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.

Asylum protection officer / ‘In Thailand we treat refugees like tourists’

By: Janelle Retka - Photography by: Cory Wright - Posted on: November 19, 2018 | Best of 2018

Waitsara Rungthong has worked as a protection officer in Thailand since 2015, assisting refugees who have fled there as they await resettlement in another country. She shared some of the nuances and challenges of her job at the Centre for Asylum Protection legal aid organisation

Waitsara Rungthong says she feels political pressure in her work as a protection officer for the legal aid organisation Centre for Asylum Protection Photo: Cory Wright

Tell us about your position and the agency you work for…
The Centre for Asylum Protection is a legal clinic under the Thai foundation called People Serving People Foundation. In the legal clinic, we have four to five lawyers, but I’m the only protection officer. [Some refugees] live in camps. For Thailand, we have camps along the Thai-Burma border. But [in Thailand], the main populations are the urban refugees, which are people who live in the city, not in a camp. So these people come to seek asylum in Thailand through UNHCR [UN High Commissioner for Refugees]. The legal clinic provides assistance like legal advice, represents them to UNHCR, writes the legal brief or helps them to write their statement [when applying for third-country resettlement].

What does a protection officer do?
It’s mostly about dealing with the situation of [refugees’] life within Thailand… Thailand is not a signatory to the Refugee Convention. So Thailand doesn’t recognise the UNHCR card [which labels foreigners as approved refugees], which means even though the POC – person of concern, the people who seek asylum at UNHCR – even though they have a UNHCR card, if they don’t have a valid visa, that’s seen in Thailand as them being illegal… These people cannot have access to hospitals, people have difficulties taking their children to school, [they have] arrest issues, sometimes relocation again for their security concern… For the protection process, it involves all of the processes since they came to Thailand until they leave the country again.

Are there laws that make your job of protecting asylum seekers difficult?
Yeah. In Thailand we don’t have a domestic law to protect refugees specifically, [so] it’s quite difficult to find the legal basis to help them sometimes. For example, in Thailand, with all the foreigners in the country or all the non-Thai people, basically the law that will apply to them is the immigration act. It doesn’t matter if they’re a migrant worker, they’re a tourist, they’re a refugee. So it is difficult because the nature of the refugees in Thailand are different from the tourists or people who come to travel in Thailand… [But with that act,] when they find that this person entered the country illegally or stayed here illegally, the authorities can deport the person back… I can say for some countries, like China, Cambodia or Vietnam, sometimes Thailand has a good relationship with the government of this country, so sometimes [arrest and deportation] happens because of the pressure or because of the request of the foreign government… So, I would say we don’t have adequate domestic law to protect the refugee, which is quite difficult.

Which communities do you work with most?
The majority of the urban refugees are now the Pakistani people, and we have a lot of people from Vietnam and Cambodia… In Thailand, there are two legal aid organisations that provide legal assistance to urban refugees. One is CAP, Centre for Asylum Protection, which is us, and another one is Asylum Access Thailand. In the past, the donor who funds the programme used to work closely with the Vietnamese community and also some Khmer Krom people from Vietnam, but then they come to Cambodia. So I would say many people who contact us are from Vietnam and from Cambodia. But we do have many Pakistani [clients] as well.

Do you experience any political pressure in your work?
I think so. I kind of feel like doing the protection work is like – we need to be very, very careful… We don’t want to be on the opposite side of the officer, like immigration or the police, because we need to work with them [in advocating for refugee rights]… [But] many refugees need to run away from the police, they need to keep themselves from the Thai authorities. But at the same time, the authorities will come to talk to us and ask, “What’s going on? How about these people? Do you know where they are?”… And when we meet with the government, when we want to discuss with them, we say, “Okay, can you try to find a solution or can you try to find a way to protect the refugee?” And they ask for information, but then we feel like, okay, how can I do this? If we provide everything, then you don’t know the safety of your client, right?

Why is your work important to Thailand and Southeast Asia?
[In Thailand,] we don’t have the right perspective of the refugees… We treat them like the same as [tourists and other visitors, expecting paperwork and visas that refugees can’t obtain while fleeing their country]… I think in our role, we… do advocacy work with our partner, with the Thai people, with the Thai government, to explain to them that we need to treat these people differently from the migrant worker or from people who came here to do the criminal stuff. Because these people are not criminals… They basically have persecution… It’s not like they can go back home anytime. And I think we need to have this mindset that they cannot return… I think we will then think of a way that we can treat them better, such as give them access to education, give them access to healthcare, allow them to work so they can live as a normal person.