A- A A+

Oral History Interviews

In 1973, an oral history project was initiated in ISEAS as a mean to generate primary source materials for scholarly uses. The subject of interest at that time was local history of the Japanese Occupation period and the immediate post-war Singapore. Subsequently, the scope of interview expanded to cover autobiographical memoirs of prominent personalities who were highly regarded in their respective fields such as business, education, and politics. Due to limited resources, the oral history programme became dormant after 1997. In early 2015, the Library revived the programme in a smaller scale and thematically aligned with ISEAS’ current research direction, as part of its collection building efforts.



Oral history interviews on Myanmar’s post-independence political development

With the help of ISEAS’s Senior Visiting Fellow U Ye Htut, the Library has been building up a collection of oral history interviews since 2017, with 14 individuals to date who have given oral narratives, covering a wide range of subjects documenting not only their personal life experiences but also their involvement in various aspects of social and political development of post-war Myanmar and its nation building path.

These interviews comprise more than 70 hours of audio recordings, with 795 pages of transcripts in Burmese already completed for 6 of the interviews. Of the 14 interviews in this collection, 8 are available for immediate access by scholars and academics studying and writing about modern Myanmar history. The metadata of these open access interviews may be viewed via ISEAS Library’s SEALionPLUS database (https://sealionplus.iseas.edu.sg), while 4 interviews are embargoed until 31 Dec 2020 and the other 2 interviews are embargoed until 31 Dec 2022.

Interested researchers may enquire with ISEAS Library (iseaslib@iseas.edu.sg) for more details and access to the available interviews. A short introduction to each of the interviewees is available below.

U Ye Htut

ISEAS Visiting Senior Fellow; former Information Minister of Myanmar


U Htet Myat

Member, Communist Party of Burma


U Thein Nyunt

Chairman, New Democratic Party, Myanmar


U Ko Ko Gyi

88 Generation student activist and founder, People’s Party


U Mya Sein

Senior member, Communist Party of Burma



U Hla Shwe

Member, Communist Party of Burma underground cell in Yangon and student union leader in the 1950s


U Than Htun

Former military intelligence officer, retired Brigadier-General


U San Pwint

Former Colonel and military intelligence officer