Mapping Southeast Asia’s literary landscape with Penguin SEA
Southeast Asia Globe
by Amanda Oon
54m ago
“Southeast Asia has always been mystical,” said Nora Abu-Bakar. “There’s always been a [sense of] mystery about the region and I think we are here to unravel Southeast Asia to the world through our books.” As publisher at the Southeast Asia arm of Penguin Random House, the world’s largest trade publisher, Abu-Bakar is steeped in the region’s modern literary tradition. A love for reading motivated her to choose a career in publishing and she has been part of Penguin Southeast Asia (SEA) since the regional office opened in 2018. The region is a fertile ground for both writers and readers, with a ..read more
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Decriminalisation casts a haze over Thailand’s cannabis business
Southeast Asia Globe
by Amanda Oon
1d ago
For Chokwan Kitty Chopaka, a cannabis advocate, the high of finding out that cannabis had been decriminalised in Thailand last June was short lived.  “I was very, very, very happy for, I would say, a good three, four hours,” she said.  She then got a phone call from someone in the U.S. offering to sell her California weed. The person had 150 kilos in Thailand and asked if she wanted to buy some.  Chokwan Kitty Chopaka outside her shop in Bangkok where she sells cannabis-flavored gummies and other products. She thinks the next six months will be difficult for business owners in t ..read more
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Indonesia chairmanship could make ASEAN matter again
Southeast Asia Globe
by Amanda Oon
1d ago
Since he came into power in 2014, President Joko Widodo, widely known as Jokowi, has been a leader focused on internal affairs rather than Indonesia’s role in the international community. As of 2022, the president has notably been absent eight times at the UN General Assembly, delivering remarks online rather than attending high-level negotiations in person.  The president has had his hands full domestically, as he has sought to increase gains on investment, tourism and the acceleration of digital transformation within the public and private sector. Furthermore, his push to downstream ind ..read more
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Myanmar, Malaysia fall in latest Transparency International corruption rankings
Southeast Asia Globe
by Amanda Oon
1d ago
Corruption festered last year as the world struggled out of its post-pandemic slump, said watchdog organisation Transparency International (TI) on Tuesday in the release of the latest edition of its annual Corruption Perceptions Index.  “Corruption has made our world a more dangerous place. As governments have collectively failed to make progress against it, they fuel the current rise in violence and conflict – and endanger people everywhere,” stated TI Chair Delia Ferreira Rubio in a release. As conflicts and economic crises drag on, Southeast Asia’s stubborn corruption levels have trigg ..read more
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The renewed face of transgender activism in Singapore
Southeast Asia Globe
by Amanda Oon
1d ago
When Singaporean transgender community organiser Rain Khoo joined the founding team of TransgenderSG in 2016, information on transgender issues in Singapore was scarce and often misconstrued.  “European and [North] American resources are adequate to educate allies, there was a need for similar information to be readily available in the Singaporean context,” Khoo said, reminiscing about the early days of TransgenderSG. The grassroots organisation was born to fill this information void and now provides essential information on navigating life as a transgender individual in Singapore, from a ..read more
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Passing for Protection: Phnom Penh exhibition captures the Kingdom’s natural beauty
Southeast Asia Globe
by Amanda Oon
4d ago
Keep scrolling for Khmer version below. Have you ever trekked into Cambodia’s remote Virachey forest? Or been lucky enough to see a critically endangered Siamese crocodile? We will take you to see these unique landscapes and rare wildlife at Passing for Protection, a photojournalism exhibition that gives a glimpse of the natural beauty that has helped Cambodia earn its title as the Kingdom of Wonder. The culmination of more than a year of on-the-ground reporting and expeditions into Cambodia’s far-flung provinces, Passing for Protection will transport viewers to distinctive communities across ..read more
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Mapping ASEAN’s millions, charting new political paths
Southeast Asia Globe
by Amanda Oon
1w ago
Hello, Globe readers! This week’s stories explore new territories and map new dimensions of ASEAN, as shifting populations, international collaborations and major political events bring new perspectives on both topographical and social landscapes.  As the next meeting of global watchdog the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in March draws nearer, Cambodia’s financial ranking hangs in the balance. Triggered by a spread in online gambling and increased exposure to money-laundering, the Kingdom was placed on the FATF grey list in 2019, impacting the country’s reputation as an international ..read more
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Six years after untimely end, Trans-Pacific Partnership’s legacy lives on
Southeast Asia Globe
by Amanda Oon
1w ago
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) might be the most influential deal that never was.  Rooted in a much-smaller trade agreement from 2005, TPP negotiations began expanding in 2008 through the interest of the U.S. and other economic powers such as Japan and Australia. Widely seen as a means of hedging China’s growing economic power, the TPP would eventually include 12 member states accounting for a collective 40% of global GDP. But ambitious as it was, the TTP was not to be. This week and next mark key anniversaries in the in-utero death of the agreement, which has still managed from beyo ..read more
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Democratic Consolidation or Authoritarian Survival: Thailand’s Next General Election in 2023
Southeast Asia Globe
by Amanda Oon
1w ago
Thailand is at a critical juncture. The upcoming general elections, scheduled for May, will determine whether Thai democracy will continue to be dominated by a military regime or produce a new leader with no attachment to that regime. At first glance, it seems as though the stage has been set for a dramatic comeback by the Pheu Thai Party. In 2019, its fortunes were curtailed by an intricate electoral design and a court ruling that dissolved its sister party, the Thai Raksa Chart Party. Pheu Thai failed to form a coalition government and approve a prime minister of its own choosing, although t ..read more
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Cartographer maps new dimensions of ASEAN
Southeast Asia Globe
by Amanda Oon
1w ago
Southeast Asia, at least by the boundaries set by the ASEAN bloc, comprises 10 member states and upwards of 660 million people.  The basic population stats can be mapped out easily enough with the great cities of the region, but for hobbyist cartographer Terence Teo, the real points of interest lie in the stories beyond numbers. “Maps are representations, they show something. But they also tell us something with what they don’t show,” Teo said. “You start to ask questions like, why are people there and not elsewhere? That gets you digging into the history of the country, the development a ..read more
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