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 / ‘I chose to hide my identity as a Jew in public’

By: Peter Brieger in Jakarta and Ronny Buol in Tondano / AFP - Posted on: March 5, 2019 | Featured

With only a couple hundred practitioners and one temple for worship, Indonesia’s Jews live in the shadows in Muslim-majority Indonesia – and yet still find themselves subject to hate crimes and discrimination

An Indonesian Jew entering a synagogue in Tondano, North Sulawesi Photo: Ronny Adolof Buol / AFP

Yaakov Baruch is the rabbi at Indonesia’s only synagogue but he keeps his religious identity under wraps, like most of the tiny Jewish community living in the world’s biggest Muslim-majority nation.

A group of men threatened Baruch with death and called him a “crazy Jew” as he walked in a mall with his pregnant wife several years ago, prompting him to limit when he wears his kippah – a Jewish skullcap.

“It’s never happened again because I chose to hide my identity as a Jew in public,” he said.

There is a similar ripple of concern among many of the estimated 200 Jews living in the Southeast Asian country of 260m people, with most centred in a remote corner of the sprawling archipelago.

Manado on Sulawesi island is one of the few places that Indonesia’s remaining Jews – mostly descendants of traders from Europe and Iraq who were once thought to number around several thousand before World War II – feel comfortable showing their faith.

A 62-foot-tall (nearly 19m) menorah, possibly the world’s largest, stands near the town of Tondano – around 20km south of Manado – where Baruch holds regular services at a modest, red-roofed synagogue.

‘The enemy’

The Shaar Hasyamayim synagogue is Indonesia’s lone house of worship for Jews after the only other one in the city of Surabaya was demolished in 2013.

It had been the site of anti-Israel protests for years, and was sealed off by religious hardliners in 2009 and left to decay.

Indonesia has long been praised for its moderate brand of Islam, but more conservative forms of the religion have taken centre stage in recent years, driven by increasingly vocal hardline groups.

Tensions in the Middle East, particularly between Israel and the Palestinians, spill over here and deepen religious divides.

Thousands of hardliners demonstrated in Jakarta when US President Donald Trump announced last year that the American embassy in Israel would be moved to the contested city of Jerusalem.

“There is still a lot of anti-semitic sentiment in Indonesia,” Baruch said.

“Generally speaking, Indonesians don’t differentiate between being Jewish and Israel. They think Jews and Israel are the enemy of their religion and state,” he added.

“There is no denying that tolerance is fading in our country.”

The size of the Jewish community makes it almost invisible so Jews have not been the target of Islamist militants like some of Indonesia’s larger religious minorities.

A wave of deadly suicide bombings at churches in Surabaya last year highlighted the threat to minority groups, while Shiites and Ahmadis – regarded as heretics by some majority Sunni Muslims – have also been the target of violence.

An Indonesian Jew praying at a synagogue in Tondano, North Sulawesi Photo: Ronny Adolof Buol / AFP

Kosher food shortage

Still, Indonesia’s Jews are on the radar of some groups.

Monique Rijkers’ efforts to bridge the divide with a TV programme about Judaism drew the ire of the Indonesian Muslim Students Association, which she claims reported her to government and broadcast regulators.

“They demanded that I be fired and that the programme be cancelled,” said Rijkers, founder of Hadassah of Indonesia, a non-profit organisation that offers cultural education programmes centred on Israel, Jews and the Holocaust.

Indonesia’s Jews face some practical challenges, too, such as finding kosher food in a country where it’s not widely available.

Another hurdle is that Indonesia has long allowed for only six different religious categories on all-important ID cards – Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Confucianism.

The cards are crucial for accessing government services, and for doing things such as registering marriages and births, meaning most Jews lie and put “Christianity” on the documents.

Even some Muslim Indonesians learn that taking an interest in anything Jewish can raise eyebrows.

Sapri Sale, who started teaching a Hebrew class in Jakarta a year ago, has been studying the language since the 1990s and compiled what he says is the world’s first Hebrew-Indonesian dictionary.

But his interests got little positive feedback at home.

“I was called Sapri the Jew,” he said.

© Agence France-Presse