rule (Hurst, 2016), brings the close attention to events of someone who has been intimately involved in efforts for reform in Myanmar together with an informed reading of how and why reforms have succeeded. Beginning her narrative in 2005, Lall describes how even in the period of unmediated military rule in the mid-to-late 2000s, people in Myanmar began to anticipate and act to effect changes that at the time were not easily discerned, yet which gave rise to conditions that enabled the more substantive changes of the 2010s. Closing with the overwhelming victory of the National League for Democracy in the 2015 general elections she offers a sober but optimistic view of the country’s current conditions and future prospects.
Marie Lall joins New Books in Southeast Asian Studies to discuss Myanmar’s resilient civil society, the peace process, educational reforms, the rise of Buddhist nationalism, and hopes for years to come.