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.

Artificial intelligence / Why a holistic education holds the keys to success in a world ruled by robots

By: Euan Black - Posted on: October 12, 2017 | Society

Opinions on the impact of artificial intelligence in the workplace vary wildly, but experts are reaching a consensus on the human skills required to remain competitive in the years ahead

Robots can do anything if they put their minds to it. Last year, Flow Machines, a research project funded by the European Research Council and coordinated by the Sony Computer Science Laboratory (Sony SCL), produced the world’s first pop song composed by artificial intelligence.

The team at Sony SCL fed more than 13,000 sheets of popular music into a computer, which analysed the rhythms, melodies and structure of the music and then used advanced machine learning to produce its own original melody based on its analysis (the lyrics were later added by a human). The result was “Daddy’s Car”, a song inspired by the Beatles that sounds no more formulaic than other hits topping today’s music charts.

While it would be a stretch to describe the song as evidence of a machine’s ability to create original art, the project goes at least part of the way toward undermining the sanctity of human creativity, spoiling the long-held belief that only low-skilled labour is under threat from automation. Today, acquiring strong technological skills may be enough to secure employment over a machine, but experts warn the same cannot be said for tomorrow.

In the eyes of Marc Tucker, president of the US-based National Centre on Education and the Economy and a researcher who has spent the past two decades analysing the world’s best-performing education systems, the rapid rise of artificial intelligence means that we must devote our development “to those things that are uniquely human”.

Computer skills will be no guarantee of success in the high-tech future

“The people who will succeed in the world ahead are the people who make use of their most human, non-cognitive capacities: their ability to relate to other people; their ability to communicate complex matters clearly; their ability to work in teams effectively [and] to lead others,” he told Southeast Asia Globe during a telephone interview from Washington, DC.

Tucker is in good company when he expounds the increasing importance of what are often referred to as ‘soft skills’. In 2015, a report by the World Economic Forum claimed that increasing automation meant that complex problem solving, critical thinking and creativity would become the three most sought after workplace skills in 2020. Earlier this year, a similar report by the professional services firm Deloitte argued that a new wave of jobs brought about by automation was creating demand for “higher cognitive skills such as those that depend on management or human social interaction”.

To ensure students develop such skills, schools must teach students how to think, not what to think. But they must also understand that some of life’s most valuable lessons transcend the classroom setting and, thus, create environments that mimic real-life situations and encourage students to think on their feet, according to Tucker.

Students learn to harness the power of the sun

“In the West, when people think about schooling, they tend to think about what happens in classrooms, which is really the cognitive development of young people. But they think much less of what happens on the playing fields or what happens in sports,” he said. “In the future, the role of the school [should be] seen more holistically. Schools should develop a student’s character and values, as well as their thinking ability.”

Even technologically advanced Singapore, which was recently recognised as having the best education system in the world by the Programme for International Student Assessment, has been criticised for failing to adequately equip students with the requisite ‘soft skills’ to effectively contribute to the modern workforce. A year-long survey conducted by the Singapore Management University and JP Morgan and published in 2016 revealed that the city-state had for too long focused on teaching hard skills at the expense of nurturing the creativity of its students, undermining its goal of creating an innovation-driven economy.

Recent policies, however, would suggest that Singapore’s government is well aware of this skills shortage. In 2014, the country introduced a physical education syllabus that committed 10-20% of curriculum time in primary and secondary schools to outdoor education, signifying a commitment to a holistic approach to education. “It is about developing an enduring core of competencies, values and character to anchor our young and ensure they have the resilience to succeed,” the country’s education minister, Heng Swee Keat, said of the approach in parliament in March. 

A growing number of schools in the region are implementing similar policies and increasing efforts to promote student wellbeing. During early years’ education, this can simply mean providing children with “opportunities to check in with themselves at different points in the day” or setting up areas for children to take time out from a class if they’re ever feeling overwhelmed, according to Kirsty Campbell, wellbeing leader at iCAN British International School in Phnom Penh.

All the things that people write about as 21st century skills, it’s all nonsense. Those are old skills”

In middle years, Campbell added, iCAN’s students take regular mindfulness classes where they practice meditation or learn other strategies to develop “emotional resilience”.

“Obviously the curriculum is rigorous and we talk about academic success,” said Campbell.  “We’re just allowing them that space to talk about their feelings. And they’re lifelong tools.”

Schools struggling to develop their students’ soft skills need look no further than the history books for inspiration, according to Tucker. “If you go through the list of 21st century skills, they were all alive and well at [revered British private schools] Eton and Harrow in the 1890s, because what those institutions were all about was creating the future leaders of the British Empire,” he said.

“They needed to be great leaders. They needed to be great team members. They needed to adapt. They needed to set deadlines for themselves. They needed to have self discipline. All the things that people write about as 21st century skills, it’s all nonsense. Those are old skills.”

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

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