The Brookes of Brunei

Lead: By a combination of daring and benevolent despotism, the Brooke family helped bring the Sultanate of Brunei into the modern era.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The tiny but independent state of Brunei lies surrounded by Malaysia on the northern coast of the ancient island of Borneo in the southwest Pacific. As early as the sixth century the area traded with and paid tribute to China. Until the influx of evangelical Islam in the 1400s, the majority of people were Hindu worshippers. European contact with the region began with arrival of the expedition of Ferdinand Magellan but intensified with the coming of Portuguese and Dutch traders. The presence of Western traders tended to reduce the influence of the local government dominated by the native Sultanate and by 1800 Brunei, which had been much larger, had shrunk to only a small section of northern Borneo.

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Fall of Dien Bien Phu

Lead: The French needed a big victory to pave the way for an honorable withdrawal from Vietnam.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: By 1953 even the most enthusiastic colonialist in the French government knew France would have to pull out of Vietnam. A Summit conference was set for late April 1954 in Geneva and the French needed to beat the communists decisively on the battlefield to set the stage for a favorable result. The commander in Vietnam, General Navarre, decided to place troops, high in the mountains in a valley near the village of Dien Bien Phu. He reasoned that when the Communists came out of the jungle, he would catch them in a pitched battle and defeat them.

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Taj Mahal

Lead: On the Jumna River in the city of Agra, India, is the crowning jewel of Indo-Islamic architecture. Built by the emperor of India, Shah Jahan, the structure is one of the most elaborate works of art ever erected.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Jahan inherited the throne of India at birth and at a fairly early age met and fell deeply in love with a beautiful woman, Arjumrand Band Begun. As his favorite, Arjumrand bore many of the emperor's children and they lived happily until in 1631 she died during childbirth - her fourteenth in eighteen years. So devastated was Jahan by her death that he locked himself in his room for many days. When he emerged he sent for India's finest architects, sculptors and craftsmen. Construction started shortly after the queen's death and for more than a year twenty thousand people worked to complete her tomb. Finished in 1648 it is set in a huge rectangular park and towers 187 feet above the river.

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Myanmar’s (Burma) Struggle – III

Lead:  In the half-century since winning independence from Britain in 1948, Myanmar, more commonly known as Burma, failed to establish a stable, prosperous democracy.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Even during those years in which a civilian government ostensibly ruled, the hand of the military was not far from the levers of power. Periods of relative progress, internal peace and economic recovery were punctuated by times of turmoil and repression. By 1988, the military was in charge once again. Student protests against the regime had reached fever pitch.  The socialist government under former general U Ne Win fell and the armed forces under General Saw Maung, seized direct control of the government. The military moved to suppress the demonstrations and thousands of unarmed protesters were killed. Martial law was imposed over most of the country, and constitutional government was replaced by SLORC, the State Law and Restoration Council.

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Myanmar’s Struggle – II

Lead: After three Anglo-Burmese Wars in the nineteenth century, Myanmar, better known as Burma, was forced to become a province of British India.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In Burma, a highly developed Buddhist civilization had existed in the Irrawaddy Valley of Southeast Asia for a 1000 years when over a period of 50 years Britain ate away at the its borders finally annexing the nation completely in 1886. The Brits were traders, in Burma seeking teak, oil, and rubies, and access to Chinese trade over the mountains. Britain did not want a troublesome independent government in Burma causing any difficulties, therefore, the English took over.

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Myanmar’s (Burma) Modern Struggle – I

Lead:  The lush and beautiful nation of Myanmar more commonly known as Burma is in the late twentieth century being forced to confront its lack of human rights and democracy by a diminutive housewife, a mother of two Aung San Suu Kyi.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The struggle for Burmese democracy cannot be separated from its experience as a part of the British Empire. Like so many nations that look back to a time under British rule, Burma was an important outpost in the British trading system. For most of the nineteenth century, the British were reluctant imperialists. There were English statesmen that longed to the see the Union Jack fly above capitals around the world, but they were in the minority.

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