A Teatime Tête-à-Tête
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CULTURE

A Teatime Tête-à-Tête


By The Bandoola Journal FEBRUARY, 2007 - VOLUME 15 NO.2


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(Page 2 of 2)

When I told the English official concerned that I wanted to take the tomb with me to Burma, he said the people of Burma would get angry at sending their king to them dead though we [sic] caught King Thibaw alive. The death of my sister Suphaya Lay is very strange. She died immediately after she felt extreme pain in her stomach. She died o­n June 23, 1912. At that time, we didn’t have a chance to hold a traditional funeral rite, too.

Q: Did you read newspapers from Burma while living in Yadanagiri?

A: I always read Hanthawaddy and New Light of Burma.

Q: I would like to know about your life in the new Yadanagiri mansion?

A: The area of the mansion’s grounds is 27 acres. That included a lake and garden. Work o­n the mansion began in 1900 and was completed in 1910. The value of the mansion is over 200,000. The household materials of the mansion are grand, too. Two big carpets are each worth 6,000. The chairs are covered with velvet. The value of household materials is 18,000. There are two cars each worth 10,000, and three horse-drawn carriages.

When I heard what the queen said about the mansion, it could be considered that the king and queen lived well in Yadanagiri. During the conversation, I remembered the Nga Mauk ruby…the heritage of Burmese kings, and asked:

Q: Did you have Nga Mauk ruby with you when you were sent to Yadanagiri?

A: No, we didn’t. It was given to Sladen [a British army colonel] to keep. I don’t know who owns it now. Not o­nly the Nga Mauk ruby was given to Sladen to keep, but also the diamonds and rubies, such as the Hlaw Kar Hteik Tin Lay royal stone, the Hlaw Kar Tin Gyi royal stone, Sin Ma Taw royal stone, San Royal stone, etc.

[Sladen was stationed in Mandalay during King Mindon’s rule and was a frequent visitor to the royal palace. The Nga Mauk  ruby disappeared without trace shortly after the British entered Mandalay and occupied the palace.  Successive Burmese governments continue to question the disappearance of the royal ruby, often accusing British officers and Col Sladen in particular of stealing the stone.] 

Q: How long did you stay in Madarus after leaving Burma?

A: Six months. Then we were sent to Yadanagiri. Living there wasn’t comfortable for 23 years after leaving Burma. In 1270 [Burmese Year], after a grand building [the mansion] was built, we got more rights.

After about an hour with the queen, she turned to Hteik Tin Gyi and asked: Have you offered him tea?

Then the queen went back to her room.”



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