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346 Section IV, G. ANTIOCH COLLEGE, A LIVING DREAM Reproduced from Maung Maung, “Antioch College, a Living Dream” in The Guardian VIII, no. 11 (November 1961): 17–20, by permission of Daw Khin Myint, wife of the late Dr Maung Maung. America is a big country and full of variety. Her peoples come from many lands in pursuit of many dreams. Some have settled, rooted to the soil, and yet linked with the faraway lands of their origin; thus one finds a little Holland here, a little Germany there, a bit of Poland, a hint even of Russia, a sprinkling of Irish, a corner of Chinatown. There is no simple answer, thus, to the question, What is America? It is even more difficult to provide a full and satisfactory answer to the question, Who is the typical American? America is the wide open spaces, the mountains, the rivers and the parks, all red and gold in the Autumn when trees get ready to shed their leaves, bare and austere and beautiful under snow in the winter. America is the bristling cities of the hurrying millions, the skyscrapers straining to reach the sky, steel and cement serving the god of efficiency, smoothly, ugly, weird shapes from another world. Dr Maung Maung visited Antioch College and lectured there in August. He is impressed with the fascinating system whereby students have to go out and work for six months a year, to earn a living. Dr Maung Maung thinks that this system might well be adapted here in Burma. 04G DrMaung.indd 346 1/24/08 4:04:06 PM Reproduced from Dr Maung Maung: Gentleman, Scholar, Patriot by Robert H. Taylor (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2008). This version was obtained electronically direct from the publisher on condition that copyright is not infringed. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the prior permission of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. Individual articles are available at Antioch College, a Living Dream 347 And who is the typical American? There is, of course, no such person. The American may be the ambitious pusher, organizer, goer, doer, a man full of ideas in his head, telephones on his table which ring all the time and he answers them all simultaneously somehow knowing not what they say, a man who survives in his rigorous routine on pills, a cigar-chewing, tranquillizer-swallowing man whose mission is no less than saving all mankind from communism. The American may be the modest, shy, kind, withdrawing man, who serves unobtrusively, gives generously shunning publicity, a man of ideal, creative but unaggressive, dreamer of good dreams. The American professor may be a public relations man who rightly belongs to the advertising trade, a man who manufactures papers which he places with the learned journals whose editors he knows on intimate drinking terms, a man who spends half his time cultivating the friendship of the Foundations and the other half travelling the world, giving unneeded advice to uninterested people, delivering lectures to which nobody listens. Or the American professor may be the profound scholar, the hermit, the poet, the lonely seeker after the truth, the courageous fighter for his own honest convictions, the learner, the teacher, the discoverer. But there is no typical American, no typical American professor, and every American, like every Burmese, is unique; one can only look at the wide range within which personalities fall; one can only notice the trends and the traits. One can spend a whole life-time seeking to discover the true America and the authentic American. In the end, I expect, or soon after the beginning even, one would find that America is just another chunk of the globe, and the Americans are people, human beings with human passions and emotions, human strengths and weaknesses. We can understand and appreciate them better if we ignore the superman image that some Americans seem to like to build. Not everything goes by size in America, not everything is super or giant or king size. Here and there one can find devoted Americans going about their chosen tasks with modest means, and the only thing that is big about what they do is their dream. Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, is such a place where a dream has been brought to life by dedicated men. The College lies a little off the beaten track, and our Burmese visitors to America, journalists, writers, educationists and officials, seldom get there. Burmese...


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