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local villagers who arrived with their own containers, usually
beer bottles, for filling at the local shop.
LCT was supposed to pay Burmah Oil, on a monthly basis,
all the money he received for sales to these outlets, after taking
a small commission for himself. But shortly after acquiring sole
agency rights to sell Burmah Oil's products throughout the
country, LCT fell behind with his payments. Over several years
the debt accumulated and when the amount owed ran to several
hundred thousand pounds, a sizeable sum now let alone in 1912,
the company chairman himself came out from Glasgow to
assess the situation. Although LCT spoke excellent English he
could neither write nor read it and kept all his accounts in
Chinese, much to the frustration of the Burmah Oil's dour
Scottish accountants who tried to decipher what he owed them.
Strict instructions were issued that he was not to exceed the lim-
its placed on the debts he could run up. It had little e¬ect.
Somehow he managed to keep the accountants at bay for an-
other seven years with promises of payment, some of which
materialised, most of which did not.
Outwardly LCT was an extremely wealthy man. He owned
steam ships, a rubber plantation, a match factory, a tin mine
and a coal field, and had built a huge palace in the shape of a
star on Kokine Hill overlooking Rangoon. The pagoda-style cen-
tral tower rose graciously above the main reception hall. Rooms
o¬ this formed the points of the star. It was luxuriously fur-
nished with oriental treasures, and he and his wife entertained
distinguished visitors to tea and dainty sandwiches of seaweed
jelly, considered a particular delicacy. Accordingly he moved in
the highest echelons of Burma's business and social life, where
he had very good connections. Through these connections he
had helped secure the rights for Burmah Oil to drill for oil in
Upper Burma, without which the company's fortunes may well
have been very di¬erent. Because of this there was a tendency
for Burmah Oil to be lenient with him.
LCT's inability to pay Burmah Oil was because he was in
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