For journalist and writer Jon Swain, the wars of Southeast Asia made a dramatic backdrop for life and love. Globe reporter Alexi Demetriadi caught up with Swain to talk about his landmark memoir, River of Time, which recently gained approval to be made into a feature film.
Creative storytelling has long given popular voice to pressing social and political issues. This year’s upcoming Luang Prabang Film Festival in the Laotian capital took that to task, setting its participating film directors to examine the future of the mighty Mekong, which has suffered under the effects of environmental degradation.
Today, opium is widely banned around the world. That wasn’t always the case though and, in places like the small British colony of the Straits Settlements – an area encompassing Penang, Singapore, Malacca, and Dinding ruled by the British Empire between 1826 and 1946 – more than half of the territory’s revenue once came from the opium trade until residents decided they’d had enough of the production and its harmful effects on their society. As Globe reporter Wanpen Pajai writes here, their campaign against this colonial cash-crop would spark a global movement to end the trade for good.
Little-known outside Myanmar – or even within it – Saw Ba U Gyi lives on in the country’s Karen State as a leading figure in the ethnic minority group’s ongoing fight for recognition and sovereignty in the war-torn country. Contributor Oliver Slow examines the legacy of the man within the long-running conflict between the Karen people and the Bamar majority.
In a society marked by high levels of wealth disparity, members of the Thai upper class don’t often mix with their countrymen of lesser means. A high-school-student-led media program is aiming to change that. Globe reporter Tara Abhasakun got the story here.
With 54 registered minority groups, Vietnam is a land of immense cultural diversity. Photographer Alden Anderson and his Vietnamese partner Trinh Nguyen have set out to capture this heterogeneity, traversing the country to capture portraits of each group.
Spurred on by rapid economic growth, Vietnam has been one of the fastest evolving nations on earth by virtually every metric for decades. This collection of photos from the 90s, showing a country markedly different from today’s Vietnam, lays testament to that.