Drug rehab, traditional markets, charcoal culture

Vietnam's draconian rehab centres, Cambodia's modernising markets, Malaysia's enduring charcoal industry

Written By:
October 1, 2022
 Drug rehab, traditional markets, charcoal culture

Hello Globe readers,

This week our stories are centred around themes of trade and commerce, from the consequences of meth use in Vietnam to the intimate social bonds holding together Cambodia’s traditional marketplaces and Malaysia’s mangrove-fueled charcoal kilns.

Our leading feature investigated how suspected drug users and dealers in Vietnam have been forced into government-run rehabilitation centres. Detainees allege rampant abuse and beatings. While many try to escape the prison-like conditions, civil society pushes for more human-focused alternatives, Globe’s Govi Snell reported.

In Cambodia, people are more likely than ever to buy food and other goods through e-commerce or at a modern shopping mall. But Phnom Penh is filled with vibrant markets that intimately connect buyers and sellers, bringing a social cohesion to the bustling capital that deserves preservation, contributor Keithya Oung Ty argued. 

Malaysia’s traditional charcoal industry is another overlooked cultural space. Photojournalist Philippe Durant captured the primarily immigrant communal life and labour inside Kuala Sepetang factories, which are renowned for their quality product from the ash of mangroves. 

As Thailand looks to strengthen ties with India, contributor Mark S. Cogan unpacked the significance of their relations and why improving trade and security between the two countries could be beneficial.

That’s all for this week. But, before you continue reading, I’d like to say a brief good-bye! I have been writing Sightlines for most of the past year and it has been a privilege to have managed this Globe platform. However, I’ll be leaving the Globe to pursue other opportunities, though I plan to stay in Cambodia. Some of my favourite articles I wrote here include an investigation into the microfinance industry’s illicit lending to indigenous communities, a night out with Phnom Penh’s controversial shirtless fried rice sellers and a profile of the rebellious rapper DJ Khla. 

Thanks as always for reading our work and I’m excited for the Globe’s direction moving forward.

All the best, 
Jack Brook

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