The Globe as you know it is changing.
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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.

An issue of identity and land

By: Daniel Otis - Posted on: June 1, 2013 | Current Affairs

By Daniel Otis

The ‘Rohingya question’ lies at the heart of the issue in Rakhine state. Groups such as the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party (RNDP) state that the moniker was adopted by Bangladeshi immigrants in the 1950s. Rakhine state’s Muslims claim that they have lived in the region and called themselves Rohingya for centuries. The vehemence with which the Arakanese deny the existence of the Rohingya ethnicity – and with which Rakhine state’s Muslims cling to the term – seems, now more than ever, a matter of political necessity. For the Rohingya, it is also perhaps something of a catch-22.

Photo: Daniel OtisPapers on hand: displaced Rohingya activist U Kyaw Hla Aung, 73, shows his National Registration Card, which establishes his citizenship
Photo: Daniel Otis
Papers on hand: displaced Rohingya activist U Kyaw Hla Aung, 73, shows his National Registration Card, which establishes his citizenship


While Muslims have lived in Arakan since at least the 15th century (and perhaps earlier), their numbers began to grow exponentially under British rule (1824 – 1948) as agricultural labourers were brought to the region from neighbouring Bangladesh. Although a 1799 report by Scottish physician and orientologist Dr Francis Buchanan describes “Mohammedans, who have long settled in Arakan, and who call themselves Rooinga, or natives of Arakan,” most of the people claiming to be Rohingya today likely descend from the British-brought community.

Rakhine state’s Muslims need to posit their Rohingya identity in order to stake a legitimate claim to being a longstanding part of Myanmar’s diverse ethnic tapestry, thus making them eligible for full citizenship rights. Likewise, were the Arakanese to acknowledge the Rohingya, they would be resigning themselves to sharing their ancient homeland with a group that makes up more than a quarter of their state’s 3.8 million inhabitants –
a dangerous proposition come election time in this fledgling democracy. Nevertheless, so long as they cling to the Rohingya name, Rakhine state’s Muslims will continue to alienate themselves from the Arakanese, Myanmar’s government, and even the historically pro-human rights National League for Democracy (see boxed text page 27). Were they to suddenly drop the label, they would essentially be declaring themselves illegal immigrants, thus dooming their community to continued confinement, potential deportation and perhaps annihilation.

Myanmar’s government denies the Rohingya official ethnic status and citizenship. With roots that span several generations, however, many are legally eligible to become naturalised citizens under the 1982 Citizenship Law, if they are able to provide documents that prove their family history. Some Rakhine Muslims have presented such documents. Many others claim that theirs were destroyed in the fires that ravaged their communities. Others simply never bothered or were not allowed to register with authorities.

Western media, international NGOs and several Islamic states have tried to champion the Rohingya’s cause, but their involvement only seems to anger Arakanese and Burmese authorities, thus exacerbating the conflict. Western democracies have mostly stayed silent.

Ultimately, the Rohingya question that is obsessing so many in Myanmar is entirely beside the point. The current state of affairs – despite any historical antecedents (see boxed text page 28) – constitutes ethnic cleansing, perpetuated by Arakanese nationalists and government authorities. With few supporters, the coming rainy season, persistent rumours of a third wave of violence and growing anti-Muslim sentiment throughout the country, it is hard to imagine that the Rohingya’s future will be anything but grim.





Also view

“Exiled to nowhere” – Recent sectarian violence has brought renewed attention to the Rohingya. Brutal oppression is nothing new to this Muslim ethnic group, many of whom have chosen to endure a hellish existence in hostile Bangladesh rather than return to their native Myanmar

“Etched in time: Chin women” – Their faces marked with intricate tattoos, an older generation of Chin women embody a dying art of ritual in one of the country’s most isolated and persecuted states. Photographer Brent Lewin captures their story

“Gimme shelter” – As a new Myanmar emerges, the battle rages on for the inhabitants of Kachin, its northernmost state. Thousands of civilians have been displaced and ethnic troops have taken up arms once more to defend their homeland from government forces. Photographer Narciso Contreras captures their story

“War on Myanmar’s women” – With the constitution relegating women to second-class citizens and the national army increasingly employing sexualised violence as a weapon of subjugation, Myanmar is still very much a military man’s world

“A failed state?” – How Myanmar can position itself to join the ranks of successful nations