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'Not a good idea': Johnson recites a colonial-era poem in sacred Myanmar temple

The United Kingdom occupied Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, for the best part of a century.

Image: Alessandra Tarantino via PA Images

THE UK’S CONTROVERSIAL Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has been caught on camera reciting a colonial-era poem in a sacred temple in Myanmar, in his latest overseas gaffe.

The United Kingdom occupied Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, from 1824 and 1948 is cited as the reason why the country was politically destabalised and reverted to dictatorship in the years following the withdrawal of British troops.

The prominent Brexiteer’s visit the Southeast Asian country was the first visit by a British foreign secretary in five years.

In a video captured by Channel 4, the Foreign Secretary is recorded reciting the words of a Rudyard Kipling poem, Mandalay.

The poem tells the story of a British soldier who reminisces about his time in Burma.

As Johnson is given a tour around Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon’s most sacred Buddhist temple, he recites a line from the opening verse of the poem:

“‘The temple bells they say, Come you back you English soldier.’

He then asks: “Remember that?”

Standing alongside the British Ambassador to Myanmar, Andrew Patrick, he continues to recite the poem:

The wind is in the palm trees, temple bells they say.

The ambassador interrupts and tells Johnson he’s “on mic”.

“Probably not a good idea,” he tells Johnson.

“What? The Road to Mandalay?” Johnson asks as he looks at his phone.

No, not appropriate.

“Good stuff,” is Boris’ reply.

It’s not the first time Johnson has made headlines during his foreign visits for the wrong reasons – some critics have accused him of making the gaffes to try and draw attention to himself, as rumblings of a Tory leadership challenge continue following their disastrous June election result.

The video which was filmed by Channel 4 will form part of the UK channel’s documentary about Johnson’s suitability as Britain’s possible future Prime Minister.

Read: Boris Johnson’s ‘Prosecco’ warning hasn’t gone down too well in Europe

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