LINES OF THOUGHT ACROSS SOUTHEAST ASIA

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Editorial

The end is nigh

It’s here, that moment we’ve all been waiting for in this seemingly endless race to the bottom throughout this calendar year – the end of 2020! We at the Globe warmly welcome this development, and to mark this most auspicious of occasions we end the year with strong coverage from around the region. We kick things off with a new contributor, investigative reporter Klas Lundstrom, who provides us with the latest from Indonesia’s fast-escalating, yet under-reported, conflict in West Papua. We also have the latest from the Globe’s stringer in Singapore, Ashley Tan, who tackles a lesser-seen angle on race and ethnicity in a city-state constructed around it. See you next year!

January 2, 2021
The end is nigh

‘A cancer at the heart of the UN’: Indonesia’s escalating West Papua conflict

The conflict in West Papua doesn’t get much airtime in the international press. But for members of the Melanesian peoples indigenous to this contested region in the far west of the island of New Guinea, the struggle for sovereignty with ruling Indonesia is both deadly and inescapable. Investigative reporter Klas Lundström brought us this deeply reported, finely detailed piece that gets right to the heart of the modern crisis. It’s a must-read, so be sure not to miss it.

Seafaring slavery aboard Chinese fishing vessels in the Indo-Pacific

The exploitation of Southeast Asian fishermen is a brutal pillar of the globalised seafood industry. In May of this year, haunting footage from this closed-off world swept the Internet, showing viewers the corpses of Indonesian workers who, in life, had worked in allegedly slave-like conditions before their untimely deaths and crude burial at sea from Chinese fishing vessels plying Indo-Pacific waters. Rebekah Baynard-Smith, a fellow with the Young Australians in International Affairs, comes in with this sharp analysis of the industry and its failures to protect workers.

A minority within minorities: Growing up as an African-Singaporean

This one is a great profile that examines one of Singapore’s most dearly held values: Its commitment to diversity. Melanie Kasise, a 17-year-old singer, model known to her fans as Keyana, has long been witness to that commitment and its failures. Kasise is Black, half-Chinese, half-Ghanaian and all Singaporean. She spoke with Globe contributor Ashley Tan about how this blended background challenges widely held notions of belonging in the city-state.

Assessing the damage done to US-Thai relations under Trump

While some commentators assess that US-Thai relations have improved under outgoing president Donald Trump, Professor Mark S. Cogan argues that his legacy with the kingdom is in fact one defined by four years of missed opportunities and political missteps

Preventing a pandemic of black-market vaccines in Southeast Asia

With the Covid-19 vaccine on the brink of being rolled out across the globe, in Southeast Asia, there are several things needed to expedite immunisations and quickly curb the pandemic, as well as reduce the risk of illegal and counterfeit supplies emerging

Were human relationships with elephants ever glorious?

While many still invoke romanticised notions of the human-elephant relationship throughout the centuries, today interactions are defined by captive elephant tourism. Sonakshi Srivastava asks, is it still appropriate to use history to justify this industry today?



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