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Tales of the Pandemic

Here at the Globe, we tend to veer towards the human angle of any given story. So while Covid-19 infection figures spiral worldwide, we’re getting back to the people behind the statistics and publishing stories from you, our readers, about day-to-day life across Southeast Asia during this global pandemic.

As part of a series looking at experiences across Southeast Asia during Covid-19, we aim to document life during this unprecedented time in human history. Whether a personal essay on the ways in which communities are banding together, a photo-essay on the now empty streets of once-bustling neighbourhoods, or even personal accounts of love and loss during these testing times, we’re publishing it all here for future generations to read.

The long way home: State quarantine in a Bangkok hotel

Last week, Globe reporter Wanpen Pajai returned to her native Thailand from the Netherlands. Beyond bureaucratic hoops, stringent health checks and now state quarantine, along the way she has also encountered human stories from people impacted by the pandemic Read More

Humanitarian outreach for migrants on the Thai-Myanmar border

Mae Sot, a town on the Thai-Myanmar frontier home to a large Burmese migrant worker and refugee community, was hit hard in February when borders shut and supply routes were interrupted. Wayland Blue of the Shade Tree Foundation was part of an outreach team trying to mitigate these effects through a community outreach programme Read More

Reflecting on face masks as Vietnam enjoys Covid-19 ‘liberation’

Against the odds, Vietnam has become a global success story in combating Covid-19 as its started to open up once again. Hanoi resident Alex Sheal has been present for Vietnam’s latest “liberation”, and believes attitudes towards the humble face mask highlight the difference between his new home and the West Read More

My experience as Singapore’s Covid-19 case number 862

Unknowingly contracting and spreading Covid-19 to loved ones is a fear many among us carry. So when Singaporean citizen Reuben Lim tested positive in March with virtually no symptoms, the thought he had put his family at risk was a guilt he struggled to process Read More

Lockdown with the monks at Myanmar’s Pa-Auk monastery

As much of the world struggles with enforced isolation to stem the spread of Covid-19, there is one group who are better prepared than most to weather this storm. Buddhist monk Bhante Subhūti gives an insight into how his monastery near Mandalay is coping with this not-so-slow pace of life Read More

Hunkering down in tourist-free Siem Reap

Cambodia’s Siem Reap thrives and survives on its tourist industry, with millions flocking to the ancient Angkor Wat temple each year. But as Covid-19 halts global travel, writer Jonathan Evans describes life minus the tourists in this once-again sleepy little town Read More

The quiet before Ramadan in Yogyakarta

Each year, Ramadan witnesses one of the world’s great migrations of people as worshippers return home for the Islamic holy month. In Yogyakarta, Indonesia an unease about what people may bring with them is overshadowing this year’s celebrations Read More

Stuck in Phnom Penh, a final goodbye is taken away

With the Covid-19 death toll reaching into the hundreds-of-thousands, the people behind the figures become easily obscured. Here, the Globe’s editor Alastair McCready talks about losing his father this month, unable to speak to or visit him in the south London isolation ward where he passed Read More

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 Read More

The endless sirens of Kuala Lumpur

On the outskirts of Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur, Syahiirah Junaidi is closed off from much of the outside world. One of the few real-life connections she has left is the sound of sirens, reminding her just how many people are falling ill Read More

Evicted from Harvard, returning to Singapore

Singaporean Yong Han Poh has called Harvard University home for the past four years. But when the global pandemic hit, it all came to an abrupt end, with her forced to pack her life up and leave for good virtually overnight Read More

Quarantine in the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital

After coming down with a fever three weeks ago, an expat was admitted to Phnom Penh’s Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital. In the second of our personal essays looking at life during COVID-19, we publish their account of life inside a Cambodian government quarantine Read More