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.
Now is the right time to get serious about climate change. Many countries including Thailand have signed the Paris agreement which sets a common goal in keeping the global temperature to rise lower than two degrees Celsius. While the countries around the world have announced their intention to stop using coal in the near future yet the number of coal-fired power plants are going up and booming particularly in Southeast Asia region. Likewise in Thailand, we can see that energy and coal-fired power plants have been one of the boiling topics circulating in mainstream media in the past few years.
Vietnamese environmental activist Nguy Thi Khanh, co-founder and executive director of the Green Innovation and Development Centre Vietnam, was honored with the Goldman Environmental Prize. Lars Blume and Do Minh Tam from GreenID celebrate her work and explore Vietnam’s energy transition.
In the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), renewables contributed 8% to final energy consumption in 2014. Since then, the share renewable energy has only slightly increased whereas fossil fuel-powered generation is the main source for new power plants. Lars Blume and Nguyen Thi Hang illustrate why momentum in Southeast Asia is changing.
Women farmers have become a part of the social movement that transpires in North Kendeng Mountains. The position that originally was only complementary in the local economic and political routine has transformed into an important element in determining the motion of the movement being built. Gunarti, one of the women, shares her stories with us.
Governments and corporations are driving the demand for water, land and organic resources of all kinds as never before. Citizens are fighting for their rights and working to preserve their livelihoods. Our study "Tricky Business" shows how the mechanisms of expropriation work.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Reading Room is one of Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung Southeast Asia’s partner organizations established in 2009. We sat down with Kyo Narawan Pathomvat, its founder and director, to talk about her latest achievement— being shortlisted for the 2017 Visible Award, as well as the current regime and how she thinks it has impacted the art community.
Over the last years, Asia has undergone an impressive digital transformation. Large parts of the continent have turned from the world’s factory into a creative industry.The different contributions across the continent highlight both the opportunities and risks of digitalization in Asia.
Indonesia will be able to play a leading role in the fight against climate change, and gets a global significance. To that end, a political leadership is needed which is able to promote consistency between the declared commitment shown in international forums and genuine implementation efforts.