Southeast Asia Globe
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First-hand reporting from across Southeast Asia covering Power, Money, Life and Earth, updated daily.
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In Bangkok’s cramped detention centres, oppressive heat mixes with the sweat of fear. Refugees share stories and allegations of violent abuse, arrested and treated as criminals as they flee from danger in their home countries. In his first piece for the Globe, Caleb Quinley shares accounts from refugees who have been detained over the last two years and discusses the new allegations of physical abuse revealed in the Kingdom’s detention centres.

#thailand #bangkok #detentioncentres #refugees
Today marks the five year anniversary of the Myanmar military’s deadly crackdown on the country’s Rohingya people. Refugees who have fled to the relative safety of Bangladesh, find themselves in a still precarious situation, restricted by the government and left desperate, unsafe and vulnerable to human trafficking and the lure of criminal activity. In this analysis, Marte Nilsen, a senior researcher at the Peace Research Institute Oslo, discusses how after half a decade, having faced numerous financial, medical and educational hurdles, the Rohingya are finally calling on the world to act.

#Myanmar #refugees #Myanmarcoup #bangladesh
Legendary war photographer Tim Page passed away for the fourth and final time on Wednesday 25 August, at 78 years old. Throughout his extraordinary life and remarkable career, he survived shrapnel to the brain, overcame death three times in a single day and brought life to the emotional reality of global conflict through his images. Rising to fame with his captures of the coup in Laos and the trail of American carnage in Vietnam, Page blazed a trail through the world of photojournalism and a spark in the regional community, where he was known for his extravagant persona and his commitment to both his friends and the victims of war.

#TimPage #photography #warphotography
Last Wednesday marked the end of Thai Prime Minister Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s 8-year term, as the Constitutional Court called a temporary suspension of his title. But as Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan steps into his post, activists are sceptical about the prospect for real change and are calling out for “real democracy” in the Kingdom. In her debut at the Globe, our newest editor Beatrice Siviero was on the ground as pro-democracy protests gathered in Bangkok, and explores the rise of a new generation of fearless Thai activists calling for change.

#bangkok #thailand #democracy #protests
Despite tax cuts, skyrocketing fuel prices are impinging on many Cambodians’ access to income, education, healthcare and other necessities. As they confront these grim realities, the underlying issue of unaffordable mobility across the Kingdom’s cities. Ses Aronsakda’s analysis explores the need to create new transport models and the alternative fuel solutions that could help Cambodians’ mobility succeed in the face of fickle fuel prices.

#cambodia #fuel #fuelprices #transport
The alternative proteins market is growing in commercial potential and complexity. And in Southeast Asia texture is as important as taste while religious and cultural taboos shape consumer demands. In this analysis, Kelvin E.Y. Low, Head of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the National University of Singapore and Juliet Tempest, a PhD candidate from Stanford University, tackle the cultural challenges, religious taboos and technological tests facing Southeast Asia’s alternative meat entrepreneurs face as they navigate the market and the region.

#southeastasia #entrepreneurs #alternativeproteins
Thailand’s foreign policy has been described as bamboo, bending in the wind towards China or the United States. Recently, the Kingdom’s joining of U.S President Biden’s Indo-Pacific Economic Framework and resistance to a Thailand-China-Laos train have been read as signs the Kingdom is leaning away from the East Asian superpower. Globe columnist, Mark S. Cogan tackles the premature assumptions that Thailand is defying Beijing and bending towards the U.S. through his analysis of the Kingdom’s military modernisation, trade partnerships and foreign policy. 

#thailand #usa #foreignpolicy #internationalrelations
When travelling down a long road in Battambang, Lam Samphors hit the brakes before a looming pile of discarded rubbish in the middle of the road. That event inspired the 38-year-old Cambodian to launch a startup to tackle the Kingdom’s growing plastic waste problem. Chea Sameang follows Samphors’ entrepreneurial journey and local initiatives’ race against time as the country’s trash output continues on its expected rise to 3,112 tons per day by 2030.

#Cambodia #waste #wastemanagement #pollution
In Central Papua province, the interruption of a festive bonfire in December 2014 by Indonesian special forces triggered a brutal clash between indigenous Papuans and armed security, which left a group of indigenous teenagers dead. Now, eight years later, the massacre is on track to become the first case in nearly two decades to be heard in Indonesia's permanent Human Rights Court, with a trial scheduled this month. Globe’s Jack Brook covers the case and how even now, justice eludes the victims of “Bloody Paniai.”

#Papua #Indonesia #indigenous #massacre
In Cambodia, women are a significant force in the small business sector.  Up to 61% of small medium enterprises (SMEs) and microbusinesses are female-owned and managed. But behind these positive statistics lies a landscape of hurdles, from education opportunities to access to financial support, which are holding the Kingdom’s female entrepreneurs back. Heng Molika, a junior research fellow with Future Forum, looks into the challenges surrounding women-owned small and medium enterprises when it comes to accessing resources and capacity development.

