Hello Globe readers,
This week we have a mix of regional stories, but they all are clearly centred around one of the four pillars of Southeast Asia Globe coverage: power. Our articles look at how power is often abused, whether politically or economically, legally or by criminal means.
As Cambodia prepares for its June commune elections, I revisited the story of DJ Khla, once Cambodia’s most famous rapper and a member of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s bodyguard unit. Prior to the 2013 elections contested by a determined opposition, DJ Khla became the most high-profile artist to turn against the ruling party and paid dearly for his convictions.
Paying less for sugar in Vietnam motivates sales of subsidised Thai sweetener smuggled in via Cambodia and Laos. The illicit market threatens to erode a struggling Vietnamese industry, Govi Snell reported. Sophisticated sugar smugglers are wreaking havoc as Vietnamese sugarcane enterprises decline as a result of the criminal business practices.
In another article from Vietnam, Govi reported on police brutality and the factors enabling violence by the authorities, which occurs on the street and during closed-door interrogations. Police face little accountability and are incentivised to secure quick confessions, regardless of the human cost. Thin excuses often dismiss violence and prevent prosecution of violent officers.
Online harassment and hostility toward the news media characterised the campaign of Philippine President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. Globe contributors Lisa Garcia and Kian Vesteinsson explained how the campaign tactics foreshadow a trend of targeting free speech that is likely to continue during the tenure of Marcos Jr. They call for the media and citizens to continue holding elected officials accountable.
While outgoing Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte received millions in British financial aid to support his deadly “War on Drugs,” declassified documents reveal the regime of Ferdinand Marcos Sr. benefited from British arms deals in the 1980s. Contributor Tom Sykes explained how Britain professed to have ethical export policies, but U.K. companies still raked in profits from the Philippines government.
Thanks for taking the time to make Southeast Asia Globe part of your busy day. Please enjoy the articles.