Editorial

Power to the people

This week we looked at how a small Thai village has successfully campaigned for decades against a hydropower dam project, where the Philippines stands today after the bloody Maguindanao massacre ten years ago, how a local initiative is helping Cambodian drug users heal, and more.

November 22, 2019
Power to the people

There is a reason why ‘power to the people’ has long been a rallying cry for change. People have proven time and time again that banding together against inequalities and social injustices can, at times, lead to positive outcomes.

What happens when the Thai government tries to build a 72-metre hydropower dam on the Yom river? Southeast Asia Globe looks at how Sai-ab villagers have successfully resisted these plans for thirty years.

From ordaining teak trees with monks’ cloth in the area where the proposed dam would be built, to coming up with their own forest management policies, anti-dam stalwarts of Sa-iab are an inspiration for other communities and campaigners facing similar challenges in the region.

Cheap and easy access to drugs has contributed to a surge in the number of Cambodians taking them. And with the Kingdom’s own crackdown on drug users, at-risk Cambodians have been driven further underground. As part of the Friends International group, Mith Samnlanh works directly with vulnerable children and marginalised communities, helping people overcome addiction through its community outreach programme.

“If we let this case go, what will happen to other incidents of killings? Why would we stop?”, asked Emily Lopez, who lost her cousin Arturo Betia in the bloody Maguindanao massacre that claimed 58 lives ten years ago. Southeast Asia Globe looks at how apathy, political affiliations, and a culture of impunity have denied the families justice in the Philippines.

From our print archive, Southeast Asia Globe looks at how the Documentation Centre of Cambodia (DC-Cam) has collected the evidence that helped put former Khmer Rouge cadres like ‘Duch’ on trial for their crimes. As the man in charge of S-21 detention centre, Duch oversaw the torture and murder of thousands of the Pol Pot regime’s victims. Southeast Asia Globe looks at how DC-CAM helped prove his guilt, despite the deaths of many witnesses to his crimes.

ASEAN’s dependence on Chinese investment and trade foreshadows economic trouble in the region. Thailand’s already raising interest rates, Singapore is bracing for negative growth, and Cambodia, which depends on China for imports and construction investment, is expecting growth to take a hit next year.


The ‘second chances’ article has been researched and written in partnership with Friends International. Learn more about our collaborative project by visiting our campaign.



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