Cable cars, microfinance and metaverses

Vietnam's cable cars carry environmental concerns, Cambodian microfinance illegally profits from indigenous lands and underregulated Southeast Asian metaverses boom

Written By:
May 7, 2022
Cable cars, microfinance and metaverses

Hello Globe readers,

If you’re in Vietnam, you may notice an increase of cable cars plodding across the sky, part of a surge in development ushered in to improve tourism and access to the country’s most famous sites. But critics allege the cable cars are drawing businesses away from local communities and degrading the surrounding environment, Govi Snell reported.

In Cambodia, the microfinance industry is under scrutiny after the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation announced it will audit six of the Kingdom’s biggest microlenders for violating environmental and social policies. Jack Brook investigated how microlenders violate the law when lending to indigenous communities, prompting land loss and deforestation and misinforming their development bank investors about their lending practices.

Across Southeast Asia’s virtual frontiers, metaverses are popping up and leading to lucrative real estate and advertising markets yet these spaces lack regulation and hide an underworld of illicit activity, Amanda Oon reported. Industry leaders are excited for the digital future but stress the need for greater governance. 

In the second part of a Globe‘s series on landmines and unexploded ordnances, Anton L. Delgado was on the ground with Cambodian demining units to produce a photo series on the men, women and specially trained rats helping to rid the Kingdom of buried explosives. Unearthing grenades and other subterranean terrors daily, the demining squads are working to clear Cambodia’s landscapes of all landmines.

With the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference hosted by Thailand this November, Japan’s prime minister visited the Kingdom to set a diplomatic and economic agenda, Mark S. Cogan wrote. The two countries have deep economic ties built on Japan’s pragmatic foreign policy, but will also need to find a balance on thorny issues such as Russian human rights violations.

That’s all for this week, enjoy the features and analysis!

Read more articles