Desert Island Discs


Aung San Suu Kyi20130127

In a remarkable and rare personal interview Aung San Suu Kyi chooses the eight tracks, a book and a luxury, that she’d want to take with her to a mythical Desert Island.

Recorded in December 2012 on location at Daw Suu's home in the Burmese capital, Naypyitaw, the interview ranges over her life both in Burma and in the UK where she lived for 18 years. Daw Suu explains her feelings about her father – the leader of Burma's struggle for independence in the '50s and who was assassinated when she was just two – and how the way her mother raised her prepared her for the difficult life that was to come.

She recalls her days as a student in Oxford where she read philosophy, politics and economics and talks about meeting the man who was to become her husband, and father of her two sons, the academic Michael Aris. Having returned to Burma in 1988 to nurse her mother, and following the protests and unrest taking place at the time, she remembers the speech she gave at the Shwedagon pagoda in front of crowds of about half a million and her reaction to being placed under house arrest before the 1990 election even took place.

Daw Suu talks about her relationship with Michael and how they dealt with the Burmese government's refusal to grant him a visa once he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She discusses her feelings toward the Generals of the Burmese military and how they react to her now she's a fellow member of the Burmese parliament and she shares her hopes for the future – both personal and political.

She chooses music which will remind her of people who've been important in her life and her choice includes a 'first' for the programme.

(Image: Aung San Suu Kyi, Credit: Getty Images)

Bill Gates20160211

Kirsty Young's castaway is Bill Gates. He sat at his first computer while still at school in Seattle, wrote his first computer programme aged just 13 and went on to co-found the company Microsoft, becoming one of the key figures of the technological revolution. In 2000, he and his wife, Melinda, launched the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which has given to date over $34 billion to projects aimed at reducing health inequality around the world.

Born into a professional family - his father was a lawyer, his mother a former teacher who later became involved with volunteer work - he was introduced to the idea of 'giving back' at an early age. An avid reader as a child, he attended Harvard where in his sophomore year he and Paul Allen developed software for the first micro-computers. The company would go on to achieve huge success with its Windows operating system.

By 1987, Gates had become the world's youngest self-made billionaire, then worth $1.25 billion. Consistently listed as the Richest Man in the World, he stepped down as CEO of the company in 2000 although he remained as Chairman until 2014.

These days his primary focus is his philanthropy. In 2010, Gates and his friend Warren Buffett announced the Giving Pledge which aims to inspire the wealthy people of the world to give away the majority of their net worth to worthy causes.

(Photo: Bill Gates)

Bill Gates20160211