DPS 周刊 146 - 奥威尔与缅甸

DPS 周刊 146 - 奥威尔与缅甸
Photo by Alexander Schimmeck / Unsplash

最近读完了 Emma Larkin 写的 Finding George Orwell in Burma,很有意思的一本书。

写了 《1984》和《动物庄园》等作品的 George Orwell 是大家熟悉的作者,但不熟悉的是,其实这只是他的笔名,其实他和缅甸有着深远的渊源。不仅仅他曾经在缅甸生活工作过,而且他的母亲的家族在缅甸扎下了深深的根。

ORWELL’S MOTHER, Ida Mabel Limouzin, grew up here in Moulmein.
in 1863, Moulmein had become a cosmopolitan trading centre for Indian, British, German, French, American, Armenian and Chinese merchants, and Limouzin & Co. was one of the most prosperous companies in town.
One of these was Orwell’s great-grandfather—G. E. Limouzin. In the one-street British outpost of Moulmein, he founded Limouzin & Co., a company that specialized in building wooden ships.
Limouzin was survived by at least two sons, one of whom was Orwell’s grandfather, Frank Limouzin.

奥威尔的本名是 Eric Arthur Blair,他在上世纪二十年代作为皇家警察被派驻在缅甸,一共在曼德勒 (Mandalay) 呆了五年。这五年的经历给了他无数的灵感,也促成了他的人生转变 -- 从读伊顿的富家子弟,到吃皇粮的皇家警察,再到针砭时弊的作家。

Every novel that Orwell wrote ends in defeat. The main character attempts to fight the system, but, just when you think the obstacles have been surmounted, he or she loses the battle.


In Burma there is a joke that Orwell wrote not just one novel about the country, but three: a trilogy comprised of Burmese Days, Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Emma 所见到的缅甸当然不是当年那个富庶的缅甸,而是在军统的缅甸 -- 不仅一贫如洗,而且像极了奥威尔笔下的动物庄园:

‘It is a very brilliant book. And it is a very Burmese book. Do you know why?’ he asked, poking a finger enthusiastically in my general direction. ‘Because it is about pigs and dogs ruling the country! That is what has been happening here in Burma for many years now.’
Unauthorized gatherings of people are technically illegal, and a gathering that included a foreigner would attract more attention than most.
Government spies collect intelligence by eavesdropping on conversations or, as the gossip wafting around the tables has been more atmospherically dubbed, ‘tea-shop vapours’.
All communication equipment such as telephones, fax machines and modems must be registered; anyone using such machines without the correct licence is punishable by imprisonment.


Before the Second World War, Burma was one of the richest countries in the region.
Mandalay was considered the cultural and artistic capital of the country.
It is easy to see how Moulmein was once considered the most beautiful town in Burma. The main road is lined with graceful old buildings that once belonged to colonial merchants.
Burma has always had a high literacy rate, thanks to a strong tradition of education instilled by the country’s Buddhist monasteries, and reading for pleasure became a widespread pastime under the British.
The kings of Burma ruled over these numerous ethnic groups with varying degrees of control.
The kingdoms of Burma, Siam and Cambodia collected these pinkish, pearly-eyed elephants from the wild, housing them in palatial stables and honouring them with elaborate rituals.


Many foreigners living in Burma, mostly Indian and Chinese merchants, were stripped of their assets and fled or were forced to leave as the country sealed itself off from the outside world.
In the 1960s, after Ne Win nationalized all private businesses in Burma and drove foreign merchants out of the country, Moulmein witnessed a mass exodus of English, Anglo-Burmese and Indian families.
‘In Burma we are free to write whatever we want. We’re just not free to have it published.’
‘You see? That’s how you can pick up little snips of information. You ask an innocent question and you get a little bit of knowledge here and a little bit there, and then you add it all up and work out what the situation is.’
Though there are few Anglo-Burmese left in Burma, the country reportedly had more Eurasians than all of India.
She listed the different kinds of fear that paralyse people in Burma: ‘Fear of imprisonment, fear of torture, fear of death, fear of losing friends, family, property or means of livelihood, fear of poverty, fear of isolation, fear of failure.’
In the mid-1970s Ne Win launched the notorious hpyat lay byat or ‘four cuts’ policy, which was designed to cut insurgents off from their key means of survival: food, funds, recruits and information.
One Karenni freedom-fighter I talked to on the Thai-Burma border joked that the four cuts included a fifth command issued to Burmese soldiers who fought against ethnic insurgents: cut off their heads.


