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
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To understand more about why you are so important to our member support 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.

Demining Laos / ‘What my team do can save many people’s lives’

By: Janelle Retka - Photography by: Kimberly McCosker - Posted on: September 24, 2018 | Best of 2018

For almost four years, Phouviengsavanh “Toui” Keosouphan, 39, has worked to clear Laos’ plague of unexploded ordnance (UXO). Laos has the distinction of being the most heavily bombed nation on the planet per capita, with 29,000 people killed and 21,000 injured by deadly leftover devices from the Vietnam War era. He works with Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), a humanitarian relief organisation that’s been active in Laos since 1997

Phouviengsavanh “Toui” Keosouphan says he applied for a demining job because he wanted to help people Photo: Kimberly McCosker

Tell us a bit about what UXO survey and clearance entails…
Because there is so much contamination in Laos, the first step is to find and map areas that are contaminated with unexploded ordnance (UXO). We do this through a process called “cluster munition remnants survey”, or CMRS. NPA teams visit a village and ask the local community for information on where UXOs might be, and then use metal detectors to do a rapid search of the area. This process allows us to produce a rough map outlining a “confirmed hazardous area”. We also collect socio-economic data that allows us to prioritise these areas for clearance – including the number of people who use land, what the land will be used for. Then, a clearance team will do a more precise search of that area and remove all UXOs they find. We follow clearance plans decided in coordination with local and national authorities.

What is the hardest part of your job?
Demining is a potentially dangerous activity. To ensure safety of personnel and local people during demining operations is a challenging task. As a national operations manager, I am responsible for overall safety of personnel, and I have to constantly work with my technical colleagues to improve demining methodology in order to avoid the risk of incident to personnel related to demining activities. 

Why is this work important to Laos?
Although the war ended almost four decades ago, UXO still exists throughout large swathes of the country and many Lao people are killed and injured every year by unexploded munitions. UXO has a strong link to poverty and is also a significant impediment to development, as land must be cleared of the dangerous explosives before infrastructure can be built or farmers can safely access agricultural land. To combat this, Lao PDR was one of the first countries to sign up to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, an international treaty that bans the use of cluster munitions and helps reduce their impact in affected countries. By signing this treaty, the government of Laos committed to clearing land contaminated by cluster munitions and other UXO, to ensure the safety of all people in Laos. NPA, with the support of our donors in the US Department of State and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is one of the organisations working to address this ongoing issue in order to support the government of Laos.

An example of unexploded ordnance Photo: Kimberly McCosker

Does NPA have any way to map the cluster munitions that have been located and, if so, what kind of pattern has that revealed?
All cluster munitions our teams find are marked with a GPS, so we know the precise location of each item that is found. We generally find that cluster munitions fall in an oval shape, with more items found in the centre and the pattern gradually fading out towards the edges of the oval. We can call this pattern the “footprint” of the bomb. Quite often many footprints from individual bombs are merged together because the bombing was so intense, so not every footprint is recognisable.

Why does NPA use detectors rather than rats to locate UXOs, as some other organisations have begun doing in recent years? Are there any new or upcoming technologies that are promising for the future of demining?
Rats as well as other tools are considered a good asset for demining – but like anything else, they have advantages and limitations. NPA Laos is always searching for and testing new tools and methodologies in order to make our work more safe and more efficient. Handheld detectors are a standard tool for clearance in Laos; however, there are different tools that NPA [has used] for many years in different parts of the world, including different types of metal detectors, drones and explosive detection dogs. These tools and technologies, as well as many others, could be useful to significantly speed up the productivity of clearance work in Laos – [but they] need to be carefully trialled and tested to ensure they will work for the particular type of munitions found in Laos.

How did you get into this profession?
I applied for a demining job because I thought that it is interesting and that I could help other people. Although demining is dangerous, it is also challenging and exciting work. I realised that what me and my team did can save many people’s lives. So that made me want to learn more about demining and use my knowledge and skills to remove the danger from UXO so that people in the impacted area can live safely. 

This article was published in the September 2018 edition of Southeast Asia Globe magazine. For full access, subscribe here.