Hello Globe readers,
Lunar New Year celebrations are almost over, and once again looked slightly different this year.
Concerns over the omicron variant of Covid-19 have been a notable undercurrent for holiday observances in Singapore and Malaysia, reporter Ashley Yeong and editor Amanda Oon wrote. Yet from socially distanced gatherings to take-out meals – aided by the crackle of Chinese firecrackers – people have still found ways to celebrate.
As multi-million-dollar development ramps up in Malaysia’s historic port city of George Town, a group of longtime tenants successfully fought back against recent evictions, Ashley reports. But their win was unusual as residents fear a building boom could force the city to lose its UNESCO World Heritage status.
In Singapore, a coalition of students has taken on another fight: Pushing their universities to divest from the fossil fuel industry. Anton L. Delgado interviewed two student coordinators who say they want to see tangible climate action from administrators and companies.
Even those familiar with the South China Sea dispute may learn something new from contributor Stein Tønnesson’s deep-dive into the Paracels. The small group of islands, located east of Central Vietnam and south of Chinese Hainan, almost caused a war 75 years ago and still remain disputed territory for China and Vietnam.
Finally, Thailand must end its near-silence on the military coup d’état in Myanmar, argues contributor Mark S. Cogan. With at least 1,500 people killed and millions in need of assistance, Thailand still refuses to give legal status to refugees desperate to escape the crisis.
Enjoy this week’s stories and stay safe.