#cambodia #entrepreneurship #women #business #sme
Hiding out in Thailand, thousands of anti-coup critics who fled to escape the Myanmar military’s crackdown that started last year are carving out an uncertain survival. They have fled their homeland from fear of death, but now, increased security forces along the Thai - Myanmar border have made their future in the Kingdom precarious. Globe’s Caleb Quinley discusses the fate of anti-coup activists who, if they are deported back to Myanmar, face potential torture, arrest, or death.

#thailand #myanmar #border #security #refugees
Jakarta is setting a new narrative for Indonesia’s literary landscape. With the growth of independent bookstores and the long awaited reopening of a public library, the Indonesian capital has become a hub for book lovers to read, gather and congregate with like minded enthusiasts. Contributor Nisya Kunto profiles an independent publisher and bookstore in Jakarta and their journey as they manoeuvre the city’s evolving literature landscape and how citizens have taken the building of a budding literary infrastructure into their own hands. 

#Indonesia #jakarta #books #literature
Still reeling from the shockwaves of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s recent suspension, Thailand recently made another landmark step: the passing of a historic anti-torture bill. The new legislation has potentially life-saving impact on the Kingdom’s refugees and asylum seekers, as it could prevent them from being returned to places where torture, arrest and grave human rights abuses await. Patrick Phongsathorn, Human Rights Advocacy Specialist at Fortify Rights, discusses the impact and implications of Thailand’s anti-torture bill, for the Kingdom and for the hubs of human rights abuses in its neighbour Myanmar. 

#thailand #myanmar #refugees #torture #antitorturebill
Bubbles gurgle on top of the Mekong River at Cambodia’s Anlong Kampi Dolphin Conservation Area. As the surface breaks, fortunate viewers may be able to catch a glimpse of the endangered Irrawaddy dolphin. It is the only place the increasingly rare mammal can now be found. The charming bulbous-headed dolphin is a key reason behind the Kingdom’s Ministry of Environment’s plans to submit the area as its first natural world heritage site. The move is one of a recent double boon for conservation in Cambodia, along with another UNESCO proposal for its first global geopark. Globe’s Anton L. Delgado and Nasa Dip were on the ground to capture scenes from the sites, discuss the submissions and the fears that UN support alone may not be enough. 

#cambodia #mekong #heritage #conservation #unesco
Recent events have triggered mixed emotions in Singapore’s gay community. Prime Minister Lee’s National Day Rally announcement to repeal a colonial era law that criminalises homosexuality was a milestone for the city-state’s gay rights. But in the same speech came reassurances to safeguard marriage between a man and a woman. In the aftermath of the announcements, Globe’s Amanda Oon discusses the legal restrictions that still face the community, as they celebrate small steps forward while still fighting the long battle towards equality.

#singapore #gayrights #section377A #section377Arepeal #LGBTQrights
Indonesia is rapidly building up its electric vehicle battery supply chain. But in the process, the sector is creating harmful environmental impacts on local communities, especially from coal-fired powered plants linked to battery-grade nickel production. Local fishing communities are losing their livelihoods and people are getting sick from coal ash. Globe’s Jack Brook investigates the lack of transparency and concern from companies and the government that is casting a dirty sheen over the country’s EV boom. 

#Indonesia #electricvehicle #nickel #coal
Known for its humped back, curved horns and the elusive sense of mystery that surrounds it, Cambodia’s national mammal, the kouprey, is deemed by experts to be most likely extinct. The animal has not been seen for decades but now researchers in the Kingdom are conducting the first study in over 10 years with an aim to add a critical piece to the kouprey puzzle. Globe’s Anton L. Delgado shines a light on the conservationists' quest to identify unsurveyed potential kouprey habitat and shine a light on the mysterious animal whose image remains widespread, and whose uncertain existence spells a warning for the region’s wider biodiversity.

#cambodia #kouprey #conservation #wildlife
Despite government efforts and initiatives, in Singapore, conversations around mental health remain stymied by societal pressures, lack of resources and cultural taboos. Now, as the pandemic gives way to worldwide economic uncertainty, a group of local and regional artists are stepping up to drive conversations and carve out new solutions. Globe’s Amanda Oon explores an exhibition at the city-state’s ArtScience Museum, using local themes and new mediums to bring the urgency of mental health awareness closer to the mainstream. 

#art #science #technology #mentalhealth #culture #Singapore
Timor-Leste has long been the Southeast Asian country with the lowest literacy rate. But, spurred on by initiatives from government and NGOs, innovative solutions are emerging to improve access to education and preserve local languages and stories. To mark this month’s International Literacy Day 2022, Globe’s Beatrice Siviero explores how teachers and students in Timor Leste are embracing UNESCO’s theme of ‘Transforming literacy learning spaces’ and overcoming the country’s centuries of colonisation to pioneer a new phase in Tetun literature.

#timorleste #literature #education #literacy
The final hearing of a decades-long effort to prosecute Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge leaders on 22 September confirmed the fate of the last living defendant, Khieu Samphan. The 91-year-old former head of state for Khmer Rouge Democratic Kampuchea will continue to serve life in prison for his role in the deaths of more than 2 million Cambodians. Globe’s Jack Brook covers the trial and its mixed legacy, heralded by some as a significant victory against the Kingdom’s culture of impunity, while others fear it is too little too late. 

#Cambodia #trial #khmerrouge #justice