The irony, that a writer famous in the English language for warning of the machinations of an oppressive state should himself be linked to a country under the jackboot, almost stretches credibility. As the local joke goes, George Orwell wrote not just one but three books about Burma: Burmese Days, Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four.
It is not 1984 in Burma but the regime of elderly generals is Orwellian and for that they thank their lucky stars. The government regularly consults astrologers on policy.
The currency was changed, on the advice of an astrologer, because nine was considered a luckier number than 10. A former head of state U Ne Win, thought certain number combinations would be more fortuitous, so 15, 45 and 90-kyat notes still circulate alongside the more straightforward fives and multiples of 10.
Then in November 2005, the junta began moving its government from Rangoon to a town called Naypidaw, little more than a jungle clearing. The operation began at 6.37am - a time recommended by an astrologer employed by the senior general Than Shwe.
The current military regime, the State Peace and Development Council - a name that drips of Orwellian undertones, has ruled Burma since 1988, when it brutally crushed a widespread democracy movement, killing thousands of people.
Currently Burma is governed, if that is the right phrase, by General Than Shwe, 73. A former postal clerk, he has been chairman of the SPDC and acted as head of state since 1992. He despises democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and arrested his prime minister Khin Nyunt, who recommended a dialogue with Suu Kyi. Her father established the Burmese army before his assassination just prior to independence in 1947.
Suu Kyi, the spirit of the nation, lives under house arrest in a run-down villa on the shore of Lake Inya and is referred to simply as The Lady. In 1990, the military junta called a general election, which Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy won decisively. Being the NLD's candidate, Suu Kyi should have assumed the office of prime minister. Instead, the results were nullified, and the military refused to hand over power. In Burma, the generals win the general election.
In this era of regime change how is it that Burma and Zimbabwe have managed to misrule their people with impunity? Iraq did not have a mentor in the way that Zimbabwe has South Africa and Burma has China and Russia. In northern Burma the roads and highways are clogged with the presence of Chinese construction lorries. Beijing has supplied the Burmese military with a wish-list of equipment. Fighter aircraft, tanks, patrol boats, armoured personnel carriers, field artillery pieces ,small arms and ammunition, worth more than $2 billion have been dispatched.
The Burmese generals are at least brutally consistent; in any choice between arms and butter it is always arms. Chinese banks have financed new roads, railways, ports and dams. In return Beijing gets ample supplies of crude oil, natural gas and access to the Indian Ocean.
As the world is turning to China, the Burmese junta already has an inside track. In diplomatic terms Burma has air cover against any flak from the West, whose influence in matters of regime change has been severely curtailed. Iraq has diluted the pronouncements of the three B's, Bush Blair and Brown. Opposition parties that before would have publicised their links to the West are far more circumspect. Besides, Western firms have dealt with the junta with the full, complicit knowledge of Washington and London.
Even the country's name is a source of confusion. In 1989, the military junta officially changed the English version of the country's name from Burma to Myanmar, along with changes to the English versions of many place names in the country, such as its former capital city from Rangoon to Yangon.
Suu Kyi continues to use the name Burma since she does not recognise the legitimacy of the ruling military government to rename the country. Some western governments, namely those of the United States, Australia, Ireland, and Britain, continue to use "Burma", while the European Union uses "Burma/Myanmar" as an alternative.
But even if Burma was under a democratic government tomorrow with an agreed name its troubles would not be over. It is a deeply divided nation and Burman dominance over Karen, Shan, Rakhine, Mon, Chin, Kachin and other minorities has been the source of considerable ethnic tension. Its strategic location would make it a playground for international intrigue. But that does not give an ounce of legitimacy to the junta who have gutted the country for their own pockets.
It is not difficult to predict misery for the people, at least under the junta; after all it is written in the stars.