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.

“It’s really hard for people to think of Cambodian bar workers as anything other than prostitutes”

By: Charlie Lancaster - Posted on: September 24, 2013 | Cambodia

Sex, Love and Money in Cambodia: Professional Girlfriends and Transactional Relationships is a book collating seven years of research into Cambodia’s sex and entertainment industries. Dr Heidi Hoefinger is its author   

Interview by Charlie Lancaster

Why did you choose to spend so many years researching this topic?

I fell in love with Cambodia the first time I went there as a backpacker in 2003. The energy of Phnom Penh was frenetic and addictive. I had met a few women in the bars and we became fast friends. We connected through music, dancing and talking about our boyfriends. I decided then that I wanted to spend more time in Cambodia and learn about their lives. I went back in 2005 to start formal academic research on the sex and entertainment sectors, and I’ve been going back every one or two years since.


"It's really hard for people to think of Cambodian bar workers as anything other than prostitues"
Dr Heidi Hoefinger


What is the main message readers should take away from your book?

There are two really. The first is that the relationships between Cambodian ‘bar girls’  and Western men are complex, not always commercial and often filled with love and emotion. The second is that, despite being surrounded by a sea of gender stereotypes, strict moral and social codes, sexual violence, corruption and domestic abuse, the women are resourceful and use the tools available to them, like bar work, sex and intimacy, to improve their lives. Cambodia can be a tough place to be a woman; and, although their options for supporting themselves are limited, they’ve chosen what’s best for them at a particular moment in time. For the women in the book, that was working in bars and seeking out foreign boyfriends. Many of them had tried other jobs, such as garment factory work, street trading or house cleaning, but bar work was the most lucrative, flexible, educational and sometimes the most fun. Many women learn English and about the outside world through people they meet in the bars. Of course, bar work has its bad points like any job, but these women make the most of their situations and support their families in the best way they can.

What were the most interesting findings to come out of your research?

For one, the majority of women in the book who work in hostess bars don’t do pre-negotiated ‘sex-for-cash’ and so don’t identify as sex workers – they identify as girlfriends being with boyfriends. Often the boyfriends treat them to gifts such as clothes, jewellery, meals and taxi rides, but it’s not considered payment for sex. The relationships exist in a ‘grey zone’ where sex, love and money all come together. This makes some people uncomfortable because they think these things should never exist in the same space. But one thing I learned is that all relationships – in Cambodia and beyond – combine elements of economics, emotion and intimacy. So, with the book, I’m really trying to get people to reflect on the material and transactional natures of their own relationships and stop stereotyping those between Cambodian women and Western men.

Did you come up against any challenges or obstacles?

Talking about sex is always controversial. People get emotional and have strong views about what’s right or wrong, good or bad. I’ve found that it’s really hard for people to think about Cambodian bar workers as anything other than prostitutes, and prostitutes as anything other than poor victims, ‘broken women’ or criminals. Saying they are resourceful and even empowered by this work really bothers some people – particularly those who insist on denying the women the agency to make their own decisions. It’s a complicated issue with no easy answers.

Also view:

“The other Cambodians” – Ripped from their homes in the United States, the Kingdom’s returnees are determined to make the most of a raw deal