Thursday, April 11, 2013

The General's House

One of the first places I was keen to visit when I got to Yangon at the end of my 10 days in Burma was the Bogyoke Aung San Museum, or the General and his family’s home. It was Aung San’s last home before his assassination, and is now a free exhibit about his background and steps to becoming such a figurehead in Burmese history. It also shows his simple family life, and gives a glimpse into the man himself.

According to Wikipedia, is has just been reopened in March 2012, which explains why the Lonely Planet had said it is closed. The Martyr’s Mausoleum on the other hand, the place of the General's assassination just near Shwedagon Pagoda, is closed all but the anniversary day of Aung San’s death, being July 19. I couldn’t really see anything from the gates, so unless you are there for that day, I wouldn’t worry about trying to find it.

I checked in my bag at the free lockers provided at the bottom of the front steps, and then walked up to the front door. Taking in the verandah and the view, I then walked inside and took in the living space of this iconic family to Burma.

The fresh and young face of The General is on display, along with his journey from growing up in rural Burma, to becoming The General. It steps you through his life from the Rangoon University's Student Union, to the Burma Independence Army, and then his role in the nation's politics to have him deemed the Founding Father of Burma.

You are not permitted to take any photos inside, but walking through the two story home, you get a sense of this young family, and their simple life here. Bedrooms of Aung San and his wife, and the children’s next door, are decked out upstairs, as well as the library with an array of books on all sorts of topics, and the room with a view where meetings were held.

The General's car is still out in the shed in the back, coated in dust, and a bronze statue of him doing the gardening is in the yard.

A reverent visit, walking through the home of such a man, and the place of Aung San Suu Kyi's early childhood - the tragic truth that The General was killed at just 32 years of age is only trumped by the gravity of walking down into the garden and past the pool where you learn is the site of The General's second son drowning.

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