Jakob Greenfeld 发现自己总是困在当下,而且当下的他却总想着未来做什么,于是他顺势而为:

  1. 他把每天的工作分为两部分,早上的 deep work 和下午的 power work;
  2. 在每天结束工作前,他会规划第二天的 deep work 和 power work 做什么;
  3. 这样做的好处是,他不用为当下的工作做出决定,从而避免了当下的困境。而未来的他,因为有了事先的规划,也不需要做出当下的决策,直接着手就行。
Daily Productive Sharing 961 - Make Decisions for The Future Yourself
One helpful tip per day:) Jakob Greenfeld found himself always stuck in the present, yet constantly thinking about what to do in the future. Therefore, he went with the flow: 1. He divided his daily work into two parts: deep work in the morning and power work in the afternoon.

如何更好地记住阅读过的内容?Anne-Laure Le Cunff 给出了一个简单的答案 -- 增强联系。就此,她给出了一些具体建议:

  1. 阅读其实也是一种复利,读得越多,收获也会越多,这种积累不是线性的,而是像复利一样;
  2. 当你挑选下一本书籍的时候,可以挑选和刚读完的书相关的;
  3. 当你阅读的时候,尽量保持专注,不要有手机,不要有其他干扰;
  4. 记笔记,写总结都有助于你加深印象;
  5. 将学到的知识付诸于实践其实是加深印象最好的方法。
Daily Productive Sharing 962 - Remember What You Read
One helpful tip per day:) How to better remember what you’ve read? Anne-Laure Le Cunff offers a simple answer -- strengthen connections. On this, she provides some specific suggestions: 1. Reading is also a form of compound interest; the more you read, the more you gain. This accumulation is not

Herman Martinus 回问自己为什么开始在三年前开始写日志:

  1. 每天坐下来纪录的这一动作促使他回顾在这一天做了什么;
  2. 当他把想法写下来之后,既可以把它们抛之脑后,又可以在未来回顾这些;
  3. 我们往往忽略过程,而笔记恰好提醒我们从哪里开始,有了多少改变。
Daily Productive Sharing 963 - Why Start Journaling
One helpful tip per day:) Herman Martinus reflected on why he started keeping a journal three years ago: 1. The act of sitting down to record each day prompted him to review what he had done that day. 2. Once he wrote down his thoughts, he could both put them

Nick Maggiulli 揭示了一个很重要的财富观 -- 在什么时候存什么钱,花什么钱也很重要:

  1. 正确的积攒财富的顺序应该是先构建安全性,即准备应急基金,还清除了房贷以外的高利率的贷款;
  2. 然后是满足性,即准备一部分养老金,准备首付等大额支出,然后享受人生;
  3. 最后才是最大化养老金,还清所有贷款;
  4. 第二步中的享受人生其实很重要,如果只是为了存钱而存钱,那有什么意义?有的事物只有在特定的时间才能享受,过了这些时间就无法享受。
  5. 最典型的例子就是提前还房贷,这其实损害了你的流动性,因为房地产的流动性非常差。
Daily Productive Sharing 964 - Where You Should Put Your Money?
One helpful tip per day:) Nick Maggiulli revealed an important perspective on wealth -- when to save and when to spend money is also crucial: 1. The correct sequence for accumulating wealth should start with building security, which means preparing an emergency fund and paying off high-interest loans other than

《黑客与画家》是 Paul Graham 的成名之作,他于2003年在哈佛做过一个同名讲座:

  1. 黑客与画家最大的共同点在于他们都是创造者;
  2. 创造一个新东西通常是在原有的基础上做出一点改进,或者把已有的东西结合到一起;
  3. 人们误解你的作品已经很危险了,更危险的是,你误解自己的作品;
  4. 如果你想赚钱的话 ,那么你应该聚焦在别人觉得太麻烦的事上。
Daily Productive Sharing 965 - Hackers and Painters
One helpful tip per day:) “Hackers and Painters” is Paul Graham’s famous work, and he gave a lecture of the same name at Harvard in 2003: 1. The greatest commonality between hackers and painters is that they are both creators; 2. Creating something new is usually about making a slight