National Geographic : 1963 Feb
Rushing torrent from a hydraulic jet sluices away a mountainside near Tavoy, on the Tenasserim coast, and redeems tin ore. Torn loose, the red earth flows through catch ment boxes that trap fine black granules of cassiterite (tin dioxide). Khan's troops invaded his lands, the king did little with the "36 million soldiers" he had boasted about. He fled and sobbed, "I am become a poor man," because his cooks served him only 150 dishes for dinner, instead of the customary 300. His people called him Tarokpyemin, the "king who fled from the Chinese," and he was poisoned by his son Thihathu. There upon the Pagan dynasty collapsed. The west ern Arakan region became independent, the Mons revolted in the south, and Shan domi nance grew in the north. Decaying Pagan 196 became the tombstone of a golden era. I drove southward from Pagan on a cart rutted track to Chauk and to Yenangyaung, the "stream of ill-smelling waters," where oil derricks stand as thickly as temples in Pagan. Before the war, Burma's wells yielded 275 million imperial gallons a day. A pipeline ran to a refinery near Rangoon. When the Jap anese invaded, the British demolished these installations. British and Burmese engineers have restored production again, through a joint enterprise, the Burma Oil Company. "Today we're producing about 400,000 im perial gallons a day in two new refineries," an official told me. "Burma uses it all."