For years, farmers and residents caught in agrarian conflicts throughout Indonesia have faced criminalisation, brutality and murder. The mandate to conduct social distancing, however, provides the authorities with further justification to thwart their fight.
Myanmar’s Delayed Reaction to the “Foreign Virus”
Myanmar was relatively slow in acknowledging the COVID-19 public health threat. The government’s early denial is poised to have wide-ranging effects on a country ill-equipped to deal with a pandemic or the ensuing economic fallout.
Singapore: The Limits of a Technocratic Approach to Healthcare
The ruling elite of Singapore sees its healthcare system as the epitome of a rational, technocratic state, governed by impartial, objective criteria. A close examination of the healthcare funding system, however, reveals the limitations of applying purist technocratic premises and methodologies to governance.
As Residents Grapple With Smog, Vietnam Pushes Renewable Energy
As Vietnam’s economy booms, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are experiencing unprecedented levels of air pollution. What does this mean for their residents, and how big of a role will renewable energy play in solving the deadly problem?
A Porcine Paradigm
Halal tourism has become big business in Southeast Asia in recent years. But in communities that have traditionally celebrated pigs, this initiative by local governments has caused concern and contention.
As Flooded Forests Burn, Cambodia Dreams of Carbon Credit Cash
Cambodia’s Tonle Sap lake ecosystem has been strained by hydropower dams, drought and unprecedented forest fires. Now, surrounding flooded forests, people who rely on them, and the forests’ carbon-capturing potential face increasing threats.
Black Gold of the Sinabung Foothills
Coffee culture has uplifted coffee beans as an international commodity while also initiating a “third-wave coffee movement” that ensures free trade. Yet the lives of coffee workers throughout the industry chain tells a very different story.
A New Islamic Populism and the Contradictions of Development
A new form of Islamic populism in Indonesia and other parts of the Muslim world articulates the rising ambitions and growing frustrations and anxieties of urban middle classes, urban poor and the periphery of the bourgeoisie, by aiming to provide access to power and tangible resources to an ummah conceived to be both downtrodden and homogeneous.
Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Both the Myanmar military and the Kachin Independence Army have expressed intentions to reach a bilateral ceasefire agreement in Kachin State. But while Kachin and non-Kachin alike say they’re tired of the impact of war, there’s still doubt as to whether such a ceasefire would truly hold.
Singapore’s Malay Privileged: Affluence, Alienation and Anxieties
Negative narratives and stereotypes of Malays in Singapore have been repeatedly reproduced over the years. They’ve become so entrenched and internalised that more affluent Malays often distance themselves from the “typical Malay”. But how do we make sense of the “Malay Excellent”—the model minority who has ostensibly succeeded under Singapore’s much-vaunted meritocratic system?