The British foreign secretary was caught uttering the opening verse to Rudyard Kipling’s The Road to Mandalay when he visited the Shwedagon Pagoda, the most sacred Buddhist site in Myanmar’s capital, Yangon. Kipling’s poem captures the nostalgia of a retired serviceman looking back on his colonial service and a Burmese girl he kissed. Johnson’s impromptu recital was so embarrassing that the UK ambassador to Myanmar, Andrew Patrick, was forced to stop him. The incident was captured by a film crew for Channel 4 and will form part of a documentary, Boris Johnson: Blond Ambition, to be broadcast on Sunday at 10.05pm. Britain colonised Myanmar from 1824 to 1948 and fought three wars in the 19th century, suppressing widespread resistance
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