Editorial

Bushmeat under the microscope

From dire International Monetary Fund economic forecasts, to Khmer New Year being moved online to respect social distancing, this is how countries across Southeast Asia are faring with the ongoing global pandemic

Alastair McCready
April 17, 2020
Bushmeat under the microscope

With the weeks rolling on, the social and economic fallout of Covid-19 shows no sign of easing. In Southeast Asia, most striking was the dire economic outlook given by the International Monetary Fund this week, forecasting negative economic growth in Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Cambodia.

While in a rare non-Covid related story, we also covered a fascinating yet tragic period in Southeast Asian history, in which colonial powers Great Britain and France would compete to construct grand railway lines connecting them with the trading hub of Yunnan, China. Covering harsh, unforgiving terrain, many labourers would perish while laying thousands of miles of track.  

IMF: ASIAN ECONOMIC GROWTH SET TO BE LOWEST FOR SIX DECADES

Cambodia and Thailand are set to be two of the region’s hardest hit economies according to the IMF, as nations across Southeast Asia are forecast to be ravaged by the global economic slowdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

THE BUSHMEAT TRADE

Bushmeat has been thrust into the spotlight following the likely outbreak of Covid-19 at a wet market in Wuhan. But the trade is not limited to China, with conservationists in Southeast Asia warning of the grave risks involved with the region’s ongoing wildlife industry.

TALES OF THE PANDEMIC: THE VIEW FROM INSIDE SINGAPORE’S MIGRANT DORMS

In April, Singapore put several dormitories housing 20,000 migrant workers under lockdown to control the spread of Covid-19, prompting criticism about conditions. Writer and Bangladeshi migrant worker Md Sharif Uddin gives his account from inside.

This story is part of the Globe’s collection of personal essays from across Southeast Asia called Tales of the Pandemic – published each Monday and covering different aspects of life during this unprecedented time in human history.

THE RACE TO YUNNAN

In the late 19th century, colonial powers Britain and France held grand ambitions to exert control over the Southeast Asia region. The construction of highly ambitious railway lines to access Chinese markets was deemed the answer, and the “Race to Yunnan” was on.

ROOSTING WITH BATS: NATURE’S MOST MISUNDERSTOOD MAMMAL

Bats have earned quite the reputation since the Covid-19 outbreak, and with April 17 marking World Bat Appreciation Day chiropterologist Tigga Kingston sets out to provide the full picture on the misunderstood mammals by outlining how essential they are to much of human life.

SAVING LIVES ON THE FRONTLINE, FILIPINO NURSES STILL FACE ABUSE AND STIGMA

While undertaking life-saving work for little pay, frontline healthcare workers in the Philippines say they are still suffering from physical attacks, a lack of protective equipment and are stigmatised in their communities due to virus fears.

CAMBODIAN JOURNALIST’S ARREST PART OF REGIONAL CRACKDOWN ON VIRUS COVERAGE

Last week Cambodian journalist Sovann Rithy was arrested after he posted a quote taken directly from a Prime Minister Hun Sen speech. Rights groups have warned it’s part of a worrying trend across Southeast Asia, as governments tighten their grip on the press in the wake of reporting on the virus.

SINGAPORE’S STRUGGLING BARS AND EATERIES HAVING TO ADAPT TO SURVIVE

As Singapore goes into full lockdown, the city-states once-bustling food and beverage establishments are having to find innovative ways to stay afloat. Will the pandemic change the way the sector operates for good?

‘Covid-19 exposes the great inequality in Cambodian water access’

While Covid-19 has been labelled the ‘great leveller’ by many due to the diverse nature of those infected, Horn Chanvoitey of Cambodian think-tank Future Forum argues that it exposes one of the Kingdom’s great inequalities: access to clean water.

STOP THE FIREWORKS: VIRUS PUTS KHMER NEW YEAR ON HOLD AROUND THE GLOBE

Khmer New Year is normally a time for celebration and community, but for Cambodians across the globe this year has been scuppered by the global pandemic. To get around this, some groups are moving celebrations online.



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