The times, they are a’changing

As the Globe opens a new chapter, we’ve got the latest episode of the Anakut podcast, a hard-hitting call to abolish Singapore’s death penalty, and an up-close-and-personal history of the East Timor independence movement.

Written By:
July 17, 2021
The times, they are a’changing

This week, I’ve been thinking about transitions. A lot is changing at the Globe right now and, in the weeks and months ahead, you’ll no doubt be introduced to a crew of new faces tasked with the enviable job of running this ship. It’ll be different — and that’s a good thing! Some things won’t change, like the approach to high-quality and diverse reporting that has made the Globe what it is today. But of course, other aspects of the publication will inevitably move forward to keep up with our new energy, ideas and, most importantly, team members.

That’s part of why I’ll make a final plug for our ongoing fundraiser. We’ve been running this drive for about two months now, all the while examining our operations to find the places where extra money would do the most good. I’m proud of what our team has accomplished in the past year, but I’d be lying if I said there weren’t times we found ourselves wondering how far we could stretch our resources to keep the Globe alive. In the past few weeks, we’ve counted ourselves extremely fortunate to have secured grant funding that should pull us off the brink. However, the fundraiser remains a vital piece of our bottom line, especially as we prepare for some big transitions ahead. If you’ve ever found our work useful, engaging, interesting, bold, creative, inspiring, funny or whatever else, please consider making a donation or signing up for a membership today.

But enough Globe news for now, let’s get to the features!

First up, we’ve got the latest from the Anakut podcast — and my favourite episode to date. This week’s topic is Cambodia’s National Internet Gateway, a proposal to reroute all of the Kingdom’s internet traffic through a single portal controlled by the state. The gateway scheme was announced early this year and immediately set off anxiety across civil society and the business community amidst fears of a restricted cyberspace. To explain what exactly is going on here and what it might mean, we had on digital security expert Moses Ngeth and journalist James Griffiths, author of the Great Firewall of China, to help us take a glimpse through the gateway into a possible future.

Next, I really enjoyed this story from Globe reporter Allegra Mendelson about the work of reporters and sisters Sophie and Lyndal Barry in East Timor as the tiny country edged toward independence from a period of brutal Indonesian rule. The sisters retelling here provides a rare and personal view into a historic period that seldom gets the spotlight.

We also had a trio of strong op-eds rounding out the week, starting with this one from Singaporean journalist and activist Kirsten Han. The city-state is known for its harsh approach to crime and punishment, justified on the grounds of deterrence. But as Kirsten writes here, the country has a chance now to redefine the relationship between state and citizen by eliminating the death penalty altogether.

Looking to Myanmar, as the world today marks the International Day of Justice, EarthRights International Executive Director Ka Hsaw Wa reflects on how Myanmar’s Yadana gas pipeline inspired him to first resist the junta in the 1990s, and how the fight for justice has evolved today in the wake of the coup. Very interesting connections here between human rights and the environmental movement.

Moving down the Mekong and into the arts world, Vietnam’s galleries and museums havelong suffered from severe conservation challenges but today, spurred by the collapse of traditional art spaces due to the pandemic, the digitisation of culture is driving straight ahead. Interesting writing here from Emma Duester, a lecturer in the School of Communication & Design at RMIT University in Hanoi. She leads a research project investigating the digitisation of art and culture in Vietnam and shares some of her findings here.

Finally, and it’s a little hard to believe, we’ve been together now through this editorial for more than a year now. And what an odd year it’s been, making this journey from the earliest days of the pandemic to our uncertain, hopeful present. This is my last day here at the Globe and thus my last edition of the weekly editorial, for now anyway. I’m grateful to have had this opportunity to speak directly to you and fill you in on the latest here from Globe-world. I’ll be sticking around Cambodia for the foreseeable future and so you might still see me around from time to time, and certainly until we finish this current season of the Anakut podcast.. Until then, let me just close by saying it’s been a privilege to write to you each week and I wish you all the best.

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