Episode 9: The First Burmese Empire



Episode 9 of my podcast has just gone online!  This episode covers Burma (also called Myanmar) in the Middle Ages, with special emphasis on the Bagan Empire.  Visit a city with more than 2,000 pagodas!  Learn what makes Theravada Buddhism different from the other Buddhist sects.  Meet a king who ruled for 95 years, and another king who ate 300 dishes of curry every day!  Hear me mispronounce their names!  It’s all here for your listening pleasure!


Chapter 5: Oceania Since 1945


Over the past four and a half months, I have been giving priority to the new podcast, as you can see from my previous messages.  Even so, I have not neglected the website, and have continued to write for the website’s current history project — the South Pacific.  It has been a bit of a challenge prioritizing the writing and the podcasting, so I can keep to my schedule of uploading two episodes every month.  For a while, for instance, I would write the scripts for my episodes and record them on weekdays, while writing for the website on weekends.  Perseverance paid off, and now the fifth chapter of the South Pacific history is now online!

This time we wrap up the whole narrative, covering the fourteen nations in this region from the end of World War II to the present.  As it turned out, the most convenient way to present the subject was to divide it into four parts.  Here are the URLs for the webpages, and a list of subheadings on each one:


Part I

* First, A Word on the Cargo Cults
* The Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, and Nearby Atolls
* Australia: The Menzies Era
* Rabbits Gone Wild
* Recolonial New Zealand


Part II

* Independence Comes to the Islands
     * Western New Guinea: From One Colonial Overlord to Another
     * Western Samoa
     * Nauru and Tonga
     * Fiji
     * Papua New Guinea
     * The Solomon Islands
     * Tuvalu and Kiribati
     * Vanuatu
     * The Free Association States


Part III

* The Australian Constitutional Crisis
* Australia in Recent Years
* New Zealand: Labour and National Reforms


Part IV

* The Smaller Island Nations Since Independence
     * The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), and Palau
     * Fiji: Too Early to Tell
     * Kiribati: Every Day and Every Year Begin Here
     * Tuvalu: The First Nation to Go Under?
     * Nauru: The Island That Lost its Future
     * Papua New Guinea: A Troubled Young Nation
     * Samoa: No Longer Western, But Looking Southwest
     * The Solomon Islands: Are They A Nation Yet?
     * Tonga: It’s Good to Be King
     * Vanuatu: Harmony With Disunity
     * New Caledonia: Unfinished Business
* Conclusion for the Islands

It looks like I am done with this project, but while working on it, I decided to write something on the exploration of Antarctica, so the Antarctic can be included somewhere on the website; we might as well put the paper on the South Pole together with the ones on Australia.  Therefore, look for one more paper on Antarctica to show up sometime in 2017, and then the complete South Pacific history will be considered finished.  Stay tuned for one more chapter!

Episode 8, The Five Hundred Years War


Episode 8 of the podcast is now available!  This episode covers Vietnam from 939 to 1471.  During this time two nations existed in the territory of present-day Vietnam (three if you count the Khmers ruling the Mekong delta).  Those nations were the Vietnamese state, currently called Dai Viet, and the Indianized state of Champa.  The Vietnamese and Chams fought on and off for most of this period, hence the episode name.  Who won?  Listen to find out!


Episode 7, The Khmers


The episode you have been waiting for has arrived!  This time we look at Cambodia from 550 to 1431, the golden age of the Khmers.  This was Southeast Asia’s most impressive civilization before the modern era.  The Khmers built Angkor, a city that was home to a million people, and Angkor Wat, the largest temple of all time.  That is the same temple shown in the picture above.  Then suddenly in 1431 they abandoned it all to the jungle, and the world outside Cambodia forgot about the place, until a French explorer stumbled upon the ruins in 1860.  Listen and download this episode to hear all about it!


Now There Are Eight


I have discovered the History of Southeast Asia Podcast on three new websites:  MyTuner, Player.fm, and Podfanatic.  Unlike previous announcements like this, I did not submit the podcast to them, vis RSS feed or anything else; someone besides me put them up there!  Indeed, Player.fm was the only I had heard of previously.  Well, I salute whoever did it.  Now there are eight places online where you can listen to or download the episodes:

Google Play

Episode 6, Pre-Islamic Indonesia


Episode 6 of the podcast was uploaded this morning.  This time the podcast covers Indonesia from the year 600 to 1500, the years when historical records become available, but before most Indonesians converted to Islam (that will be a topic for a future episode).  Five major kingdoms dominated the islands during this time:  Srivijaya, Mataram, Kediri, Singosari, and Majapahit.  Also, the episode takes a detailed look at Borobudur, Indonesia’s greatest monument.



We’re Now Available on Acast!


Early this morning I got an email from Acast, a popular podcast host based in Sweden, and was informed that the History of Southeast Asia Podcast has now been accepted into their growing stable.  This is the fifth place on the World Wide Web where you can listen to it, along with Blubrry (the host), iTunes, Stitcher and Google Play.  I feel good about this one because when the podcast was just getting started, three months ago, I submitted it to Acast and they said they were too busy to consider it, but they’ll have it now.  Here’s where to go to listen: