A soldier staring down their demons in a dark room. A farmer watching her crops wither beneath an unflinching sky. A musician’s fingers frantic on the string while the spirits watch stone-faced through a medium’s borrowed eyes. In Southeast Asia, the daily fight to thrive has many faces.
National service has long been a standard part of life for many Singaporeans. But for people struggling with serious mental illness, mandatory military service can often be an isolating and overwhelming experience. This week, we’re investigating the stories of the young Singaporeans left alone and vulnerable during their service – sometimes with fatal results.
On Tuesday we’ll be reaching back into our print archives to bring you a first-hand account of life at the edges of Myanmar’s Wa State. For the first time online, you’ll be able to witness our account the rise of a wealthy elite growing rich off the back of the region’s booming opium industry – and what the crackdown on the drug trade meant for the poor farmers who dedicated their lives to cultivating the cash crop.
Climate change has been described as the great moral challenge of our time. But in Southeast Asia, a region expected to bear the full brunt of climate collapse as global temperatures rise, that time is fast running out. This week, we’ll be looking at how the ASEAN region is bracing itself for a world of longer droughts, fiercer storms and the shrinking crop yields as the verdant fields turn fallow.
We’ll also be investigating the quasi-legal world of grey market cars in Cambodia and the Kingdom’s vanishing art of summoning up spirits through song.
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