Rapid reforestation, severance theft, Tamil ceremonies

Cambodia's haphazard conservation, severance pay loss and Malaysia's renewed Hindu festivities

Written By:
August 13, 2022
Rapid reforestation, severance theft, Tamil ceremonies

Hello Globe readers,

This week we had a range of stories featuring original reporting and photography on the ground across Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia and Cambodia. 

In protected Phnom Tamao Forest, excavators levelled hundreds of hectares in a murky development project, outraging Cambodians who expressed their outrage on social media. Prime Minister Hun Sen reversed course and cancelled the developments, triggering a rapid effort to reforest the razed area, Southeast Asia Globe‘s Anton L. Delgado reported. Conservationists warned insufficient replanting may not fully rehabilitate the forest.

In another instance of successful advocacy, Thai workers laid off at a factory supplying the Victoria’s Secret fashion label secured a major victory when the brand agreed to pay out $8.3 million in unpaid severance. But in dozens of other cases, garment workers who lost jobs across the region have not received their full severance pay, highlighting the lack of structural industry protections for garment workers, Globe’s Jack Brook reported. 

On a happier note, Malaysia’s Tamil community was finally able to celebrate two Hindu ceremonies of Thaipusam and Thimithi and contributing photographer Philippe Durant documented the festivities. Worshippers made pilgrimages to temples and religious sites to engage in rituals including eating spoiled rice and carrying pots of burning firewood to show their faith and devotion.

The mood was sombre in Laos, where currency devaluation and a fuel shortage has impacted the economy and daily lives of millions who waited in long gas station queues, contributor Calvin Godfrey reported. As citizens express concern and criticism, government representatives said they will be able to secure sufficient fuel, but August will prove a critical month for the economy.

Enjoy the articles and have a good weekend.

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