A historical perspective

This week we have three history-focused pieces, providing a peak into bygone eras and trends (some good, some not so good) from across the region. First, we take a birds-eye view of 1950s Indochina, as friend of the Globe Fabrice Moussus offers up photos taken from the plane of his father, a French airforce pilot. The Globe's Govi Snell also delves into the disappearing world of Vietnam's rich tradition of typography, while investigative reporter Klas Lundstrom looks at how decades of war and occupation in Timor-Leste can still be seen in the bodies and minds of the country's youth today

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January 30, 2021
A historical perspective

Has Cambodia been given enough credit for its Covid-19 response?

As the largest country with no officially recorded Covid-19 deaths, Cambodia marked its one-year anniversary in pandemic as one of the world’s least impacted nations — by health, anyway. We collaborated with data analyst David Benaim to look at the stats for the year while our lead editor, Alastair McCready, spoke with Centers for Disease Control epidemiologist Michael Kinzer to learn more about the work that went into this success.

A country born on an empty stomach: War and hunger in Timor-Leste 

Almost nowhere else on earth is as plagued by hunger as young Timor-Leste, the small Southeast Asian country born into statehood through brutal war with its former occupier, Indonesia. As Globe contributor Klas Lundström writes in this broad-ranging dispatch, the young state’s delivery came with an empty stomach and multi-generational trauma. This is a really interesting look at a little-covered nation, be sure to check it out.

Brush strokes: Preserving Saigon’s heritage signage

Saigon is a city on the move, constantly renewing itself in the urban churn that defines Southeast Asia’s megacities. New Globe reporter Govi Snell dipped into the world of typography, an often-overlooked aspect of art heritage and urban design, to bring us this colourful report from a new initiative to save the city’s distinct scripts.

As lèse majesté cases soar, what does this tell us about the Thai state?

Thailand has seen a surge in lèse majesté cases as the government cracks down on the blossoming pro-democracy movement. Globe columnist and academic Mark S. Cogan sketches the longer history of this tactic, as well as the long-standing practice of framing opposition as a threat to Thai national security. A timely analysis here.

Why the US, and not ASEAN, is the answer for Vietnam’s South China Sea dispute

The lines of the South China Sea dispute have dragged out wearily into the ranks of some of the world’s most prominent territorial disputes. But for Vietnam, the solution to the seemingly intractable conflict in its East Sea might just lie to the West — and to closer partnership with the US. Another piece of keen insight, this one from Nguyen Hoang Anh Thu, a research fellow at Vanguard Think Tank for Trans-Pacific Relations (VTT).

Questions over civil society support as Swedish Embassy to shutter doors in Cambodia

Late last year, the Swedish government announced it would be closing its embassy in Cambodia. A long-time promoter and defender of human rights in the Kingdom, the closure will be sorely felt among civil society groups say Sopheap Chak and Jan Axel Nordlander.

Infiltrating a tiger trafficking network: From Laos to South Africa and Vietnam

The reporters go international in the second instalment of an investigative project infiltrating illegal tiger trafficking networks, visiting tiger farms in Laos and South Africa where they bread the animals to meet a taste for bone glue among wealthy Vietnamese consumers.

[Photos] Bird’s-eye view: Aerial photos of 1953 Indochina

Post-WWI, aerial photography became central to French rule over Indochina as the colonial administration charted remote corners of the region. Here, images taken by a French air force pilot show the empire’s dying days, providing a bird’s-eye view of Cambodia and Vietnam.

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