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Description - Land of a Thousand Eyes by Peter Olszewski

A trio of colourfully dressed women tottered and teetered delicately through the water, holding hands, laughing. They were jewels in a sea of shit, standing out against the muddied monochrome of the monsoon's detritus, and they represented the admirable qualities of the Myanmar that I had come to love: the ability not only to make do, but to giggle and pursue life with joie de vivre, despite the deprivations dished out by the elements or by the military masters.' As a former rock magazine editor, editor of Australian Playboy, creator of Nation Review's cult hero JJ McRoach, official Australian minder' to Dr Hunter S Thompson and leader of the Australian Marijuana Party, Peter Olszewski has lived an interesting and varied life. But all this seemed ordinary compared to the year or so he spent in Yangon training journalists for the main English-language newspaper, the Myanmar Times. Myanmar is a country known mostly for its repressive military regime, so the exciting and vivid world he found there was not the one he expected. He fell in love with the country, the people and one woman in particular. Land of a Thousand Eyes is a rare glimpse into one of the world's most secretive and isolated countries.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781741145076
ISBN-10: 1741145074
Format: Paperback
(195mm x 130mm x 20mm)
Pages: 256
Imprint: Allen & Unwin
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Publish Date: 1-Oct-2005
Country of Publication: Australia

Book Reviews - Land of a Thousand Eyes by Peter Olszewski

US Kirkus Review » Hackneyed reflections from an Australian journalist who spent about a year-and-a-half in Yangon, Myanmar (formerly Rangoon, Burma).Although he was there in 2003-04 to train reporters for the rigidly censored English-language newspaper, The Myanmar Times, Olszewski, former editor of Australian Playboy and leader of the Australian Marijuana Party, has chosen to write about Myanmar from a nonpolitical perspective. His memoir concentrates on " 'ordinary' people" and "the 'Chestertonian' trivialities of life" (the author's arch use of quotation marks is just one of his irritating traits). In a country ruled by a brutally repressive military regime, Olszewski led a privileged expatriate existence: attending parties and opening nights of cultural events, gossiping in cafes and bars, bemoaning the lack of electricity and hot water, learning to chew betel nut, drinking hash beer and snake wine, eyeing the passing women. His worst experience was undergoing surgery for gallstones in a Yangon hospital that had no painkillers containing opiates. The author describes local festivals and Buddhist ceremonies; extols the beauty and demeanor of Asian women, whom he clearly admires; and rants against other expats, whom he sees as arrogant and ignorant. As Olszewski tells it, Myanmar is colorful and romantic, and its people-who just happen to be mostly very poor and singularly repressed-are delightful, charming and filled with a joyous zest for life.Shallow and woefully cliched. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Peter Olszewski

Peter Olszewski has had a long career in the Australian print media as a journalist, columnist and editor. He has also worked as a radio broadcaster for English and US networks. In recent years he has worked as a freelancer, writing for many major newspapers and magazines, has been a university lecturer in journalism and communications, and most recently a journalism trainer in Myanmar. He currently lives in Queensland and doesn't have a cat. Peter is also the author of A Dozen Dopey Yarns: Tales from the Pot Prohibition (JJ McRoach) and A Salute to the Humble Yabby.