The biggest protest in years

The Globe team has been hard at work for another week of clips from around Southeast Asia. Our Thai bureau (also known as Globe reporters Wanpen Pajai and Tara Abhasakun) went deep this past week into #whatshappeninginthailand, delivering a major dispatch from the weekend protest outside the royal palace in Bangkok that organisers and local media have dubbed the biggest demonstration in years.

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September 21, 2020
The biggest protest in years

A night of surprises, as Thai taboos pushed further than ever before

Thailand’s pro-democracy movement has been gathering momentum for months now, and this past weekend’s protest has only raised the bar higher. Held on the anniversary of the 2006 military coup that ousted former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, the demonstration saw a massive occupation of the Sanam Luang field right outside the Grand Palace — a notable site, given the increasingly normalised public critique against the monarchy. Another tag-team feature from Globe reporters Wanpen Pajai and Tara Abhasakun, with great on-the-ground details from the protest. A must-read to learn more about #whatshappeninginthailand

From Thaksin to Thammasat: How the 2006 coup led us here

If you want to understand the present, it pays to learn about the past. Wanpen and Tara put together this timeline and analysis with commentary from Thai political experts, including an advisor to a civilian government ousted by coup. Must-read backgrounder to put the modern movement in proper context.

‘An all-time low’: Cambodia’s search for peace and democracy continues

In Cambodia, Prime Minister Hun Sen is fond of encouraging the public to be thankful for peace. But what does that mean, really? Civil society advocate Chak Sopheap, head of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, explains in this editorial that peace is more than just a lack of war — it’s a condition of social respect that she believes cannot be found in today’s Cambodia. A strong argument here from someone deeply involved in peace-building.

Twin bombings add fuel to the fire for Philippines’ troubled south

For good cause, Covid-19 has pulled the attention of the world. But in the Philippines, a long-standing epidemic of violence is convulsing in the nation’s south, with a dual suicide bombing in August being only the latest outbreak. Rebekah Baynard-Smith, Indo-Pacific Fellow for Young Australians in International Affairs, brings us this editorial courtesy of the organisation’s blog.

Pinoy Lives Matter: Duterte’s drug war rages on through pandemic

Though Covid-19 has disrupted most aspects of modern life, author Niko Vorobyov brings this stark reminder that the nation’s violent war on drugs has continued as usual. In this piece adapted from his book Dopeworld, an exploration of the international drug trade, Niko outlines the human suffering exacted by President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-drug crackdown.

In Thailand, Akha tribe straddle identity and integration

The balance between contemporary and traditional life can be fraught. That counts double for the largely stateless members of the Akha hill tribe of Thailand, for whom integration can bring major benefits at the expense of identity. Tara took to the kitchen to learn more about Akha culture from Niti Muelaeku, who preserves her cultural heritage from the tribe in part through her cooking school, Thai Akha Kitchen, in Chiang Mai. An important piece with painstaking attention to flavour and detail.

[Photos] The cyclos, street food and shophouses of 1950s Phnom Penh

This collection of archive images depicts Phnom Penh in April 1953, offering an insight into Cambodia on the brink of independence, a country yet to be touched by the heady development of the 60s or the tragedy of the 70s

Saigon has always lacked public space. Here’s how we can remedy that

Ho Chi Minh City is famous for many things – great food, culture and historic architecture. What it is not known for, however, is its green spaces. How should local government and developers set about remedying this?

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