A scarce travel book on Burma, with lovely woodcuts. Refreshing in that the colonial-era writer does not have a superiority complex.
From the first chapter:
This book contains nothing whatever about peacocks and very little about pagodas. Yet the title is not inappropriate, since the peacock is the emblem of Burma and the pagoda is one of the outward signs of a religion that has done much towards making the Burmese a happy people – perhaps the happiest and most contented people in the world.
The Englishman believes that wealth is better than happiness, or at least synonymous with it. The Burman knows that happiness is better than wealth. That sums up roughly one of the main differences between them. The Burman does not share that fear of poverty which is the hell of so many English people, nor does the maxim of the West, “Make money! honestly if possible – but make money!” find any place in his philosophy. The European will tell you that the Burman is lazy and thriftless; but just as thrift carried to excess may become a vice, so a reasonable thriftlessness may often be a virtue, especially that thriftlessness which prefers spending money on other to hoarding it in a stocking.