Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Quiz with Chamara Sumanapala. Part 08: Myanmar (Burma)

Myanmar (Burma) gained independence from the British in 1948, exactly a month before Ceylon. Rich in natural resources and a leading producer of rice, Burma had a promising future. However, due to several factors including internal disputes, armed conflict and economic mis-management, Burma remained poor. From 1962 Burma was governed by the military until a nominally civilian government was established in 2010. However, the government comprises of former military officers and for all intents and purposes remains dominated by the military. Recent developments have indicated a considerable change in policy.

General Aung San was just 32 years old when he was assassinated in July 1947
01. Burma is home to many minority communities in addition to the predominant Burman community. Before independence, the father of Burmese independence struggle, General Aung San, signed an agreement with the main minority groups to establish a united country. However, General Aung San was assassinated in July 1947. The agreement was not properly implemented and several minorities took up arms against the government. There was a time when the central government at Rangoon (renamed Yangon in 1989) lost control of much of the land area in Burma. Some of these conflicts are still raging. What was the agreement signed on February 12, 1947?

02. The first Prime Minister of Burma held the position for much of the civilian rule until 1962. He had an international reputation as a non-aligned leader. Before becoming active in politics he was known as a literary person, writing novels and plays. He also translated Dale Carnegie’s best seller “How to win friends and influence people” to Burmese. After the coup of General Ne Win in 1962, he was kept in house arrest. He left the country in 1968 and led opposition to the military rule of General Ne Win. He again became politically active in 1988 protests and was later put on house arrest. In 1992 he was released and died in 1995, aged 87. Who was he?

03. The daughter of Aung San returned to Burma in 1988 to visit her ailing mother and was pulled into the politics of the country. 1988 saw the “8888 Uprising” against the military government. In 1990 elections were held which was won by the party led by Aung Sang Suu Kyi, daughter of Aung San. But the military annulled the election results and put many party leaders behind bars. In 2012, her party was given permission to contest by elections for 45 seats on the parliament and her party won in 41. What is the party led by Aung San Suu Kyi?

04. Burma, renamed Myanmar in 1989, has seen significant changes in recent years. Today it has a civilian president and has aligned more towards the Western nations. From 2007 he was the Prime Minister of the military regime in Myanmar. In 2010 he and many senior military officers left the army and formed a political party. He contested the 2010 election and in March 2011 was elected president. Who is the current president of Myanmar?

05. Due to the international isolation, Burma (Myanmar) had not received much attention by many. It was in the news mainly due to the international criticism of the military regime. But the country has a lot of ancient monuments. One important place is the ruins of an ancient city in Mandalay region. Established in the 2nd century, it was a fortified city from the 9th century. From 11th to 13th centuries, it was a capital of an ancient kingdom, until its collapse around 1287. What is this city?

Answers to Quiz 07
1. Luna-2
2. Apollo-8
3. Richard Nixon
4. Japan
5. Indian Space Research Organization

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