Southeast Asia

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We are hiring! Deadline: July 31st, 2018

Vacancy Announcement - Program Coordinator Ecology and Social Justice (1 position): The Heinrich Böll Stiftung Southeast Asia Regional Office in Bangkok (hbs) is currently seeking one Program Coordinator for our component of "Ecology and Social Justice" starting at the earliest possible date. Application is open until July 31st, 2018.

Malaysia’s Reformasi Movement Lives Up To Its Name

A revolution took place in Malaysia on May 9, 2018. It was a silent and peaceful one, amazingly achieved through the ballot box, and is therefore not noticed for what it is. But it is a revolution nevertheless, and the effects of it are moving like a strong undercurrent throughout the nation—cutting down old structures, be these mental ones, social ones or political ones. A sense of jubilation and disorientation now permeates the country, and will do so for a few weeks yet, if not months.

By Ooi Kee Beng

Nationalism and Islamic Populism in Indonesia

On 2 December 2016, about 800,000 Muslim protestors hit the streets of Jakarta to demand the arrest of the Christian-Chinese governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, aka “Ahok”. The largest in a series of such protests since October 2016, it was labelled “Defending Islam Acts”. The crowd accused Ahok of blasphemy, alleging that a speech he made in September 2016 had insulted Islam. As the result of this protest Ahok, who at the time was running for re-election, saw his polling numbers drop significantly. Conversely, the hard-line Muslim groups and politicians driving the protest enjoyed new heights of public attention.

By Ihsan Ali-Fauzi

Eroding Institutions and Exploiting Resentments: Populism in the Philippines and Southeast Asia

In recent years, voters have increasingly chosen populist leaders from the left and from the right. An increasing number of elected populist leaders can be found in countries with long democratic traditions and history. It might be less surprising to find populist leaders in countries that are purportedly democratic but without necessarily having strong liberal democratic traditions.  While some have argued that the reason for this rise is the failure of globalization and the lack of inclusive growth.  For the segment of the population that have not benefited from the borderless economy, there is understandably, a cynicism that makes populist rhetoric appealing.

By Cleo Calimbahin

Southeast Asia: Time for a Pushback in Media Spaces

Digital, online and social-media avenues undoubtedly offer an alternative or complementary channel for news, because of the inherent difficulty in censoring these spaces. Their wide reach and levels of engagement have saved lives during disasters or emergencies.

By Johanna Son

Southeast Asia: Open Season for Professional Media?

Journalists sued for espionage in Cambodia, and for using drones or supposedly violating the official secrets act in Myanmar. News outlets faced with financial penalties steep enough to cause them to go under, as it did in Cambodia. Media organizations in the Philippines repeatedly described as ‘fake news’ outlets by government officials chafing at critical reporting.

By Johanna Son

Rethinking Media Reform in Southeast Asia: Promoting a Participatory Approach for a More Democratic Media

Internet users in Southeast Asia are confronted with a heavily regulated environment in which there are more restrictions being placed on freedom of expression. Despite technological advances, societies undergoing political transitions, such as Indonesia, Myanmar, and Thailand, have yet to enjoy the full democratic potentials of a free and independent media. Instead of top-down reforms for the media, these countries need policies that prioritize the public’s interests. Only with the meaning public’s meaningful participation of civil society can these reforms become sustainable while  supporting democratization.

By Gayathry Venkiteswaran

Life as LBGT in the Southern Border Provinces and the Pain of Being Different

“... some people had stones thrown at their head, a knife pointed at their throat or a knife aimed at their belly (these are experiences that I myself had directly). Some have had piss thrown at them, and have been kicked and slapped around. Some have been beaten up to within an inch of their lives just for other people's satisfaction. They have been kicked, beaten and stomped in the face, without being raped or having their possessions taken. That sounds like a joke but it is the reality for kathoei in our home in Cho-airong District.”

Carbon-Free Energy Development Network in Southeast Asia

By creating a carbon-free energy development network, a moderating unit designed as a regional focal point will be established in order to identify synergies on combining or aligning national activities. Sharing successful activities with member organisations will scale up successful actions and activities. The aim is to slow down coal development, reduce regional energy dependency and a financial log in into coal capacity for Southeast Asia.

By Green Innovation and Development Centre

Southeast Asia in the G20: a missed opportunity to push a difficult agenda?

For the countries of Southeast Asia, this year’s rather tumultuous G20 summit held unprecedented opportunities to present themselves as good multilateralists and shape the outcomes of the annual meeting, at least in theory. Apart from Indonesia, the only permanent member of the club, Vietnam, in its function as current Chair of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), attended the summit and Filipino President Duterte who currently chairs the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) equally expected an invitation.

By Jari John

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