North Korean business and the grande dame

This week we investigate whether North Korean business, reportedly all but squashed in Southeast Asia in compliance with UN sanctions, is alive and well in the region. Trip Advisor restaurant reviews certainly suggest so. We also take a look at the rich and turbulent history of the Hotel Le Royal in Phnom Penh, which has survived war and strife to become an ever present feature of the capital's landscape.

June 1, 2020
North Korean business and the grande dame

Despite sanctions, how active is North Korean business in Southeast Asia?

The deadline to adhere to UN sanctions on North Korean businesses passed in late-2019, with notable efforts made to close ventures across Southeast Asia. But with attention elsewhere and the pressure off, sanctions adherence may fall on the backburner.

No tourists and unable to return home, Indonesians left in limbo on Bali

The global tourism industry has largely collapsed in the pandemic era. Now, internal migrants in Indonesia, drawn to their country’s most popular tourist destination Bali before the virus struck, are now in limbo waiting for their ticket home.

From colonial emblem to refugee camp: A brief history of Hotel Le Royal

As Phnom Penh’s landscape has changed beyond recognition in recent years, one hotel has remained a constant feature. As Le Royal traverses its 90th year, Jonathan Evans looks back over the rich but turbulent history of this iconic colonial structure.

Night-time cycle rides through Singapore

Singapore’s partial lockdown under “circuit breaker” mode has made the simple act of leaving the house a luxury for its citizens. For writer Toh Ee Ming, her long-ignored bicycle has become her lifeline, casting the city-state in a new light on her night-time rides.

Pandemic creating conditions ripe for human trafficking, experts fear

As Southeast Asia remains locked down, efforts to prevent human trafficking are slowing. But the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic poses particular threats to vulnerable communities across the region, as it heightens the appeal of a better life elsewhere.

The importance and power of the arts during a global pandemic

Art is so often regarded as non-essential and frivolous, an indulgence reserved for times of ease and comfort. But for Singaporean student Ashley Tan, this global pandemic has highlighted the importance and centrality of the medium in all of our lives.

Across Indonesia, latest Covid-19 surge adds to woes of refugees in limbo

Indonesia’s sizeable population of refugees – living in limbo awaiting resettlement without healthcare, employment, nutrition and social distancing – now fear what effect Covid-19 could have on their community following a confirmed case in mid-May.

The college course that trains Vietnam’s future wildlife conservationists

A course based in the city of Vinh aims to give Vietnamese students who want to change the way animals are treated in Vietnam a chance to make a difference.

A blight on its environment, Indonesia strides towards zero plastic goal

Indonesia is among the world’s most heavily plastic polluted nations. To tackle this, the National Plastic Action Partnership is the country’s most radical plan to date, but can it be effectively implemented and at what human cost?

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