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.

Indonesia / More than 4000 dead after year of devastating disasters

By: Robin Spiess - Posted on: January 3, 2019 | Best of 2018

Indonesia has been rocked by a series of destructive natural disasters in the past 12 months, with the death count at its highest in over a decade. But what is going wrong in the country to lead to such a staggering number of fatalities?

Local residents carry a scooter among debris in a devastated area after a tsunami hit Sunda Strait in Carita, Banten, Indonesia, 26 December 2018 Photo: Adi Weda / EPA-EFE

As the sun went down on Monday and revelers prepared to ring in 2019, Indonesia was hit with yet another deadly natural disaster: a landslide, triggered by heavy rains, which left at least 15 people dead and dozens missing in West Java. More than 500 rescuers continue to scour the area for survivors, but they do so without the aid of heavy-duty equipment, which–due to flooding and washed out roadways – is unlikely to reach the site for days.

This disaster is one of nearly 2,000 that Indonesia has seen over the course of the past year, and comes just a week after one of Indonesia’s deadliest natural disasters of 2018; a devastating tsunami, triggered by a volcanic eruption, that hit the coasts of West Java and Sumatra on 22 December and left 430 dead, nearly 14,000 injured and almost 40,000 displaced.

This singular disaster killed more people than all those who died due to natural disasters in Indonesia in 2017, and rivaled the total number killed the year before as well. While 2018 may not have weathered as many storms as in the previous few years, those it did see were far more fatal.

“This year is a disastrous year for Indonesia. At 4,231, it is the largest death toll that we’ve seen since 2007,” said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for the National Agency for Disaster Countermeasure (BNPB) in Indonesia.

Positioned along the volcanically active Pacific Ring of Fire, Indonesia is particularly susceptible to tsunamis and landslides triggered by volcanic activity. The most recent tsunami that struck in December was not preceded by any warning; the nation’s volcanic island Anak Krakatau erupted and collapsed, triggering an underwater avalanche that set off the wall of water.

Indonesia lags behind

In the days that followed, Indonesian President Joko Widodo made a public announcement claiming that Indonesia does not currently have the capability to predict this form of disaster, and called upon the Meteorology, Climatology and Geological Agency (BMKG) to install tsunami detectors that provide early warning to citizens.

“Usually it was preceded by earthquake. That’s why the residents and visitors… were not prepared to escape,” Widodo said, according to CNN.

In the wake of the disaster, Sutopo took to Twitter to call on the government to invest in renovating its existing natural disaster warning system. Though the buoy network – a web of instruments that collect weather and ocean data to help predict disasters – would have done little to prevent this most recent tsunami, he noted that the existing buoy network “has not been operational since 2012”.

After the devastating 2004 “Boxing Day Tsunamis” that decimated large parts of Indonesia, multiple countries – including the UK, Germany and Malaysia – donated disaster detection equipment to Indonesia, but the technology has since largely fallen into disrepair, Sutopo added.

“Vandalism, a limited budget, and technical damage mean there were no tsunami buoys at this time,” he wrote. “They need to be rebuilt to strengthen the Indonesian tsunami early warning system.”

Earlier in the year the deadly September tsunami, which hit Sulawesi and left nearly 2,000 dead, drew international attention to the inadequacies of Indonesia’s local detection system. Unconfirmed reports claimed that the sirens, intended to warn of a tsunami in the aftermath of an earthquake, did not have access to power after the initial earthquake knocked out their electricity, and therefore did not sound. Others claim that an operating buoy system would have provided adequate warning for many to take cover.

In the wake of the September disaster, tsunami expert Abdul Muhari told the Straits Times that Indonesia lagged behind other countries in building and maintaining a tsunami early warning system. He added that in Japan, which also deals with frequent earthquakes and tsunamis, one to five seismographs were placed in each subdistrict, with the addition of tsunami detection buoys in its waters. Japan, a country five times smaller than Indonesia, has 859 registered seismograph stations whereas Indonesia has only about 217, according to the International Registry of Seismograph Stations.

Disastrous management

Indonesia is not only ill-equipped to predict disasters; it is also ill-equipped to handle the increasingly deadly aftermath of disasters as well. With Indonesia’s difficult terrain and lack of paved roadways, it is near impossible to get rescue equipment to disaster sites within the first day of the disaster’s occurrence. It has become common practice for rescuers to spend days on end trying to remove rubble, collect bodies and find survivors with little equipment aside from their bare hands.

Though the country’s approach to disaster management improved greatly following Indonesia’s tragic 2004 tsunami, this past year has made clear that the country’s system of disaster relief is far from adequate when it comes to serving the thousands affected by 2018’s natural disasters.

Looking ahead to 2019, Indonesian officials have their work cut out in preparing systems that can both warn citizens of approaching natural disasters, and help save them when disaster strikes.

“The disaster funding continues to decrease every year,” Sutopo told the New York Times after the September tsunami.

“The threat of disasters increases, disasters increase, but the BNPB budget decreases.”