LINES OF THOUGHT ACROSS SOUTHEAST ASIA

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Editorial

The Globe is going big with a new fundraiser. Here’s what it looks like now

Plus, we test the waters of a possible Myanmar federal army, explore the legacy of one of Vietnam’s female military icons and see what the Fourth Industrial Revolution actually means for Cambodia. In Thailand, we also explore the languishing world of academic freedom and learn of one man’s quest to end garbage for good with a bold new startup

April 24, 2021
The Globe is going big with a new fundraiser. Here’s what it looks like now

Before we get to this week’s features, I want to catch you up on some new developments in the Globe office. In the very near future, you’ll see Globe launch an exciting project, a fundraiser unlike any we’ve done before. The past year has seen our publication undergo what I’d call a real transformation, a shift in mindset that has pushed us to reimagine what we can be, both now and in the years to come. Over the course of the fundraiser we will be sharing testimonials from our readers and partners from around the world. If you would like to share your thoughts about Globe, what our work means to you or the importance of a free and independent press in the region, please take a second to fill out this form.

Here in Cambodia, this push comes at a time when the public is stuck in an escalating lockdown intended to stop the rising spread of Covid-19. Without the diligence of Cambodian reporters and news outlets, we’d have no idea what’s going on or what authorities are doing to maintain a semblance of order, nor the human toll these lockdown measures are having on some of Phnom Penh’s most vulnerable residents.

It’s in moments like these that the true value of independent journalism is revealed. And for us, raising this kind of money would make for new opportunities to work with a bigger roster of talented Southeast Asian journalists than ever before, including those in our home city. This fundraising goal is a sum that signifies an immediate and lasting change in the way we operate, and so we’re doing everything we can to make it happen.

At the same time, we don’t intend to slow down in our coverage of the region’s biggest stories. Today’s piece comes to us about Myanmar on a double-header byline from Allegra Mendelson and Alastair McCready. Myanmar’s civilian government is struggling to rebuild after the military’s February 1 coup and subsequent violent campaign to hold power. With the latest announcement of a civilian National Unity Government have come renewed calls for a federal army uniting the country’s ethnic military groups. Can such a project succeed? Click the link to find out.

Looking to past conflicts, we have a very interesting piece on one of Vietnam’s female military icons here from Globe reporter Govi Snell. Nguyễn Thị Định was a soldier, a rebel and a model for socialist womanhood both during and after her time in the Viet Cong movement. Govi spoke with her niece and others to learn more of the legacy of this revolutionary figure. 

Peacetime also brings with it new struggles for change. In Cambodia, you can’t get far in economic circles without hearing about Industry 4.0, the tech-infused approach to work also described as the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In this partner piece with UNDP, Globe writer Stew Post sought out stories of real people already using digital tools to change the traditional nature of their work.

Over the border in Thailand, we have two stories this week of very different kinds of work.

Globe columnist Mark Cogan takes us this week into the languishing world of academic freedom in Thailand, where certain subjects aren’t just difficult to study — they’re strictly illegal, under threat of serious punishment.

Meanwhile, the country’s Deep South is home to some of its most beautiful beaches and vistas. It’s also the scene of impromptu garbage dumps, thanks both to washed up rubbish and local litterers. Rubber sciences lecturer Nithi-Uthai had enough of the trash sullying his hometown and took matters into his own hands. Now, thanks in part to his startup, Tlejourn, which recycles garbage into fashionable footwear, he’s a leading advocate of the ‘circular economy’, a new way of thinking that reframes refuse as a vital resource. The Globe’s Ryan Anders saw it first-hand.

Back in the Globe offices, we’re also trying to reimagine what our future could look like.

Any fundraiser is only as good as the willingness of supporters to, well, support. This effort cannot succeed without the backing of our friends and allies, and so, with messages such as this, we’re reaching out to test the waters. Has our work benefitted you this past year? Then let’s keep that up in the year to come, and for many after that. I’m personally excited to see where the Globe is heading as an organisation. With your help, we’ll get there for sure.



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