The Globe as you know it is changing.
Coming June 2019

  • More thought-provoking stories that inspire
  • Independent, free and member-supported
  • Vote for, pitch and commission stories
  • Member engagement with our journalists

To understand more about why you are so important to our member-supported initiative, we encourage you to read the following from our managing editor ~ Read more

The Globe as you know it is changing.

Since 2007, Southeast Asia Globe has been a space for some of the region’s best writers and photographers to take our readers behind the headlines into the stories that shape people’s lives. Every month, you could expect to pick up our latest print edition and find high-quality journalism, analysis and artwork waiting on every page. And since 2007, we’ve fought to uphold our promise of quality and independence to you, our readers.

But, like we said, the world is changing. Print publications just aren’t reaching the audiences they need to fulfil their promise of informing, educating and entertaining the public. Advertisers continue to invest in digital platforms while printing costs creep ever higher. Print may not be dead, but it’s fighting for its life. And we’re tired of waiting by a sickbed for its condition to improve. We want to be present at the birth of something new.

That’s why Southeast Asia Globe is relaunching as a member-driven platform featuring daily long-form features combining world-class journalism with enthralling art design and data-centered tech. Through our core pillars – Power, Money, Life and Earth – we are focusing in on the central issues that our readers have always engaged with most, with the same in-depth coverage of politics, business, social affairs and the environment that you’ve come to expect since 2007.

But leaving print behind us doesn’t just save our backs from lugging stacks of magazines across Southeast Asia. It opens up a global readership who don’t just want to read the news, but have a say in the stories that we tell and the way that we tell them. We’re not asking you to take out another magazine subscription – our stories are open to all. What we’re offering our members is a space where they can pitch and vote on the stories that they think deserve to be told. We want to inspire an engaged and active community of members who vote for, comment on and contribute to the stories that matter most to them. We want to work with our members to curate the way they engage with the news – not just as readers, but as an active extension of our editorial team.

That’s how we’re changing to bring you great stories. Here’s how we’re not.

We’re independent. Always have been, always will be. We’re not owned by any corporation or aligned with any state. We choose the stories that we tell, and the way that we tell them.

We’re creative. We’re not interested in churning out breaking news stories on the hour, every hour. We believe that the best stories are the ones that come alive on the page, digging deeper into the issues that shape Southeast Asia – and bringing you along for the ride. From our dedicated designers to our new software development team, our commitment is to constantly challenge ourselves to find new ways of reaching out to our readers.

We’re open. Challenging governments, NGOs and businesses to be transparent with the public means nothing if we keep our own readers in the dark. That’s why we will be completely open about why we tell the stories that we tell – and how we pay for them. Work with us to build something that endures where many media fail, and decide with us exactly where that money is going.

Above all, we’re optimistic. And yeah, we know what you’re thinking. Faced with impending climate collapse, the rise of right-wing authoritarian governments across the world, widening wealth and income inequality and deepening divisions rooted in race or gender or creed, it’s hard not to open the papers and feel the weight of the world pressing down. But we wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t believe that when people work together, they can make their little corner of the world a more just, open and equal place.

And that’s why we can’t do this without you. We believe that across the globe is a community of people who care deeply about social justice, environmental action and press freedom – and who will join in to help make those ideals a reality. We’re not just holding our hand out – we need your voice to play a vital role in building Southeast Asia Globe into a leading space for progressive causes in the region. Tell us what stories the mainstream media is missing. Share with us the causes that matter most to you, and how we can champion those causes not just across Southeast Asia, but the world.

Our vision is clear. By 2025, we want to be recognised for building a great space for outstanding journalists from across the region to explore new ways of telling Southeast Asia’s most vital stories. Let’s bring together a community of engaged and loyal members who want to help reshape the media rather than just read it. And we want to reach a point where our readers, not advertisers, are the ones working to support our shared vision of an inclusive media.

We can’t do this without you. Let’s get together and build something that we all believe in.

If you’re interested in joining us, sign up to our newsletter, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter. And watch this space.

Affordable housing / A Cambodian housing revolution built on ‘Lego bricks’

Posted on: March 29, 2018 | Featured

Hav Kongngy hopes his affordable, interlocking bricks can help tackle a housing crisis that has left many Cambodians unable to afford a home

Hav Kongngy with his company’s famous bricks Photo: Hannah Hawkins for SEA Globe

What does My Dream Home do?
My Dream Home develops the most affordable houses on the market while maintaining high quality. My Dream Home has sold houses starting at $9,000 to 19,000 per unit, cheaper than what is offered by the [agreement] between Worldbridge International and the Ministry of Urban Planning and Construction [to construct affordable housing]. Ours… are built with My Dream Home’s bricks, famous for their easiness to use. They are commonly called ‘Lego bricks’ [because they interlock in the same way that the toy blocks do] and are easy-to-use, environmentally friendly and cheap to produce.

What inspired you to start My Dream Home?
When I added up the money that my family saved over the course of about seven years, we could not afford to buy a house in Phnom Penh. House prices were too expensive for the middle class and the poor… Looking at the [incomes] of Cambodian people… [there weren’t options that matched] the definition of affordable housing, in which people should spend less than 30% of their income on a house… In 2013, [Bangladeshi social entrepreneur and Nobel Prize winner] Muhammad Yunus came to Cambodia, and I was inspired by his speech: “Making money is happiness but helping others to make money is super happiness.” I learned from him that social businesses were a good way to help the poor in a sustainable way.

Why is your social enterprise important to Cambodia?
According to statistics from the government, Cambodia will need more than 1.1 million houses by 2030. The 2017 report from [Cambodian property management company] Vtrust revealed that there are no developers currently building houses that cost less than $25,000 in Cambodia… The Ministry of Land Management defines middle-income people as households who earn below $500 a month, and around one million houses are currently estimated to be needed for this market… [Which means] there is a very large need for more affordable houses priced at $10,000 to $20,000 and below.

How do you hope to see your company grow or change in the future?
My Dream Home has produced over two millions bricks that could be used to build nearly 300 houses. As a partner project, My Dream Home has built 30 housing units, 20 of which have already sold while 10 will be ready for the market soon. We are also planning to build more houses… but we want people to build houses by themselves, and soon we will launch a workshop to teach people to build their own ‘dream houses’ [using our product]. Allowing people to build houses by themselves would reduce more costs for the poor, as normally in the construction process, builders take a profit of around 20 to 30% [of the production cost]. If people build homes on their own, it could help to reduce the cost by up to 50%.

This article was published in Southeast Asia Globe’s Property Special 2018. For full access, subscribe here.